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Old 01-04-2002, 05:56 PM   #1
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Here's an excellent article about ATYCLB: http://stocki.ni.org/news/items/item-225.phtml

As we all looked to the screen or speakers for comfort of any sort, All That You Canít Leave Behind took on an eerie feeling of having been written for such a time as this.

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Old 01-04-2002, 06:00 PM   #2
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Thanks, NicaMom

This is the same guy who wrote Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2, which is a pretty good book.

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Old 01-04-2002, 06:01 PM   #3
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Thanks NicaMom! I really like it.

Mon 31 Dec 2001

Stocki reckons that the meaning of All That You Can't Leave Behind was discovered in 2001 and could not have been understood or imagined when it was released...


Many songwriters will talk about how the meaning of songs does not become clear until much later. I have never understood such philosophising. I have invested hundreds of pounds in the biographies and music books to get some background information on why Dylan or Lennon or Cohen wrote that. For them to tell me that the circumstances of when it was written had nothing to do with a meaning that became clear months or years later just leaves me suspiciousÖor regretting the cost of the books!

If there ever was a paradigm shift then this year almost convinced me. U2ís album All That You Canít Leave Behind takes on a whole new meaning when you listen to it looking back on 2001 than we when we listened looking ahead last December. As Bono spoke about his dying father during The Elevation Tour it would be before Kite. He told Niall Stokes in the Hot Press annual at yearís end, ďI have a verse about taking the kids up on Killiney hill with a kite. Then I realised, I went back in my head, and I remembered being in Rush or Skerries, one incident where exactly the same thing happened. We used to have a caravan, and I sort of felt the goodbye aspect of the song was not from me to him, but from him to me. Thatís the thing about songwriting Ė youíre the last to know what you Ďre on about.Ē Maybe!

The thing is that Kite and his fatherís death is not the only connection between the songs and events in 2001. The year began with the death of Joey Ramone and the news that in the last days of his life he was listening to In A Little While. As U2 dedicated to him in the days after his death it did bring to the song something that is hidden from view in a close look at the lyrics. The home in the song is again a reference to the place beyond Bonoís Killiney refuge. The arms that he crawls home to are beyond the arms of Ali. Interestingly I remember reading and I think it was a Sean OíHagan interview with Bono a while before the album came out and he was singing the chorus as ďIn a little while LordĒ. By release the Lord was dropped but in some ways Ramoneís death brought back the sense of Lord if not the word itself. As I quote in my book Bono would say ďHe turned this song about a hangover into a Gospel song.Ē Maybe the truth is he redeemed it to what it originally was. Or perhaps Bono only found out later that this is about the all that you canít leave behind!

Of course where All That You Canít Leave Behind really took on new meaning and indeed, in many senses, new responsibilities, was post September 11th. As the enormity of the events of that day dawned and the world realised that it had lost thousands of her children in the World Trade Centre and then we realised that if it is possible we had lost even more Ė we had no longer anywhere to hide from the mad men. As hope and any kind of certainty lay forever scarred who would bring any words of wisdom or strength. Where would the priests and pastors appear from in a world that had rejected its spiritual centre during modernity and felt nihilistic in the midst of post modernity. It would for sure not be men like me in clerical collars. As we all looked to the screen or speakers for comfort of any sort, All That You Canít Leave Behind took on an eerie feeling of having been written for such a time as this. A whole generation was stuck in a moment that we were finding no way out of. There was even a song called New York that U2 would play in that city as they took the message to the very heart of the hurt. Bono again to Naill Stokes in Hot Press would explain it, ďAnd a lot of the themes and the moods of All That You Canít Leave Behind seemed to just make more sense. I donít think they changed. The obvious stuff like New York or a song about depression like Stuck In A Moment, Kite Ė songs about letting go of people you donít want to let go of, all of that seemed to really connect.Ē

So indeed would Walk On as it was transmitted via satelitte on the Telethon for the Heroes. Beginning it with a naked vocal of Bono doing the first verse of Peace On Earth and then going into the new U2 anthem, as it built to its worshipful climax, the pastor and priest upped the spiritual anti and led the world from mourning into worship. As the band finished in what had become the customary way of the tour with Hallelujahís the absurdity of giving thanks during the deepest of tragedies and most acute pain and hurt seemed to bring Biblical like comfort. This was the song that released most tears and touched most souls with the lightest touches of healing. The holy man had visited the mourning home to bring God to us and point us to Him.

In interviews following Bono has been given more and more column inches to bring words of pastoral care and even challenge. He has spoken of how Eugene Petersonís paraphrases of the New Testament and Old Testament Books Of Wisdom have given sustenance to see him through. He has defended faith not only of Christianity but other faiths in a world that blames all belief as the cause not the solution. He has hoped for a new beginning in 2002 for himself, his family, the band and the world especially those countries still looking for Jubilee.

For me where he has really sent down the depth charge is when has been explaining his prayer for his dad and the lesson he learned. He spoke to both Rolling Stone and Hot Press of how he had prayed that his father would have dignity in death but realised that death like birth was without dignity and that what he really should have been praying for is humility. In Rolling Stomne he concludes that maybe humility is the eye by which we get through the needle! Wow! In Hot Press he elaborates that he thinks that dignity might be a human construct that might be next door to pride or worse to vanity. Humility might be the best thing to have before your Maker! This priest takes no prisoners!

If there was ever a year for this album it was 2001. This was the year to ponder more than ever what you can and cannot leave behind.
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Old 01-04-2002, 06:04 PM   #4
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Great article, thanks NicaMom

It adds strength to the tales in Niall Stokes book Into The Heart, where Bono tells of songs he writes, many of them, that don't become clear in meaning until a while later.

But many of U2's songs are full of meaning, full of different perspectives in the way you view them. That's what makes them so great to so many people
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Old 01-04-2002, 06:06 PM   #5
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an inspiring piece
I do however think that the meaning of the lyrics on "ATYCLB" would have grown no matter what the year 2001 would have brought us

if not these circumstances than others (perhaps more positive ones) would have taken these pyrics to a higher place

to me these lyrics are just that strong

Shake it, shake it, shake it
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Old 01-04-2002, 06:17 PM   #6
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Very nice article! Thanks for posting it, NicaMom.
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Old 01-04-2002, 10:13 PM   #7
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Great article, Nica.

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But is there sweetness at all?
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Old 01-04-2002, 10:38 PM   #8
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Very touching article. Thanks for posting it NicaMom. You're the best!
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Old 01-06-2002, 12:39 AM   #9
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That about nails it.
Very compelling.
Thanks Nica


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