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Old 03-26-2009, 10:12 PM   #41
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:41 PM   #42
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I'm still working out my own interpretation of this song and your opinions are helping me quite a lot. I think this song is Bono's most personal in the album, he explains lots of things about his own life and feelings. It's a beautiful theme, beautifully written.

From my point of view the salesman at the front door is representing the establishment within religion (I don't know if I'm using the correct word, but I hope you understand what I mean), formal religion, the people that think they're more enlightened than the others, that they are the only ones to Know God and to interpret Him, they tell us how to get saved, they judge people and sometimes use the power they acquire from this to control people. The narrator says "these times I'm wiser and I know I don't need you to get saved, no, I'm not going to buy what you have, cause I know I only need to know God". "Three", I love this word within the song, it comes as a mystery, like the Trinity. The author knows he can make mistakes, but he knows he can recover from them: "every day I die again, and again I'm reborn".
This man, the narrator, is starting his own Odyssey, a journey of self discovery and dicovery of Divinity, thus the 16th of June reference, it's a difficult journey, that's why he has to find the courage to run into the streets and offer himself to the others, he can be rejected, he can be misunderstood, but he has a love that nobody's can defeat, God's.
I explain the lines "16th of June, Chinese stocks are going up ..... my pulse is fine" as examples of today's state of confussion, this kind of journalistic approach Bono sometimes likes to introduce in the songs to get them in context, in this way he portraits himself running in the street like loose electricity, and the band uncovering their intimacies, like their religious feelings, to everyone who wants to listen (playing striptease).
There are bad things, big problems "the roar that lies on the other side of silence (injustice, poverty, for example) the forest fire (religious intolerance, for example)" but the way to deal with them is not to deny they exist, one has to go out into the street, say what one thinks, and do what one thinks is right, the voices won't get drown. He feels he's got a gift, his music, and this gift carries a responsibility, that's why he wears it like a crown.
At the end he comes back to the main theme in the song: Grace, he found Grace inside a sound, only Grace, not all these restrictions he finds in formal religion, and thus he can breathe, breathe free.

The are some references in the song like the 9:09 and St. John Divine I'm still wondering about, the first one I suppose is a Bible reference and the second one I have the feeling he's talking about a hospital or something like that, but I can't explain why. The image of the juju man I think it's about someone who says he's a doctor, but in fact knows nothing about medicine, but in the context of the song it can also be applied to economists, for example.

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Old 03-30-2009, 11:49 AM   #43
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There's another post down there dealing with Breathe lyrics meaning. I bring here what I wrote there

I think it's about someone who suffers a heart attack, or any kind of stroke, and gets to that moment where you are about to die but you finally don't "long line" "my mother's side"

Man at the door comes with an ambulance

He is taken to the hospital, it only takes 4 minutes!! electricity (using a defibrillator or something like that) "Doc says you re fine or diyng" "my pulse is fine" ...

Then finally reborn every day day and reborn ...

Then "walk out in the streets" is like "I'm ready to sing I'm glad to be alive"

I found one St John's hospital, specialised among others in cardiovascular surgery

St. John's Rehab Hospital - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St. John's Rehab Hospital - About Us: Sisterhood of St. John the Divine

But I really don't know
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:03 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by powerhour24 View Post
I'm wondering if the 16th of june has more to do with when the songs were composed/take place, remember the concept of the songs all taking place within 24 hours.

The "Sixteenth of June" as the Irish refer to it, is a National Holiday in Ireland, also known as "Bloomsday". (Its a particularly big celebration in Dublin)

Bloomsday celebrates the life of Irish writer James Joyce and relives the events in his novel Ulysses, all of which took place on "the sixteenth of June"
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Old 01-14-2012, 03:34 PM   #45
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Band calls leaders to Action - breathe love, life

I enjoyed the reading on this song, as I have enjoyed it a great deal with the strong vocal and the calling I hear. With the comments here about Ulysses, I have some reading to do to learn of the literary ties.
But when I listed to the song, I hear the band calling the leaders among us to action. The man with the cockatoo and the Chinese stock volatility are visuals to bring on the pressures of our international security, financial, and social demands. And the band's intense and urgent musical background brings me to attention, to hear bono call out for us to lead in the clear thinking and strong corrective forces, to improve the environment. "These days are better than that, these days are better than that..."
The song is a call to me to fight through the confusion, often brought on by those who may know better, and find independent strength to bring a better good for those who need it. Tell those who are not joining that effort, "There's nothing you have that I need" and breathe fresh life into all within your reach. I hear Bono calling out to U2s strong fans, to push aside those who try to get fear-based reactions from others to serve their cause, and fight an independent fight where needed. Breate love, and fight against "The war that lies on the other side of silence, the forest fire that is fierce and denying - Walk out into the street sing your heart out"
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:55 PM   #46
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This is a very interesting thread. Breathe has really grown on me and there is a lot going on in this song, even if it sounds like "word salad," as one reviewer called it.

To me, this song is about having peace in a world of uncertainty and confusion. There's a guy at the door trying to sell him some crap, Chinese stocks are going up, the doctor doesn't know anything, he thinks he's got a virus, he's running down the road, there's a band in his head. But Bono doesn't need any of that because it doesn't really matter, because he's found grace, and he can breathe.

Bono leads a very busy life, and he probably feels surrounded by chaos at times (I would if I were him!), but he's got a solid foundation to stand on, so he's not shaken. I think in Bono In Conversation he said something about having an inner calm that comes from his faith, or something like that. In the live version on Edge's Picks, Bono sings "Spirit, breathe..." towards the end.

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