A psychoanalytical analysis of Ultraviolet

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War Child
Sep 2, 2000
Half a mile from what she said...
I'm working on a paper for my Psychological Disorders and Adaption class. This is from my chapter on Neurosis....what do you guys think?

[edit]...oh yeah, this is a rough draft so no grammer editing please...I know there are some pretty gruelling errors in there...

Sometimes I feel like I don?t know
Sometimes I feel like checking out
I wanna get it wrong
Can?t always be strong
And love it won?t be long

Oh sugar
Don?t you cry
Oh child
Wipe the tears from your eyes
You know I need you to be strong
And the day is as dark as the night is long
Feel like trash
You make me feel clean
I?m in the black
Can?t see or be seen

You bury your treasure
Where it can?t be found
But your love is like a secret
That?s been passed around
There is a silence that comes to a house
Where no one can sleep
I guess it?s the price of love
I know it?s not cheap

Baby baby baby light my way

I remember
When we could sleep on stones
Now we lie together
In whispers and moans
When i was all messed up
And I heard opera in my head
Your love was a lightbulb
Hanging over my bed

Baby baby baby light my way

U2 - Ultraviolet (Light My Way)

Achtung Baby, the music album from which the above quote was taken, has been interpreted by some as ?a man messing up his secure home life by charging out into the night?s temptations.(Flanagan, 1995, p. 20). He wanders into Nighttown, seeing exactly how far he can go while still being able to get back home. In the song quoted, (Ultraviolet) the character begs his lover forgiveness after crawling home as the sun rises.
The song could however been interpreted a completely different way. In the first verse imagine a child, knees curled up to his chest, sitting on his bed in his room. Neglected by his parents, given confusing messages, he is caught in hopelessness. He tries to hang on, even though he admits that he ?feel like checking out.? Knowing that he needs love he tries to convince himself that he soon will experiance love.
In the second verse he is barraged by the confusing world of his parents, and he lets his depression and frustration be known, admiting that ?the day is dark as the night is long.? He feels lost and invisible and searches for something, someone, to show him the way.
Seeing that no one will help guide him, no one will give him love, he decides to bury it and himself far far away where he can?t be hurt. Now buried in the depths of his psyche, the anger and hurt only come in the silence of the night when he is alone with himself.
In the last verse the child is now an adult. The repression of the hurt and anger has manifested itself in a continous line of lovers, each of whom he hopes will fill the hole he feels in himself. What he has repressed is surging up from within him. He used to feel no pain when he found lovers to fill the nights. He thought that love was just a light he could turn on and off. His hurt and anger have grown over the years. Behind the mask that he wears is a man filled with self-loathing and reproachment. Unable to love himself, he searches for love in others. Even in the midst of passion he feels empty and alone.

[This message has been edited by popkidu2 (edited 03-05-2002).]
I like it! One of my favorite U2 songs of all time.
How are you going to fit in the bit about "opera in my head"? Also, I've always thought that the line "but your love is like a secret that's been passed around" is one of the most striking lines ever. Is it bitter? Sarcastic? Has the speaker been cheated on by his lover? Or is he jealous and suspicious? Has he been betrayed and is now afraid of intimacy? Or maybe just cynical because he knows the nature of the "love". That it's something his lover has shared with others...making the use of the word "secret" rather ironic. Just a few thoughts...

Let us know how it all turns out. I love combining U2 and intellectual/writing pursuits.

Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
Let us know how it all turns out. I love combining U2 and intellectual/writing pursuits.



i quoted the fly in a first year 20th century lit course that i took, 'ambition bites the nails of success' and the teacher HATED it. i think i got a c- or something-last english course ever for Dave
awwww. Poor kobesan. See, I used U2 as my subject for a ten-age theology project and got an A for it. I even burned a compilation U2 CD to go along with the paper and my prof told me that his sons liked it so much, they made copies of it.
Ultraviolet was my least fave on the AB cd, but those interpretations brought a whole new meaning to and appreciation of it for me.

I must admit I had gotten most of U2's cds in one go, having only gotten totally hooked on them last year. You can only imagine how much catching up I 'needed' to do (20 years worth!). I really should take time out to analyze their lyrics.

Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
and my prof told me that his sons liked it so much, they made copies of it.

That's so cool!
I wish I had been able to use U2's lyrics for analysis back in college. That would be really interesting to work on.
I sometimes quote U2 at work


Shake it, shake it, shake it
I think that's the beauty of U2's music in my mind. It can be interpreted so many different ways. This analysis isn't necessarily what I find the song to mean to me, but it's an interesting twist and works well as a visual for my paper...
Originally posted by Salome:
I sometimes quote U2 at work

Oh no Salome dear, I hope you are not another bank employee...like me

popkid, I think you?re doing good, your essay is really interesting, although I also have another view of the song. But I bet you?re gonna get a good grade.
Really good interpretation of an amazing song! I don't really agree with it though, because the song means something else to me due to personal occurences with it.. but no matter.
Hmmm, interesting interpretation. Despite a lot that's been written, I've never thought it was about temptation and cheating along the lines of the rest of AB. To me it's more about Bono and Ali and the strain of his profession on their marriage.

The band was pretty beaten up after R&H (feel like checking out...wanna get it wrong) and there were plenty of rumours of a band break up flying around before they started on AB. I also love the line "your love is like a secret that's been passed around" which, as I see it, is how Bono wears his heart on his sleeve so boldly in his lyrics. "The price of love" is the sacrifice made to make a marriage work under the strain of touring and the temptations of that lifestyle. Of course, Ali is his ray of light but it the light is ultraviolet - good and bad. Marriage can be quite difficult no matter how much you love someone.

The clincher for the song being about Ali is the last verse congering up their early years (sleep on stones), and describing his writer's block and how she being his muse got him through it (lightbulb hanging over my bed). That was while writing for War and when they married and went on their honeymoon.

Anyway, that's how I see it from Bono's perspective. The song speaks to me and my experience in a whole different way and it's one of my favourites

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