Deconstructing U2 lyrics

I just discovered this song called “Wave of Sorrow” by U2 which a song they never finished, apparently, on their Joshua Tree release. Michael had got a re-released version of Joshua Tree that I didn’t know existed which contains an extra disc of U2 gems such as the ever inspiring and joyous “Rise Up,” the studio version of “Silver and Gold” which I’d only previously had heard on Rattle & Hum, another Unforgettable Fire-sounding song called “Deep in the Heart,” a version of “Sweetest Thing,” and a few other interesting songs I’d never heard before. Shamefully. I’m bad with the whole “import” and bootleg searching thing. I should have known this stuff. I guess I’m not the uber-fan I thought I was.

Anyway, being an English major, I love to totally take apart Bono’s lyrics to find their meanings. Well, I do that with all the music I listen to. The good thing about U2 songs, though, is that there is deeper meaning to find in the music if you look for it. And if you’re good with Biblical references, you can find them all over the place while others, like me, miss them (my biggest miss, the “who tore the curtain?” in the song “Tomorrow” off of October).

You can imagine how delighted I was to find the following video on YouTube yesterday when I googled the song “Wave of Sorrow” for its lyrics. In it, Bono explains the meaning of the lyrics. And he sings along with a recording which is pretty damn cool. I love his voice in this–it’s him at his best.

This haunting tune makes you feel sad and happy all at once. Happy only because, really, if you sing along with the notes you feel as though you’re unleashing some inner blackness from your soul. I feel like that when I sing sometimes, like I pushing something out of the deepest darkest corners of my body and sending it forth into the world for others to feel. I love music because of the way it releases, unleashing emotion in waves of pain and joy. For this reason, I’ve been thinking lately about taking voice lessons. I have had this urge to join my church’s choir or something.

I can’t help it. Let me indulge in a little hero-worship here. Bono rocks. U2 rocks. Their music just sweeps me up in waves of feeling and takes me somewhere on a journey of love and sadness and spiritual renewal. That’s why they are my favorite band.

Unfortunately, I don’t have their new CD in my hot little hands right now as I stupidly pre-ordered it on and, though they shipped it on Sunday, it has not yet arrived. I’m so frustrated because I’ve been on the internet listening to tracks from the release and I can tell right away that this is one that is going to take me on another journey. The song “Magnificent” just blows me away. They played it live on Letterman on Tuesday night (I’ve been taping all the Lettermans this week because they are on). Wow. And after poking around YouTube for several hours yesterday, I came across “Breathe” which is another song that just sounds breath-taking (no pun intended).

I can’t believe this band is still so relevant after all this time. I feel lucky to have lived in the generation to have gotten to appreciate them. U2’s music defines so many decades of my life, so many experiences and moments; their music is like the background music in the soundtrack of my life. And, yeah, I can’t help it that I hero-worship artistic talent… I try not to, but there it is. I worship in the Church of Bono, unafraid of false idols because if he were a minister, I’d breathe every word he said. His religion is the kind I’d follow–“yeah, I’d break bread and wine if there was a church I could receive in” (reference: “Acrobat” from Actung Baby).

So. You think I’m oozing with Bono/U2 love right now, you just wait until I’ve listened to that new release about 100x in a row!


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