Category Archives: lyrics

Do You Need An Enemy? U2 Songs, Bono Lyrics, and Fear

Apparently Bono has been thinking about enemies lately, maybe both the idea of enemies and some potential enemies, or maybe even real enemies.

Let’s look at three songs from three consecutive albums.

From Fast Cars , a bonus track on How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (2004):

My cell is ringing
No ID
I need to know who’s calling
My garden’s overgrown
I go out on my belly crawling
I got CCTV, pornography, CNBC
I got the nightly news
To get to know the enemy

I’ll argue that’s a series of negative images, and it might be troubling, at least in some cases, that the news media is defining and situating an enemy for us.

From Cedars of Lebanon on No Line On The Horizon (2009):

Choose your enemies carefully cos they will define you
Make them interesting cos in some ways they will mind you
They’re not there in the beginning but when your story ends
Gonna last with you longer than your friend

I’d say that’s a sobering thought, one that’s been on my mind recently.

From Cedarwood Road on Songs Of Innocence (2014):

Sleepwalking down the road
Not waking from these dreams
‘Cause it’s never dead it’s still my head
It was a warzone in my teens
I’m still standing on that street
Still need an enemy
The worst ones I can’t see
You can… you can

What a stunning confession, and one that rings true, and might be universal. Maybe humans need enemies as much as they need friends.

Overall, that’s an interesting collection from three consecutive albums: Getting to know the enemy; choosing one’s enemy; needing an enemy. Is anyone else writing songs, from a similar angle, about enemies?

Cedarwood Road is interesting in that respect: It talks about fear as well as friendship—the song is dedicated to one of Bono’s childhood friends.

Earlier in Cedarwood Road:

I was running down the road
The fear was all I knew
I was looking for a soul that’s real
Then I ran into you
And that cherry blossom tree
Was a gateway to the sun
And friendship once it’s won
It’s won… it’s one

And later in Cedarwood Road:

If the door is open it isn’t theft
You can’t return to where you’ve never left
Blossoms falling from a tree they cover you and cover me
Symbols clashing, bibles smashing
Paint the world you need to see
Sometimes fear is the only place we can call home 

Maybe that last line could be the key to Bono’s thoughts and feelings about enemies: “Sometimes fear is the only place we can call home.”

That’s a sad yet accurate description of human affairs, and, of course, many leaders want our attention as they describe their solutions.

But the leaders who want to tell us why fear is a bad home should start by explaining their own actions based on their own fears—before they paint the solution they want us to see.

For the calendar: from U2, ‘Moment Of Surrender’

Excerpt for Good Friday:

… I was speeding on the subway

Through the stations of the cross

Every eye looking every other way

Counting down ’til the pentecost

 

At the moment of surrender

Of vision of over visibility…

via U2 > Discography > Lyrics > Moment Of Surrender, from No Line on the Horizon, 2009

U2 says what some former Mars Hill Church members need to hear from Mark Driscoll

“I thought I heard the captain’s voice / It’s hard to listen while you preach.”

— U2, from “Every Breaking Wave”

The captain’s voice might be God’s voice. The narrator reflects on a time when he thought he was hearing from God. Then the narrator laments preaching more than listening.

Bono and The Edge share songwriting credits on all the lyrics for the new album, Songs of Innocence, on which “Every Breaking Wave” appears.

‘When the church is where the war is’

Hope is where the door is

When the church is where the war is

Where no one can feel no one else’s pain

— U2, “Sleep Like A Baby Tonight,” Songs of Innocence

For those who left Mars Hill Church, and for those who stayed, and for Mark Driscoll

The song isn’t part of the brand-new album, but the lyrics say everything about where the human race is right now and especially about the controversial culture within the Mars Hill Church organization as led by Mark Driscoll.

That’s because “ordinary love” is a great goal, and when people strive to become more meaningful than ordinary love, they somehow become worse as humans beings.

Ordinary love needs to be the baseline, the ground, the default, the aspiration. Don’t tell me you have something more until you’ve proven you understand this.

‘No one’s ever wrong — until later’

 

How many times do you hear it?
It goes on all day long
Everyone knows everything
And no one’s ever wrong
Until later…

– from the song “Show Don’t Tell,” by Rush

 

Pastor Mark Driscoll is critiqued and analyzed in several posts at https://liturgical.wordpress.com .

Pastor Mark Driscoll preaching on Oct. 24, 2013. Photo by Ruthanne Reid via commons.wikimedia.org .

Wisdom from 1980

Poets priests and politiciansImage
Have words to thank for their positions
Words that scream for your submission
And no-one’s jamming their transmission

-The Police, from “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”