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Interpreting U2

March 22, 2007

I recently bought U2‘s latest album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, from the iTunes music store.  I’ve been interested in U2 for some time, but had never actually bought any of their music.  (I’m fully aware that U2 has released a CD of 18 of their singles after How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, but U218 Singles is not really a new album, is it?)  Anyway, I am quite pleased to finally possess my own U2 CD and thus be able to familiarize myself with the group.  I liked the CD quite a bit, too.  Songs range from calm and pensive (A Man and a Woman, One Step Closer) to more upbeat, rocky tunes (Vertigo, Love and Peace or Else, All Because of You).  I’m not going to go into a full review of the album (I would have to listen to it a few more times to write a fair one), but would rather like to highlight two songs that impressed me with their seemingly spiritual lyrics.  The first is the aforementioned “All Because of You.”  When I first listened to this track without really thinking about the lyrics, I mistook it for an ordinary love song.  Upon closer listening, however, a certain part of the song struck me as a bit odd.  Here are the lyrics for the chorus:

All because of you
All because of you
All because of you
I am, I am

Without the music, that seems a bit repetitive and not too profound.  Here’s the first verse to the same song:

I was born a child of grace
Nothing else about the place
Everything was ugly but your beautiful face
And it left me no illusion
I saw you in the curve of the moon
In the shadow cast across my room
You heard me in my tune
When I just heard confusion

Basically, after listening to the song a bit more carefully, I started to think that perhaps this is a song thanking God for all he has done in Bono’s life.  There is no clear meaning on why Bono wrote “All because of you / I am, I am” because he doesn’t go on to describe what he is “because of you.”  Rather, I wondered if perhaps Bono is referring to I AM, the Christian God.  The first verse doesn’t seem to be talking about any person, but rather (I believe) presents a possible depiction of God.  Bono does say, “I was born a child of grace,” which could be a reference to his conversion to Christianity.  PluggedIn seems to share my opinion about this song, for they mention in their review of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb that “‘All Because of You’ thanks God for life itself.”

The second song that really struck me as being explicitly Christian in this album is “Yahweh.”  These lyrics do not need that much interpretation — they are clearly referring to Yahweh, the God of the Bible.  I thought that, coming from a secular group, this song was very profound.  The lyrics sound more Christian than the lyrics of a lot of Christian songs I own!  Take a look at the first verse of the song:

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

The last verse, however, is even deeper in my opinion:

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

Wow!  Bono is pleading with Yahweh to break his hard heart and make his soul sing.  Besides being a very catchy song, the lyrics are great.  These songs are just some evidence that Bono is, in fact, a genuine Christian.  I’m working on an article that details more of his faith, but that is coming a little later (not too much later, I promise!)  Until I post that, pick up (or legally download) a copy of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb — it’s a wonderful album.

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3 comments

  1. […] — I’ve had some wine tonight. Don’t mind the rambling, misspelled words, …Thoughts on "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" I?m working on an article that details more of his faith, but that is coming a little later (not […]


  2. “Legally download” made me chuckle, good humor but making a serious point. Good review. Makes me want to re-listen to some of the songs instead of telling you to shut it off! Love, Dad


  3. […] Faces Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. « Interpreting U2 Bono’s Genuine Faith April 24th, […]



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