JJ reviews U2's Songs of Innocence



This album has been a long time coming. When Songs of Innocence 'fell out of the sky' from no where, Bono was quick to mention U2 had actually recorded two albums and would be releasing a companion album soon after.

Well, no one listens to Bono so when he said 2016, we knew he meant 2019 so it's with some listening pleasure we are reviewing Songs of Experience in late 2017.

And it is a  genuine companion album to Songs of Innocence by several means. The inspiration is of course William Blake's book of poetry which casts life into the two groups of innocence and experience, the lyrics of Bono which are hugely introspective of his life (every song could be about himself or his wife) and by way of two songs taking musical cues from Volcano and Song for Someone from the first album.

So, here's our review on a track by track basis:

Love is all we have left


A mild opening track which sets a sombre tone for the album. Atmospheric and it largely works except for the ridiculous vocal manipulation done midway through. Could not be more of a different album opener that Discotheque if you tried. There's clearly going to be no tounge in cheek or village people on album.

Woah, a bomb track straight off the board. Bland, uninspiring, how the heck did this song get through the band's internal vetting processes?

The first single, and a great U2 track. A zippy chorus that gets better and better with each listen. This song is kind of almost by-the-numbers single but U2 has always had better numbers than any band.  It's comparable to Magnificent from No Line on the Horizon in that sense.

Get Out of Your Own Way


Another single, that promises much when it evokes the opening of Where The Streets Have No Name but doesn't get quite to that level of glory. A firm track to back up the first single.

The one with Kendrick Lamar marshaling comment on rich people. Another American love letter from the band to America. They sure do write a lot about the US of A!

The chorus is a direct lift from Songs of Innocence's Volcano and easily improves on what was a weak track from that album.

Another stray from the rescue home. Could have done with a bit more TLC before being released back into the wild. 

No we are talking. The first genuinely brilliant song with a chorus hook to die for. A classic song in the sense that it's a upbeat song where the lyrics focus on the utterly depressing subject of Syrian refugees.

The Showman (Little More Better) 


If ever U2 were ever to write a proper Irish song that could be song across pubs around the world when the punters are up for a tune, this is it. 

This one of the best songs U2 have written in a decade. With a wonderful melody and a sing a long chorus to die for. 10 out of 10. 

A love ballad in pace, with lyrics that seem to be about Bono reflecting on his past life. The way Bono sings it is almost confessional. A potential live favourite. 

Landlady


A clear love note from Bono to his wife Ali. Slow and plodding but builds nicely. 

The rocker song on the album, this has STADIUM written all over it. A filthy base line from Adam Clayton and his best in many an album. 

A filler track, but better than Lights of Home. Like many tracks on this album, a slow starter that land quite well at the end. 

The most beautifully haunting song on this album. Borrowing heavily from the wonderful Song for Someone this is U2's equivalent of Metallica's Unforgiven II
Simply superb and it continues U2's song tradition of really good album closing tracks. 

Summary

U2 will never record another Achtung Baby but we can still expect them to record cracker songs and a handful of those have been delivered with this album. A genuine surprise that the Lights of Home is so genuinely bad but that can be quickly over looked by the big singles and sing-a-long tracks that far outweigh any complaints.

Despite Bono's rhetoric' about American President Donald Trump being the basis for a lyrical rewrite on many songs, the effect is neglible - maybe there's a a dig about him as a dinosaur in The Blackout and a bit of a sledge in American Soul but that would be about it. 

A strong effort from U2 and they should be proud that they have made a true companion album. Many bands are afraid to try new things so as to not upset the gravy train but yet again the biggest band in the world has got their hands dirty.  

Tom and Hester, up a treee


Here's some of our more popular posts over the year from our Mortal Engines site that you may find interesting - they cover both the book and the making of the new Peter Jackson produced Movie which is set for release in late 2018.



This is an interesting article on Hester Shaw.

U2 has a new sweet album about themselves and Donald Trump


Ireland's Finest Band, U2 have recorded a new album, called Songs of Experience. It’s a companion album to the Songs of Innocence album which was released some three odd years ago.

Where Songs of Innocence reflected on the four members of U2’s childhoods (innocence and the loss of it), this new album features songs that are reflective of how the band has grown up themselves and lived their lives as adults.

Frontman Bono has said that many of the songs are about himself such as The Blackout and The Little Things That Give You away. Off the later, he didn't realise it was about himself until he had finished the song with the band.

Bono also took the opportunity to imbue his songs with barbed social commentary on the American Presidency of Donald Trump, of whom Bono appears to be no fan at all (read the lyrics to American Soul as case in point). This should be of no surprise to any U2 fan who has ever read any of the band’s lyrics as they often make political commentary on matters dear to their hearts.

Sonicaly, Songs of Experience is what has become standard U2. Songs such as first single, You’re The Best Thing About me are clean with an uplifting chorus. The Blackout harkens back to Achtung Baby’s Zoo Station and Little Things carries on in the same manner as Every Breaking Wave or Song for Someone did from Songs of Innocence. Again, this should be of no surprise for the listener as Experience is heavy tied to it’s companion album.

Order Songs of Experience from Amazon.

Best birthday card ever!!


My wife knows me so very well! Xx

Oasis: Looking Back in Fondness




Oasis: Looking Back in Fondness


So like I was working in a chicken fast food restaurant late one year in the mid 90s when I heard a song about ‘Rolling With It’ and thought it sounded pretty sweet. And that was that. Didn’t hear it again till weeks later. Then I heard Wonderwall. I NEEDED that song. I recall my mother drove me to K Mart (those were the days!) and I got what had turned out to be the biggest selling album in recent times. Oasis mania had arrived in Jimmy Jangles' house and I began to.. er.. roll with it.

I played that album non stop for two weeks. Then a friend of my lil bro turned up. This guy was like Mr Music Man and was like: "Oh Oasis?, here’s a copy of their first album."


And I'm like "Their first album? Oh, they did that Live Forever song I saw a video of once where they buried the drummer? Sweet."

Now we had two albums for the soundtrack of our summer which came down to playing Oasis in the garage while playing pool, drinking Steinlager homebrew clones. Bless. There may have been some of The Stone Roses songs played too, but that's another story.

And thus I became an Oasis diehard. U2 who? Summer finished and I went to university and started getting my hands on everything Oasis I could. I bought all the singles I could find. There was no ‘real’ internet in 1996/97/98 – it was just this magical thing I could get at the University labs so there was no real web surfing, it was all newspaper headlines. Yes, I had a folder full of Oasis articles where they stated “We’re bigger than God” and “We hope Blur die of Aids”. I signed letters home to my family as Noel Gallagher. That's how cool I was, even back then...

I decided to learn the guitar as I had to be able to play Wonderwall. Playing Oasis b-Sides became a speciality.

This fandom culminated in a crazy Oasis concert in Wellington where Liam stormed off, Noel did an acoustic set featuring Setting Sun with the band in full force for the last song of Champagne Supernova. Rough as, but Mega.
Anyways I thought I’d reminisce about each Oasis album.

Definitely Maybe


Oasis - Definitely Maybe: The DVD


Who wants to be a rock n roll star? If you believe the lyrics, Liam was one before the album made him one. It was the seemingly self referencing that was so clever. It was the same for GNR's Welcome to the Jungle – they were singing about the excess and trappings of Rock Stardom before they had it. It was like both bands were in on the joke about rock and roll joke before both bands became a rock and roll joke in many people’s eyes. I call those people Oasis Haters. Supersonic Live Forever, Slide Away. Songs that will stick around as markers in rock history for all those who follow (as they followed The Stones, The Who, David Bowie and of course, The Beatles.

What’s the Story? (Morning Glory!)


(What's the Story) Morning Glory?









Did you need a little time to wake up after being run down by Definitely Maybe? The title reference to cocaine would pick you up no end with songs Wonderwall, Roll With It, Don’t Look Back in Anger and a song so good the Beatles should have written it, Champagne Supernova. Those songs define Oasis and the Britpop mania wave they rode (and created). They will be living off the royalties from those songs till the day they die. Morning Glory is probably the soundtrack to a generation of British folks.

Be Here Now


Be Here Now (2 LP Vinyl)


Supposedly the Great Rock and Roll Swindle. The punters were eager for a fight and they easily stepped into the ring when they realised that Be Here Now was not another Morning Glory. A few weak songs (despite the A grade D’yer Know What I Mean and All Around the World) and over blown production left many fans turned off and Oasis labelled as has beens. On reflection, Be Here Now is chock full of great songs – the song structures in many are perfect – witness Don’t Go Away acoustically and any objective listener will note its beauty, shame its album version solo was basically a rip off of Slide Away crossed with Live Forever.

Heathen Chemistry


Heathen Chemistry

An album full of great songs but, like Be Here Now, the sum of its parts was not greater than the songs on it. On their own songs like, Songbird, Stop Crying Your Heart and Born on a Different Cloud were majestic. As an album the punters when eh, Oasis diehards loved it – the singles were quite popular.

Don’t Believe the Truth


Don't Believe The Truth


This was the unexpected comeback. Taken as a whole, this was an Oasis album you could listen to as one piece of music and totally enjoy. Lyla was a fun, poppy single, The Importance of Being Idle was a surprisingly quirky hit. The album owed a small debt to the Velvet Underground and a more considered song writing effort from Noel (the album did however have many songs from other band members). Let There Be Love was a beautiful album closer and could be seen as the antithesis of the sibling rivalry that dominated the headlines as Liam and Noel had regularly argued their troubles out in public over the years. Sadly the sentiment of the album closer was lost following the break up of Oasis after the release of the next album.

Dig Out Your Soul


Dig Out Your Soul[2 LP 180g Vinyl]

If you had to label an Oasis album as psychedelic, Dig Out Your Soul was an Eed up Oasis plugging in George Harrison’s sitar and turning it to 10 and a half. Falling Down and I'm Out of Time were Oasis best singles since anything from Morning Glory. Waiting for the Rapture was a wall of Oasis that had live favourite all over it. Lyrically it was sharp and it had an awesome example of drumming expertise from Zak Starkey on The Shock of the Lightning. If Don’t Believe the Truth was the album Oasis should have released after Morning Glory in preference to Be Here Now, this album should have been the immediate follow up (like Zooropa was soon released after to U2's Achtung Baby).

Lucky for those still listening to Oasis, this album did follow DBTT and so it got plenty of listens and some good reviews.

In hindsight, that the single Falling Down was first Oasis song in over a decade to not go top 10 in the UK was the signal that perhaps Oasis’ time was coming to an end. In the tour that followed, Noel finally got fed up, smashed Liam’s guitar and quit the band.


Conclusion: You know what's coming right?

For an Oasis diehard it's very easy to look back on Oasis' music with fondness. The music has been the soundtrack to my life so it's kind of hard to think of Oasis in any other way. As a chorus to one of their b-sides went, thank you for the good times.

What is U2's Songs of Experience about?


U2

What's in an album's name? Songs of Innocence and Experience


Now that the dust has settled somewhat with the release of U2's Songs of Innocence, we can take the opportunity to ponder the album's title. 

What's in a name?

Where did it come from and what was the inspiration? 

A little bit of literary digging reveals the title to be a reference to William Blake's work, Songs of Innocence and Experience

What was this work about?

It was a collection of poems that reflected on how the state of childhood 'innocence' was influenced by the world cutting in on childhood as 'experience'.

These being influences such as corruption, oppression by religious movements, state domination and the machinations of the dominant classes.

So why is this relevant to U2?


Bono has centered several songs of the album's lyrics around growing up in Ireland.

He said in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine:

"We wanted to make a very personal album... Let's try to figure out why we wanted to be in a band, the relationships around the band, our friendships, our lovers, our family. The whole album is first journeys—first journeys geographically, spiritually, sexually"

Iris is about the early loss of his mother.

 Cedarwood Road is about childhood friends that group up with Bono in the street.

The Miracle reflects the influence of the band that The Ramones had on them as young men and even This is Where You Can Find Me Now is an ode to The Clash's Joe Strummer - a man whose songs greatly inspired them.

Raised by Wolves covers a car bombing in Ireland that Bono personally felt close to - real world experiences creeping in as he and his band mates become men.

The affect of William Black on Bono's song writing subjects has not been a recent observation. For a 1997 review of the 'Pop' album, poet Brendan Keneally noted when discussing that album's lyrics:

"We live in an age when sexuality and spirituality are usually treated as completely separate realities despite the fact that down through the ages some of the greatest poets and song-writers identified the presence of the one in the other. Think of Blake's 'Songs of Innocence and Experience', D. H. Lawrence's poems, stories and novels, and some of W. B. Yeats's greatest poems."

Light and dark? She wore lemon, but never in the day light...

Interesting, Bono was proclaimed the album was going to be called Songs of Ascent which I think was a reference to the Psalms of the Christian bible.

But that's not the half of it


The Joshua Tree album was originally intended to open with a track called "Beautiful Ghost".

Bono was to recite "Introduction to Songs of Experience" but the recording was dropped in favour of the album opening with Where the Streets have no name, a wise choice.

None-the-less it's clear Blake's writings have been on Bono's mind for some time.

In amongst the madness of the release of Songs of Innocence Bono revealed the existence of a second album U2 intend to release, Songs of Experience.

Released some 3 years after SOI, it acts as a direct companion album to Innocence - presumably in the same way the Grammy award wining Zooropa was a very close cousin to U2's career highlight, Achtung Baby.

Perhaps this second album will tell the kind of tales that Blake thought changed children - it would not be new territory for Bono. Indeed, the official word from U2 described the album's lyrical meaning as:

'While Songs of Innocence charted the band’s earliest influences and experiences in the late 1970s and early 80s, the new album is a collection of songs in the form of intimate letters to places and people close to the singer’s heart; family, friends, fans, himself

Check out the the Songs of Innocence album on Amazon and the new single from Songs of Experience, You're The Best Thing About Me and the ripper of a track, The Blackout.

You should feel sorry for anyone who says they've worn the 'Kakapo Ejaculation Helmet' as used by Sirocco the Parrot.


So like this must be the oddest thing Wellington's Te Papa Museum has on display: The Kakapo Ejaculation Helmet.

the kakapo ejaculation helmet



So the Kakapo is an endangered NZ parrot. There are like only about 100 of the cute birds about.

These green parrots obviously need to breed to survive but they aint got the message about their forth coming extinction. So concerned Kiwis have set up a breeding programme to help them out.

These people discovered that male kakapo have a tendency to engage people's heads in a sexual mating fashion. It must be some kind of fetish. They don't want do do it with their own kind, but if they see a flap of human hair, they get all frisky.

In an effort to collect Kakapo sperm for the breeding programme, some wiseguy invented 'The Ejaculation Helmet'. I kid you not, that's what it is called.

The Ejaculation Helmet is supposed to be worn by some poor sap at which time they then let the Kakapo have his wicked way on their head.


stephen fry parrot head fucking


A parrot called Sirocco infamously mated with a Zooligist's head in front of comic legend Stephen Fry which demonstrated why the idea of the helmet kinda makes sense.

Fry said at the time of the shag: "Sorry, but this is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. You are being shagged by a rare parrot."
NZ Kakapo mating on a man's head

The above picture is is from the Te Papa Museum. The accompanying caption said that the helmet was not successful.

So some guy once got fucked on the head by a parrot called Sirocco for nothing.

Kakapo Parrot

Te Papa Museum is also home to this awesome Collosal Squid

Why is Optimus Prime more awesome than Jesus?



Jesus couldn't turn into a fire engine.

Who was the original MP3 player?


Let's face it, Soundwave was always the coolest Decepticon. If he had have been an Autobot, he would have been as popular as Optimus himself.

You can see in the picture below (taken from an early cut of the end of the Revenge of the Fallen) that Soundwave has rejected his evil ways and being the original MP3 player, has taken the music to the masses:


soundwave transformers as a dj

Seeing this, Optimus Prime thought he could jump in on the scene too. The Optimus Prime Experiment brings you, Optimus Rhyme:

optimus rhyme transformer

Whasssup!?

Who is Bono?


bono macphisto


Who is Bono?

Bono is the instant karma of the spirit of Frank fucking Sinatra. Bono is love, peace and harmony. Bono is celebrity hack yacking in the prime minister's ear about freely negotiated debt. Bono is the hooker with a heart of gold. He's also the rick prick that charges you $150 to see the greatest band in the land. Bono is one quarter of U2.

Bono is the dude that wrote that song you danced to at your wedding that you didn't realise was about a couple breaking up. Bono is the guy that wrote Desire. Bono is better by design. Bono is what Chris Martin will never become. Bono's bad mood is Radiohead. Bono can be that kicking squeeling gucci little piggy.

Bono is a bluer kind of white.

Bono took the vague from Las Vegas and replaced it with MacPhisto. Bono is the singer in a rock n roll band. Bono hears ridiculous voices. Bono won't be come a minister in order to defeat a monster. Bono is Paul Hewson. Bono is not the Walrus, that was the other Beatle. Bono has the right shoes to get you through the night. Bono is Frank Sinatra's two shots of happy, one shot of sad.

Bono is living on The Edge.

Bono is a mother fucking Pope. Bono wants to be your political compass and conscious. Bono is nuclear free. Bono writes the lyrics. Bono is the guy that drinks too much wine. Bono is a preacher man, sometimes the too preachy man.

Bono is the
fish that rode the bicyle.


Looking forward to Mortal Engines!


tom attacks the shrike drawing

You may have read a book called Mortal Engines.

You may have thought that book and its three sequels were pretty awesome.

Someone else read those books and thought they were pretty awesome.

Their name?

Peter Jackson.

You can see where this is going right? Yes, Peter Jackson is making his own version of Phillip Reeve's novel about giant mechanical cities that roam a desolate waste land, looking for prey.

That's the backdrop to the adventure any way. Mortal Engines is the story of two oddly star crossed teenagers, Tom and Hester, who find themselves in great peril when they are both cast from the giant Traction City of London and the undead Stalker called Shrike is sent to find and kill them both.

Sounds straight forward a story? You'd think so but chuck in mysteries around an ancient weapon called the Medusa, some political games and some down right dirty tricks from the Mayor of London and the dashing but diabolical Thaddeus Valentine and the Mortal Engines movie is going to be one hell of a ride along.



Those this movie is a Peter Jackson led production, it is actually been directed by Jackson's protege, Christian Rivers. Rivers won an Oscar for his work on King Kong and was in line to direct a remake of the war classic The Dambusters so it's awesome to see the faith Peter has for him by letting him sit in the director's chair.

Some big names have been cast to play key roles.

Avatar's Stephen Lang and Lord of the Rings alumni Hugo Weaving are the name characters whilst Hera Hilmar has nabbed the key lead role of Hester Ness, Katherine Valentine is played by actress Leila George and the Anti-traction agent Anna Fang is played by South Korean singer-actress Jihae. It's an interesting side note to note that the Anna Fang character was partly based on Han Solo.

The thing we love the most about the novel, and what we are greatly looking forward to seeing in the movie is the concept of Municipal Darwinism.

The traction cities are the municipal part of the concept (or conceit as we see it). They are organized communities that follow their own laws and customs. For instance the city of London follows an Elizabethan hierarchy of structure. In General, the larger 'predator cities' look to consume smaller cities for their resources. Physical resources are used for fuel or re-utilised within the city.

Humans living on the captured cities can be enslaved or used as a source of protein and eaten.

That's right, eaten.

The main theory of Municipal Darwinism is a predator and prey cycle; if the bigger city or town is faster than the smaller, the smaller town will be caught and then be eaten.

Can't wait for that to be shown on the big screen!

We also think the assassin monster known as Shrike is going to be a pretty key character. He's the face of evil in the book. Or is he? There's some mystery about this character?

The Stalkers of Mortal Engines are a kind of 'universal soldier' combatant that can be programmed for warfare and assassination. Stalkers and their variations play various parts in each of Philip Reeve's Quartet of Mortal Engines, Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain.

Who is Shrike? Who is his true master and is he in control of his own destiny? We can only imagine he will be designed to be as scary as some of the dark beasts found in Lord of the Rings, such as the Mouth of Sauron

Cant. Hardly. Wait.

Well it turned put to be a bit of a box office turd. Even pulling some Star Wars moves, didn't save it. 

Bumblebee spin off movie has some sting in its tail?


Bumblebee movie logo

This buzzed bee is apparently the logo from the Bumblebee spinoff movie.

U2 delivers Joshua Tree set list with new song.


joshua tree tour u2
U2 have played for the first time ever, the classic Joshua Tree album live in concert. It's the 30th anniversary of the album's release and it has been re-issued.

The venue was BC Place, in Vancouver, Canada.  

U2 opened the show with some early classics that were released prior to the Joshua Tree and then the band kicked of the album run through with Where The Streets Have No Name.

U2 ended the quick with a standard set of encore songs but notably debuted a new song, The Little Things That Give You Away.

Mumford and Sons opened for U2.

Main Set List 

Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year's Day
A Sort Of Homecoming
MLK
Pride
Where The Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
With Or Without You
Bullet The Blue Sky
Running To Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God's Country
Trip Through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Exit, 
Mothers Of The Disappeared with El Pueblo Vencera

Encore
Beautiful Day
Elevation
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
One
Miss Sarajevo

Here's the video of the new song which Bono said was A Song of Experience, meaning it's going to feature on the forthcoming album, Songs of Experience.

This new album is the follow up to Songs of Innocence. When paired the two albums will form a duet which reflects the life the band has lived. 

A design for life



Early McQuarrie design

Ralph McQuarrie.

Doug Chiang.

These are just two of my favourite Star Wars people.

To paraphrase Maz Kanata, "Who are they?"

They are two of the biggest visual influences on Star Wars. Ralph McQuarrie was the original concept design artist who translated the ideas George had in his brain by way of paint to paper. Doug Chiang was the lead artist for the prequels are carried over into Rogue One and the Force Awakens.

And boy, between them and about probably 1000 other artists, many a conceptual drawing has been made before even a foot of film is shot or recorded in any Star Wars movie. Indeed, word has it that the U-Wing in Rogue One went through 781 different drawings and iterations before the final design proof was approved to get things into production. 781!

The brief of a concept designer is simple. Take the ideas the director and script have and turn them into something visual.

Something that can be built.

Something that can be sewn and worn.

Something that can be rendered to binary code and projected across the stars.

Something, something Star Wars.

Easy eh?

Here's many many pages of concept art that have been designed by Chiang, McQuarrie and a host of others that have been given the famous 'OK' by George Lucas.



Original Trilogy concept art

ANH was the movie that started it all. Sure it was standing on the shoulders of giants such as Kubrick and that guy the directed Forbidden Planet but no one had ever envisaged science fiction in space like George Lucas,

Prequel films concept designs

Sequel Trilogy movie conceptual artwork

Kind of like how Mortal Engines keeps rolling on, so do the Star Wars movies. Here's some concept designs from a movie that was 40 years in the makin
jyn rescue rogue one art

Rogue One 

Given Rogue One's director, Gareth Edwards was known for making is own special effects for his first movie, the expectations about the quality of the look of Rogue One and how it ties into the feel of A New Hope were huge. Edwards delivered visually like no other Star Wars movie had and a large part of that was the effort that went into the design. Maybe it was the methanol in the beer...

Rebels

U2's songs about the IRA


Northen Scum beanie worn by The Edge.

U2, Ireland and IRA - songs that explore 'The Troubles'


‘The Troubles’ is a common name for the Northern Ireland conflict which spanned generations as Ireland nearly destroyed itself as divisions along political and religious lines wrestled with each other’s version of how Ireland should be governed.

In general terms, Catholic Nationalists and Unionist Protestants found themselves engaged in a brutal war where car bombings and ‘knee-cappings’ became the norm. Paramilitary units such as those of the IRA killed with impunity and the British Army became a standard presence in the streets.

Many innocent civilians died as a result of some 1300 bombings, not to forget attacks on British soldiers.

There are no surprises then for guessing why U2 called their third album War.

Larry, Adam, Bono and The Edge all grew up in this era. They were children subjected and exposed to

Edge’s Northern Scum hat

The Edge has said that their songs are are ‘against violence as a tool for politics of any kind’

Let's start with arguably the most famous U2 song about Ireland.

'Sunday Bloody Sunday' from War


The song's lyrics describe the horror felt by Bono’s character of who has been observing  the Troubles. In particular, they are focusing on the 1972 Bloody Sunday incident in Derry where British troops shot and killed unarmed civil rights protesters and bystanders. The lyrics juxtaposed this terrible day in history with the murder of Jesus Christ on the cross. 

The song thus commemorates the slaughter of innocent civilians during the Irish troubles. While not a 'rebel song' it is a call for a rejection of violence.

This song became very popular and helped draw attention to the issues. As the band's popular grew, they used it to campaign against the Irish Republican Army's (IRA) efforts to raise money to fuel continued armed conflict.

This lead to the  IRA sending a threat to U2 that if they continued their campaign, they would be kidnapped. U2 continued anyway and continued to bring attention to the Troubles.

What's very interesting about the IRA getting upset about a single pop song was the fact that the original lyrics contained the line '"Don't talk to me about the rights of the IRA, UDA'. Written by the Edge, the band as a whole felt such lyrics might be too inflammatory and where changed.

This bit of self editing actually made the song better.

As the song became more popular, some listeners interpreted the song's meaning as being a call to draw the Irish people deeper into the sectarian battle. This was clearly an incorrect analysis of the song's lyrics and intent. 

Once that issue was recognised by the band, Bono would often introduce the song with the as not being a 'rebel song'. If you listen to the live version recorded on the Live at Red Rocks album Bono says, "There's been a lot of talk about this next song, this song is not a rebel song, this song is Sunday Bloody Sunday!"

Some people thought the song was actually glorifying the Troubles and calling them deeper into the country's sectarian battle. On many occasions since its release on 1983's War, Bono has made it clear that this is not a "rebel song" or a song of the "revolution," but a song that defiantly waves the white flag for peace. 

The inspiration for this song may also have in part been due to John Lennon releasing his own song in 1972 also called Sunday Bloody Sunday about the Derry slaughter. Lennon's lyrics were full of vitriol (mostly aimed at the British government) and hugely antagonistic.

'Please' from the Pop album


Please was in our opinion, one of the best songs from the Pop album.

This song’s lyrics are blatantly about the troubles in Ireland. As the song slowly builds, Bono paints the picture, coloring the world in terms of religion and war colliding to the point where bombs are left in cars and as they are set up, that are the ‘sermon from the mount'. 
u2 Please single cover of Gerry Adams
Please single cover

The single cover for this song features the pictures of four Northern Irish politicians — Gerry Adams, David Trimble, Ian Paisley, and John Hume in a pointed effort to draw attention to the issues.

This photo was a direct message to the political leaders of the Irish people to ‘get up of their knees’ and hasten the peace process which were grinding along slowly – to which Bono pointedly states ‘October, talk getting nowhere November, December Remember, are we just starting again’.

Bono also cleverly entwines the songs meaning to be ‘about a girl’ – so much so that if you aren’t paying clear attention to his words, you could be duped into thinking the song is simply a love song about an explosive relationship. 

In many ways, Please is the sound of a U2 growing up from their Sunday Bloody Sunday era and offering a more grizzled, even more wizened approach to the issue.

Van Dieman's Land from Rattle and Hum



It's not a direct reference to The Troubles but Van Dieman's Land is an odd song dedicated to a Fenian poet named John Boyle O'Reilly, who was deported to Australia because of his bad poetry or more likely, his political leanings as espoused in the poetry. 

Fenian is a coverall word used to describe the Fenian Brotherhood and Irish Republican Brotherhood and more generally these days as anything Irish.

The song's lyrics were written and sung by U2's The Edge

'Peace on Earth' from All That You Can't Leave Behind


Described by the Edge as "the most bitter song U2 has ever written", Peace on Earth is yet another response by U2 to the Omagah bombing in Northern Ireland on 15 August 1989. The bomb set by a splinter IRD group known as the Real Irish Republican Army killed 29 people and injured a couple of hundred other persons.

The bomb was to express disagreement with the IRD’s formal ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement which was a plan to forge a path to peace.

Bono refers to the names of some of the people killed in the bombing - Sean, Julia, Gareth, Anne, and Breda. He’s once more expressing his disdain for war and asking Jesus to tell those waging it that their real mission is peace on Earth but more than that, the song serves as a tribute to those that died. That they are bigger than the war that was being waged.

'The Troubles' from Songs of Innocence


"The Troubles", was described by Bono as "an uncomfortable song about domestic violence". 

Bono is being somewhat cute with this statement as while domestic violence is often used to describe violence that can occur in the family home, Bono is also probably referring to The Troubles as being the domestic violence of Ireland and the clue to this is the deliberate title of the song.

If the song is seen context with the album it came from, it's very relevant to the actual Troubles. Songs of Innocence was about Bono and his band mates growing up and living during the actual Troubles. To include a song about domestic violence on the album and not have it also be a consideration of the troubles would be disingenuous of Bono. 

U2 songs that refer to Jesus and the Bible


Bible references in U2 songs

U2 song lyrics that refer to Jesus, Yahweh and the Bible


It seems almost obligatory to do a post on U2's spiritual side. They are perhaps the world's most popular Christian band after all! I say Christian very loosely though as for some people that kind of connotation can turn them right off  but U2's is most definitely a band that is not shy of exploring their spirituallyrical side.

Bono, U2's chief lyric writer, is a noted musical magpie who steals lines from the Bible to help with his song crafting. Indeed, here's a whole page of bible references Bono has made across the U2 song catalogue.

You could almost put U2's song lyrics into two distinct camps - songs about spirituality and songs about politics (such as nuclear war). You could throw in a third camp about of U2's love songs if you wanted but since when has love not ever been spiritual or a matter of politics?

Jesus is a popular man in U2 songs, along with mentions of Yahweh, the references to the Koran and a few other Saints - so I thought  I'd feature a few U2 song lyrics that show case Bono's spiritual side and give a little insight into what I think the lyrics mean and perhaps give a little context on the genesis of some of them...

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For


Many people suddenly found themselves to be U2 fans in the late 80s when The Joshua Tree album started topping charts around the world. Helping lead the charge was I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For which is the gold standard if you are looking for a U2 song that focuses on a spiritual yearning. 

Stealing the line from the Bible's 1 Corinthians 13:1: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." Bono sung  "I have spoken with the tongue of angels" thus heralding to the world where he was coming from yet he then signalled his mischievous side with the following lyric that he had also 'held the hand of the Devil'.

Wake Up Dead Man


In tough times people often turn to their spiritual advisor for support - Wake Up Dead Man is Bono trying to get a direct line with Jesus to come and fix "the fucked up world'.

Originally written during the Zooropa recording sessions, the final version ended up on Pop as an effective album closer. Fun aside, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me also came from the Zooropa recording sessions and asks a question of Jesus.

Yahweh


A beautiful track from U2's How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, Yahweh's lyrics are a reflection of Bono's faith (as the son of a Catholic father and an Anglican mother) and points to the differences in the power that he believes between God and mankind. 

The word 'yahweh' has traditionally been by transliterated from the word Jehovah. Jehovah is often described as "the proper name of God in the Old Testament".

Larry, Bono, Edge and Adam, hold the bike while I get on?

Sunday Bloody Sunday


Ostensibly a song about the political troubles that have face the people of Ireland, its inspiration was a couple of events where soldiers shot civilians in Northen Ireland - the lyrics capture the moment crisply by invoking a cross fire between religion and the military (and by extension the State) and the sad consequences when both collide. 

Until the End of the World


This has proved to be an incredibly popular song from U2's Achtung Baby and has been played on just about every tour U2 have done since that album was released in 1991.

It is semi legendary in U2 fan circles for being a fictional conversation between Jesus and Judas following the betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane. The lyrics hint that Judas regretted his actions and committed suicide.

Tommorrow


A classic earnest lyric from Bono. The October album was definitely Bono on 'God Watch' -  exploring his thoughts around his mother's death and the spectre of meeting Jesus.

Stranger in a Strange Land


The entire lyrics of the song appear to be making an allusion to the Emmaus story from the Bible's Luke 24, where the newly risen from the dead Jesus appears to two disciples as a complete stranger, but miraculously cannot be recognized until he offers bread to the two disciples who have invited him in to heir abode.


It's hard to discern the actual message of this song. The lyrics possibly suggest the character is living in a world where they need some help and they need some angels to come and sort things out.

The line "where is the hope, and where is the faith, and the love?" hints at a lost soul that needs some guidance in light of a world they are concerned about such one where the cartoon network leads into the news and the blind lead the blondes.

The song featured on the City of Angels and was a fairly popular single from the Pop album.

Salome


Salome is inspired the story of the death of John the Baptist which was from the gospel of Mark.

Supposedly a seductive dancer (in the modern day she'd be known as a stripper) Salome's super gyrations convinced the King to grant her a wish to which she asked for the head of John.

Pretty random story and sounds like something that got lost in translation when the Bible got rewritten. It's either that or Oscar Wilde had an over active imagination.

These eight songs where only a taste of the many songs that Bono has imbued with lyrics that refer to the Bible or have looked into an 'ecumenical' matter of sorts - Gloria  for example could probably have a whole essay written about it.

Real meanings of 5 U2 lyrics






The Real Meaning of 5 U2 Song Lyrics



To my mind, a really good song is one which has hidden depths - and those depths can usually be found in the lyrics. A classic rock song, can say anything and mean everything. Look at Oasis's Wonderwall lyrics for example. It's basically a love song but without really actually meaning anything - Here's 5 U2 song lyrics that have some real meaning, and with perhaps some devilish bite to them.

God Part II

People often wonder why this song is called Pt II as they've never heard of a U2 song called God before. It's actually intended as a sequel to John Lennon's song called God. John Lennon's song refers to things he didn't believe in such as Hitler - Bono's version also refers to things that he also doesn't believe in but also goes on to refer to how pissed he was at the author Albert Goldman who wrote an unflattering biography of Lennon (and also a bio of Elvis, and given U2's love of Elvis, I'm not surprised Bono made the reference).

Sunday Bloody Sunday 

This one is a pretty obvious song, but newer U2 fans may not realise the real meaning of this song. It's an exploration of the conflict that can exist between the State, it's people and when religion gets thrown into the mix. Inspired by two terrible occasions where soldiers shot civilians in Northen Ireland - the lyrics capture these moments crisply by invoking the cross fire that occurred between Ireland's conflicting religions and the military acttion that was taken - an by extension the State's role in the massacres.

Walk On

This is one of those songs that stray into the say anything, mean anything territory but U2 have but some real context around it to to ensure that it's lyrics are not misunderstood. Dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi, this song is a freedom song, dedicated to the exponent of democracy and freedom in Mynamar. Poignantly during the 360 degree tour, U2 played this song at every concert and had supporters of Amnesty International come out on to the stage to show their support for Aung San Suu Kyi and U2's support for the people of Mynammar and their efforts to become a truly democratic society.

Spanish Eyes

Despite stealing lyrics from "She's a rainbow" by the Rolling Stones, Spanish Eyes is a love song to Bono's wife Ali - and she is actually Irish thus confusing the heck out of many U2 fans. This b-side from The Joshua Tree era kind of complements The Sweetest Thing in the sense that it was also a b-side and also a love letter to Ali.

Zooropa

Zooropa is a really crazy song that opens the album of the same name. Some fans have been confused by the lyrics of the song - they seem so mumble jumbled and make no sense. The real meaning of the song can be determined when you realise the lyrics are a hodge podge of slogans from famous brands. Zooropa's lyrics have a running theme of irony, tying in the "media overload" themes of the Zoo TV Tour into the context of a post-Berlin Wall Europe.

The song's lyrics touch on how modern technology can unite people as well as separates  them from each other.

Want more? check out U2 lyrics that explore Jesus, Yahweh and The Good Book.