U2’s Anthem of Love

Lyrically, U2 is certainly not shy of the word “love.”  More than any other word, it’s the word love sticking in Bono’s throat, as is apparent in U2’s new release No Line on the Horizon (2009).  It’s almost as if the word love has become U2’s anthem, and perhaps its overriding mission, if it indeed has one.  The roots of this mission is not in Joshua Tree (1987) as one may suspect, but rather in The Unforgettable Fire (1984) from the song “In the Name of Love,” in which Bono‘s voice raw with emotion, and in a bit of an outcry, delivers perhaps the most beautiful eight lines of song:

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man he come to justify
One man to overthrow
 
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

 

Love is a likeable word, or better stated, a lovable word.  I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love, love.  Perhaps U2’s choice lyrical word – love – helps explain, at least to some degree, the universal appeal of the band.  After all, love unites.  Or, should I say, love ought to unite?  It’s this very unity that’s at the heart of love and U2’s mission – unity in love, real genuine love, for justice’s and peace’s sake.

It sounds so simple – love.  However, romanticizing love is too easy, and too easy to segment to things that are easy to love.  U2 isn’t calling us to love things that are easy to love, it’s calling us to love things that are hard to love, whether seemingly mundane or monumental.  As we know, life isn’t all roses.  In fact, outside of the comfort and confines of our private lives, love and roses are a bit more rare, along with unity.  So, it’s no wonder why Bono planted the line “This shitty world sometimes produces a rose” in the middle of U2’s new song “Cedars of Lebanon.”  That resonates with us because it’s reality – this world is shitty, just read the news.

I suspect it’s the news, or the condition of the world reflected in it, that drove Bono to write the new song “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.”  In a challenge to us all to make the world a little more how it ought to be, a challenge worthy of thoughtful consideration and hopefully a catalyst to love in action, he says:

Every generation gets a chance to change the world
Pity the nation that will listen to your boys and girls
‘Cos the sweetest melody is the one we haven’t heard
Is it true the perfect love drives out all fear?
The right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear
Oh, but a change of heart comes slow
It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain
As you start out the climb
Listen for me, I’ll be shouting
We’re gonna make it all the way to the light
But you konw I’ll go crazy if I don’t go crazy tonight
Baby, baby, baby, I know I’m not alone
Baby, baby, baby, I know I’m not alone
It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain
As we start out the climb
Listen for me, I’ll be shouting
Shouting to the darkness, squeeze out sparks of light
You know we’ll go crazy
You know we’ll go crazy
You know we’ll go crazy if we don’t go crazy tonight

 

Love, for love’s sake.

– Terrence

*Origin of Discursion: U2’s album release of, No Line on the Horizon.

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