U2 Breathes

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Do some emotions (pain, anger, joy, etc.) create better art than others?

What happened to the pissed-off punksters from Dublin who were writing songs with titles like “I Threw a Brick Through a Window,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Bullet in a Blue Sky”? U2′s latest album seems to carry with it a sense of (rocking) freedom. The rage of the past seems to have been spit out and burned up and with it has come lines like:

“Every day I have to find the courage to walk out into the street with arms out. Got a love you can’t defeat. Neither down or out, there’s nothing you have that I need, I can breathe. Breathe now.”

Bono admits the fear and defeat of the world exists, but screams that it doesn’t have anything that he needs, now he can breathe.

But all of this comes with the same swagger that launched those young punksters from Dublin to the spotlight. The song starts off with Larry Mullin Jr.’s heavy drumming and The Edge’s heavy guitar. The lyrics of the verses are delivered with a choppy vocal performance from Bono reminiscent of the bridge from “Bullet in a Blue Sky.” Though now the swagger doesn’t seem to come from a sense of defiant anger, but from a defiant freedom. Freedom that stands firm in the face of a religious sales man in the first verse and in a similar fashion surrounding death in the second. A freedom that ends “Breathe” with something of a benediction:

We are people borne of sound. The songs are in our eyes. Gonna wear them like a crown. Walk out, into the sunburst street, sing your heart out, sing my heart out. I’ve found grace inside a sound, I found grace, it’s all that I found and I can breathe. Breathe now.

Breathe (Lyrics)

16th of June, nine 0-five, door bell rings
Man at the door says if I want to stay alive a bit longer
There’s a few things I need you to know.
Three coming from a long line of travelling sales people on my mother’s side
I wasn’t gonna buy just anyone’s cockatoo
So why would I invite a complete stranger into my home
Would you?
These days are better than that
These days are better than that
Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn
Every day I have to find the courage
To walk out into the street
With arms out
Got a love you can’t defeat
Neither down or out
There’s nothing you have that I need
I can breathe
Breathe now

16th of June, Chinese stocks are going up
And I’m coming down with some new Asian virus
Ju Ju man, Ju Ju man
Doc says you’re fine, or dying
Please
Nine 0-nine, St John Divine, on the line, my pulse is fine
But I’m running down the road like loose electricity
While the band in my head plays a striptease
The roar that lies on the other side of silence
The forest fire that is fear so deny it
Walk out into the street
Sing your heart out
The people we meet
Will not be drowned out
There’s nothing you have that I need
I can breathe
Breathe now
Yeah, yeah

We are people borne of sound
The songs are in our eyes
Gonna wear them like a crown
Walk out, into the sunburst street
Sing your heart out, sing my heart out
I’ve found grace inside a sound
I found grace, it’s all that I found
And I can breathe
Breathe now