U2 Surrenders

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How do we give up control?

Bono used to be the subject. “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” But for the track “Moment of surrender” from U2′s newly released album, No Line on the Horizon, Bono flips that around, singing “It’s not if I believe in love, if love believes in me.” Before the “I” was the subject, but now “love” is the subject (here’s a link if you need to brush on your grammar). The rest of the song seems to be getting at some watershed moment in the life of the speaker (I’m not sure how autobiographical this is, though most of Bono’s song lean heavily that way), though what that exact moment is or how it comes about isn’t exactly clear. But this much seems to be clear, Bono (who maybe speaking for the rest of the band as well) seems to have given up control, apparently to something represented by, or like, “love.”

The sound is different than we’ve heard from U2 before. The Edge’s guitar doesn’t take the lead in this song, rather Adam Clayton’s bass carries the rhythm. Paired with Bono’s vocal melody there seems to be a sentiment that most often seems at home in blues and gospel music. A few years back Bono was pimping a Canadian band that was new on the scene at the time: Arcade Fire. They were a band that had a larger feel; a feel that combined strings and organs and paired that same gospel sound with a blues rhythm. It seems on “Moment of Surrender” that The Arcade Fire are now giving back, sharing a bit of their sound with the boys from Dublin.

While the lyrics of this song might seem a bit cryptic, there is a freedom and a beauty in Bono’s words that can’t be missed. “My body’s now begging, though it’s begging to get back, begging to get back to my heart, to the rhythm of my soul, to the rhythm of my consciousness, to the rhythm of yes, to be released from control.” And in one of the most beautiful lines of the song lies a certain warning, maybe a warning for listeners, or maybe a warning only meant for Bono himself. “I was speeding on the subway through the stations of the cross every eye looking every other way counting down till the pain will stop.” A warning that scenes as prolific as each station of the cross take place as we speed by passing time in hopes of getting through the painful parts of life.

Maybe simply knowing that regardless of what we believe, loves believes in us is enough to keep us from speeding through this life in hopes that it will end as painlessly as possible.

Moment of Surrender by U2 (Lyrics)

I tied myself with wire
To let the horses run free
Playing with the fire
Until the fire played with me

The stone was semi precious
We were barely conscious
Two souls too smart to be
In the realm of certainty
Even on our wedding day

We set ourselves on fire
Oh god do not deny her
Its not if I believe in love
(but)If love believes in me
Oh believe in me
At the moment of surrender
I’m folding to my knees
I did not notice the passers by
And they did not notice me

I’ve been in every black hole
At the alter of a Dark star
My body s now a begging
bowl begging to get back
Begging to get back
To my heart
To the rhythm of my soul
To the rhythm of my unconsciousness
To the rhythm that yearns
To be released from control

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me
At the moment of surrender
A vision of a visibility
I did notice the passers by
And they did not notice me

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down till the pain will stop

At the moment of surrender
A vision of a visibility
I did not notice the passers by
And they did not notice me