I have been listening to the album a few days now. Just begining to formulate my thoughts. As I listen to the album many songs come to my mind like, "I will follow" "Twilght" "Out of Control" "Stranger in a strange land" "Tomorrow" "With a shout" etc... First of all, this album is Bono's best work... a lyrical masterpiece. This album has many themes or revelations. One of which is finding an identity. Much of the album is emersed in the hurt, the pain, the chaos, the rage... all the nightmares of growing up on Cedarwood Road.
This is my first day here on u2.com and I was looking for some of your great work... and here I have found it. I also focused on "the rope" in the song "The Troubles." You know what the rope means to me. I most identify with "Drowning Man" and "Take my hand / you know I'll be there if you can / I'll cross the sky for your love / give you what I hold dear..." I can agree with "Wire," "Here's the rope / now swing on it." I think the rope is a positive thing here in "Wire".. a friend reaching out to help somone who is about to or has set themselves on fire. I haven't figured out all of the meaming of "The Troubles." Lykke Li's vocals are mezmorizing. Not sure if "Somebody stepped inside your soul / little by little they robbed and stole / till someone else was in control" is a positive or a negative at this point. A couple spots on this album remind me of "Staring at the Sun" and this is one. "Step inside." There are a ton of referenes to stealing on this album. My favorite reference found on "Cedarwood Road" is "If the door is open it isn't theft." But "little by little they robbed and stole" is hard to interpret for me. It's either the light or the darkness that is growing. Sounds a bit like the darkness and the voices in "The Acrobat" "If you just close your eyes you can feel the enemy... and you can dream so dream outloud don't let the bastards grind you down." (Thought you would like atleast one "Achtung Baby" reference here.).
For me, Bono reveals his identity in the song "Volcano." His identity is "Rock 'n' Roll." It's also found in "The Miracle." "I woke at the moment when the miracle occured / Heard a song that made some sense out of the world." Bono discovered, by sneaking into a Ramones concert that he could be in a Rock 'n' Roll band (even with his girly voice?). (By the way, how would U2 feel if we snuck into one of their concerts?) Reminds me of "Moment of Surrender" and "meet me in the sound" from NLOTH. And one more..."Soldier soldier / we signed our lives away / complete surrender / the only weapon we know" could refer to Rock 'n' Roll and/or God. For me, "the rope" in "The Troubles" refers to Rock 'n' Roll. Rock 'n' Roll is what saved Bono. It gave him "music so I can exaggerate my pain, and give it a name." But, to me, this album is much more than that. It's about how we deal with the hurt, the pain, the chaos, the rage. Bono was able to channel all of these feelings/emotions/experiences into Rock 'n' Roll. e.g. "I threw a brick through a window" "Sunday bloody Sunday" and "MoFo" to mention a few. For me, this album is about how God uses the pain, the hurt, the chaos, and the rage to draw us closer to him. God allows these things to happen to break us. To break the heart. To break and enter. "A heart that is broken is a heart that is open." But, "it isn't theft if the heart is open." It's these quotes and more that makes me think that the line "somebody stepped inside your soul / little by little they robbed in stole / 'till someone else was in control" describes God allowing the hurt, the pain, the chaos, the troubles to break us so that He can enter. Bono uses his conversational tone in this song. He continues, "God knows it's not easy / taking on the shape of somone else's pain ("God shaped hole") / God now you can see me / I'm naked and afraid ("in the open space of my bed") / My body's sacred and not ashamed." Bono let's go ("But your not my troubles anymore") and let's God ("Brand new and we we're pilgrims on our way"). It's a return to the Garden. Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed.
"Everything I ever lost, now has been returned." - The Miracle
"But you / I'm sure I've met / Long before the night the stars went out / We're meeting up again." - Iris
In 1981, while U2 was working on "October" they had a crisis of faith. Bono and The Edge (and maybe Larry) asked themselves, "Can we be Christian and in a Rock 'n' Roll band at the same time" This nearly broke up the band. But, thirty-three years later we know the answer is "Yes." God uses the troubles to draw us close to him. And he throws us a rope.... a passion. For U2 that rope was Rock 'n' Roll. On a personal note, the rope that God thew me back in 1983 was U2. I latched onto U2's music because of the spirituality of the lyrics. Sometimes I was only "hangin' by my thumbs," but still holding on becasue God wouldn't let go. And in a sense, it was U2's music throughout the years that drew me closer to God. And I remain close to Him, closer than ever.
"Hold me close, hold me close and don't let me go" - Iris
"This is where you can reach me now."