U2: Breathe

Next week, I’ll get to cross something off the ol’ bucket list: seeing U2 in concert.

In college, I really fell in love with U2’s music. Of course, The Joshua Tree was already a classic by then and I instantly fell in love with the spiritual yearning and searching the album expresses. I’ve been wanting to see them live ever since and next week, when the 360 Tour stops in Atlanta, I’ll be there.

Leading up to the big night, I’ll be doing a series of posts about some of my favorite U2 songs and the reasons they resonate so strongly with me. I’m beginning this series with my favorite song from No Line on the Horizon, “Breathe”.

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
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

I simply love everything about this song. Musically, it’s incredible. I’ve loved watching The Edge play this one in their live televised performances (Letterman, SNL, etc.). But what I love most is the lyrical content. This is a song about fearmongering and the courage it takes to rise up against the fear that runs so prevalent in our society these days. Its a song about refusing to buy what they sell on talk radio and the cable news networks every day. Its about finding all that you need in the siren song of grace amid fears of terrorism and swine flu and universal health care and end times apocalyptic literature and….I could go on and on. Ultimately, in these uncertain times, Bono affirms “I found grace, it’s all that I found.”

In a year when my theme word, my root concept has been hope, there’s not been a refrain that’s filled my ears more often than this one. I love the wistful, hopeful line: “These days are better than that.” There’s not a song released this year that has resonated more with me than “Breathe”. I can’t wait to experience it live next weekend.

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