Stop reading right now.
—————–(I mean it.)————————-
Dear the rest of you:
U2 is the band I listened to as I grew up. In a house where most secular media was closely monitored,we had records, then cassettes, then CDs, then MP3s of U2 and played them throughout the year, for years. And years.
Thus, when I hit the Teen Angst Wall, I had a comprehensive collection of, and familiarity with, U2 that is pretty much unrivaled. I can’t think of any other band where I know literally every word of every song on multiple albums.
I can’t honestly say that I gave all that much thought to the lyrics at the time. This isn’t surprising, given my propensity to ignore all human beings at that point in my life (Hi Mom!). What really spoke to me during the initial stages of full-blown puberty was the music; it’s full of soul.
I often imagine Aretha Franklin or Etta James belting out “Bloody Sunday” or “Pride” and I just get shivers up and down my spine. Usually my self-diagnosed ADHD kicks in when songs are playing or TV is on. I can’t focus with words happening in the background. But I knew U2 so well that the music was a familiar and welcome soundtrack to my angsty life, rather than a distraction. I could turn it on, crank it up, and use it to either zone out or belt along, depending on my mood.
As I transitioned out of teen angst and into young-adult angst, I started paying attention to the lyrics. It was like I rediscovered a whole new glorious facet of an old friend. As I moved ever-closer to the demanding and mysterious English degree, I approached song lyrics more as literature, poetry, than just rhymes that ended in a minor key. If you’re familiar with U2, you know enough to know that there’s plenty of content in those lyrics, some obvious, some obscure, some downright challenging. At a time when I was looking for a way to rebel against boring profs and dated assignments, revisiting the band in a new way provided both an outlet and a point of interest.
Now, a caveat. I realize and can understand why plenty of people (including my husband) don’t like U2. While I can appreciate comments like, “they’re just not my thing” or “Bono is a moron,” I have this to say:
You’re missing out. You really are.