Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New post over at Think Christian

I've been invited to do some of my posting over at ThinkChristian.net and my first one was put up there today. It's about American Idol. Please go read it and comment!

Friday, March 06, 2009

More thoughts on No LIne on the Horizon - Get on Your Beautiful Feet

I woke up at 5:00 AM this morning, 50 minutes before my alarm and 30 minutes before I allow myself to get up so I reached for my ipod (which I keep by my bed for such a time as this) and figured i would listen for half an hour. I put it on random album knowing that I have a lot of single songs on the ipod right now from Paste samplers and free itunes downloads. I thought about listening to U2 but figured I would experience a little variety - after all I had been listening to the new album a lot lately. After one song (by Tina Dico) No Line on the Horizon started (it's only a 1 GB ipod so it's not THAT unreasonable that it would pop up.) Even though I'd listened to it a LOT lately as it started it sounded good to me and I haven't listened with earbuds in a while so I let it run and enjoyed it a lot - again. I heard lots of sounds I had not heard before - the time spent on making this album really shows when you listen intently.

I got to the halfway point - almost time to get up - and "Get On Your Boots" came on. Now I've been listening to this song for a month now but in the context of the album it seems to play differently. Bono got to the "You don't know how beautiful you are" part and I suddenly had a realization. I thought of Isaiah 52:7,
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
"Your God reigns!"
As soon as I thought of it I knew that I was on to something. Bono is a scripture nut - he knows it and he quotes it a lot. It oozes out of him. He's singing a song about feet and then riffs on "how beautiful." There has to be a connection.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Incomplete thoughts regarding No Line on the Horizon

Yesterday I learned that the forthcoming companion album to U2's No Line on the Horizon will be called Songs of Ascent, a reference, no doubt to the set of Psalms (120-134) that the people of Israel sang as they made their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the passover.

With that thought in the back of my mind I finally this morning read the lyrics to "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight." The chorus (which I have a hard time understanding without the lyric sheet) begins "It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain / As you start out the climb." Now I'm not sure if there is a connection between this mountain and the hills that the people of Israel climbed on their way to the passover but I'm going to keep my ears open to see if there is.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

More on U2's No Line on the Horizon - reflecting on "Unknown Caller"

I’ve been listening to the new U2 album by trying to think about what each song might be about in the overall context that I pointed to in my previous post. Today I thought a bit about the song “Unknown Caller.”

In “Until the End of the World” Bono takes the point of view of Judas. In “Unknown Caller” I think he may be taking on the point of view of Jesus – just after the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Here are the lyrics.

Here’s why I think this interpretation could work. When Bono sings “Sunshine, sunshine” I can imagine Jesus stepping out of the tomb on that Sunday morning.

The first verse puts Jesus before the resurrection:
I was lost between the midnight and the dawning
In a place of no consequence or company
3:33 when the numbers fell off the clock face
Speed-dialing with no signal at all

Lost between midnight and dawning could refer to being in the garden or to his time between being on the cross and Sunday morning. 3:33 might well refer to Jeremiah 33:3, which Bono hid on the cover of All That You Can’t Leave Behind and calls God’s phone number. Here is what it says: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

When Jesus calls on God he says "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me." This is the speed dialing with no signal. (As a note, I think that Jesus' words are a clear reference to Psalm 22 in which the Psalmist starts out saying that God has forsaken him and realizes that God has not. I think this is the point Jesus is making by quoting the Psalm and it seems that Bono might have taken this at face value instead - thinking that God the Father had indeed forsaken Jesus on the cross. So I think Bono is referring to this word from the cross but I think he interpreted it incorrectly.)

The song continues
Go, shout it out, rise up
Oh, oh
Escape yourself and gravity
Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak
Shush now

This sounds to me like Jesus telling us to celebrate his resurrection. Especially later when he sings
Restart and re-boot yourself
You’re free to go
Oh, oh
Shout for joy if you get the chance

I could go on for the rest of the song like this but I'll let you do a little digging for yourself. It all seems to fit the overall idea. I'm amazed at the number of songs on this album that have a pretty distinct Christian theme. There are others on the net who are saying similar things about the album (much of what I like) but sometime I think they're stretching a bit to make every song fit a larger theological theme. I've tried really hard not to do that here. I really think this is what Bono had in mind. There is a lot of cool stuff on this album and I don't intend (at least not at this point) to go through it song by song but I'm listening to this album a lot and the more I hear it the more I like it.