This is very interesting and I'll bet you are closer to the target than you think.
Bono has often referenced 3:33 as "God's phone number." It's even on the cover to All That You Can't Leave Behind.
I love the idea of the narrator "speed dialing" it with "no signal at all."
A desperate man praying without feeling like he's being heard.
The chorus, to me, is the voice of God or of angels reminding him that he is not alone.
Anyway, it's certainly not a song about cellphone technology. It's one of the most interesting songs in the U2 catalog and I'm still bummed that they didn't play it in Atlanta.
(Welcome aboard, by the way. That was quite a start!)
New to the forum... lifelong U2, about the same age as the band members!) First post... here goes!
Unknown Caller... A Message to Shepherds?
Yesterday my Pastor was speaking about the "joy" of Christmas. He started by saying he wondered what it would be like if Jesus was born today with all of the technology that allows us to communicate so rapidly... Who would the angel have appeared to first? Then he goes on to say in that time the angels appeared to the shepherds... the lowest of the low in society.
So at that point my mind makes this connection between these statements and the song Unknown Caller...
The timing … An angel appeared to the shepherds in the dark of night...
The character in the song...
"I was lost between the midnight and the dawning
In a place of no consequence or company..."
The shepherds didn't know what was going on at first (getting a message but not knowing from who or where or how it was coming from.... an Unknown Caller so to speak)
In the song a character, perhaps on drugs or about to give up all hope, starts getting messages on the cell phone... but there is no signal... and it happens at a time 3:33 that references Jeremiah 33:3 (“I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things...”)
The lowly shepherds get a message...
“Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger”
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.”
The lowly character in the song gets a series of messages...
“Go, shout it out, rise up
“Escape yourself, and gravity
Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak
“Restart and re-boot yourself
You're free to go
“Shout for joy if you get the chance
Password, you enter here, right now
Then of course the instrumental part of the song borrows the tune from the hymn "My Savior's Love" during the "How Marvelous, How Wonderful" part of the chorus... And in concert as they roll into this song Bono shouts "A Chorus of Voices! A Chorus of Voices!" and the crowd, 100,000 strong, sing the "Oh, Oh" all together... I begin to get a little glimpse of…
“At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”
So... anyway... that is how my twisted mind works during church services!!!