Author Topic: Last night on earth - meaning?  (Read 3667 times)

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Offline binary_code

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Last night on earth - meaning?
« on: November 25, 2015, 08:36:59 AM »
As I was revisiting my beloved Pop album today, it hit me I didn't really know what 'Last night...' is about. I have some thoughts myself, but it would be interesting to hear your interpretations of the lyrics as well! Either an official one from the band (if you know if one) or your own. Bring it! :)



Offline Thunder Peel

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2015, 11:54:43 AM »
I always looked at it as a song about materialism and the fact that we can't take anything with us when we go. It could also be about experience and living each day as if it could be our last.

EdgeWanderer

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2015, 11:35:07 PM »
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I always looked at it as a song about materialism and the fact that we can't take anything with us when we go. It could also be about experience and living each day as if it could be our last.

I could go on forever analyzing U2 songs but this is basically the short and sweet version of my interpretation.

In other words, it's best to live each day to the fullest and not get caught up in the temptations of materialism. After you die, you can't take anything with you. We are constantly running out of time to enjoy what really matters and what we take for granted.

Offline satellitedog

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2015, 04:16:25 AM »
I'd say it's an amalgam of thoughts on pre-2000 social anxiety and heightened expectations and angst, and fears, channeled into hedonism by the counterculture, and consumerism by the mainstream (not that they weren't mingling) and society's addiction to the 24 hour information tap and how modern life is dependent on instant gratification, combined with their own jet-set lifestyle and of course as I remember this was one of-, if not the last song they worked on before sending the record to mastering, so there must have been a bit of running on fumes feeling (that permeates the whole of Pop, so it was maybe part of the: "what the f*** are we still doing here, who are we as a band, where do we go from the top of the world without a holy escalator", plus the beginning of a midlife crisis) , so it all added up nicely into an apocalyptic fantasy strolling down Main street.

Way to predict the internet age by the way.

Also there happens to be a Ray Bradbury short story that takes place on the last evening/night of humanity, with everyone just knowing there won't be a tomorrow. No meteor, no known cause for the end of the world, just the certainty nobody's going  to wake up the next morning, even nobody being there to wake up. Wonder if Bono's read that, or a similar literary work.

Offline Lizard

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2015, 06:57:55 AM »
These are quite interesting bits and pieces of thoughts that seem to lead towards All that you can't leave behind especially to Walk on with the All that you measure, all that you build.... enumeration of things that must be left behind.

I especially like this part of the song:

The more you take the less you feel
The less you know the more you believe
The more you have, the more it takes today


I'm not sure whether I understand it correctly. But to me it means that having (money / gifts / knowledge..... whatever) has consequences on the feeling, on the beliefs, but also for my responibilities.

Offline satellitedog

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2015, 01:39:23 AM »
Yeah I think it's like Gone, about his guilt for having gained as many riches with what is basically a leisure activity for regular folks.
Also it sounds like a nod to the young rich dude in the camel and the needle's eye story from the Gospel of Luke.

Offline Chip

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2015, 11:40:29 PM »
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These are quite interesting bits and pieces of thoughts that seem to lead towards All that you can't leave behind especially to Walk on with the All that you measure, all that you build.... enumeration of things that must be left behind.

I especially like this part of the song:

The more you take the less you feel
The less you know the more you believe
The more you have, the more it takes today


I'm not sure whether I understand it correctly. But to me it means that having (money / gifts / knowledge..... whatever) has consequences on the feeling, on the beliefs, but also for my responibilities.


Yes. A good number of POP's lyrics definitely point to ATYCLB.

Offline Chip

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2015, 12:23:13 AM »
To me, the central image of the song always has been "She's not waiting on a savior to come/ She's at the bus stop with the News of the World/And the sun, sun, here it comes/She's not waiting for anyone." The sun/rain imagery that Bono employs throughout POP always seems associated with God's presence/grace in a sermon-on-the-mount-inspired fashion. LNOE's main character isn't looking for God and so doesn't see the sun (in contrast with the "ones" in SATS, who do see it but are happy just to stare at it and fear to go any deeper than that), and the choruses make it clear that she's firmly jaded (probably too light of a word, actually). Instead, she lives her life hedonistically in the sense of needing to pay back her "living next week now." The vocal delivery gives her plight a sense of urgency, with the chorus seeming to me to be a call to action to help her.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 12:32:00 AM by Chip »

Offline tom_b1807

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2015, 03:02:46 PM »
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To me, the central image of the song always has been "She's not waiting on a savior to come/ She's at the bus stop with the News of the World/And the sun, sun, here it comes/She's not waiting for anyone." The sun/rain imagery that Bono employs throughout POP always seems associated with God's presence/grace in a sermon-on-the-mount-inspired fashion. LNOE's main character isn't looking for God and so doesn't see the sun (in contrast with the "ones" in SATS, who do see it but are happy just to stare at it and fear to go any deeper than that), and the choruses make it clear that she's firmly jaded (probably too light of a word, actually). Instead, she lives her life hedonistically in the sense of needing to pay back her "living next week now." The vocal delivery gives her plight a sense of urgency, with the chorus seeming to me to be a call to action to help her.

Or she's sat at the bus stop with the Sun newspaper...?

Offline Chip

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2015, 08:25:59 PM »
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To me, the central image of the song always has been "She's not waiting on a savior to come/ She's at the bus stop with the News of the World/And the sun, sun, here it comes/She's not waiting for anyone." The sun/rain imagery that Bono employs throughout POP always seems associated with God's presence/grace in a sermon-on-the-mount-inspired fashion. LNOE's main character isn't looking for God and so doesn't see the sun (in contrast with the "ones" in SATS, who do see it but are happy just to stare at it and fear to go any deeper than that), and the choruses make it clear that she's firmly jaded (probably too light of a word, actually). Instead, she lives her life hedonistically in the sense of needing to pay back her "living next week now." The vocal delivery gives her plight a sense of urgency, with the chorus seeming to me to be a call to action to help her.

Or she's sat at the bus stop with the Sun newspaper...?

That's an interesting interpretation that makes sense, Tom; I personally don't hold to it because of the addition, "sun, here it comes." Bono's partly incorporating a welcome playful allusion to the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" (or so it has always seemed to me), but we've also got the sun weaving in and out of several POP songs, so much so that I don't see its appearance here as relating to the paper. If Bono had stopped at one "sun" ("Sun"), I'd agree with you, but those extra words and the use of the sun imagery throughout the album make me think otherwise. I also think of Bono's live (Mexico City) commentary that the sun's appearance is valued in Ireland, and the fact that we have parallelism between "not waiting for a savior to come" and "here it comes" in connection with the sun. That's some of my line of thinking, anyway.

Offline Canadanne

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2015, 08:50:09 PM »
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To me, the central image of the song always has been "She's not waiting on a savior to come/ She's at the bus stop with the News of the World/And the sun, sun, here it comes/She's not waiting for anyone." The sun/rain imagery that Bono employs throughout POP always seems associated with God's presence/grace in a sermon-on-the-mount-inspired fashion. LNOE's main character isn't looking for God and so doesn't see the sun (in contrast with the "ones" in SATS, who do see it but are happy just to stare at it and fear to go any deeper than that), and the choruses make it clear that she's firmly jaded (probably too light of a word, actually). Instead, she lives her life hedonistically in the sense of needing to pay back her "living next week now." The vocal delivery gives her plight a sense of urgency, with the chorus seeming to me to be a call to action to help her.

Or she's sat at the bus stop with the Sun newspaper...?

That's an interesting interpretation that makes sense, Tom; I personally don't hold to it because of the addition, "sun, here it comes." Bono's partly incorporating a welcome playful allusion to the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" (or so it has always seemed to me), but we've also got the sun weaving in and out of several POP songs, so much so that I don't see its appearance here as relating to the paper. If Bono had stopped at one "sun" ("Sun"), I'd agree with you, but those extra words and the use of the sun imagery throughout the album make me think otherwise. I also think of Bono's live (Mexico City) commentary that the sun's appearance is valued in Ireland, and the fact that we have parallelism between "not waiting for a savior to come" and "here it comes" in connection with the sun. That's some of my line of thinking, anyway.

I've always taken it to be a deliberate double meaning. "The News of the World and the Sun" (newspapers), with the added Beatles reference as a nice bit of wordplay. I find it hard to believe that *isn't* what he intended - why bother namechecking any particular newspaper there, if it wasn't leading into the Sun pun?

Offline Chip

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2015, 09:26:55 PM »
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To me, the central image of the song always has been "She's not waiting on a savior to come/ She's at the bus stop with the News of the World/And the sun, sun, here it comes/She's not waiting for anyone." The sun/rain imagery that Bono employs throughout POP always seems associated with God's presence/grace in a sermon-on-the-mount-inspired fashion. LNOE's main character isn't looking for God and so doesn't see the sun (in contrast with the "ones" in SATS, who do see it but are happy just to stare at it and fear to go any deeper than that), and the choruses make it clear that she's firmly jaded (probably too light of a word, actually). Instead, she lives her life hedonistically in the sense of needing to pay back her "living next week now." The vocal delivery gives her plight a sense of urgency, with the chorus seeming to me to be a call to action to help her.

Or she's sat at the bus stop with the Sun newspaper...?

That's an interesting interpretation that makes sense, Tom; I personally don't hold to it because of the addition, "sun, here it comes." Bono's partly incorporating a welcome playful allusion to the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" (or so it has always seemed to me), but we've also got the sun weaving in and out of several POP songs, so much so that I don't see its appearance here as relating to the paper. If Bono had stopped at one "sun" ("Sun"), I'd agree with you, but those extra words and the use of the sun imagery throughout the album make me think otherwise. I also think of Bono's live (Mexico City) commentary that the sun's appearance is valued in Ireland, and the fact that we have parallelism between "not waiting for a savior to come" and "here it comes" in connection with the sun. That's some of my line of thinking, anyway.

I've always taken it to be a deliberate double meaning. "The News of the World and the Sun" (newspapers), with the added Beatles reference as a nice bit of wordplay. I find it hard to believe that *isn't* what he intended - why bother namechecking any particular newspaper there, if it wasn't leading into the Sun pun?

There's no reason it couldn't be just playful as you conclude, Canadanne; as I've already mentioned, it's a combination of the parallelism in that stanza and the use of the sun imagery throughout the album that lead me to my interpretation. In any case, if I'm wrong and we do have a reference to the Sun here (I'm not sure why one paper reference requires a second one), my larger interpretation remains the same.  :D

Offline Thunder Peel

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2015, 11:23:43 AM »
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These are quite interesting bits and pieces of thoughts that seem to lead towards All that you can't leave behind especially to Walk on with the All that you measure, all that you build.... enumeration of things that must be left behind.

I especially like this part of the song:

The more you take the less you feel
The less you know the more you believe
The more you have, the more it takes today


I'm not sure whether I understand it correctly. But to me it means that having (money / gifts / knowledge..... whatever) has consequences on the feeling, on the beliefs, but also for my responibilities.


I always interpreted it as a vicious cycle of greed and materialism. We believe that having the latest gadget or a bigger house or a nicer car will satisfy us, yet once the newness wears off we find we need something else, hence "The more you have the more it takes today."

Offline fresno dave

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2016, 03:01:14 PM »
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To me, the central image of the song always has been "She's not waiting on a savior to come/ She's at the bus stop with the News of the World/And the sun, sun, here it comes/She's not waiting for anyone." The sun/rain imagery that Bono employs throughout POP always seems associated with God's presence/grace in a sermon-on-the-mount-inspired fashion. LNOE's main character isn't looking for God and so doesn't see the sun (in contrast with the "ones" in SATS, who do see it but are happy just to stare at it and fear to go any deeper than that), and the choruses make it clear that she's firmly jaded (probably too light of a word, actually). Instead, she lives her life hedonistically in the sense of needing to pay back her "living next week now." The vocal delivery gives her plight a sense of urgency, with the chorus seeming to me to be a call to action to help her.

Or she's sat at the bus stop with the Sun newspaper...?

That's an interesting interpretation that makes sense, Tom; I personally don't hold to it because of the addition, "sun, here it comes." Bono's partly incorporating a welcome playful allusion to the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" (or so it has always seemed to me), but we've also got the sun weaving in and out of several POP songs, so much so that I don't see its appearance here as relating to the paper. If Bono had stopped at one "sun" ("Sun"), I'd agree with you, but those extra words and the use of the sun imagery throughout the album make me think otherwise. I also think of Bono's live (Mexico City) commentary that the sun's appearance is valued in Ireland, and the fact that we have parallelism between "not waiting for a savior to come" and "here it comes" in connection with the sun. That's some of my line of thinking, anyway.

I think he employs both meanings of "Sun"..first time, the newspaper..which then morphs into Bono'
s usual deeper meaning of "sun"  ("Staring at", "Fly" etc)

Offline satellitedog

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Re: Last night on earth - meaning?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2016, 09:18:10 AM »
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These are quite interesting bits and pieces of thoughts that seem to lead towards All that you can't leave behind especially to Walk on with the All that you measure, all that you build.... enumeration of things that must be left behind.

I especially like this part of the song:

The more you take the less you feel
The less you know the more you believe
The more you have, the more it takes today


-Materialism and addiction
-Ignorance and religious certainty (bliss vs. worldweariness)
-Materialism from the rich man's point of view (also see the camel and the eye of needle story), conscience vs nihilism or cynicism, intelligence vs the previous line.