Author Topic: "Stolen days you don't give back"  (Read 1587 times)

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Online m2

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"Stolen days you don't give back"
« on: November 01, 2016, 01:09:12 AM »
I'm curious for your thoughts on this lyric at the end of "California." Not whether you like the lyric, not whether you like the song, but

* what do you think it means?
* what do you think of when you hear/see it?
* etc.



Offline lorijane

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2016, 07:35:20 AM »
To me, it ties in to what I see is the theme of the song, of losing a loved one but they are never really gone, because they live in your memories. There is no end to love, which is good because there is no end to grief. So they live on in the memories of the days, or hours, or minutes you spent together after stealing away from school, or work, or other responsibilities.

I think of Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook CEO) whose husband died after falling off a treadmill on vacation in Mexico. She namechecked Bono in an essay she wrote about her grief, quoting "there is no end to grief... and there is no end to love." And it makes me think of the memories I have of my dad, who died in August.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2016, 08:04:31 AM by lorijane »

Offline lorijane

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2016, 09:11:32 AM »
Okay here's another thought. My dad had a heart attack two years ago and basically died, CPR and defibulator brought him back. So those extra two years were stolen days, which he enjoyed to the fullest.

Offline Lizard

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2016, 09:46:23 AM »
That's interesting that you bring up these lyrics now. They came to my mind earlier this week and I was wondering what the meaning is.

My thoughts are pretty much in line with what lorijane wrote.
In the German language there's an expression: I have to steal time to do something is what I would say when there is a lot to do and I wouldn't really have the time but I make it possible.
So in the sence of taking time to spend with someone you care about that could be stolen days.


Offline SlyDanner

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2016, 04:51:43 PM »
'Stolen days' to me means that the band were lucky to have these formative experiences in the USA and in California in particular.  The days were of course not stolen in a literal sense but rather they were undeserving of them.  But, when you are given something so precious you are protective of them, and the memories.... you don't give them back.

Reminds me of how on the Elevation Tour - see the Slane DVD - Bono says that they had a great year, they were undeserving but they will take it.  Similar in meaning to me.

Offline fresno dave

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2016, 08:34:11 PM »
 At great risk of being criticized for making every song about God..come on, posters, hear me out.. you know Bono has said it's basically true, and that "every song can be turned into a prayer etc..(:

I can't help but think of how Bono uses "stealing" imagery:

as regards anointing, I put my hand up for this job. I've probably just worn the good Lord out. "OK, you can have the anointing then." I'm sure it wasn't in the cards. It's like the two brothers, Jacob and Esau, who go to Isaac for the blessing and the younger brother, Jacob, pretends he's Esau in order to take the blessing before Isaac passes. I'm like that guy. Why does God Almighty stand over the blessing if it was stolen? Only recently I figured it out. Jacob wanted it more than Esau. He knew how powerful the blessing was.  -Bono in Rolling Stone

COBL:

Some pray for, others steal
Blessings not just for the ones who kneel,


On "Helter Skelter" in RAH:

This is a song Charles Manson stole..we're stealing it back

SLAB 2:
Steal back your innocence. That's what they stole from you


"stealing from the thieves, etc etc"...He uses "stealing" as an intentionally subversive way: a good and moral thing that is seized and redeemed, as evil/devil/life stole it in the first place

Thus
 "Stolen days you don't give back"  could be connected to
"make the most of every opportunity..redeeeming (buying back) the time, for the days are evil"..
(Ephesians 5:16, Colossians 4:5)

or "steal back the evil days, and don't give them back...make the most of the opportunity you've been given."
Bono, in concert, about receiving the blessings of being in the band
"We're taking it"



Online riffraff

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2016, 05:50:20 AM »
For me, being in my 60's, it makes me think of the times in my life that when remembered, still pull on my heart strings...good days, days of love, days that bring a tear to my eye. Memories that will never fade. I won't give back those memories...those days. Lost loved ones, lost friends. You don't have to give them back just because they were taken from you.

Offline il_capo

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2016, 06:45:58 AM »
To me it's about holding onto days and moments with people who we have subsequently lost, and perhaps never quite had the full relationship we wanted with them (I expect Bono was thinking of his mother here).  Any change of circumstance, including the death of a loved one, will not take away those precious moments - they are ours forever despite the "get over it, they're gone" nature of our culture.  We made those loving memories and we steal and hold them against loss and bereavement.

Offline Chip

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2016, 12:01:27 AM »
It's still a puzzle to me as well, Matt, but I might have stumbled onto something a few weeks back while listening to SOI deluxe edition during my work commute. I think the key might be in the earlier/alternate version of SLABT: "Steal back your innocence/It's what they stole from you." In "California," we have a speaker whose expectations and plans are turned upside down due to a hurting loved one. Instead of enjoying the surroundings, he or she is "where I need to be/Which is here, out on Zuma/Watching you cry like a baby." The speaker's innocence, as measured in this case by time spent living in other contexts besides serious ones such as dealing with heartbreak, is being stolen in having to help the other person. Even an incredible sunset, which would normally "[bring] you to your knees" in gratitude, instead produces that effect in watchful prayerfulness for the other person. In the end, nothing can return the days "lost" by the other person's neediness, so you can't "give" (or is it "get," which is what I've always thought) them back. It is "just enough" to have done what you did (in this case, helping someone else) -- a sobering assessment that shows that you realize that you really lost something that was important to you, but still don't regret the outcome.

If I'm right (and I'm not totally sure I am), the "stolen" references throughout the album are to this sense of stolen innocence. So, for example, in "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)," "all the stolen voices" who lost their innocence thanks to death "will someday be returned." (This eschatological theme finds echoes in "Iris (Hold Me Close)" and "The Crystal Ballroom" as well.)   
« Last Edit: November 06, 2016, 12:05:48 AM by Chip »

Offline miryclay

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2016, 02:30:20 PM »
Matt,

Bono said that they had to get to California to be who they wanted to be. SO maybe he is speaking of their struggles in Ireland to become their California selves.

You know..."mispent youth, fakin up a rampage".

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Online m2

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2016, 09:24:36 PM »
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'Stolen days' to me means that the band were lucky to have these formative experiences in the USA and in California in particular.  The days were of course not stolen in a literal sense but rather they were undeserving of them.  But, when you are given something so precious you are protective of them, and the memories.... you don't give them back.

That's *exactly* how I receive the lyric, Sly. Thanks for putting that into words so eloquently.

Offline Mr. Sarajevo 20

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2016, 09:55:18 AM »
To me, that line of lyric may be the best on SOI.

Offline il_capo

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2016, 10:05:45 AM »
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To me, that line of lyric may be the best on SOI.

I prefer the line(s): I've seen for myself there's no end to grief, and that's how I know, and why I need to know that there is no end to love.

Offline SlyDanner

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2016, 04:00:18 PM »
California is a fantastic song and I don't know why it gets so much grief on this forum.

Perhaps if it was called London Docks and it was melancholy and featured someone jumping off a cliff at the end it would be a fan forum fav  8)

Offline ZooClothes

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Re: "Stolen days you don't give back"
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2016, 04:17:03 PM »
Still my favorite song on the album. This line has a very subtle chord change behind it that resonates deeply.

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