Author Topic: Writing Songs no one can understand.  (Read 470 times)

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Offline robert

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Writing Songs no one can understand.
« on: September 27, 2018, 09:49:31 AM »
I know I created a thread the other day about U2 potentially over writing.
Now I want to elaborate on another thought, about U2 or Bono, writing songs few people,
or anyone can understand.
Who can honestly say they understand every lyric that Bono has written over the last few albums.
Theirs some very complicated ideas on them.
 For example, a song like raised by wolves, or Volcano, or American Soul or Little Things.

Is their a case that people not well versed or not religiously educated, won't understand the lyrics bonos writing now. Being written very much from a catholic point of view.

Also, has bono always written very complicated songs i.e. even from the joshua tree days like One Tree Hill.

There's a case that bono's subjectivity is so complex and just neigh relatable and very complex.
No wonder they haven't had a hit!

Thoughts?




Offline ShankAsu

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Re: Writing Songs no one can understand.
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2018, 12:10:56 PM »
I don't think people not understanding the meaning behind a song makes that song less likely to be a hit.  Look at any song by Oasis that was a hit single.  I don't think this is an issue for U2.  I actually think nowadays people are turned off by new U2 material because they suspect they DO know what it is about to the point they won't bother giving it a chance.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Writing Songs no one can understand.
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2018, 12:33:44 PM »
I think people who like to grapple with lyrics certainly can find some angle or layer. None of the songs are gibberish.

Those who aren't up for even the most basic layers of meaning aren't looking for them - and that's ok! You can still get "you're the best thing about me" or "it's a beautiful day, don't let it get away."

It would be extremely un-U2 to dumb down lyrics, and they'd lose fans and gain nobody for doing it. There exists no audience who would listen to U2 if only they had mindless songs.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Writing Songs no one can understand.
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2018, 05:13:25 PM »
I don’t think it affects popularity or hits.

 I think his more recent lyrics are less complex.  If they seem less relatable its because they so specifically reference his own life experience...places and people you would need to be a U2 biographer or someone who is really into the band to get the references. 

You can build songs that mean any number of things around any context or story.  But what you choose as your platform to build from sets the mood and feel.  I’m bored with “the story of Bono/U2’s life” as that platform.  It was already a well-worn vehicle before SOI.  The last two records have pounded it into the ground.


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Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Writing Songs no one can understand.
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2018, 11:30:49 AM »
There's always many layers to the lyrics.  You can take them quite literally, which many people do, or go much deeper.  There's always the love thing having to do with both Ali/God-Christ, so people take as they see fit.  In many ways the lyrics can be a Rorscharch as to where you are at in your life and what you want the words to mean for you at that stage.  So that rather than having Bono's specific meaning, they take on a meaning that best suits you, as any good piece of art should do.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Writing Songs no one can understand.
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2018, 03:41:03 PM »
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There's always many layers to the lyrics.  You can take them quite literally, which many people do, or go much deeper.  There's always the love thing having to do with both Ali/God-Christ, so people take as they see fit.  In many ways the lyrics can be a Rorscharch as to where you are at in your life and what you want the words to mean for you at that stage.  So that rather than having Bono's specific meaning, they take on a meaning that best suits you, as any good piece of art should do.

I agree with you, but its the specific words and combinations of words that create an atmosphere and feeling that launch your imagination off on your own interpretation.  When the literal meanings of those words become repetitive and derivative they cease to inspire that kind of thinking.


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Offline Marvinho

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Re: Writing Songs no one can understand.
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2018, 12:26:55 AM »
I like it when the lyrics are "less obvious" and somewhat opaque. I listened to The Unforgettable Fire yesterday and very few of those songs have lyrics that are easy to spot the meaning of. It's all part of the mystery of that LP I suppose ...

Offline robert

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Re: Writing Songs no one can understand.
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2018, 07:23:26 AM »
I appreciate that U2 write complex songs, but when you look at artists like Ed Sheeran or even the Beatles or the Stones,
there songs are a lot easier to understand.

Offline Smee

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Re: Writing Songs no one can understand.
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2018, 07:27:01 AM »
Im not a Lyric buff really. Im no good at working out what songs are about etc. Im much more all about the music.