Author Topic: The True Meaning of With Or Without You  (Read 150337 times)

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Offline Farisfan (polished stones)

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Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2010, 07:41:13 AM »
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Some people say it's about a girl, some say it's about God. I think, maybe in true Bono fashion, it's about both. He's said he often confuses sex and God. I think the essence of the song is about contradiction--about being pulled apart from the inside by two forces that are hard to reconcile. Because how can you be an artist and exercise that God-given gift when you're surrounded by domesticity? Yet will you give up your happiness and family to follow the muse? Because like Bono says, the muse is taciturn and can leave you with nothing. You can apply this to every other essential contradiction of U2: sex vs God, punk vs roots, head vs heart. And the answer to the contradiction, I think, is found in the song when he sings, "and you give yourself away." As human beings we try so hard to hold on to things, refusing to let them go. Our relationships, our inspirations, our undisclosed desires and all of our tortured love. The harder these things pull at us, the harder we try to hold on to ourselves. But you know, for a seed to bloom into a tree, it must first be released into the earth to die. You have to give yourself away. Because he who cherishes his life will lose it, but he who gives it away will find it.

Well said, Yukona. A very complicated song, this one!

Yes, well said Yukona.  I think you hit the nail on the head.  And this is a complicated or multi-faceted song, but U2 seems really good with those contradictions and tensions or at least bringing them out to the light of day.

Thanks Maximus-- yes-- double, triple entendre....

Good thread!!

Offline MrsMacPhisto

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Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2018, 09:23:07 AM »
Actually it’s about the crucifixion, it’s not a love song (though many confuse it with one) the lyrics “with or without you” and “and you give yourself away” are about Jesus, the lyrics “on a bed of nails she makes me wait” etc... are about a woman but the song is about the crucifixion.

Offline ShankAsu

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Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2018, 05:52:07 PM »
i always assumed it was about trapeze artists...

Offline 73October

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Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2018, 11:34:01 AM »
And here's me thinking it's about a young romantic couple doing the domestic chores at the beach house by the sea - doing the gardening and carpentry....and things go a bit wrong and he gets hurt....
 ;D

Offline summerholly

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Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2018, 05:25:20 AM »
I am pretty sure I read in some U2 book that it was about being torn as an artist between giving yourself over to the gift you were given, Bonos case music and trying to reconcile this with domesticity that comes with the love of his life Ali and marriage.  I don't get the crucifixion thing I have to say.  But then Bono is the master of lyrics that mean different things to different people.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2018, 06:57:18 AM »
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And here's me thinking it's about a young romantic couple doing the domestic chores at the beach house by the sea - doing the gardening and carpentry....and things go a bit wrong and he gets hurt....
 ;D

Did you completely miss the magic show they do between the gardening and carpentry?

Offline JTNash

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Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2018, 11:06:17 AM »
Bono has said he didn’t see Ali for like a year when they were writing the Joshua Tree and it was written about being married and being a rock star how hard it was to do both.  I had no idea people had all these other interpretations

Offline 73October

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Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2018, 01:51:49 PM »
Any art is open to interpretation, serious or not....