Author Topic: The True Meaning of With Or Without You  (Read 42663 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Shockdocta: KTS

  • Drowning Man/Woman
  • ***
  • Posts: 23469
  • Oh can't you see what love has done?
The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« on: May 07, 2009, 06:48:32 PM »
What is it, it comes off as a love song, but i know theres something more...



Offline U2-obsessed and proud

  • Drowning Man/Woman
  • ***
  • Posts: 24597
  • Let The Rain come down, make a brand new ground
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2009, 02:59:48 PM »
To me, its about someone loving another person but they know the other person will never return the love.  He cant live with them because their presence reminds them of the love they cant have.  He cant live without them because of his love for the person.  The song is about that struggle to me

Offline LOGAN B

  • Intellectual Tortoise
  • *
  • Posts: 483
  • Ambition Bites the Nails of Success.
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2009, 03:16:33 PM »
It's actually about Bono's struggle to be married to Ali and wanting to be free to go and do as he pleases. It's about domesticity versus rock stardom and all that comes with it. Alot of things get answered in the U2 by U2 book. You should get it.

Offline Anthony02

  • Running to Stand Still
  • **
  • Posts: 1089
  • And I know that the tide is turning 'round....
.
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2009, 05:34:18 PM »
Ditto. Its all in U2 by U2. Also read Into The Heart. That book really tells alot.

Offline U2-obsessed and proud

  • Drowning Man/Woman
  • ***
  • Posts: 24597
  • Let The Rain come down, make a brand new ground
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2009, 06:47:30 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
It's actually about Bono's struggle to be married to Ali and wanting to be free to go and do as he pleases. It's about domesticity versus rock stardom and all that comes with it. Alot of things get answered in the U2 by U2 book. You should get it.

I've read it and thats part of it, but also what I previously posted is a part of it too

Offline lovetorn

  • Stranger in a Strange Land
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2010, 04:31:59 PM »
The great thing about great songs is the different ways that they touch people in their meaning.

I talk to quite a few people on the phone all over the country as part of my job.  This one particular girl from Hawai'i called needing my assistance with her computer.  She immediately made me smile just listening to her and the sound of her voice.  We've become really close over the past couple of months even though we've never met face to face.  It's indescribable what we feel for one another and yet we'll probably never be able to be together.  I have a family and I couldn't leave my boys without a father.  I grew up without one and it's made my life pretty difficult.  A part of that difficulty has been not knowing how to be a good husband and not really knowing how to be a man.  Over the years I have learned but too little too late and that's taken a toll and my wife has said she doesn't love me anymore and I don't blame her. 

Now all that being said, the song "With or Without You" has pretty profound meaning to me and this girl.  The phrase "...can't live with or without you" has a very literal meaning to us.  We can't be(LIVE) together but the thought of being(LIVING) without each other is too painful.  I have never felt this deep of a connection with anybody and there is no denying that it is love...a love I've never had for another.  "....she makes me wait on a bed of nails...", she(LOVE) feels like that when I can't tell this girl how I feel because it's too painful the fact that it's there and there's nothing we can do about it.  We try our best to not get too close, but it's becoming harder and harder to do.  "...and you give yourself away...", without effort we've given to each other and not given things but given ourselves and that gift is overwhelming and indescribable and unfathomable. 

I can't get enough of her.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 09:18:07 AM by lovetorn »

Offline dferry09

  • Headache in a Suitcase
  • *
  • Posts: 382
  • Gonna go where the bright lights and big city meet
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2010, 06:28:10 PM »
Loving a girl who doesnt want to be with you. Thats my take on it.

Offline RunningtoStandstill (The League of Extraordinary BonoPeople)

  • Airborne Ranger
  • ***
  • Posts: 8589
  • There is no end to love.
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2010, 09:12:38 PM »
what does this song mean? my life.  like, right now.

Offline u2pinstripes

  • Intellectual Tortoise
  • *
  • Posts: 408
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2010, 10:06:48 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
what does this song mean? my life.  like, right now.

Agreed.  Me too.

Online briscoetheque

  • Airborne Ranger
  • ***
  • Posts: 8467
  • R-E-S-T-E-C-P
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2010, 10:14:40 PM »
It's a musical journey

Offline whitecanvasshoes

  • Stateless
  • *
  • Posts: 130
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2010, 09:27:31 AM »
A person on songfacts.com put together a collection of quotes from the band about the song and gave references for the quotes. Here is a copy of what the person wrote on that site.

TW: Another thing that we certainly need to do in music is discover new ways to write love songs. "With Or Without You" seems like a new kind of love song to me. Bono: Thank you. That's kinda the way I feel about it. I've said it before, but to me there's nothing more radical, there's nothing more revolutionary than two people loving each other. One, 'cause it's so uncommon these days, and two, 'cause it's so difficult to do. (from "Timothy White's Rock Stars", radio interview, June 01, 1987)

Bono: On the "With or Without You" EP there are three songs that all deal with obsession [Walk To The Water, Luminous Times], with that kind of sexuality. I'd like to have done a whole side, a whole record, blue. That EP is something close. (from "Luminous Times" by John Hutchinson, Musician, October 01, 1987) [...]

Bono revealed that "it was interesting to me because I see it in myself and in other people around me. Love is a two-edged sword and I didn't want to write about romance because that doesn't interest me as much as the other side." [...] (from "U2 - A Conspiracy of Hope" by Dave Bowler & Bryan Dray, 1993)

Bono: In "With Or Without You" when it says "and you give yourself away and you give yourself away" -- everybody else in the group knows what that means. It's about how I feel in U2 at times -- exposed. I know the group think I'm exposed and the group feel that I give myself away. And funny enough, Lou Reed said to me, 'what you've got is a real gift: don't give it away because people might not place upon it the right value.' And I think that if l do any damage to the group, it's that I'm too open. For instance, in an interview, I don't hold the cards there and play the right one because I either have to do it or not do it. That's why I'm not going to do many interviews this year. Because there's a cost to my personal life and a cost to the group as well. (from "The World About Us" by Niall Stokes, Hot Press, March 26, 1988)

Should this be moved to the lyrics section?

Offline StrongGirl

  • Genius of Compression
  • ****
  • Posts: 39904
  • On BLS I heard the sound of an angel
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2010, 04:15:52 PM »
We were just talking about the lyrics of this trilogy when discussing Walk To The Water, whitecanvasshoes!

Yes, I am moving it to Lyrics with that other thread. SG

Offline Yukona [The League of Extraordinary Bonopeople]

  • Staring at the Sun
  • **
  • Posts: 1391
  • www.facebook.com/verkurphoto
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2010, 10:24:39 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
The great thing about great songs is the different ways that they touch people in their meaning.

I talk to quite a few people on the phone all over the country as part of my job.  This one particular girl from Hawai'i called needing my assistance with her computer.  She immediately made me smile just listening to her and the sound of her voice.  We've become really close over the past couple of months even though we've never met face to face.  It's indescribable what we feel for one another and yet we'll probably never be able to be together.  I have a family and I couldn't leave my boys without a father.  I grew up without one and it's made my life pretty difficult.  A part of that difficulty has been not knowing how to be a good husband and not really knowing how to be a man.  Over the years I have learned but too little too late and that's taken a toll and my wife has said she doesn't love me anymore and I don't blame her. 

Now all that being said, the song "With or Without You" has pretty profound meaning to me and this girl.  The phrase "...can't live with or without you" has a very literal meaning to us.  We can't be(LIVE) together but the thought of being(LIVING) without each other is too painful.  I have never felt this deep of a connection with anybody and there is no denying that it is love...a love I've never had for another.  "....she makes me wait on a bed of nails...", she(LOVE) feels like that when I can't tell this girl how I feel because it's too painful the fact that it's there and there's nothing we can do about it.  We try our best to not get too close, but it's becoming harder and harder to do.  "...and you give yourself away...", without effort we've given to each other and not given things but given ourselves and that gift is overwhelming and indescribable and unfathomable. 

I can't get enough of her.

I'm sorry you have to feel this way, lovetorn. It's not always easy to choose between family and love--particularly when you find love outside of your family.

I can't really tell you what to do at all because you're right, you definitely have NO RIGHT at all to leave your children without a father. That would be a horrible thing to do. But at the same time you seem to have found a real connection with someone, and that kind of love is unpredictable and tormenting.

The only thing I can do for you is pray, and I don't know whether you're a spiritual person, but I'll still keep you in my prayers anyway.

Offline EnduringChill

  • Genius of Compression
  • ****
  • Posts: 35103
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2010, 02:15:21 PM »
I was mulling over the lyrics today, and here's what I thought.
"I can't live with of without you..." When I first heard this lyric I thought it was stupid, but now I think it means that the singer is in love and can't live with tem because they are not allowed to be together or something, and he can't live without her because he loves her.
"And you give yourself away..." I love this line a lot, and I do think it fits with being exposed. Before I read about the song, though, I thought it meant giving yourself fully to your loved one, no matter what the consequences are.
"My hands are tied, my body bruised, she got me with nothing to win and nothing left to lose..." This sounds to me a lot like giving in to the temptation of love, or just giving into temptation.

Offline u2yooper

  • Airborne Ranger
  • ***
  • Posts: 7982
  • Life should be fragrant- rooftop to the basement
Re: The True Meaning of With Or Without You
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2010, 08:40:56 PM »
This song has always left me a little unsure.  Bono changes pronouns throughout the song  (On a bed of nails SHE makes me wait.  YOU give yourself away.) and that unsettles me.   It's a tortured song of love that is somehow unfulfilled.  I have been in relationships where this song made sense.  Lovetorn, you obviously know it's meaning in a personal way.  i think it's a howl of pain and love twisted up together.  Sometimes love doesn't work out.