Author Topic: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?  (Read 7742 times)

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Offline The Edges Cat

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According to You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, SLABT is about a pedophile priest. Which makes for really uncomfortable listening now, but it completely makes sense in context of the album's themes, past and present Irish/Vatican abuse scandals, etc. It's great to see U2 address the issue, from a personal and a political angle. I've always wanted Bono to get loud and angry about it.

I assumed it was about the IRA though. Thoughts?
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 11:56:52 PM by The Edges Cat »



Offline THRILLHO

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2014, 10:53:02 PM »
not tryin to be a jerk but its already being discussed here

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Offline shanep

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2014, 10:53:17 PM »
Wow. Definitely put that song into a different light.

Offline The Edges Cat

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2014, 10:55:49 PM »
re: THRILLHO, woops, I didn't see that thread. Mods will merge it soon enough!

But I'm hoping this thread can stay separate, to discuss SLABT's specific meaning. It's a contentious issue, and I've wanted U2, particularly Bono, to get angry about it for a long time.

Shanep, yeah, SLABT had a Babyface vibe previously, but it's completely changed my perspective now. Songs of Innocence, indeed.

jimothy17

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2014, 11:25:41 PM »
I like this song less with every listen. (Shame, it sounded really cool with those synths at the beginning). It's the opposite with every other song from SOI, TIWYCRMN an exception because it will always be bad IMO. And The Troubles, I don't think that one will grow on me anytime soon, I'm the .00000000001% that doesn't really like it.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 11:27:13 PM by jimothy17 »

Offline mdmomof7

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2014, 11:31:30 PM »
bondylan says it's NOT about pedophilia but about the problem with religion in the time this album references, when the boys were boys.

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The song is not about a pedophile priest it's about the hypocrisy of the Protestant, Catholic conflict in Ireland at the time.

Offline The Edges Cat

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2014, 11:36:51 PM »
Yeah I first assumed the song was about an IRA leader or bomber. I'd like to hear it from an official source though, I've read too many reviews referring to Church abuse. There may have been something in a press kit.

Edit: I'm going through all the major reviews, and definitely different interpretations. Billboard calls SLABT "the hopeful dreams of common men." Now that is a wildly different interpretation!

Could SLABT be an ambiguous song meant for many personal meanings, not one meaning specifically, dependant on who's listening?
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 11:59:21 PM by The Edges Cat »

Offline mdmomof7

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2014, 12:00:07 AM »
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Yeah I first assumed the song was about an IRA leader or bomber. I'd like to hear it from an official source though, I've read too many reviews referring to Church abuse. There may have been something in a press kit.

Edit: I'm going through all the major reviews, and definitely different interpretations. Billboard calls SLABT "the hopeful dreams of common men." Now that is a wildly different interpretation!

Could SLABT be an ambiguous song meant for many -- personal -- meanings, dependant on who's listening?


Indeed that interpretation is!  :o

like Bono and MacPhisto, the pedophile skin fits quite well and the Mirror Ball man SLABT skin could be the religious strife in N. Ireland at the time.

Offline Starman

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2014, 08:30:32 AM »
The possible different dark meanings are what make this song so brilliant and different for me. Listening to it from the "song about pedophilia" view makes it uncomfortable and scary, and for that reason alone, this song is brilliant.

Offline Ln X

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2014, 09:03:37 AM »
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The possible different dark meanings are what make this song so brilliant and different for me. Listening to it from the "song about pedophilia" view makes it uncomfortable and scary, and for that reason alone, this song is brilliant.

Agreed. SLABT is probably U2's darkest song since Wake Up Dead Man or IGWSHA. I think SLABT is pretty much about pedo priests of the church. "Purple robes are folded on the kitchen chair" - eww! Makes me shudder.

Offline Johnny Feathers

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2014, 09:07:32 AM »
It might be the boldest songwriting he's attempted since the Pop days.  It's also one of my favorites on the album.

Offline ericet74

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2014, 05:59:01 AM »
After reading the liner notes I took the meaning of this song completely different. The dream like psychedelic sounds are because of Andy Rowen's turning to heroin and possible suicide after witnessing the events in Raised By Wolves. (it's all in the liner notes every song is explained there ever wonder why this song sounds so different? Like your high on LSD or heroin...they did that for a reason) (dreaming...and sleeping like a baby) The Edge's guitars are so jagged and nasty here because they are reality "The nightmare" contrasting the drug induced dream state. They watched their friends nightmare and were looking for a way out of this place. This didn't get resolved for members of U2 until the next song where they pretty much profess them selves as soldiers of Rock. I could be wrong but read the liner notes!
« Last Edit: October 18, 2014, 06:08:25 AM by ericet74 »

meximofo

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2014, 12:01:06 PM »
The SLABT Alternative Perspective and different lyrics pretty much settles the debate about this song: it's definitely about Church abuse. You can say that the Alternative Perspective is told from the point of view of the kid:
Steal back your innocence, that's what they stole from you
So take your heart back to where you can feel, like a child

Offline ian ryan

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2014, 12:27:47 PM »
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re: THRILLHO, woops, I didn't see that thread. Mods will merge it soon enough!

But I'm hoping this thread can stay separate, to discuss SLABT's specific meaning. It's a contentious issue, and I've wanted U2, particularly Bono, to get angry about it for a long time.

Shanep, yeah, SLABT had a Babyface vibe previously, but it's completely changed my perspective now. Songs of Innocence, indeed.

I just see Babyface as being about a porn addict. I'd say there's a big difference between that and a pedophile priest. And yeah, I'd say that Sleep... is definitely about that. The idea that the victim commits suicide the next day seems to be in line with that, and the alternative version giving courage to the victim has it completely cemented for me. Bono's lyrics are at their best when he's bitter and condemnatory. This song has great lyrics about a horrible thing.

Offline TAMUAggieMike

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Re: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight = Church Abuse, IRA Conflict, or Something Else?
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2014, 09:49:28 AM »
I have to go with the pedophile priest angle because of music in the song.  Every time I listen from the 3:49 mark on, I get a creepy feeling. 

This part of the song has this rough sounding Edge guitar piece with a xylophone woven into it.  A xylophone, to me, is an instrument used to introduce kids to music.  Children lullabys are done with xylophones.  If you want to take it a step futher, the outro sounds like a sexual act put to music.  By the song's end I just feel icky, but I like having the feeling from a U2 song.