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U2 => The Music and Lyrics => Topic started by: Jacob on September 20, 2014, 03:08:00 AM

Title: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Jacob on September 20, 2014, 03:08:00 AM
Hi
I like every breaking wave musically but can't get into the lyrics
Maybe i'm missing the point. Can somebody help to sort it out?

Specifically:
what does this mean:
"Summer I was fearless  Now I speak into an answer phone" ??

And what is this about:

" Baby, every dog on the street
Knows that we’re in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing every breaking wave"

I just do't see the connection between thes lines
Who is "we" why would "we" be "in love with defeat"
And is "are we ready to be swept of our feet" a solution for this?

What is chasing breaking waves? a waste of time?

I don't wanna over analyze but getting the lyric may help me to "feel" the song.

GreAt album by the way, glad to see the majority over here really liking it...
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Discotheque Girl on September 20, 2014, 07:13:50 AM
I don't know how accurate this interpetation is,but I'll write what I believe this songs talks about.

In my opinion, Every Breaking Wave talks about a person with either a mental illness or inability to let go and trust someone else due to his or hers problems in the past. The motive breaking wave is a metaphor for a mood swing or a symptom for the mental illness.


Every breaking wave on the shore
Tells the next one there'll be one more
And every gambler knows that to lose
Is what you're really there for


After a while, the other person sees that he or she can't deal with it anymore and decides to leave her or him.

Summer I was fearless
Now I speak into the answer phone
Like every falling leaf on the breeze
Winter wouldn't leave it alone
Alone

If you go?
If you go your way and I go mine
Are we so?
Are we so helpless against the tide?
Baby every dog on the street
Knows that we're in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing
Every breaking wave


The part where Bono sings Every dog on the street knows that we're in love with defeat means that giving up and not facing the problem is the easiest thing you can do and the person is in "love" with that idea because he or she doesn't have the strength anymore to go on.

Further more, I believe this part is suppossed to be the partner or other person saying/thinking this to herself/himself:

Every sailor knows that the sea
Is a friend made enemy
And every shipwrecked soul, knows what it is
To live without intimacy
I thought I heard the captain's voice
But it's hard to listen while you preach
Like every broken wave on the shore
This is as far as I could reach


His or her partner is a friend and an enemy,hence the metaphor for sailor and the sea. The partner has also been in this situation and he knows what it is (A shipwrecked soul, a motive for a person with the problem) and how it is to be alone, but for him or her, is hard to get through that person and help her because he doesn't understand that every problem or diesease is a story for it's own so it's hard to listen his or her side of the individual story,like every problem is and truly help him or her, so that's why he or she preaches,instead of listening. And after a while,the give up,believe the partner doesn't want to change,while he or she is the one who is not helping the right way,like his or her partner really needs it.

The sea knows where are the rocks
And drowning is no sin
You know where my heart is
The same place that yours has been
We know that we fear to win
And so we end before we begin
Before we begin


Drowning is no sin says that it is okay to have weak moments and everybody has been through that, including the partner in the story who tries to understand and help his or her partner  You know where my heart is
The same place that yours has been
. And finally, subconsciously they don't want to make it in their relationship (doesn't have to be romantic) because they don't know what the future hold for them then. That's why the end it before they begin because they are scared of the future and for them, the safest placest (because they've already been there) is "trying" to fight the illness.

I don't know how much it makes sense, but personally I see a story like this in this song and that's why it has grown so much on me lately :)
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: northstarjo on September 20, 2014, 05:53:55 PM
"summer I was fearless, now I speak into an answerphone"

(the "answerphone cracks me up everytime - we would say "answering machine")  :D

It's like he's saying he was able to talk to his love, about anything - he was "fearless".    Now he's only leaving messages on her machine - because he's afraid things are going so badly; or alternately he can't get a hold of his love to talk to her because maybe she's avoiding  him. In other words, the relationship is in trouble
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Parsons on September 20, 2014, 06:35:05 PM
Everything in this life is broken nothing is perfect including relationships it's natural to live in a state of defeat it takes a step of faith to rise above life's debris .

" Are you ready to be swept off your feet and stop chasing every breaking wave "

I believe the song is about U2 crossing the Atlantic ocean on their way to America for the first time reflecting back on all the brokenness they left behind (country divided by religious strife , the loss of a loved one family problems) all the while looking ahead to the future and their dreams of superstardom (their step of faith).
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: miryclay on September 20, 2014, 06:35:46 PM
somebody is dialing it in
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: wraitii on September 21, 2014, 02:31:54 AM
On the whole there's a comparison some kind of commitment and drowning from a riptide. At a basic level the narrator is in the sea trying to reach the shore (chasing every breaking wave to reach the beach), but gets pulled away by the riptide. The beach is independence, the sea is a relationship, or something. It's a bit blurry whether the character is trying to avoid falling in love, or is already in love and refusing to face it, or whether the character was in love but those feelings went away and now resentment grows, or something.
You can probably read it as describing an abusive relationship, falling in love or breaking up equally.

The first verse states that once you're in, you get this morbid curiosity to lose, to see what it's like. The second is probably personal accounts of what happened, it reads much like a generic person in love not daring to go on when things get serious (summer is easy, winter is rough).

The chorus is genius:
Quote
If you go
If you go your way and I go mine
Are we so
Are we so helpless against the tide
Baby, every dog on the street
Knows that we’re in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing every breaking wave
First 4 lines can be read as "we're trying to get somewhere and the tide pushes us apart" or "we're trying to get away from one another but the tide brings us closer", which is just One's "We get to carry each other" all over again. You're being torn over what to do but you won't be able to help it anyway (sort of like a WOWY deal here).
I take the next two to mean that everybody knows you're hitting trouble (since even street dogs do) except yourselves.
Then the last two are to be understood as: "are we ready to commit//fall in love//whatever, instead of trying to reach the shore", with "swept of our feet" being the riptide taking you away definitely.

Quote
Every sailor knows that the sea
Is a friend made enemy
And every shipwrecked soul knows what it is
To live without intimacy
If the sea is a relationship, then this means you liked it at first but now you've lived with it and you're not so sure anymore. The sea being the relationship could also explain the "live without intimacy" line since being drowned would be having lost yourself in the relationship or something.
Quote
I thought I heard the captain’s voice
It's hard to listen while you preach
Like every broken wave on the shore
This was as far as I can reach
I'm less sure about this one. Who's the captain's voice? Who preaches, yourself or someone else? Who listens? I'd wager it's regret for having done/said something you should not have done/said because you were losing track or yourself. And the last two lines add that you're sorry there's so little you can do.

Quote
The waves know where are the rocks
And drowning is no sin
You know where my heart is
The same place that yours has been
And we know the fear to win
And so we end before we begin
Before we begin
"Drowning is no sin" is interesting because it could mean that it's not a bad thing, maybe even a good thing, or maybe that it can't be redeemed (since sins can be through confession). Choosing the first interpretation might lead to reading the rest as someone calling out to get back together. The second would be someone stating that the love is simply no more and it's simply regret.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Runtmg on September 21, 2014, 05:30:43 PM

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Hi
I like every breaking wave musically but can't get into the lyrics
Maybe i'm missing the point. Can somebody help to sort it out?

Specifically:
what does this mean:
"Summer I was fearless  Now I speak into an answer phone" ??

And what is this about:

" Baby, every dog on the street
Knows that we’re in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing every breaking wave"

I just do't see the connection between thes lines
Who is "we" why would "we" be "in love with defeat"
And is "are we ready to be swept of our feet" a solution for this?

What is chasing breaking waves? a waste of time?

I don't wanna over analyze but getting the lyric may help me to "feel" the song.

GreAt album by the way, glad to see the majority over here really liking it...

In breaking down lyrical meaning, I start with the artists intent.  On a song like this it isn't readily clear what Bono is taking about.  Even if Bono was explicit in what the song was about it wouldn't change my view of the song.

My opinion though is that the song is about being addicted to the experience of failure.  It is a fairly typical rich white guy view of the world. 

The lyrics take a more personal entrance into the song.  I feel that it could be about a relationship where it is always someone else's fault for everything.  People becoming addicted to losing to the point that they stop trying. 

From the live version to the recorded version the wave in the song changed.  In the live version from the 360 tour, the wave was a metaphor for life and the relationship between the narrator and the wave was more of acceptance then struggling against the waves.

In the SOI version, the narrator and his significant other is tired of being helpless against the waves.  He thinks that if they get their act together they won't be pushed around by the waves any longer.   
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Zaphod on September 22, 2014, 02:00:02 AM
Every Breaking Wave is about Bono and Ali about to break up somewhere in their teens,  because Bono did something stupid (An Cat Dubh). In this song he wonders if their relationship is strong enough to overcome.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Sunchild on September 23, 2014, 01:50:01 AM
This song like almost all songs on the album refers to surrender to God, to our soul, as the ocean or water symbolizes soul, I've been writing my own songs and almost all of them had a theme of a need to drown in the ocean as a way of release and peace. Death, even in dreams symbolizes death of an ego, so drowning means death of an ego and at the same time a discovery of our soul. Chasing every breaking wave means "struggle" to do something with force instead of ease, because letting go and just flow is much easier, it means stop chasing what is not chasing us, to let go and flow with what is meant to come to us naturally. That's the whole idea to me. This whole album seems about innocence, the opposite of struggle and corruptedness of doing something against the nature (chasing breaking waves), Iris especially, about a man leaving behind his light, guiding him, and then meeting up with it again. Iris is also a Goddess from Greek mythology. I believe all these songs had an inspirational tool how to write them and what to write about, but I believe Bono might be aware they work on a much deeper level than the themes his ego came up with, and that's how I feel lots of people who dont read Bono's explanations what the songs are written about find their own thing in them. These songs are quite transcendental and "self" discovering to me. 
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Albono on September 25, 2014, 03:37:03 AM
one of the saddest songs U2 has ever written.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: cedarwood on October 06, 2014, 06:45:49 PM
Ok.  I joined the forum trying to figure out this blasted song.  It's a real puzzle.  I don't have anything really specific together as to meaning; just generalities of what I think when I hear it. 

"Are we ready to get swept off our feet and stop chasing..." generally sounds like "surrender" to me...."trust" on some level.  Being swept off your feet to risk "drowning" isn't worse than the desperation of continually chasing after something else.  Surrender is a theme in a lot of their music.  Sorry.  I know it's just a general thing, but to me, the song lyrics don't sound like there's anything positive equated with the waves breaking on the shore; just endless following after something.  The song sounds like it's about surrender to me.

Every breaking wave on the shore
Tells the next one there'll be one more
And every gambler knows that to lose
Is what you're really there for

Summer I was fearless
Now I speak into an answer phone
Like every silent leave on the breeze
Winter wouldn't leave it alone
Alone


Seems to me that Bono is always mixing view points and metaphors in the same song.  Here, it sounds almost as if he's speaking from the POV of the waves/leaves and the monotony of being swept along.  Later it's more about being drowned/swept away in the tide etc.

I have no idea about the chorus.  It sounds like very different sentiments. 

Every sailor knows that the sea
Is a friend made enemy


Is it worth noting that the sea is a friend that is made enemy?  There are worse things than being swept away?

And every shipwrecked soul knows what it is
To live without intimacy


Better to be "swept away" than "safe" onshore but alone?

I thought I heard the captain’s voice
It's hard to listen while you preach
Like every broken wave on the shore
This was as far as I can reach

 
Bono's faith is pretty prevalent in everything, but he has major problems with preachers.  It's hard for me to not hear that "It's hard to hear the voice of the Captain/God for your preaching (monotonously beating "like every broken wave on the shore"?)."

I swear, this song is going to drive me nuts.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: EdgeUK8_my_mind on October 07, 2014, 08:38:18 PM
I agree with most of you - I love the song and am puzzled by it in spots, especially when it jumps back and forth between random ideas (waves to gambler, etc.).

I went back and checked out the times they performed this live on the 360 tour, and found it odd that most of the  lyrics where I scratch my head (every gambler knows...; the answer phone, etc.) were still in that old version.  They improved it a LOT, but the core of the lyrics are still the same. 

My sense is that it is about a breakup and them answering the question of whether they are strong enough to stick it out.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: ciarmail on October 07, 2014, 09:51:31 PM
The Captain's Voice ?  .  At The start of Vertigo  Bono  calls out Turn it up Captain . And He said The Captain is Steve Lillywhite

didn't Steve Lillywhite  loose his Wife  Kirsty Mcoll because of an accident at Sea ? .  so in his case the sea is a friend made enemy . 


Ciaran 
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: mofo_spacejunk on October 08, 2014, 11:50:46 PM
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I don't know how accurate this interpetation is,but I'll write what I believe this songs talks about.


If you go?
If you go your way and I go mine
Are we so?
Are we so helpless against the tide?
Baby every dog on the street
Knows that we're in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing
Every breaking wave



Nice analogy. Can I make a confession here. I've never read the words to EBW before - haven't got the lyric sheet. But I use to think - until I read this - that Bono said:

Baby, every dog that's in heat
Knows that we're in love with defeat


 :-[
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: miryclay on October 09, 2014, 07:25:21 AM
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Hi
I like every breaking wave musically but can't get into the lyrics
Maybe i'm missing the point. Can somebody help to sort it out?

Specifically:
what does this mean:
"Summer I was fearless  Now I speak into an answer phone" ??

This deals with his male confidence and now he is rejected because she has other priorities. Her attention has wained. Speaking into technology is an insult to him. She's not there. He is taking a leap in a timeline here that is why you are confused

And what is this about:

"Baby, every dog on the street
Knows that we’re in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing every breaking wave"

Bono is tying in nature to their relationship. Even though a dog may not be intelligent it can sense they (Bono and Ali) are bound to each other. They are embracing the prospect of being committed to each other and stop being "blown by every breeze." Ok, maybe blown was a wrong choice of words. The point of the stanza is that nature tempts us but they have decided to stay committed. 

I just do't see the connection between these lines
Who is "we" why would "we" be "in love with defeat"

We is Bono and Ali. In love with defeat is just surrendering to its possibilities. They are not in love with defeat, they are in love -with defeat. Discarding world demands, "work, family, duty" just to be with each other. 

And is "are we ready to be swept of our feet" a solution for this?

I would say that this goes back to Bono's point that 'the price of greatness is responsibility". "Swept off our feet" is to embrace life together and accept that and stop being distracted by part time lovers.

What is chasing breaking waves? a waste of time?

Because they have decided to live committed and that not go through the cycles of break up that so many people do. They realize that it is foolish and taxing to do so.

I don't wanna over analyze but getting the lyric may help me to "feel" the song.

Great album by the way, glad to see the majority over here really liking it...
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: The Exile on October 09, 2014, 09:58:07 PM
Oddly enough I was reading Walker Percy today (with whom I am certain Bono is familiar), and he was referring to what he called an "anser phone" (not answer, but anser). I have no idea what the heck it is, but in the story it sounded like some kind of mobile device (the book was written in the '70s).
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: miryclay on October 10, 2014, 07:26:28 AM
To take the answerphone further. Think about this way. When you call and someone isn't there you feel 'disconnected'-that word works on multiple levels to technology and relationships. 

Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Sunchild on October 17, 2014, 01:20:03 PM
I think Osho said something like, in our defeat, in our feelings of loss we are truly alive, because we are IN the moment that offers many possibilities. The road is open. The winning is merely a price for an ego. So in a deeper sense unconsciously I'd say all of us humans are in love with defeat, because that's where we grow, from mistakes, etc..
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Chip on October 17, 2014, 07:14:12 PM
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The Captain's Voice ?  .  At The start of Vertigo  Bono  calls out Turn it up Captain . And He said The Captain is Steve Lillywhite

didn't Steve Lillywhite  loose his Wife  Kirsty Mcoll because of an accident at Sea ? .  so in his case the sea is a friend made enemy . 


Ciaran 

"The captain" was "the master" in the 2010 live versions. The next line is, "But it's hard to listen while you preach." Put the two lines together and the identity of "the captain" is pretty clear, and even more so in the original lyrics.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: AllThoseThingsILove on October 18, 2014, 01:52:04 AM
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I thought I heard the captain’s voice
It's hard to listen while you preach
Like every broken wave on the shore
This was as far as I can reach

 
Bono's faith is pretty prevalent in everything, but he has major problems with preachers.  It's hard for me to not hear that "It's hard to hear the voice of the Captain/God for your preaching (monotonously beating "like every broken wave on the shore"?)."

I swear, this song is going to drive me nuts.

I take
It's hard to listen while you preach
talking about himself, being hard to pay attention to other aspects in his life while he is preaching (i.e. being an activist). No idea who the Captain would be except God, maybe Ali...


Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: AllThoseThingsILove on October 18, 2014, 01:56:33 AM
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To take the answerphone further. Think about this way. When you call and someone isn't there you feel 'disconnected'-that word works on multiple levels to technology and relationships.

I doubt Bono would use The Replacements/Paul Westerberg as inspiration, but the first time I heard this song, I thought about "Answering Machine"
http://youtu.be/G4QYJG8AxSw
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Chip on October 18, 2014, 10:17:48 PM
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I thought I heard the captain’s voice
It's hard to listen while you preach
Like every broken wave on the shore
This was as far as I can reach

 
Bono's faith is pretty prevalent in everything, but he has major problems with preachers.  It's hard for me to not hear that "It's hard to hear the voice of the Captain/God for your preaching (monotonously beating "like every broken wave on the shore"?)."

I swear, this song is going to drive me nuts.

I take
It's hard to listen while you preach
talking about himself, being hard to pay attention to other aspects in his life while he is preaching (i.e. being an activist). No idea who the Captain would be except God, maybe Ali...




Yes. "It's hard to listen while you preach" is standard Bono self-deprecation.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: mofo_spacejunk on October 20, 2014, 12:53:45 AM
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I thought I heard the captain’s voice
It's hard to listen while you preach
Like every broken wave on the shore
This was as far as I can reach

 
Bono's faith is pretty prevalent in everything, but he has major problems with preachers.  It's hard for me to not hear that "It's hard to hear the voice of the Captain/God for your preaching (monotonously beating "like every broken wave on the shore"?)."

I swear, this song is going to drive me nuts.

I take
It's hard to listen while you preach
talking about himself, being hard to pay attention to other aspects in his life while he is preaching (i.e. being an activist). No idea who the Captain would be except God, maybe Ali...




Yes. "It's hard to listen while you preach" is standard Bono self-deprecation.

Jesus was a preacher. He was a great listener. He would use questions to draw out his listener.

Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Chip on October 20, 2014, 08:56:30 PM
If I understand you (mofo -- sorry, forgot to quote) right as saying that "it's hard to listen while you preach" is Jesus speaking, it doesn't fit the context Bono sets up: "I thought I heard the captain's voice/But it's hard to listen while you preach." The "but" (clearly enunciated by Bono in both the final SOI version and at least some, if not all, of the 2010 live versions) makes it clear that the second line isn't a quote or paraphrase of someone else; rather, the speaker is continuing to reflect on his or her own behavior. That's totally congruent with the speaker's thoughts in the rest of the song, and "it's hard to listen while you preach" is classic Bono in its self-deprecation.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning????
Post by: fresno dave on October 29, 2014, 11:18:09 AM
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The Captain's Voice ?  .  At The start of Vertigo  Bono  calls out Turn it up Captain . And He said The Captain is Steve Lillywhite

didn't Steve Lillywhite  loose his Wife  Kirsty Mcoll because of an accident at Sea ? .  so in his case the sea is a friend made enemy . 


Ciaran 

"The captain" was "the master" in the 2010 live versions. The next line is, "But it's hard to listen while you preach." Put the two lines together and the identity of "the captain" is pretty clear, and even more so in the original lyrics.


--True, The ultimate identity of the captain is obvious...but as usual, other images may apply.

--The death of Steve Lillywhite's wife..by a breaking wave...is a fascinating connection.
More on that story below, Bono spoke about it at a 2006 concert http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirsty_MacColl

--No doubt Bono's pre-marriage fling with the 'black cat" is part of the story.  That he almost refused to talk about the song on one of the recent interview, due to it being too personal, is interesting

-I always connect it to Ephesians 4:14," that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine."  This is the way Bono is sometimes influenced by a Scripture..not "every" shows up connected to the wind, not waves.  But this is a common way to misquote it in church circles" no longer tossed to and fro by every wave and wind"

-Exile: good catch on Walker Percy.  wouldn't be surprised at all if Bono was inspired there.
Wow. check out the next line in that novel, "Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World "  (is that a Bono-esque title or what? ;D "She was heard only on Tom's Anser-Phone, while he dances to the mephisto waltz."   Mephisto was Bono's inspiration on MacPhisto..... context: http://books.google.com/books?id=_FCyUY-0_p4C&pg=PA159&lpg=PA159&dq=walker+percy+%22anser+phone%22&source=bl&ots=t36zFEkH5y&sig=8Bv5HzZHsdPopDm8B0JC9E7yJpY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_iJRVLC9OISvogTstICwBQ&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=walker%20percy%20%22anser%20phone%22&f=false

-BOTTOM LINE: The man has spoken.  In Rolling Stone, Bono said, "It's about how hard it is to give yourself  completely to another person.  And the two characters in it are addicted to sort of failure and rebirth."





Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: fresno dave on October 29, 2014, 11:44:34 AM
Exile and everyone: PS to my post above.
 Now I am more intrigued by the "Answer-Phone" in Walker Percy.

-- "Pray to God the Bantus don't search me and take my Anser=Phone"
It also makes me think of Unknown Caller:   "How could he use the Anser-Phone?  He had no transmitter and no way of knowing our frequency":
http://books.google.com/books?id=NqNpSRe1NSwC&pg=PT159&lpg=PT159&dq=%22anser+phone%22++walker+percy+%22love+in+the+ruins%22&source=bl&ots=1COD_hR0M5&sig=uU2_Dvw1IR911UsPudtGUvvhFc4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UCVRVLH6NI7ooATquYCIBQ&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22anser%20phone%22%20%20walker%20percy%20%22love%20in%20the%20ruins%22&f=false

-
From a review of the Percy book:
--Also someone mentioned they were sure EBW had a mental illness connection.
Read Walker Percy! A copy of “Love in the Ruins” costs about–what?–15 dollars which is way cheaper than a therapist appointment or reading the collected works of Freud. And it will help your soul much more.

“Lost in the Ruins” tells the story about Thomas More, a medical doctor in a futuristic and broken America. There is a race war about to erupt, the churches have fallen apart, both political parties are polarized, gated communities exist side-by-side with the communally homeless who have dropped out–hence the ruins of the the title. Yet, Thomas More seems to be the only one who notices that this world is going crazy. In the past, More has struggled with depression and been committed to a medical facility. It is then that he notes that the patients actually seem less neurotic or damaged than those outside who are wearing their ‘false faces’ or going through the motions.

There is a lot going on in this book. There’s an ‘A’ plot dealing with More’s determination to fall in love–or not; a ‘B’ plot regarding his invention which can diagnose as well as treat mental issues; and a ton of lesser plots. More (and the author) is a Christian, so there’s a great deal of Christian anthropology shot through this novel. More (and Percy, again!) is a physician–so he brings a clinical eye to the narration. On top of that, the novel, though portraying a broken society and broken people, is funny in a wicked kind of way. So, if you have struggled with depression or been close to anyone that has–this novel has been there and back. If you are tired by life and just have the blues, Percy’s prose provides an antidote. Stop reading the internet, turn off the tv, don’t answer the phone and curl up with “Love in the Ruins” as if you are spending time with an old friend.
http://pastorjoehedden.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/book-review-walker-percy-love-in-the-ruins/
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: briscoetheque on October 29, 2014, 04:08:45 PM
Pretty sure it's about Jesus.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: mdmomof7 on October 29, 2014, 04:11:45 PM
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Pretty sure it's about Jesus.

I thought this initially. He (the singer/Bono) can't hear Jesus because he's too busy preaching himself.

All this other stuff is fascinating, though.  :)
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: miryclay on October 31, 2014, 06:23:49 AM
preaching? no...

The connection in the article to Every Grain of Sand is excellent. 
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: qiinoM on November 09, 2014, 06:00:23 PM
not in response to the previous conversation, just something i noticed:

in ' every breaking wave':
'like every broken wave on the shore
this is as far as i could reach'

has despair in it, defeat.

in a song written later, ordinary love, the very same image of waves reaching the shore pops up again but holds a different feeling:
'the sea wants to kiss the golden shore'

the waves are no longer reaching the shore in defeat, broken. they now feel like they're kissing the shore. the newfound positivity confirmed by 'all the beauty that's been lost before, wants to find us again'.

in the same vein, every breaking wave speaks of 'every falling leaf' that winter wouldn't leave alone. an image that reminds me of the biblical image of being grafted into a tree (or being 'dead wood' that gets cast out, like a falling leaf).

whereas in ordinary love they seem so very 'grafted in' that they can even build their house in the tree ( an image that reminds me of yet another song, wild honey, where the lovers swinged through the trees - which easily leads to 'but where are you in the cedars of lebanon'. it never ends does it ;-)
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Sunchild on November 09, 2014, 11:21:54 PM
Every Breaking Wave... surrender, death of a personality and ultimate victory of the spirit self in a war between falsehood and truth
Ordinary Love... grounding into earth, feeling the love in the tiniest details of life

Water or the sea/ocean, a symbol of truth, of a soul, because we are made of water, we are liquid beings hijacked by aliens inside us, by the false and dead. All these songs are about the same over and over again, reminding us, to go home.

Good thing is that every single one here knows the meaning of this song, each meaning is going to be different though.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Am I bugging you? on November 10, 2014, 04:37:20 AM
  I believe Every Breaking Wave could possibly refer to Bono's relationship with his father.
  Here is a few lines from the song Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, a song that definitely refers to Bono's relationship with his father.
  We fight all the time.
  If we weren't so alike, you'd like me a whole lot more.
  I know that we don't talk.
  I'm sick of it all.
  These lines give us an indication of Bono's relationship problems with his father.
  My interpretation to some of the lines in Every Breaking Wave.
  Every breaking wave (Every argument or fight)
  Summer I was fearless (Bono having the courage to open up to his father about his feelings, in an attempt to mend the relationship)
  Now I speak into an answer phone (Bono's attempt to mend the relationship failed, now his father won't answer the phone to his son)
  Baby every dog on the street (Refers to the people who know of Bono and his fathers relationship problems)
  Knows that we're in love with defeat (Bono and his father are often arguing or fighting, there is no winner)
  Are we ready to be swept of our feet (Are we ready for change)
  And stop chasing (Try to avoid)
  Every breaking wave (Every argument or fight)
  It's hard to listen while you preach (Bono's father believes he knows best. Bono's father not willing to listen to Bono's opinions)
  I am not claiming that I know the meaning of this song. This is just one context I have considered whilst listening to Every Breaking Wave.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: U2-obsessed and proud on November 10, 2014, 09:10:30 PM
It's basically With Or Without You Part II
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: meximofo on November 10, 2014, 09:14:02 PM
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  I believe Every Breaking Wave could possibly refer to Bono's relationship with his father.
  Here is a few lines from the song Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, a song that definitely refers to Bono's relationship with his father.
  We fight all the time.
  If we weren't so alike, you'd like me a whole lot more.
  I know that we don't talk.
  I'm sick of it all.
  These lines give us an indication of Bono's relationship problems with his father.
  My interpretation to some of the lines in Every Breaking Wave.
  Every breaking wave (Every argument or fight)
  Summer I was fearless (Bono having the courage to open up to his father about his feelings, in an attempt to mend the relationship)
  Now I speak into an answer phone (Bono's attempt to mend the relationship failed, now his father won't answer the phone to his son)
  Baby every dog on the street (Refers to the people who know of Bono and his fathers relationship problems)
  Knows that we're in love with defeat (Bono and his father are often arguing or fighting, there is no winner)
  Are we ready to be swept of our feet (Are we ready for change)
  And stop chasing (Try to avoid)
  Every breaking wave (Every argument or fight)
  It's hard to listen while you preach (Bono's father believes he knows best. Bono's father not willing to listen to Bono's opinions)
  I am not claiming that I know the meaning of this song. This is just one context I have considered whilst listening to Every Breaking Wave.
Very interesting connection! I like it! That's the beauty of that song, when you thought you understand what it means, you discover a different interpretation. It speaks to each one of us in different, personal yet universal ways.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: 1musicmuse on December 12, 2014, 03:06:44 PM
I think its about two people totally in love yet decide not to be together because of circumstances, wrong time...etc.. So they choose to go their separate ways. Trying to be together would cause too much hardship at this time.

They were together once but there was cheating: chasing every breaking wave. So they broke up but are still in love with one another.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: 1musicmuse on December 12, 2014, 03:14:32 PM
Yes! That's it! "Stop chasing every breaking wave" Stop going out with the next new person that comes along and stay faithful in the relationship, and you'll find you'll be swept off your feet.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Domenico on December 13, 2014, 07:57:55 PM
If I may post my opinion about this song, pls.
First I must say that, is so difficult to read such a wird(positive way) mind of maybe Bono?
But I triyed.
So in my opinion he is talking about the weakness of Humanity, which every day,hour, minute....is repeating. And we accept that, like a normal think, like a player that knows is will loose. So we go every year, through the same fearness, like the seasons and the leafs, and we get used so we dont see that anymore. But then, maybe somebody does not accept all this, and he says that is so normal and obvious to be so loosers that even a dog street knows it. So there is always somebody to question if we can be different than the logic? Because, we all know that life is heavy, but also a friend, like a sailor knows about the double face of the sea, and like a shipwrecked once is found loose his mystery, but not his value. Then maybe, we have too many institutions telling to us what to do, but they cover the real voice of the captain(Good). Then Bono, says that i tryied it all, but we dont have to give up, because we know how to deal with it, like the sea knows where the rocks are. We just have to accept the sins and mistakes, because we all know where to find back the real meaning of the life, so be less arrogant, unsicure,  more open for mistakes. But he ends saying that we are not so full to do that.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: TheTef on March 28, 2015, 02:51:20 PM
The song EBW might be about something specific.  But what I love, love, love about U2 lyrics, is that they are open to interpretation to some point.  Obviously, this song is about challenges and struggles and the human condition... There are absolutes in "Every gambler" and in "Every sailor"... which are themes of foolish risk-taking and then calculated ones.  i.e. To gamble long term is a losing battle - 100% of the time.  But a sailor is an educated person on the topic of the seas... and they decide when to go out and take appropriate risks... like anything worth doing in life, there is the chance at a loss, but a sailor uses their head in making those decisions.  But the magic, the pure beauty in this song, is not in the absolutes.  It is in the questions asked.  There are two... "Are we ready to swept off our feet..." to go with the flow, to follow our passion, to chase our dreams versus the impossibility of changing the rolling tides... and then the bigger question, the biggest question regarding us, humans, people of consciousness, all of it... "Are we so helpless??" and YOUR answer to that question in life, no matter how big or small the challenge, is all that matters.  That's the beauty of EBW.  The questions are what makes or breaks you... and to question #2, my answer is heck no!!
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: mdmomof7 on March 28, 2015, 03:00:06 PM
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The song EBW might be about something specific.  But what I love, love, love about U2 lyrics, is that they are open to interpretation to some point.  Obviously, this song is about challenges and struggles and the human condition... There are absolutes in "Every gambler" and in "Every sailor"... which are themes of foolish risk-taking and then calculated ones.  i.e. To gamble long term is a losing battle - 100% of the time.  But a sailor is an educated person on the topic of the seas... and they decide when to go out and take appropriate risks... like anything worth doing in life, there is the chance at a loss, but a sailor uses their head in making those decisions.  But the magic, the pure beauty in this song, is not in the absolutes.  It is in the questions asked.  There are two... "Are we ready to swept off our feet..." to go with the flow, to follow our passion, to chase our dreams versus the impossibility of changing the rolling tides... and then the bigger question, the biggest question regarding us, humans, people of consciousness, all of it... "Are we so helpless??" and YOUR answer to that question in life, no matter how big or small the challenge is, is all that matters.  That's the beauty of EBW.  The questions are what makes or breaks you... and to question #2, my answer is heck no!!

Very nice first post. Welcome! :)
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Lizard on April 03, 2015, 12:51:06 AM
Waves are energy and when they come close to the shore they encounter obstacles (like sandbars) and loose part of their energy. When they finally hit the beach the complete energy is gone. But as we hear in the song there is going to be one more wave with more energy.

This is what the song means to me now. For me (as somebody who beliefs in Christ) I get whatever I need from God (energy, love...). I don't have it myself, I rely on this input from God.
Whenever I run out of energy it is good to know that there is gonna be another wave of energy/love and yet another....

What I really like, is what you wrote about the two questions, theTEF. The great thing is that the first question "Are we so helpless?" is sort of answered by the second question "Are we ready to be swept of our feet?" in my opinion.  This turns the dark and helpless side of the song into a postive one- at least if the answer is yes, we are ready.

Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Darkelectric on April 14, 2015, 09:44:23 PM
The tide is all around you. It is your neighbor on his way to work. It is some stranger at the
grocery store. It is the people that represent us without listening to us. It is those that die
needing help we could give, but we don't. The tide is all ways we have learned and been told
to live our lives, and we live them without thinking of or fighting for a better way.

Every breaking wave is what keeps you there, every day, every hour. You would rather own
a new iPhone than think about how many lives could be saved with that money somewhere
else. You would rather believe that the powers that be exist to protect us rather than keep
us exactly where they want us. You chase every wave, because the next one could be a
better one than the last, even though it never is.

And So We love the things that could cause our lives to be undone. And that is why a living thing
that has nothing can see things so clearly- every dog on the street. We live so firmly in denial
and so we are in love with defeat.

Our lives summed up in verse. Every day we get the chance to stand together and make a
difference and yet every day you go your way, and I go mine.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: TheTef on April 16, 2015, 06:02:28 AM
DarkElectric... you need a hug!!  There are a lot more loved dogs in the world than ones living on the street.  What separates us, as humans, is that we don't have a "dog on the street" view.  Yes, some people choose to be defeated, but that is often a choice.  We are not "helpless against the tides" at all.  And, no, we can't change the tides, but we sure as hell don't have to follow them, and at the end of the day, we don't have to hang out in the ocean either.  (hug)
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Darkelectric on April 16, 2015, 11:17:36 AM
Yes well, it is just an interpretation. The song itself easily represents Bono and U2's
level of mastery within their craft. U2 has always spoken out about the human condition,
and while the song itself may seem to beg the question, is this all we will ever be...?,
there is a certain amount of hopefulness to the song as well. The question alone-
Are we so helpless against the tide? Just asking it would seem to indicate that we
aren't.

It makes me wish that music could be capable of fixing the things that trouble us
as a whole. That there could be a perfect song that could compel us to let go of
greed, hate, apathy... but I don't suppose that is possible. Still, though, I think that
some may try. And if that isn't any different than a Gambler that knows that losing
is what it is really about, then I don't know what is. Such a perfect song.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: CenterStone on April 25, 2015, 07:56:49 PM
Possibly somewhat of a classic metaphor in the song.

Spring - Birth and/or growth
Summer - The pinnacle or prime
Fall - Decline
Winter - Death

Summer (the high point of the relationship) I was fearlessness

During the highpoint, "honeymoon", the summer of the relationship, the individual was able to communicate face-to-face, freely, openly, honestly, fearlessly . The relationship was strong. They were strong together.


Now I speak into an answer phone

Now, that person is unable to share their self openly, honestly and they are resolved to leaving a voice mail because they don't even want to attempt to communicate face-to-face / fearlessly .


Like every falling leaf on the breeze
Winter
(the demise of the relationship) wouldn't leave it alone
Alone


 They have to deal with the inevitability (Like every falling leaf on the breeze) of dealing with the break up (winter), they can't just go about their lives in a dysfunctional relationship (wouldn't leave it alone, Alone )

Just my take.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Sunchild on April 27, 2015, 10:45:55 AM
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Possibly somewhat of a classic metaphor in the song.

Spring - Birth and/or growth
Summer - The pinnacle or prime
Fall - Decline
Winter - Death

Summer (the high point of the relationship) I was fearlessness

During the highpoint, "honeymoon", the summer of the relationship, the individual was able to communicate face-to-face, freely, openly, honestly, fearlessly . The relationship was strong. They were strong together.


Now I speak into an answer phone

Now, that person is unable to share their self openly, honestly and they are resolved to leaving a voice mail because they don't even want to attempt to communicate face-to-face / fearlessly .


Like every falling leaf on the breeze
Winter
(the demise of the relationship) wouldn't leave it alone
Alone


 They have to deal with the inevitability (Like every falling leaf on the breeze) of dealing with the break up (winter), they can't just go about their lives in a dysfunctional relationship (wouldn't leave it alone, Alone )

Just my take.

Beautiful

This song when I feel it without going into details, but feeling the aura and energy of this song what it communicates beyond any intention but what it's supposed to say to me. I feel that it goes beyond any classical relationship between two people, but it's a message to go within, to be centred inside, to be a water, to flow with the waves, in harmony, not against, not chasing, not struggling, not fighting, but just be with what is, with all the change and changing seasons of life, just be at peace with it all. It speaks of the true nature of innocence, to reach it before we could appreciate the true nature of experience and then ascend beyond the physical limitations. 

What a wonderful time to be alive.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: u24ever656 on April 27, 2015, 08:48:47 PM
When I first heard this song I was really upset. I was upset because I felt that this song (lyrics) betrayed what I previously thought to be the Spirit of U2 - that being songs of uplift, transcendence, hope amidst moments of despair. This song was one of defeat, giving up.. Something that I never heard before in a U2 song. I was really angry for a while and felt betrayed as a loyal fan.   

But as I examined the lyrics further and because more mindful to them, I realize how much Bono is really putting out here. All those years of being vocal with relevant messages - messages about poverty, war and justice issues.. Well, to us they may seem like relevant messages, but to Bono this is no longer the space that this album occupies. He has equated his voice for justice as being "preacher". Bono doesn't want to be a Preacher. " Its hard to listen while you Preach". There is no 'preaching' done on this album. Nor are you getting that 'passionate' Bono much more in interviews nowadays. He is much more lighthearted, which has been a tremendously significant growth and maturity of his soul.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: dirtdrybonesandstone on April 28, 2015, 09:26:50 AM
Divorce.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: miladrahimi on May 24, 2015, 11:30:50 PM
I think it's not this much complicated!
The story tells about someone who doesn't wanna be weak one (breaking wave) even if whole the world trying make him weaker (like parent), but like plenty of rock songs which talk about to win, to find better life, to live the way you like and power of people who follow freedom, goals, this song preach you this decision too, and the one song talks over find him way and win eventually, the music video illustrate such a meaning too.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: LemonadeSupernova on May 25, 2015, 07:56:49 PM
I dunno what's it about but I like the lyrics. 
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: WookieeWarrior10 on June 01, 2015, 09:18:26 AM
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I dunno what's it about but I like the lyrics.
Agreed. Some of the best on the album.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: rance22 on July 09, 2015, 01:58:25 PM
wow great thread...

I remember Bono saying once that the worst thing that can ever happen to you is you get everything you want in this life...

Our society seems to chase happiness through material things in order to fill the void of the human condition...the unhappiness. We have addictions (in this song gambling) greed for wealth and power, affairs because this person isn't making me happy to satisfy the ego.
This song reminds me of moment of surrender. Once we accept  we are already complete (rather then ego material gratification to prove self) we stop chasing (every breaking wave) and be content with who we are with and what we have.
We surrender instead of endless chasing.

just my $0.02
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: missey on July 09, 2015, 06:10:45 PM
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wow great thread...

I remember Bono saying once that the worst thing that can ever happen to you is you get everything you want in this life...

Our society seems to chase happiness through material things in order to fill the void of the human condition...the unhappiness. We have addictions (in this song gambling) greed for wealth and power, affairs because this person isn't making me happy to satisfy the ego.
This song reminds me of moment of surrender. Once we accept  we are already complete (rather then ego material gratification to prove self) we stop chasing (every breaking wave) and be content with who we are with and what we have.
We surrender instead of endless chasing.

just my $0.02

What makes you think the song is about gambling addiction?
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: rance22 on July 09, 2015, 07:15:17 PM
I don't think it's about gambling addiction, I just meant lots of negative human behaviours (like addictions) are the result of "searching" to fill a void...an unhappiness. Ego driven wants like money, status, pursuing relationship after relationship all seem to come from that wanting. Basically it is a resistence of present moment (which is where life occurs) in the hopes you will be happier in the future.
To me this song points to someone that realizes these ego driven wants are endless and they aren't going to chase every breaking wave to fulfill themselves, instead they are accepting (Are we ready to be swept off our feet) rather then resisting.
Otherwise we could go from relationship to relationship always looking for that someone that will make us happy...
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Mr. Red on July 09, 2015, 08:10:06 PM
The beauty of music is that the songs mean whatever it is YOU want them to mean. It's everyone's own personal interpretation. There are many musicians/songwriters who don't necessarily want to be very specific about what their songs mean to them because they want it to be left open for interpretation. I believe Eddie Vedder has spoken about he reluctance to tell what the tunes mean so that it does not effect or tarnish (lack of a better word) personal meaning!
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: griffen2014 on November 09, 2015, 01:57:36 PM
I was at the Barcelona Concert, Friday night. Bono mentioned before the song it was about people who can't find or hold onto to a person that they love. Bono said he was lucky that he was married to his first and last love. But he said he was still discovering what the song meant. You'll probably find this on you tube somewhere. Sorry if this has been posted before.

Found a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMEWp8dU4HA
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: ShankAsu on December 19, 2015, 02:33:24 AM
I agree with what was said earlier, what a great thread. Love seeing all the interpretations of this song which is my favorite on the new album. In the Paris concert, Bono said its for his first love and that he didn't know the ending of the story. I hope it's about Ali personally...
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: theocean on February 19, 2016, 07:08:40 AM
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I agree with what was said earlier, what a great thread. Love seeing all the interpretations of this song which is my favorite on the new album. In the Paris concert, Bono said its for his first love and that he didn't know the ending of the story. I hope it's about Ali personally...

you know that could have been ocean...i did go to a bar where he played on his first trip to America on the boy tour... :D
i love and hate the song, i think its beautiful yet sad, especially 'if you goooooooooooooooo, if you go your way and i'll go mine, are we soooooooooo....yeah its a song of defeat and change and i cant listen to it much anymore..I prefer uplifting songs from U2....but then i never felt that way about Electrical Storm, but that doesnt have the deep moaning howling of Bono when he sings, if you gooooooooooo, that almost makes me cry or feel empty but again in a good way....I think he is such a good song writer, my goodness..
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: riffraff on February 19, 2016, 09:33:14 AM
It is a good, sad song, but I'd like to think it shoots for a happy ending.  For me personally...it means...if my guy and I had gone our own ways, life would be wicked bad. We stopped chasing every breaking wave (other people, other ways of life, etc) and stayed with each other . We were NOT helpless against the tide...
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: shineinthesummernight on June 17, 2016, 09:21:38 PM
I think this song references the self-defeat and futility which occupies so much of our lives.  So often we fight by going against the grain of what is and what could be.  Perhaps you're in a relationship which is basically solid but you are forever questioning it, doubting it.  Maybe you're just someone who always sees the grass as being greener on the other side of the road. "Are we ready to be swept off our feet/and stop chasing every breaking wave?"  When we surrender our will, we may find that our life as it is greater and more luminous than we previously imagined or believed.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Phil87 on March 05, 2019, 07:34:03 AM
The song is about the futility of life. Despite "success" in most or even every aspect of life, any one still feels lonely and must lose again to feel the cycle of joy replay whilst knowing the inevitable inherent suffering of life will return. Inescapable as the tide yet reassuring and beautiful that we are ALL still chasing the wave. Thank you U2
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: 73October on March 06, 2019, 11:30:54 AM
It probably means holding on to a person...but it could be holding on to a range of things too and struggling to let things go.  It could be about love, faith, doubt, loss.
It's probably bigger than just one 'idea' or concept.

Personally I think it's one of the best lyrics Bono has written - it's a beautiful song (a great melody) and although it's largely been rested since I&E tour (apart from the Apollo and Beach House additional shows on E&I last summer - if they count), I hope it finds a place in U2's 'mainstream' canon.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: ricebird5678 on March 06, 2019, 11:57:59 AM
This is another one of those U2 songs that evokes different interpretations, stories within stories. Gambler's, lost loves, scenic landscapes, Godly undertones.. masterpiece.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: Vox on March 19, 2019, 10:03:27 PM
Wow.  Came up on random tonight.  Not an album I usually get into, but impressive song, in the way it’s constructed and just overall.  I tend to forget about it, because I don’t listen to the stuff around it often.  Someday, I maintain this song will be used in some movie, show, or event and it will be heralded— every dog has its day.

As far as meaning... I think it’s about the trials of a long term relationship, and how everyone, even the dog on the street, can see the “troubles” for the two in the partnership, and how the couple feels the recede and swells in a personal relationship.
Title: Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
Post by: shineinthesummernight on April 16, 2019, 04:22:48 PM
Seems to be about personal intimacy and our general fear of getting too close to another person due to the possibility (probability) of loss.