Author Topic: Every breaking wave ...meaning???  (Read 70617 times)

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Offline Jacob

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Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« 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...



Offline Discotheque Girl

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #1 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 :)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 07:22:47 AM by Discotheque Girl »

northstarjo

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #2 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

Offline Parsons

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #3 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).
« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 10:51:46 PM by Parsons »

Offline miryclay

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2014, 06:35:46 PM »
somebody is dialing it in

Offline wraitii

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #5 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.

Offline Runtmg

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #6 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.   

Offline Zaphod

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #7 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.

Offline Sunchild

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #8 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. 

Offline Albono

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2014, 03:37:03 AM »
one of the saddest songs U2 has ever written.

Offline cedarwood

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #10 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.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2014, 06:48:34 PM by cedarwood »

Offline EdgeUK8_my_mind

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #11 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.

Offline ciarmail

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #12 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 

Offline mofo_spacejunk

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #13 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


 :-[
« Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 11:53:11 PM by mofo_spacejunk »

Offline miryclay

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Re: Every breaking wave ...meaning???
« Reply #14 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...
« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 07:42:10 AM by miryclay »