Sunday, March 8, 2009

Magnificent - Certainly Applies

I will have to admit that I did not like the new U2 release “No Line on the Horizon” very much at first listen. I was thoroughly underwhelmed by Get on Your Boots. I listened to a stream of the cd a couple of times on U2 myspace page and just didn’t get it. But things slowly began to change. I saw them sing “Magnificent” on Letterman last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I found myself singing the chorus to the title track, No Line on the Horizon, so I gave it another chance. And now I think it is fantastic. I will admit that it is like a lot of other U2 cds, there are some really forgettable songs: Get On Your Boots still reminds me of Vertigo, catchy but ehh… And I’m not a big fan of “Crazy Tonight” but like their greatest releases, their high points outshine the forgettable songs.

Magnificent begins like one of their old school anthems with some Zooropa electronic touches. You see Bono almost comparing his calling to sing with the calling of an Old Testament prophet:
I was born/I was born to sing for you/I didn’t have a choice
But to lift you up/And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice/From the womb my first cry
It was a joyful noise

The song closes with a sort of doxology:
Justified till we die/You and I will magnify/
Oh, the magnificent

You see an honesty of his spiritual struggle on White as Snow (which sounds a lot like "O Come, O Come Emanuel"):
Once I knew there was a love divine
Then came a time I thought it knew me not
Who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not
Only the lamb as white as snow

In Stand Up Comedy, we see a great line about God:
I can stand up for hope, faith, love/But while I’m getting over certainty/
Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady

Bono is not afraid to make fun of himself and his self-importance:
Stand up to rock stars/Napoleon is in high heels
Instead of standing up for ourselves or standing up for our rights, Bono admonishes us to “Stand up for your love.”

In the song Breathe, grace equates to freedom:
I’ve found grace inside a sound
I found grace, it’s all that I found
And I can breathe/Breathe now

Bono sings as if this power of love he has tapped into can defeat any foe:
Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn
Every day I have to find the courage
To walk out into the street/With arms out
Got a love you can’t defeat

The release closes with Cedars of Lebanon, where the singer starts off sounding homesick as if he has been away from his wife and family for a long time. Then he moves to juxtaposing the haves versus the have nots:
Child drinking dirty water from the river bank
Soldier brings oranges he got out from a tank
I’m waiting on the waiter, he’s taking a while to come.

With every listen, I find something deeper to take away. I find myself charged up, inspired and even worshipful of my Creator. I can think of no greater complement to give a cd than that.


me said...

Ok.. I've never been a huge U2 fan, I have liked some of there stuff but have never really listened to anything that wasn't on the radio. By reading some of these lyrics, I think I need to give them another chance. If you make it down during spring break, I may have to give it a listen.

The MAN Fan Club said...

You go much deeper than I do. U2 is one band that you and I both like, but for different reasons.