One Band on a Mission

For his part, Bono makes it clear his praise is directed to a higher power. “They’re all, to me, songs of praise to God and creation, even the angry ones,”

Should U2 a band on a mission? A band with a strong sense of integrity and purpose, which so many say, is the foundation for their music.  They have sold massive amounts of records, tours and estimations that the group could be worth at least a cool billion including the 17 Grammy Awards this band has pass the test of time in an industry where longevity can be measured in months. 

For all the celebrity hype, Bono retains a certain authenticity, a centeredness and seems humble, which has come out many times during the 360 tour “You have given us a good life” He reminds us that we are the reason for the bands success. That our marriage with him and the rest of the band is not taken lightly.

360 is behind us, yet some part of us want to revisit with our old friends and hold on to those youthful times of our lives when music, religion and war had our focus and our attention to get some resoling foundation of peace and faith. U2 you have given us a good life. 

Would you call the following lyrics statements of faith ?

 “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (from Joshua Tree)
I believe in the Kingdom Come,
Then all the colors will bleed into one
But yes I’m still running.
You broke the bonds and you
Loosed the chains.
Carried the cross and all my shame,
You know I believe it.
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

“Grace” (from All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
Grace, it’s the name for a girl
It’s also a thought that changed the world.
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stains.
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things.

Faith is nothing more than your ability to believe in something you cannot see yet you know to be true within your heart.  In a time when we all need a little faith why not believe in something greater than yourself why not have a little faith.

Bono was the only Christian in the early days. He started sharing his feelings and thoughts about God. And it seemed a natural progression from what happened in school to go along to meetings outside school.

“I realised that was where it was at and about the same time Larry and myself became Christians. From then on it seemed that there was a purpose for the band, if you know what I mean. Bono felt this from the beginning I think…”

“I believe in God very strongly and I don’t believe that we are just kind of exploded out of thin air. I can’t believe it. I think it is that spiritual strength that’s essential to the band. We want to offer people hope, but we don’t want to freak them out. We feel the Spirit is doing something different. Jesus taught in parables and some of our lyrics are like that.”

“I’m not cynical or pessimistic about the future and a lot of that must come down to my beliefs. It’s my belief in God that enables me to get up in the morning and face the world. I believe there is a reason and logic to everything.”

“I want an audience to feel washed after a U2 gig. I don’t like music unless it has a healing effect. There’s a huge spiritual battle going on in the world. It’s big and it’s serious and if you want to get into the battle you’ve got to get under covering. You’ve got to be part of a body.”

Its not a question of U2’s beliefs as it is what our belief provides us when we hear U2 songs, for some its just some words that provide the back drop to a great melody to others is a source that provides growth to the seed inside of all of us. Now before we upset those that do not care to believe that U2 has blended faith with rock music and that rockers can have faith expressed in songs with out attachment to a christain label, maybe your right, maybe faith better be left to your private thoughts and one should not sing in joy.

Perhaps it gives God goosebumps to hear these Irish rockers touch millions with their music while acknowledging and praising his name, even as they wrestle with him on a very public stage. May Bono’s voice and U2’s music ring out for a long, long time to come…   

U2 Rakes in 130M

U2 360 Tour It has been reported that the Irish rock band U2 has raked in a huge $130 million over the last 12 months — making U2  the biggest selling band in the world.

It may be recalled that this is a fact, despite frontman Bono was being unable to perform after an operation on his back in May.

And yet, U2 has still managed to feature as the most profitable international group. According to a magazine’s list of top-earning musicians, this was the the foursome raked in $130 million over the past year from their 360 Degree world tour and sales of their 2009 album No Line on the Horizon. Proving that rock is still indeed alive and earning, hot on their heels like a bat out of hell was AC/DC, who scooped up a respectable $114 million, and Beyonce has made $87 million.

Bruce Springsteen proved that he is still has his earning chops in order, and got in $70 million, while pop sensation Britney Spears ranked at the fifth place with $64 million. It was earlier reported that Lady Gaga managed to beat Madonna as Gaga made $62 million, while Madonna clinked the cash register with $58 million. 



U2's view of an Afghanistan Soldier

Bono’s hymn to a soldier dying in Afghanistan is unadorned, evocative and suggestive. And you don’t even have to know what it’s about to feel its quiet power or sense its sadness.

“There are a couple of songs from the point of view of an active soldier in Afghanistan,” Bono said back in June 2008, at the group’s Hanover Quay studio in Dublin, during a break in recording, “and one of them, White As Snow, lasts the length of time it takes him to die”.

Of all the character songs on the album, White As Snow is the most moving. Much of this is to do with its sense of quietude – not a mood one normally associates with U2. The song is almost ambient in its musical pulse, suggesting the presence of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, and Bono’s voice sounds markedly different here, more restrained, more plaintive, the emotion suggested rather than strained for.

The song’s melody is based on an old hymn, Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel, that, according to The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal, was composed by “an unknown author, circa 1100”. (Surprisingly, the original has been faithfully covered by both Sufjan Stevens and Belle & Sebastian and, less surprisingly, by Enya and 2006’s BBC Young Chorister of the Year, William Dutton).

The idea of a song based on the dying thoughts of a soldier initially came to Bono after he read William Golding’s ambitious novel, Pincher Martin, which is told from the point of view of a British sailor who appears to have survived the torpedoing of his ship. As he approaches death, his thoughts roam back over his life, and the moral choices he made or avoided. (The novel’s denouement, though, suggests that the soldier died at the moment his ship went down and that the preceding narrative recounts his soul’s struggle to stay in the material world.)

After watching Sam Mendes’s film, Jarhead, Bono decided the song should evoke the thoughts of a soldier dying from a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Intriguingly, you don’t really need to know the context for the song to work. It stands alone. Initially, I had assumed it was sung in the voice of a young Middle Eastern man who had been driven into exile, but there you go.

“We were going to start White As Snow with an explosion,” recalled Bono. “An early version had this industrial noise that sounded like the aftermath of a bomb.” Now, that would have been one way of getting around the problem of context. It may have worked, too, but the song is fine the way it is, unadorned, evocative, suggestive. You don’t have to know what it’s about to feel its quiet power or sense its sadness. “It’s kind of pastoral,” said Bono.

It bodes well for the album that will follow No Line On the Horizon, which has, he says, “the idea of pilgrimage at its centre”, and is made up of the “quieter, more meditative songs” that did not make it on to this one. “Intimacy is the new punk rock,” Bono added, laughing. But is it the new stadium rock?

U2’s music transcend age

 As Catholics begin the holiday weekend. The same questions appear to come up over time. Are the boys Catholic or Protestants? 

Throughout U2’s career, faith struggle has been a recurring theme in their music. Bono, a child of mixed Catholic and Protestant backgrounds, has explored his spiritual self through U2’s life in the spotlight. In his music, he frequently cites scripture and recounts personal periods of hope and despair, faith and doubt, temptation and grace — all characteristic of a Christian worldview. The spiritual messages behind the band’s lyrics are so prevalent that some places of worship have used the band’s music in services called U2charists, in an attempt to reach out to a younger crowd. From Boy, the band’s first album, to the newly released No Line on the Horizon, issues of faith continue to manifest themselves in U2’s music.

No Line on the Horizon may be one of their most spiritual albums to date. The band’s 12th studio album, Horizon was five years in the making, the longest gap U2 has ever had without a CD release. With a considerable amount of time put into the album, U2 aimed for reinvention. Bono told long-time collaborators Brian Eno and Daniel Lanoios that he wanted an album of “futuristic spirituals,” and the largely experimental Horizon was the result. The band wrote and recorded the album all over — spending time in Dublin, New York, London, and Fez, Morocco. Lyrically rich, Horizon is new and fresh while still remaining classically U2, complete with a spiritual restlessness, concern for social justice, and more than a hint of nonsense.

Magnificent

Bono / U2The themes in U2’s music transcend age, as they continue to explore love and its meaning, relationship with the divine, sin and forgiveness — with their signature humor and hint of irreverence.

So how is it possible that a group who put out their first album years before most of my classmates were born still carries relevance for young people? The themes in U2’s music transcend age, as they continue to explore love and its meaning, relationship with the divine, sin and forgiveness — with their signature humor and hint of irreverence. Their songs contain a depth that allows for reflection and interpretation.

The band’s spiritual side was evident during their performance of “Magnificent” that morning. A long, instrumental lead-in built up to the release of Bono’s booming voice, “I was born/I was born to sing for you/I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up.” As Bono closed his eyes and reached up to the sky, audience members witnessed what seemed like his personal conversation with God — Bono’s acknowledgment of God’s gift of music. Later, he highlighted the strength of divine love, “Only love/Only love would leave such a mark/Only love/only love can heal such a scar.”

From our view, we see nothing wrong with introducing faith, love and hope into music. Happy Easter U2 Fans.

 

 

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