The biggest classic-U2 ballad on Songs of Innocence. "Wave" was originally slated for Songs of Ascent (the abandoned follow-up to No Line on the Horizon); the band played a radically different, stripped-down version a few times in 2010. They've since fleshed it out dramatically, completely re-written the chorus and tinkered with some of the verses. Songs of Innocence isn't a full-on concept record about the band's youth – the lyrics to "Wave" appear to deal more adult concerns: a long-term relationship, distractions, and the struggles that come from both: "Are we ready to be swept off our feet?/And stop chasing/Every breaking wave"
Billboard ranked this song #3 on their top 50 for 2014 saying the emotional centerpiece of Songs of Innocence is a stark, shimmering ballad that recalls "With or Without You" in its searching power. "Are we so helpless against the tide?" Bono asks, staring down time's passage. The music answers back with gently heroic uplift, giving him the salvation he seeks.