- Thomas a Kempis
Like most writers and musicians, Bono writes from his personal experiences. Consequently, if you listen to U2 and don't know much biographical information, you may at times be scratching your head. Here are three examples I thought of today. Head scratching lines are in bold.
1. "Ultraviolet" from Achtung Baby. 1991.
I remember when we could sleep on stone
Now we learn together in whispers and moans
When I was all messed up and I had opera in my head
Your love was a light bulb hanging over my bed
2. "Lemon" from Zooropa. 1993.
Lemon, see through in the sunlight
She wore lemon, but never in the daylight
3. "Unknown Caller" from No Line On The Horizon. 2009.
I was lost between the midnight and the dawning
In a place of no consequence or company
3:33 when the numbers fell of the clock face
Speed dialing, with no signal at all
Here are the answers.
1. Bono's singing to his wife, referring to his teenage years when he used to live with his father. His father used to sing opera. Anytime Bono mentions opera in his songs, he's referring to his dad.
2. Bono's mother died when he was very young, so he doesn't have a lot of memory of her. Years after her death he found an old school movie reel of his mother at a birthday party. She was wearing a lemon colored dress. This song is about his mom.
3. Bono has called "333" God's phone number. It's a reference to Jeremiah 3:33, where God says, "Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know." The "333" reference also makes an appearance on the cover of All That You Can't Leave Behind.