“stop helping God across the road like a little old lady”

There’s something about this song that reminds me of Rage Against the Machine. Maybe it’s the sweet riff and the repeated “stand up,” it just feels like a great protest song. There are a lot of really cool things about this song, and I’m still not getting sick of it after listening to it 20+ times in the past week.

Musically, it’s just fun. I like the rif in the beginning as I said, and the chord progression in the verse is nice. Maybe nice is the wrong word, but it suits the lyrics really well. The vocal production is one of my favorite things in this song – lots of great shot like harmonies. More ‘ooooo ooo ooooo oooo’s’ going on in this song, which I like from U2. Bono can use his voice to emote things musically that lyrics really wouldn’t do justice to.

The whole song is a bit more “How to Dismantle…” than much of this album – really guitar and vocal driven. There’s another slide solo in this song… I think that makes 3 so far? That’s a lot of slide, but it doesn’t really bother me. In fact, it compells me to learn how to play more slide. The bass/effect noise right after the solo is also really cool… not too crazy, but fun enough to make me wonder what’s going on.

Lyrically, I feel like this song is fairly straightforward in it’s main push. Stand up for your love. Makes sense, seeing as
Bono sings “stand up” “love” and “stand up for your love” over and over again in the song. What exactly standing up for one’s love is is something that I’m sure could be debated. (though Bono sings both of “I” standing up for “your” love and “you” standing up for “your” love. Maybe more references to God as the true definition and creator of love?)

There are enough interesting lines in this song that I could go on for way longer than anyone would want to read, so I’ll zero in on two that caught me. The first is:

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

The faith, hope and love is a reference to one of the most used writings on love ever – 1 Corinthians 13, talking about the only three things that will remain (and of course, the greatest being love). Good things to stand up for I’d say and I like how Bono mentions all three. Standing up for faith is something that has become less and less desirable in this day and age (see Belief by John Mayer) – though I think we need to be careful in how we define faith, which I think leads us to the next lines. Getting over certainty, eh? There’s something there which is hard to do, but goes quite well with the idea of standing up for faith, hope and love. Paul tells us that they’re the three things that remain, but  so often we try to stand up for things that aren’t those. I think convictions are good and we need to have a deep and grounded faith and worldview, but we need to recognize that we only see a glimpse and that we don’t hold God in our hands. We end up treating God like a little old lady when we tell everyone definately who God is and that our way of thinking is the only way that he works. There’s a fine line there and I want to be clear that God’s word is the standard, but we are all interpreters who need to get over our absolute certainty in everything. Feel free to disagree with me on this one if you want.

The other lyric which hit me was:

I gotta stand up to ego but my ego’s not really the enemy
It’s like a small child crossing an eight lane highway
On a voyage of discovery

Interesting view of pride. We need to stand up to ourselves and make sure we’re not doing things for our own good, but realize our ultimate smallness in the big picture, and realize that our egos just won’t last in this world. They’ll get damaged in this life, and that’s probably a good thing. I’m not entirely sure I agree here, but I think that’s what he’s trying to say. Again, feel free to disagree.

Great song. I’m still trying to get the whole ‘comedy’ thing, so feel free to leave any thoughts you might have!

(to those who have been following daily, sorry for skipping yesterday… long day at work with little time at home to listen to music at appropriate reviewing levels)

1 Comment

  1. wonker

    Interesting blog, I’ll try and spread the word.