Things I Would Like To See (Part VI)

U2-in-Washington-DC-001Today’s wish is short and sweet: I would really like to see one last great U2 album.  That’s all.

Bono and the boys have been together now for over 30 years, and in that time have provided the world with some of the most consistently powerful rock music ever made.  Music, poetry, beauty, and truth: it’s all been there, with a lot more thrown in as well.  They’ve earned their place as the best rock band in the world at numerous points in their career.

I realize that U2 could go on until the band’s members expire of natural causes, meaning that we could have them juhala-meme-generator-i-saw-the-rolling-stones-when-i-was-10-years-old-628acaaround for 20 or 30 more years.  But I don’t want that.  If you want evidence of why not, take a look at the Rolling Stones, who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary as a band.  They’re clearly suffering from “way-too-little-butter-scraped-over-too-much-bread syndrome.”  For a rock band, there is a time to simply call it a day.

For U2 that day has already, or has nearly, arrived.  But before last curtain call, a final push for greatness and last defining mark on the musical scene would be amazing.  I realize, considering everything they’ve already done, that I’m asking a lot.  I’ve previously spent some time reflecting on their top albums.  You may disagree with my idiosyncratic numbering, and that’s fine.  But: even having produced only one of their best albums woU2_fashion_1uld mark them as an amazing band.  To have made all of them?  That’s what sets U2 apart.

The group has shown at some key moments in their career that they could reinvent themselves, making some of the best music in the world in the midst of changing times.  This may be more difficult now that at other times in their career…but if anybody can do it, my hopes are on U2 to make one, last, great album before retiring.  At least that’s what I’d like to see.

Tuesday Remainders

In honor of…Tuesday, some interesting links from the past week or so:

1. Bono’s Effervescent Wisdom:  The rockstar never ceases to amaze, even if the article’s author seems a little trite.

2.  NYC Saves Civilization:  Apparently, some very offensive words are appearing on standardized tests.  Words like “dinosaur,” “television,” and “religion.”  Fundamentalists, Luddites, and secular humanists must have been enraged by these words poisoning their children.  Unfortunately for them, NYC schools have decided NOT to eliminate them from their exams.  Finally.  Now students can enjoy reading about “rock n’ roll” on their Scantron tests!

3.  The Hunger Games is Deviant: Apparently, it has become a “most challenged book” by those who object to its themes.  As a friend of mine said on Facebook, don’t people realize that the book itself is a critique of our modern society rather than a blanket endorsement of violence and the like?

4.  Last but not least….my favorite picture of the week:

Bono & Karl Barth

As I continued my Lenten reading last night in Karl Barth’s Romerbrief, I lighted upon a passage that spoke to me in an interesting way:

“Fugitive is the soul in this world and soulless is the world, when men do not find themselves within the sphere of the knowledge of the unknown God, when they avoid the true God in whom they and the world must lost themselves in order that they may both find themselves again.

This is the Cause of the Night in which we are wandering: this is also the Cause of the Wrath of God which has been manifested over our heads.”

Barth’s words resonated with my own understanding of a world deeply caught in night–as violence in Syria and bloodshed in Ohio remind us even today.  Issues of lostness and soullessness and darkness pervade our existence, and only in God’s Light may we find our way out.

I also liked his words because they reminded me of one of my other favorite theologians: Bono of U2.  In their seminal album Achtung Baby the band has a track called “Ultraviolet (Light My Way).”  Almost psalmically, Bono implores “Baby, baby, baby light my way”:

And the day is as dark as the night is long
Feel like trash, you make me feel clean
I’m in the black, can’t see or be seen

my favorite lyric, however (and perhaps my favorite line of all time) is the crescendo he hits right here:

When I was all messed up
And I had opera in my head
Your love was a light bulb
Hanging over my bed

I don’t know if Bono intended the meaning I draw from this song, but I’ll take it anyway.  Powerful stuff.  This on the same album, of course, where Bono earlier claims “It’s no secret that the stars are falling from the sky/It’s no secret that our world is in darkness tonight” before baldly stating that “The universe exploded ’cause of one man’s lie.”

Thankfully, one Man’s Truth has provided the way back from the depths of our shared night.