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Help! I got vertigo!

 - James

It seems that Pete has infected me with the U2 bug. For the past 12 hours or so I've been repeatedly getting their song "Vertigo," stuck in my head, and I like it stuck there. In fact, I'm listening to it right now on our computer's Media Guide. Just goes to show how much I like it. :)

Anyway, one thing I particularly like about U2 is that they can write lyrics that are very...mystical; kinda poetic, so that you have to dig to figure out their meaning (my other favorite group, Dave Matthews Band, also shares this skill). There's this really great site called, on which users can comment on their favorite songs, and they will very often say what they think the song's lyrics mean. I was researching "Vertigo" on this site, and the users had a slew of things to say about it. One of my favorite interpretations of the lyrics was the following one, written by a user whose name was "Fen," I think. Anyhoo, here's his (or her) interpretation:

I find it hard to believe that people can, in such a short time say this song has no depth. I will admit it has taken me years to fully appreciate Bono's lyrics but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

I think this song is about the alure and draw of temptation on ones life. Temptation is a meaningless concept to someone that does believe in God but I clearly think that Bono has been driven in his life to find his place in the world that God created for us.

The meaning of this song clicked for me in the bridge, "All this can be yours..." which is a close paraphrase of Matthew 4:9 when Christ is being tempted by satan in the wilderness. All he was asked to do is to bow down and worship satan and everything that they saw would be given to him. But of course... Satan was speaking to the creator so, not much of a deal huh??

Verse 1, "and though your soul it can't be bought your mind can wander" What an image of fighting with what you know to be RIGHT and moral and what you feel will be more fun.

Verse 2, beautiful image of the night sky and the heat of a wild club with many things that a 40 something married man may want to partake in but he decides to step back and ask for the check and head out... the girl with the red nail polish and the guilt inducing imagry of a crucifix hanging around her neck.

and of course the bridge... as mentioned above.

BUT the last verse. when the lights go down the grace and love of God give him something "I can feel"


"your love is teaching me how to KNEEL"... in prayer

I think it is an honest struggle to understand the world that we live in as a believer that longs to honor the All Mighty and yet enjoy the world.

The VERTIGO is the not the just the fear of heights but the fear of the FALL, the fall from grace and maybe even the fall into sin.

Of course that's just my opinion.

That interpretation makes perfect sense to me, especially because the members of U2 are definitely Christian. And the idea that the lyrics "all of this can be yours...just give me what I want, and no one gets hurt" is referring to the temptation of Jesus in the desert had occured to me earlier.

There are many other interpretations of the lyrics, and they're all pretty interesting. You can see both those and the song's lyrics here.


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