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[H]ip-hop is . . . the sound of music getting out of the ghetto, while rock is looking for a ghetto. -- Bono

Like A Song: Two Hearts Beat As One


Like A Song[Ed. note: This is the 97th in a series of personal essays by the @U2 staff about songs and/or albums that have had great meaning or impact in our lives.]

I see a lot of myself in Bono. I’m fiercely loyal to my friends. I’m a total giver and always willing to lend a hand if needed. I also speak a lot from the inside, though it sometimes becomes difficult. I often think that if Bono can’t find the right words to say, putting it in a song makes it sound a lot better. That’s the beauty of music. It says what you feel without having to actually say it yourself.

While I’m not a musician, I do speak a lot from my heart no matter what, despite not having a tune to go with it. I also think I have this weird, superhuman quality of “feeling” a lot more than others. There’s a quote that I’ve often seen floating around the big ocean of the Internet that says, “It is both a blessing, And a curse, To feel everything, So very deeply.” And that is me. My heart is always on my sleeve because, like my fashion sense, it goes with my personality. That’s what I’m known for. I care a lot because I try to see the good in everyone. Often this puts my heart through the ringer. But the heart is a magical thing. I think it’s like a sponge. It gets filled up with feeling, then gets squeezed out when all the feeling is lost. But it eventually gets filled up again. You just have to be willing to fill it up and not leave it dying and dry.

Bono wrote “Two Hearts Beat As One” on his Jamaican honeymoon with his wife, Ali. I enjoy that he decided to not go the sappy, sentimental route and instead gave us this rocking celebration of what he had going on in his heart. As much as I like to think I’m Bono at the time of his wedding, I do believe I’m more like his best man. In U2 By U2, Bono said of Adam, “For all the crackle and pop of his lifestyle, Adam always had a kind of wisdom. He was the perfect gentleman, who believed in love, but at the time he seemed to believe in love with a lot of people.”

He totally could have been talking about me. I’m sure a lot of people back home in New Jersey see my posts on social media about my cool bakery job in New York City, all the restaurants I visit with friends, or the amount of concerts I go to, and think I’m some cosmopolitan city gal. Maybe part of me is, but I don’t see that as really me. Like Adam and his flashy persona, deep down we have a sincere vibe that makes people come to us for advice.  I’m the one in the group text with my friends giving out the relationship tips, even though I’m sometimes grasping for help myself. And also like Bono’s description of Adam, I believe in love. I also see different ideas of love all around me. I sometimes think I’m in love every day.

I don't know, I don't know which side I'm on

I don't know my right from left or my right from wrong

They say I'm a fool, they say I'm nothing

But if I'm a fool for you oh, that's something

If there’s anything I’ve learned from being in relationships, long or short, it’s that throughout all of it, you never lose that feeling of not knowing where in time and space you are. That’s if it’s a good relationship. If it’s a bad one, you tuck those memories into a box and hope it collects dust in your head, and that you never have to visit those memories again. But when it’s good, it’s delirious. It’s not caring where you are or what you’re doing. It’s being with the emotion that makes you happy to be alive and experience a connection. You absolutely feel like some drunk-on-love fool. I have been there. And that is something.

Two hearts beat as one

Two hearts beat as one

Two hearts

I can't stop to dance

Honey, this is my last chance

I said, can't stop to dance

Maybe this is my last chance

I think what fascinates me so much about Bono is that, given his status in this world and that he’s been in the music business forever, he is still so devoted and in love with Ali. He totally could have gone another path and been on his sixth marriage or something, like a lot of other rock stars. But he remains committed and it’s devastatingly admirable. What he and Ali have are for sure my “relationship goals.” A lot of times, affairs of the heart move so fast, and people are constantly moving from one person to the next. It’s like you have too many dance partners. Sometimes you “can’t stop to dance,” because you have to leave the club to seek out the person who makes you feel like this is your last chance at love. Your last chance to find the missing heart to fit with yours.

Beat on black, beat on white

Beat on anything, don't get it right.

Beat on you, beat on me, beat on love

We put our hearts through a lot. The heart gets confused when we tell it to get excited for something. I feel like it wants to talk back to us and say, “Wait? Weren’t you not into this weeks ago and now all of a sudden I have to beat myself out for it? Can you calm down please?” But we tell it to beat for something, anything, to make us feel alive. Even though we might not be completely for it at the moment. It’s overwhelming to have something inside ourselves that can help us in some way actually feel feelings.

I don't know

How to say what's got to be said

I don't know if it's black or white

There's others see it red

I don't get the answers right

I'll leave that to you

Is this love out of fashion

Or is it the time of year?

Are these words distraction

To the words you wanna hear?

I’ve absolutely had moments where I don’t know how to say what I’m feeling towards someone. It’s usually never black or white, something as clear as that. It’s always red. Feelings blind you. And when you don’t know how to say what you want to say, the redness coming from your overflowing heart takes away your focus. You get scared. You don’t want to embarrass yourself. You essentially do leave the answers to the other person and hope that maybe you’re on the same page. Or sometimes, you end up babbling nonsense to kind of get to your point and pray that the person understands what you’re trying to say, and the heartfelt things you want to say to them with your babbling is indeed the music to their ears.

I try to spit it out

Try to explain

The way I wanna feel

Oh, yeah, two hearts

I tongue-tie myself constantly. I try to get everything out while hoping the meaning is conveyed without having to repeat and embarrass myself further. But that’s what is so hard about having the heart-on-your-sleeve quality. You’re somehow always trying to explain yourself and how you feel. All you ask in return is for the other person’s heart to understand.

Well I can't stop to dance

Maybe this is my last chance

And I said, I can't stop to dance

Maybe this is my last chance

I said don't stop to dance

Maybe this is my last chance

I said I can't stop to dance

Maybe this is our last chance

I said don't stop to dance

Maybe this is our last chance

Oh, oh!

“Maybe this is our last chance.” I think in a world where every day shows that nothing is guaranteed or certain, sometimes all we have is last chances and we have to trust in our personal ideas of love and go for them. Allow your sponge of a heart to be filled with joy and wear it. It’s too beautiful to be kept inside.

© @U2/Marino, 2016