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U2 Lists: 10 Songs to Lift You Up When You're Feeling Down
March 16, 2016
[Ed. note: This is the 67th in a "U2 Lists" series, where @U2 staffers pick a topic and share their personal rankings on something U2-related.]
Life is not always beautiful and calm. Unfortunately, sometimes we face difficult situations, things that we’re not prepared for. Obviously we become sad, but I’m grateful we have music, which I think is a great way to deal with those issues. It’s not magic, or a remedy, but I do believe music has the power to help in the healing process.
I made a list of U2 songs that can help lift us up when we're feeling down.
1. “Walk On”
If you didn’t watch The Lady yet, I recommend it. The film is about Aung San Suu Kyi’s journey in Burma and her relationship with the family she was forced to leave behind. The film is very powerful, and she’s an inspiration. I don’t know how she found the interior strength to fight against that situation. That’s what this song means to me: When I’m in a position where I believe there is no exit, I have to find a way to keep looking for an answer and never give up.
And if the darkness is to keep us apart / And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off / And if your glass heart should crack / And for a second you turn back / Oh no, be strong
Walk on, walk on / What you got they can't steal it / No they can't even feel it / Walk on, walk on / Stay safe tonight
2. “Beautiful Day”
When everything goes wrong throughout the entire day, this is the first song that comes to my mind. The lyrics are totally about these problems, but at the end there is still hope. Optimism surges when you look around and see the beauty of nature, the small things we usually don’t realize day by day. Play with your pet, take a deep breath, think tomorrow will be a better day -- and you’ll have more chances to have what you want.
After the flood, all the colors came out …
I know I’m not a hopeless case …
What you don’t have, you don’t need it now
3. “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of”
This song for Michael Hutchence is not a “happy song.” Honestly, sometimes I avoid listening to it when I don’t want to hear the truth. Why? Because it hurts. Everyone who has already had depression feels really stuck. I think Bono was very sensitive to write a song like this for a close friend who committed suicide. It’s so personal and reflects exactly these terrible feelings. At the same time, we should push ourselves to face those situations and that’s why I like this song. For me, it’s like someone giving you advice: “Calm down; these tears won’t take you anywhere. We’ll find a way.”
But darling look at you / You’ve got to stand up straight, carry your own weight…
You’ve got to get yourself together …
It’s just a moment, this time will pass …
4. “Original Of The Species”
This is a “Be who you are song,” Bono told Niall Stokes for his book U2: The Stories Behind Every U2 Song. As many of you might know, this song was originally written to Holly, Edge’s daughter, but it became universal, and I identify with it. Some days you look at the mirror and think you’re ugly, your hair is not good or you have nothing to wear -- even with a full closet. It’s a feeling that you’re different from everyone else and you simply don’t fit into the world. It’s OK to not be perfect. We’re all different and have lots of questions and plenty of insecurities, but we have to persuade ourselves that is a good thing. We are unique and that’s what makes us special.
And you feel like no-one before …
I want the lot of what you got / And I want nothing that you’re not …
You don’t have to be shy about it / And you’ll never be alone / Come on now show your soul
I didn’t want to enter into the religious world because I think it’s a very personal thing and not every U2 fan approves of the Christianity in the band’s music. Even so, I believe it’s worthwhile to include this song in my list because everyone inside an arena or stadium is touched when the band plays “40.” It’s a call coming straight from the heart. If you believe in God, and you’re in a bad situation, making a prayer is also a good way to look for comfort, and to ask for patience and vitality.
I waited patiently for the Lord / He inclined and heard my cry / He brought me up out of the pit / Out of the miry clay / I will sing, sing a new song
6. “Zoo Station”
Achtung Baby was U2’s rebirth. I knew it was a hard task, but From The Sky Down gave me the impression that it was even harder than I could imagine. Reinventing yourself is very difficult and usually scares most people (including me), but U2 went forward into the unknown. It’s not easy for me to leave my comfort zone or laugh at my faults as U2 did, but I’m trying to not let fear take over and not care so much about other people’s opinions. We have to trust in who we really are and better things will come.
I’m ready, I’m ready for the laughing gas / I’m ready, I’m ready for what’s next / I’m ready to duck, ready to dive / Ready to say I’m glad to be alive / I’m ready, I’m ready for the push
7. “Song For Someone”
In times of adversity, what should you do? During crisis periods, I try to find a light at the end of the tunnel, but I know it’s tough. When we’re suffering, rarely can we see beyond our problems. You have to grab what’s left: your family, partner, friends or faith. They’ll help to show us the other side. Believe in yourself; do not let hope go out.
If there is a light / You can't always see / And there is a world / We can't always be / If there is a dark / That we shouldn't doubt / And there is a light / Don't let it go out
8. “Some Days Are Better Than Others”
The title says all. I like a little bit of zodiac, and every day I read my horoscope. The moon governs my sign, which is Cancer -- I was born on July 7 (just like Eve Hewson) -- and this sign is also a member of the water group. The moon is the ruler of moods, so Cancerians are very emotional. Our emotions can change a lot, like lunar phases. Just accept that today you’re moody, but everything can be different the following day.
And some days have bouncers and won’t let you in / Some days you hear a voice taking you to another place
Some days you feel like a bit of a baby / Lookin’ for Jesus and his mother / Some days are better than others
9. “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”
I don’t know if I felt this way in the past, but after following the I+E tour stream last year, every time I listened to this song the word that came to mind was “uplifting.” Even if I wasn’t having a good day, listening to “Pride” filled me with joy and hope. Martin Luther King’s life was taken, but his values, principles and legacy remained. Spread a message of love and compassion to attract positive energy and it’s what will last.
Free at last, they took your life / They could not take your pride
In the name of love / What more in the name of love
The song starts with the “16th of June” that takes us to Bloomsday, when James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses was set. My view of this song is that we should live one day at a time: “Carpe diem,” which means "Seize the day." I know it’s not easy to enjoy every second with intensity when we have a head full of problems, or we’re out of money. I’m aware of the difficulties of modern life -- especially if you live like I do in a country that’s in a recession -- but we should think that we’re still breathing; while there is life there is hope. Be glad to be alive and remember that that every day is a new day to improve your life.
Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn / Every day I have to find the courage / To walk out into the street / With arms out / Got a love you can’t defeat / Neither down or out / There’s nothing you have that I need / I can breathe / Breathe now
(c) @U2/Bottini, 2016