"I find someone like [James] Joyce quite rock 'n' roll, because he was bending and messing with words."
@U2 Lists: Top 10 U2 Tearjerkers
October 22, 2015
[Ed. note: This is the 64th in a "U2 Lists" series, where @U2 staffers pick a topic and share their personal rankings on something U2-related.]
I’m really good at crying. I once worked with a girl who caught me during a particular emotional moment and said I looked pretty when I cried. While I don’t think my red, tear-streaked face deserves a magazine cover, I will admit anything can turn on the waterworks for me. I can’t tell you the number of times my heart has been stirred because of U2. I will say their recent I+E tour really had me on an emotional rollercoaster, as it brought up memories of my past that until then I hadn’t been able to come to terms with. So I decided to write about my own personal list of U2 songs that make me feel all of the feels. So grab a tissue and let’s get some tears flowing!
10. “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own”
Bono’s operatic tribute to his late father Bob is one of the most poignant songs on How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (my favorite U2 album). “A house doesn’t make a home / Don’t leave me here alone,” Bono sings, and you kind of just want to give him a hug and tell him that he made his dad so proud. It’s a song about parents, which I immediately took to heart when I wrote about it a few years ago in my experience with bullying.
9. “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of”
I use U2’s music to guide me through everything, be it work drama or personal grief. This song from All That You Can’t Leave Behind is no exception. “I am still enchanted by the light you brought to me / I still listen through your ears / And through your eyes I can see,” finds me trying to live a good life for my late grandmother. But perhaps the most cry-inducing part of the song comes toward the end, when Bono reminds us despite life’s many curveballs, “And if your way should falter … It’s just a moment, this time will pass.” Indeed.
8. “Miracle Drug”
A beautiful song on its own, lyric-wise. But Edge’s guitar solo … the chills. That is all.
“Uncertainty can be a guiding light.” Could a lyric be any stronger and a better force to lead you through the dark than this one? I’ve listened to this song numerous times when I’ve had to make difficult personal decisions about jobs. You ultimately have to put yourself first and believe in yourself. After all, “You’ve got the right shoes to get you through the night.”
6. “Song For Someone”
If I were Alison Stewart, I would tell Bono to stop right here with the impressing because he’s nailed it with this gem from the band’s latest album Songs Of Innocence. No doubt there are many U2 songs about the apple of Bono’s eye that are also quite stunning. But this one just hits you right in the heart. “You’ve got eyes that can see right through me / You’re not afraid of anything they’ve seen.” With a love like that, could you want anything more in life?
5. “Walk On”
I wouldn’t have made it through my grandmother’s passing in 2010 without this song. I remember playing the Slane Castle version in my car on repeat while I drove to her funeral service. Bono’s musical dedication to Aung San Suu Kyi hit me on such a personal level in overcoming her loss that I had held a picture of my grandmother in my hand when I heard the song live in Spain that same year. I also got lyrics from it tattooed on my forearm in her honor. It’s a song about moving on but not forgetting. It’s a song about understanding pain. It’s a song I’m so thankful was written.
4. “Window In The Skies”
“Oh can’t you see what love has done?” Oh U2, can’t you see what this song has done to me? I love this song more than words can explain. I feel that it’s U2’s most underrated song and people often forget about it. It’s whimsical and poetic and full of uplifting joy. It makes you fall in love with the idea of love.
3. “City Of Blinding Lights”
This is my New York anthem. This is everything that reminds me of the city I’ve dreamed of living in my whole life. When I went to my first U2 show on the Vertigo tour and heard this as the opener, my emotions let loose. It’s visual and sparkling and you can’t help but imagine being enveloped in New York City’s heartbeat when listening to it. When I walk the streets with this song blasting in my ears, it gives me the biggest spring in my step. Bono worked major songwriting magic with this one.
2. “Beautiful Day”
There was no way I could write this list without including my favorite U2 song of all time. This is the song that made me a fan. This is the song that seals up my love for them in a few short melodic minutes. It gives you such hope that everything will be
OK. I made it through so many obstacles because of the song, and recently, it’s been the ultimate theme in helping me live my best life. Every day is a beautiful day if you just believe. Don’t let it get away.
1. “Iris (Hold Me Close)”
This was tough. I was poised to rank “Beautiful Day” as the top tearjerker champion. But after the very first listen to this song, I knew my tear ducts were numbered. I haven’t been this affected by a U2 song on such a strong level since probably the first time I heard BD. Bono puts his heart out on the line for all of us to see as he sings out to the mother he didn’t get the chance to know more. Her sudden passing inspired a song that brings me to tears just writing about it. And hearing it live? Forget it. I could barely make it through singing along without getting choked up. I have no idea how Bono does it on stage during this current tour. To be so open and honest about losing his mother with a song that just rips your heart out each time with lyrics like “The stars are bright / But do they know / The universe is beautiful but cold.” This song helped me come to terms with losing my grandmother and in some way, patching up my bleeding heart. It’s the most beautiful tribute to a loved one and it’s the best song on the new album. And for it to exist makes my world a better place. Hold on, gotta go dry my eyes…
(c) @U2/Marino, 2015