SMH : Bono the ’banal’ bard - U2 France

SMH : Bono the ’banal’ bard

mardi 10 août 2004 / par Dom

SOurce : SMH

U2 frontman Bono admits that he doesn’t think some of his lyrics are very good.

"When I look at our first 10 years, I just hear unfinished work, lyrics we never finished because we ran out of studio time," he said. "I hear Bad and see what’s not there. I just see a list of failures."

Of the band’s 1987 hit, Where The Streets Have No Name, Bono says "It’s one of the most banal couplets I’ve ever heard.

" ’I want to run, I want to hide ’ That’s not very interesting, but you know what ? People don’t hear the couplets when we play the song," he told the Los Angeles Times.

"They hear something else in the music. They hear a band talking about a special place, a better place, and asking if the audience wants to go there with them."

Despite his reservations, Bono acknowledges the power of that particular song when performed live.

"We can be in the middle of the worst gig in our lives, but when we go into that song, everything changes," he says. "The audience is on its feet, singing along with every word. It’s like God suddenly walks through the room. It’s the point where craft ends and spirit begins. How else do you explain it ?"
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The 44-year-old likens the song-writing process to a kind of alchemy, in which the lyrics are only a small part of the final work.

"Feelings are stronger than ideas or words in a song. You can have 1,000 ideas, but unless you capture an emotion, it’s an essay," he said.

The 44-year-old isn’t entirely dismissive of the power of the word, saying he is "always writing speeches or articles for causes I believe in. That’s probably what I would have done if I wasn’t in music, but that’s not songwriting."

U2 is due to release a new album in November, the band’s first album since 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

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