I’ve always had a taste for rock music; I love to look up rock lyrics and learn the song’s true meaning. I feel that pop music lacks meaning and purpose, and that is one reason why I prefer rock. Because of this, I think U2’s influential 1983 album “War” is a great example of passion in song writing. Hits like “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Drowning Man,” and “40” can be controversial, but they are definitely my favorite songs from this remarkable album.
“Sunday Bloody Sunday” is one of U2’s greatest hits; its catchy tune pulls me in and leaves me humming all day long. I also admire the meaning of the lyrics. Many people mistake “SBS” as a song of rebellion, yet, it’s just the opposite. Paul David Hewson (better known by his stage name, Bono) wrote this song about an incident in Northern Ireland in 1972, in which British troops shot and killed unarmed, peaceful protestors.
It’s been said that Bono waved a white flag as a sign of peace when he sang “Sunday Bloody Sunday” because tensions in Ireland were so high at the time. U2 doesn’t hesitate to write controversial lyrics: “And it’s true we are immune/When fact is fiction and TV reality/And today the millions cry/We eat and drink and tomorrow they die.” They lyrics are a wake-up call, urging us to pay attention to the needy. “SBS” is a strong example of U2’s desire to have an influence on the world.
“Drowning Man” is yet another hit and one of their most inspiring and influential songs for changing the world. Many of U2’s songs have lyrics of faith woven into them. Lyrics like, “I’ll cross the sky for your love,” and “Rise up, rise up, with wings like eagles,” show that “Drowning Man” is a great example of this. The lyrics are powerful, especially since many rock bands around this time were not religious.
“40,” the last song on the album, may be one of U2’s most remarkable. At concerts, it was common for the audience to continue singing its verses, even after the band had left the stage. Yet, I feel that many people don’t really absorb the lyrics in this song, just like the others I mentioned. “40” is based on a passage from the Bible – Psalm 40: 1-3. This song can be taken in so many directions, and the use of religion makes it yet another controversial hit in “War.”
U2 is an amazing band with a strong drive for change, which happens to be best presented in “War.” They have a unique style and sound, and their songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Drowning Man,” and “40” all have something in common – they’ve all impacted the world religiously, socially, and politically. After countless years of being a rock fanatic, I am positive that “War” is the most heartfelt album I’ve ever heard.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.