With Or Without You – U2


Bono. I’ve always sort of admired him. Not sure why. He just, I dunno, appeals to me. I often make joking references to him and U2, especially when I discovered the argument term ‘Tu Quo Que’, which roughly translates to ‘you too’. Video Gamer Guy (check out his blog – there’s a link to the right) got very sick of the jokes, but heck, I enjoy them… Here’s what could possibly be THE BEST U2 song of all, which I will now validate, with or without you…

With Or Without You starts off being an mini-instrumental, which in my opinion, is very, for want of a better word, epic. I mean, it draws you in, doesn’t it? You have the sort of ‘oooh, what’s going to happen’ feel to it. The light guitar and the tambourine hint at something big coming, which, after a verse or so, it does.

Verbally, the song is very relaxed right up until about 2/3 of the way in, right when you can start to feel Bono’s emotion. The whole song, until then, seems really relaxed, even half-hearted, despite the fact that the message is meant with every ounce of all of their hearts. The sudden drop into heart wrenching vocals adds a sense of empathy which makes the listener, who probably feels the same towards people they know, connect with him. it’s a very effective method for song writing which has and hope fully will, always work.

So, here we come to the actual message. This is a complicated one. I think it’s about a guy who loves a woman so much, that he can’t be with her because he knows that he’ll keep wanting her more and more and it’s not fair on her, but being without her would cause him emotional pain, which he doesn’t think he’ll be able to survive.

I think that’s a great message, because it compares the moral choice of being with someone when you know it will hurt them, or leaving them to protect them, as an act of self-sacrifice.

Lyrically, the whole song is a bunch of metaphors. Through the storm we reach the shore. What storm? What shore? They don’t exist. They represent trials, tribulations and troubles that the two of them deal with in their relationship. I can’t live, with or without you. I don’t think he’d actually die if they were/weren’t together, but it would probably be a mercy if he did. He doesn’t think he can survive it, hence the need for a song and dance about it.

My favourite lyrics aren’t actually lyrics, but rather, as you may have guessed, the whole ‘AAAAAAAAH’ sequence, entirely due to the fact that it demonstrates, with flying colours, a genuine emotion we have, do, or will all feel at some point. It’s this kind of connecting with people who makes U2 such a great band.

Now, as always, we come to the video. It was a bit too surreal for me to make much out of it. We see the band playing their instruments and Bono getting emotional. Not a lot else happens. As such, there’s nothing I can really say about it. I like the hat though.

So, great song, mediocre video and an amazing band. Sorry to all you so-called ‘haters’ out there, but I always knew what I would give this song.

9/10

That Guy

2 thoughts on “With Or Without You – U2

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