I’m Wide Awake – I’m Not Sleeping – Bad by U2

Bono thought Bad unfinished lyrically but he came to embrace it in nearly every concert since Live Aid in 1985, filling in the gaps with whatever inspired him at the moment he was singing.

Brian Eno, most well known with the Talking Heads, had changed the sound of U2 at this time from a straight ahead rock and roll group to an experimental group that came back to hard rock only when needed.

This was the same course the Beatles traveled, as their fame and bankroll grew enough to let them depart from the music their fans always demanded to the songs they wanted to create and play. This song, for example, is about addiction. It is a testimony to the strength of both bands that their followers increased despite continuing ventures into art rock.

At the end of the song, the best U2 songs turn into a spiritual. At the end of the song, the best Irish singers turn to wailing. The Irish have a longing put into them by their melancholy and lyrical poets and driven by the loss of the diaspora to scattered continents, to the loss of life in The Troubles, to the generations killed by the famine more than a century ago.

We can only wonder if they can ever “Let it go.”

Bad

If you twist and turn away
If you tear yourself in two again
If I could, yes I would
If I could, I would
Let it go

Surrender
Dislocate
If I could throw this lifeless lifeline to the wind
Leave this heart of clay
See you walk, walk away
Into the night
And through the rain
Into the half-light
And through the flame
If I could through myself
Set your spirit free, I’d lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light
And to the day

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
To let it go
And so to fade away
To let it go
And so, fade away
Wide awake
I’m wide awake
Wide awake
I’m not sleeping
Oh, no, no, no

If you should ask then maybe they’d
Tell you what I would say
True colors fly in blue and black
Bruised silken sky and burning flag
Colors crash, collide in bloodshot eyes
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

If I could, you know I would, if I could, I would
Let it go
This desperation
Dislocation
Separation, condemnation
Revelation in temptation
Isolation, desolation
Let it go
And so fade away
To let it go
And so fade away
To let it go

Oh now, and so to fade away
I’m wide awake
I’m wide awake
Wide awake
I’m not sleeping
Oh, no, no, no

About thomasfarley01

Freelance writer specializing in outdoor subjects, particularly rocks, gems and minerals.
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