Innocent Songs?


Bono is a fascinating character. His raw and honest lyrics fill his music with the spirit that makes it so attractive to many. He opens up the pain in his soul to the listener. That may be one of the reasons why he loves the Psalms of David so much.

Bono is by no means a theologian or even an exemplary character, but his album ‘Songs of Innocence’ caught my interest. Here in particular he wrestles with the problem of pain and grief. Because of that, some of his life shines through. In particular he sings a song about the death of his Irish mother: Iris.

Bono describes the death of his mother when he was a boy this way: “…a staring match that death always wins and we’re left broken by the loss of someone really close to us. I owe Iris. Her absence, I filled with music.” You can find this quote and the song here. As a little boy, he saw both his mother and grand-father die in one year and that left a gaping hole. He describes his mother this way: “The star that gives us light / Has been gone a while / But it’s not an illusion / The ache in my heart / Is so much a part of who I am.”

But, as the song progresses, he reaches a point of light, we could say. Often there is an inkling of redemption in his songs. He sings about something beyond this reality. Maybe he should be more explicit, but it is so implicit that it shouts loud and clear: “Once we are born / We begin to forget / The very reason we came / But you I’m sure I’ve met / Long before the night / The stars went out / We’re meeting up again”

As expressed in this song, Bono takes relationships seriously. This shines out throughout this particular album: Songs of Innocence. It may be of interest to know that his life stands out against other popular stars in that he remained married to the wife of his youth. Bono (also known as Paul Hewson) has been married to Ali Hewson since 1982. You can learn more about their marriage here.

Often Bono leans towards emotionalism, and his music doesn’t always seem to have a clear grasp of Christianity. But sometimes it screams so loud, it is almost hard not to hear. He sings in his song ‘The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)’ of the story of how a miracle happened to Joey Ramone. Two questions you might want to consider: is Joey Ramone representative of Bono? Is the miracle representative of conversion? It definitely has prominent themes of gratitude: “I woke up at the moment when the miracle occurred / I get so many things I don’t deserve / All the stolen voices will someday be returned / The most beautiful sound I’d ever heard” The Miracle

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