To be honest, this song did not hit home immediately. That said, it grew on me quickly and there are a lot of reasons for this being a great track.
Musically I think this may qualify as a modern rock hymn for this age. It’s a truly bizarre combination of electronics, church organ, guitar and piano. Larry’s drum beat is a hypnotic, skipping heartbeat that is shaped by Adam’s bass and a droning organ that just seems to make a deep, meaningful pull at your emotions. Edge’s solo is subdued wail, calling on you to let it in and let consume you inside and out.
Bono is truly the star of this song in my mind. That grasping, gravelly voice literally calling on God. Vocally this is a man who has come through incredible odds to find a new sound, a new call to the masses. After the crazy, painful journey his voice has been through over the years, this album has shown us a man who is not giving up, not stopping his search for something new. On this song, I was just shocked to hear the power and the restraint only a great vocalist can produce. As the band grows and changes, so does Bono here.
If Bono’s voice is the star, the words he’s chosen to use are an equal partner in this. Bono has always had a way of mixing his metaphors so his women (and love in general) are a convoluted cover for God and vice versa. His great lyrics are the love songs that are worship songs. This may be the best he’s done at that. While this is a more obvious call to God he still manages to construe it as a love song of hurt, want and desperation.
Every listen brings new meaning for me. Just today I was looking at the line ‘It’s not if I believe in love but if love believes in me’. Okay, I like the twist in this. Something about this line kept me coming back to it. That said, how about replacing the word ‘love’ with the word ‘God’ in that line. It’s not if I believe in God but if God believes in me. Reminds me of Mysterious Ways. Who works in mysterious ways? He might say ‘she’ but that’s a stolen line from the old saying ‘God moves in mysterious ways’. Classic Bono writing.
The other truly classic thing for me is the title itself. The moment of surrender has so many meanings. What do we surrender to? A criminal who realizes it’s over at the moment of his surrender. A man finally steps up to the brink and let’s his feelings be known to his love. the moment of surrender to love. And of course, the moment you give in to your faith and give everything over to God. The moment of surrender on folded knee.
He takes a couple of deep stabs at society today. Not noticing people around you and them not noticing you. The people on the subway all not looking at each other. This line hit me personally because I am a people watcher. I like watching what people do. And people do not see each other. And many go to great pains to avoid eye contact. A sad statement on the lack of community in the world today.
His subway comment on the stations of the cross brought a vision to my mind. A train speeding out of control. I picture myself on it. No one looking at each other. It’s dark in the tunnel and as we reach each station, there is a brief moment of light. And as we pass through the last station, there’s the realization that the track ends there. You have but a moment to surrender to that light or perish in the dark.
I feel the need to let you all know I am not a person of faith. That has been a struggle of my entire life and I find myself miles from it at this point. For all of that I can neither deny Bono nor anyone else their need for that faith. And I can truly appreciate what it means for each person. I have found myself feeling those feelings even if I don’t live that life. As I’m sure there are many people of faith that are fans, I am just as sure that there are as many without faith. That we can appreciate the deeper meanings is, to me, part of the great binding of humanity. If we could all embrace each other’s lives and beliefs, the world would be a better place. Often the truth lies in the thought that has been with me a long time…that religion is often the greatest barrier to God. Someone we know said that once…
As always, I would love all of you to share your journey’s through this album. I would love to hear any thoughts, good or bad about my thoughts.