What Does This Song Say To You?

I remember when this song came out. It meant something to me back then. I heard it on the way to work the other day and it took on a whole new meaning for me 20 years later.

What does this song say to you?

I think it’s about a dysfunctional relationship, where the two people stay together despite their problems because their moral beliefs tell them that love/marriage is a lifelong commitment.

Of course, the “one blood” part is kind of icky when combined with the “sisters, brothers” line because it makes it sound like they’re related. But my thought is that this is a metaphor for the way they are connected by their commitment.

At first I thought of it on the micro level, but toward the end I think it takes on a more universal meaning. It seems to me it’s about our universal need to experience love, despite the fact that we tend to have a very constricted and limited view of what love actually is. I took it as a commentary on the way that our humanity so frequently interferes with our ability to experience love.

It kind of reminds me of Schopenhauer’s porcupine conception of humanity. We are all porcupines, and we need to huddle against one another for warmth. However, the closer we get to our fellow porcupines, the more likely we are to jab them with all of our sharp little quills. To attain real closeness we have to experience real pain.

The song is about the human condition.

(FTR, this is the first time I’ve ever heard this song.)

My interpretation of the song would, undoubtedly, be very different if I hadn’t heard Bono explain what he was getting at when he first wrote it.

As it is, I know that Bono conceived of the song as a plea from a young AIDS victim to his family. The young man needs and wants the love and support his family can give him, but he sees that they still can’t fully accept or embrace him (because he’s gay, perhaps?).

It’s an angry, sad, anguished cry that says, “You’re supposed to love me and cherish me as I am, but instead you’re just grudgingly accepting me! And that hurts me more than anything. We’re supposed to be one family, but you’re still shutting me out. Instead of enthusiastically welcoming back your prodigal son, you’re acting like you’re doing him a favor, expecting grovelling and penitence and gratitude. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be! You’re supposed to love me unconditionally!"

It reminds me of how much I used to love U2, back when Bono was a god.

Really? I am surprised. Do you happen to remember the source for that?

I thought the song represented one side of a knock-down, drag-out argument between lovers. Perhaps one argument of a fight that has been going on for days. Likely the last argument of the relationship. It sounds to me as if the listener is hearing the narrator fight over the phone – you hear only half of the argument. It also sounds to me like the narrator has cooled off a bit because he is fed up and that his SO is still raging on.

I think your all right. He did open his Achtung Baby tour at an Aids benefit and the CD cover was designed by an artist with Aids.

It is about the tragic end of a relationship. That was always my take on it and the fact the album came out as I was filing for divorce. I found a lot of solace in it back then.

Listening to it in the car the other day I was thinking this song means so much more. As OlivesMarch said it is about the human condition. We are supposed to “carry each other”. It is a grace to help others and love is about unity. We are different, not the same. It isn’t a bad thing.

I also felt the focus on the title “One”.
One Love
One Blood
One Life
We gotta do what we should
One Life
With each other
But were not the same
We get to carry each other
One Life

One represents unity. One means the first the best and the only. It is indivisible, it is universal, whole and complete. One represents God. If you believe in God you are commanded to place him in the number one position in your life. God in the Alpha and the Omega. You only get one life, one chance to do the right thing. Yet the right thing is hard. Bono is very theologically literate from what I have read. One Blood reminds me of Acts 17:26 (King James Version)-

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation”.

Yes, I know God, but it’s really hard to get along with our brothers and sisters. It’s easier to fight and kill them before they kill us. Unconditional love is what you expect. How can I accomplish that in todays world?

I just have this one life to get it right. I want to get it. I don’t want my life to mean nothing. More importantly I want to die in a state of grace, not disgrace. I try and do the next right thing and take the high road but there is so much more I could be doing. Not great things but small things with great love.

So tonight my son took me out for pizza before work and as we were getting up to leave I told him I loved him and I thought it would embarrass him but he just said, I love you too Mom. He knew I meant it and I knew he meant it. It was real and pure and it felt good. That is a start.

It is about what was going on in the band at the time. Edge was getting divorced and was depressed. He was thinking about quitting the band. There was conflict about Bono wanting to be a political activist rather than a rock singer. There was was creative conflict in the rest of the band. The song is about fighting with people you love. The song is about how the collective can be strong despite the differences of the band mates. The lyric “Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head” is very self aware of Bono.

‘‘Small things with great love.’’ I like that.

I can’t youtube at work so I normally don’t bother to try.

I skimmed over the first post and thought, man, who would read so much into:

“One is the loneliest number that you ever heard.
Two can be as bad as one but it’s the loneliest number since the number one”, etc.

But now I see we’re not talking about the old Three Dog Night song which, come to think of it, does not lend itself to a rigorous analysis of lyrical interpretation… or does it???

And we now return to your regularly scheduled CS thread.

I don’t really have anything new to add, but it really does remind me of how good Bono could be. It’s a very profound song.

I really like this version. I thought I preferred it to the original, but as I listened to the original again just now I’m not as sure.

Bono was going through some major transitions and was getting divorced. When he came out with “With Or Without You” it was like another coffin nail in my own divorce. ‘One’ and,‘With Or Without You’ became my divorce songs and when ever I heard them I winced. Bad memories… But hearing it on a bright and sunny morning in my car this week I heard it differently. Kind of cool.

I can’t change the world, just my own little piece of it. As I get older I am trying harder to become the person that God wants me to be. I used to feel like he was picking on me too much but I turned it around and now I see that he wants me to experience everything in my life, Good and bad, beautiful and ugly. It’s been a hell of a ride but I’m still on this side of the dirt. My life has been better then anything I see on tv and as good as a lot of novels. So my personal “One” is becoming at one with God. Going from defiance to reliance has freed me from a lot of worldly cares. I wear the world as a loose garment today not the ball and chain it used to be.

Thanks, I liked it better myself! Sometimes I like different versions better then the originals. My favorite Bono song is ‘Miss Sarajevo’ which he sang with the late Pavarotti.

Thanks “All” for the replies :slight_smile: