U2 "All That You Can't Leave Behind" B-Sides

If this sensibility or assertion overreaches at this threshold, you only need to read on for how it all fell into place, especially since it became perspicuously clear that whether or not he may have recognized the individual she’d set out to meet as Billy himself, Bono’s first subsequent musical salvo (“Always” - 10/09/00) let her know he was aware of her choice to be with someone else and let her go with his blessing. So, welcome to limbo, was he aware enough to send her with his blessing because of how aware he was of her already on the interior, or because she’d told him about it directly? It was not like the universal awareness was incapable of pulling her father’s name out of the rabbit’s hat, witness “Wonders of Lewis”.  Was it all just some giant accident of coincidence?

To let her go was something her father had never proved capable of, and part of what she’d already believed raised Bono, in her estimation, above her father as a person. He responded exactly in terms of what she’d come across the ocean in order to ask in a manner that was fully aware of the context, even intimating why he’d found it impossible to respond to her personally. (These lyrics are transcribed wrong: the bridge to the B-Side is “I want you (3xs), don’t you know desire? I wanted to be your love, I wanted to call…”) -It certainly felt most bittersweet to hear (simultaneously implying he loved her too much to ever meet face to face, while saying why he’d wanted to). To know the cause might have been desire could not have been more gratifying, while at the same time it had the effect of denying everything that encounter could have produced, after she’d taken every measure possible not to put him at risk of such a dilemma. It seemed almost pettily self-gratifying; he’d taken the easy way out when she’d made the hard way easy by taking the aspect entire off the table. This irrevocable shift into the bittersweet (where they were now) happened to be the warning import in the opening verse (seeking consummation in the moment before the sense would turn and vanish); there wasn’t much time to fulfill the potential before the existing circumstance might be robbed completely, -her own fear exactly, in no small part from already witnessing it happen. There was sorrow in listening to it.

It was a brief gasp, while the sum of the song affirmed the transcendent nature of the connection (“Eternally yours” –exactly what she’d sought of him, i.e., responding in terms of all she felt it transcendentally spiritually meant in the context of having sacrificed desire and sending her with his blessing). It commended her to surface, while acknowledging it was what she herself had told him she was attempting (and had done with him) – “you say “come”, you know yourself, go find yourself in someone else”. What is of tremendous import here is that he resurrected this line from “Love Comes Tumbling”, -and she’d already fully explained the song to him in the fourth proof (and beyond). This could mean he was acknowledging that what had transpired with “Stand Inside Your Love” fulfilled his own prophecy of her (after she’d told him the levels to how it was a prophecy), directly acknowledging what he’d just witnessed as having took place firsthand, by making a veiled allusion to the song where he himself had predicted it happening.

And he was smart enough to admonish her on her sense of self-superiority, telling her instead to actively make the descent via articulation, by becoming the “apple” and the “target”, i.e., fulfill being an object chalk full of symbolic import in terms of the apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, not to mention the story of William Tell. The implication was to become William’s target, even invoking William’s sense of confidence that he’d hit the apple rather than kill his own son (the same sense of faith as Abraham, if from the reverse, i.e., faith in one’s self, which was Billy’s alley exactly, something she just intuitively knew). In terms of message, it was perfect. Have the faith that in becoming the target you won’t die, by daring to stick your head up. Make yourself apparent. -Articulate (“Zooropa” style), by dreaming out loud. William Tell. Ha-ha-ha. “–The add-on to the endorsement that she find herself in someone else was to always wear a safety belt. Not the safest risk to be taking. Maybe he even went so far as to imply “go tell Billy” -? Or was it mere speculation? Not even U2’s official site has the word as “apple”. Listening to the CD of its original release, the lyrics posted for “Always” are proof positive that not even their official site can get their lyrics right, the line is “be the apple, and the target”, which implicitly makes more sense. If you make an apple synonymous with a target, the first thing that springs to mind is William Tell. The synonymy also implies substitution; saving a life from being sacrificed. (It substitutes the apple for the child, so if you really want to go out on a limb, it could be insinuating grace and Eve’s apple all-in-one.) An apple only seems far-fetched until you look at the scene in “Beautiful Day” (2:29) where Bono takes a bite from an already bitten apple he lifts from a woman/stranger at the airport, only sink in bliss onto the luggage conveyer, and basically go on a trip. So what’s symbolized there?

Note this scene appears in tandem (immediately subsequent) to the beginning of two young people’s unending kiss, which is also in conjunction with the ending, where Bono appears running down the tarmac, as if in farewell to a departing plane. All put, farewell to what was imparted (a bestowal obviously portrayed symbolically as coming from The Tree of Knowledge, as plain as you can make it, from a woman, at an airport, i.e., she flew in and was a stranger, revelation that was also basically inferred to be in conjunction with the “eternal kiss” that never was, but certainly played out right before his eyes in “Stand Inside Your Love”, as well as Billy’s declaration of the eternal conjunction of the eternal lovers who were so before they even met on Machina, June and Glass. Especially in consideration of the lyrics in “Always” of the soul’s need for “beauty” as a soul mate, combined with the endorsement to go find [her]self in someone else. Incidentally the last line is “Turn each song into a prayer, always”, further reinforcing what she’d told him was already happening artistically in song rendering inside the feedback loop, in terms of the existing transmission of the sacred alluded to in The. S.P. 

From “Always” had sprung “Beautiful Day”; they were released together; they’re companion songs both in musical progression and where she was concerned, lyrical progression (which progressed onto the visuals). He even closed “Always” with the request to wait for him, because he was running late. In other words, he was aware of copping out. He hadn’t picked up the ball, and so instead was behind it, “running late”, literally, because he’d opted to remain and respond inside the feedback loop, a delay that caused her incredible pain, as well as remaining permanently stuck in time-lapse. The second B-side to accompany the “Beautiful Day” single was its complement (“Summer Rain”), by fully acknowledging the essence of what she’d personally revealed to him in The Sanctification Principle (and The Fourth Proof) as what had transpired between him and her, how she’d deliberately severed him and effected her fall for a reason. He described an au pair context as adrift on a sea generous enough that [the song’s object] had let him become her enemy, with a hand with a grip on the world. From the boat, they dived for pearls. It was real for a connected consciousness that had defined itself collectively through the redemptive dynamic, and considering she knew the ramification of severing him when she did it, you couldn’t have captured the context any better in a verse.

The full import of this would not sink until U2’s next album came out. It also had to do with what she’d revealed to him in The S.P., as per “Grace”’s perfect pearl. With just the third line of the verse above he’d linked his object to the neurotic driven, patriarchally abused woman-child depicted in “Daddy’s Gonna Pay” depicted as so uptight she resembled a baby’s fist; concerning “Daddy’s Gonna Pay”, she’d revealed a tonne on that score. (Her fist was no longer empty, and really wasn’t in “Daddy’s Gonna Pay” either, as all the ingredients were present – it was just herself.) In “Summer Rain” she holds “the world” which also cast back to “Daddy’s Gonna Pay”, the paradox of knowing everyone, yet being alone. The title also established “her” as the existing opposing counterpoint to the burning sun in “Staring at the Sun” (which she’d also explained as alluding to her father and his judgmental nature); he was lost in the summer rain instead. It’s not a baby’s fist anymore in “Summer Rain”; “hand” implies growing up (this would enter progression in quite an assimilation of elements (including origination by the river) here), in the sense directly imparted in the shift of coming to grips with the world, a world that transfers to her hip in its allusion in “Grace”, connoting her motherhood of it. He’d also touched upon its lyrical origination in “Luminous Times”, where her “tiny fist” held him. It was the very line that followed the declaration of his troth because God had given her to him. The invocation of this image was not a small thing (and had also developed in precisely the way she’d conveyed, for she had told him that what was transpiring was universal, something she viewed as having incepted between him and her, in terms of “you, ourself, and I”). This lyric lay at the very essence of what she believed (in terms of what’s envisioned inside “Luminous Times”); it was what she had asked him to confirm yea or nay (of course she’d explained how and why she saw it this way). It was this very line she’d wanted to know about, whether and if this had indeed somehow become mutual?

The “tiny hand” that held him and had a grip on the world would also be integrated with Grace (after they’d both been represented as seeking, underwater, the process of going underwater being what obtained the pearl); it would be Grace who was described as being in possession of the perfect pearl, which as anyone knows is derived from a parable reference to the kingdom of heaven as a transcendent consciousness (in the female personification of the ascendant Church, God’s people, the price paid being “the travail of Christ’s soul”, as this author points out. –Note: “a pearl is the product of a living creature, and it is the only gem that is. Not only so, but it is the result of suffering.” “The very thing that injured the animal, the little grain of sand that intruded, is ultimately clothed with a beauty that is not its own and covered with the comeliness of the one that it injured.” A slow process coping with a foreign substance to produce an indivisible gem, formed by oceanic scavengers unseen on the muddy ocean floor.) With just this one lyrical linkage he’d captured the import of what she’d written, personifying “Grace” as an existing woman who’d performed this, transformed suffering and shame, whose mere step resonated with music, even just walking to work (which obviously he knew as he’d witnessed her at work, and after all he’d been in possession of her home address). With the ever so subtle linkage of pearl diving (together) in “Summer Rain”, he made the effort mutual and further contextualized his feminine object, in precisely the manner she’d divulged in explaining her personal severance of him and how that had worked. What she’d told him in her S.P. was how she’d been forced to sever him in a way that would leave him in the perception that she’d been evil towards him to do it, i.e., how she’d deliberately allowed for him to become her enemy when she’d been dealing in terms of the potentially connected scope of the universal unconscious, i.e., the universal unconscious sea. (Which would figuratively put the situation in a boat, wouldn’t it?) She’d broached it purely in terms of probabilities, cold logic.

“You could stand against me if I was falsely condemned, or you could endorse me even if I was false. You can see, now, why the danger of the first possibility occurring struck me as the preferred option. “

In this song he’d also added the self-acknowledgement of how he was never going to change and what coming over had basically put her in the position of having to recognize, i.e., exactly how she’d already intuited he was, acknowledging that just as she’d found him to be, he was always a little too free –with himself. The song closed with a verse of the best import imaginable; it captured every dynamic that had to be dispensed with and every one that had to be enacted or stood upon/within.

In summation, he’d effectively captured what she’d revealed to him with respects to what had transpired between her and him in terms of her fourth title (Orpheus and Eurydice, using the sea analogy in the transformative transcendent analogy, her own substitution, as opposed an analogy of death), invoking their transcendent restoration, and he’d done this acknowledging her explanation of their separation. He’d responded in terms of what she’d asked of him by the rejoinder of “eternally yours”. He’d given her a prospectus on how to continue forward, affirmed mutual divestment of what had been abandoned (what had been lost wasn’t needed), explained why he hadn’t responded to her personally, and sent her with his blessing, all inside two songs. As seemed the usual, he’d left the stuff of most significant or personal import (or the elements of completion) on the B-Sides.

If you realize the implication of these taken together and how they integrated his prior work with what she had just revealed to him, directly, it is fully possible that at this moment, he’d quite deliberately integrated her existing revelation and her import into his work with just this one verse in “Summer Rain”, especially since he tied it into “Grace”, all of which meshed very well with what she’d told him about the spiritual marriage having engendered a connected consciousness that had undergone redemption; that it was this dynamic that defined it as a collective awareness.

He’d actually linked “Luminous Times” to what she’d revealed to him directly (the understanding of which healed the context of her fall, while at the same time affirming their unity was eternal, i.e. its restoration). The linking of “Luminous Times” meant he ever so subtly (through his art) and perhaps indirectly answered her question that had worked by supplying him with an answer, with “Always” affirming that what they possessed was eternal, which was exactly what she’d sought, the transcendent, spiritual affirmation. He’d integrated her definition and what she’d explained as their personal interplay (as well as the existing interplay she’d mentioned with someone else) with his own troth from 1987. In effect, it was “Yes”.

As an additional note to “Summer Rain” – it also reflected on Billy’s treatment in “Raindrops & Sunshowers”, and Chris Cornell’s song of the same title as well, which had also signified “her” rebirth, here captured in the very loaded biblical allusion to the rainbow that occurred after the forty day flood, which just happened to bivouac with Bono’s longstanding (since 1987) imagery of his spiritual feminine who came in colours and was capable of turning on the daylight, a lyric he’d deliberately tease out with U2’s forthcoming album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind (10/31/00).

Unfortunately as speculation it was a moot point, and that was how her mind was confined to branding it, because that, you see, was the only possible signal he deigned to give. This was compounded by the issue that he’d been so intimately aware of her on PoP, which fully could have been without even knowing she actually existed. Hence she had no idea if this was a reaction to absorbing what she’d actually written to him, or because he innately possessed that much of a sense of her already. He would not bother to provide her with a signal (apart from the possible naming of his offspring) that he may have actually absorbed what she had written for eleven more years. (That was Verse 5.) This by any standard would be considered slow on the ball. -Her silence louder than any song, the loudest noise. –Aye. Exactly what Danny’d said eleven years ago on Essex across from The Clarence.

In the entire process from the beginning, she had never qualified speculation, she’d demanded proof. It was her standard, how she qualified her observation that had established anything. It was the complement inside the feedback loop, the perception that had guided how things had developed. You are now observing exactly what she did and being abandoned as she was, by being left to judge. Was it yea or nay? Did this really qualify as a response? This, when he could have in fact opted to tell her to her face; she was mere minutes away for months and months (and that was by walking); he hadn’t had the courage to do so. Compare that to the personal courage she’d had to exhibit just by showing up. That the personal inconsideration of subjecting her to limbo was his choice in all likelihood, that he’d subject the situation to such a standard as she’d rejected throughout its entire course, spoke volumes in the effect that he wouldn’t.

How bittersweet was the answer? But when she heard it she smiled; she was fully caught in the elation that it hadn’t disappeared, that it simply didn’t disappear was everything. She was, by that moment, past the point of crying. He’d played the cards that would keep her; in so doing, he’d deliberately kept her in play. Nothing had ended by her crossing the ocean; it appeared to have integrated instead of disappearing. He’d even managed indirectly to acknowledge the context that had transpired with “Stand Inside Your Love” (that she’d indirectly told him about ahead of time), by ever so subtly invoking “William”. That too was speculation and thereby moot.

It’s too bad she never discovered there were more B-sides, as even just “Flower Child” would have blown her socks off, hitting as it did upon the date of her arrival “on the fifth day of May she was breaking away, when the moon came and sat on your shoulder, she was still young and not yet highly strung as you need to be when you get older”, combining this with the arrival of the “moon”, which she’d explicitly delineated as her symbol, or how her existence in turn reflected and delineated the existence of the greater one. Not to mention there’d been this eclipse right before she first met him. (It’s likely in the array of what he’d received she’d made passing reference to her arrival date, though not known for certain.) The verse also insinuated she was a fair bit younger (the age difference being 11 years). It also may have happened to accidentally flag, if you will, the day of her vibed out encounter with the Bono replica that night at the Globe (“George was the street when you first faced defeat, you put money on the colour of her sky” –The Globe being on Georges St.), as well as make a crack at “Holy Joe”. Her friend Joe had been religious, and was her companion of note when that first delivery to Bono was made. He’d had to endure her stress about it, a genuine help even though his perspective was a little jaded; (she was “obsessive” and so on and deserved to be laughed off, well yes but…) -Not to mention obliquely referencing all that bloody middle of the night construction digging up the road (wrong street though). “Didn’t hear what you said as the lights turned red on a love that should have stayed gold” –that definitely happened. This is what was meant about B-sides; all of them possessed these more direct/personal elements, if not necessarily an array of tangible ones. To have heard this song would have given her a little more confidence in reference to “Wild Honey” –and elsewhere, but nevermind. The “colour of her voice” had entered reality as something he’d actually encountered that left him no recourse other than drinking himself to oblivion.