U2's 'Songs of Innocence'

"Just when you think you have wrapped your head around Songs Of Innocence..." - @U2.com

I will tiptoe no closer than this. There is no point.

*skipping stones*

(I don't skip stones on the water, I skip on stones in the water; that's how I used to get around* -Chapter 7)

I have said (somewhere - if you read the book it's the last footnote you will find) -that I refuse to "mansplain" this album, meaning, explain the songwriter's intent from this existing POV, -so I think I've isolated the meaning of the term at its essence even if I've reversed it.

The intent is to let the situation speak for itself as it always has. (It has been explained enough, if not yet published.)

But I do feel at liberty to skip and land on some stones, -really overt ones that aren't wet and won't guarantee I fall...

Let's start with the title choice being sourced from William Blake's "Songs of Innocence/Songs of Experience". (-Quite the illustrator, 'twas Blake... ->>>)

Oh, Look! - We have the same citation in the footnotes, inside the "In the Music" mentions, thanks to Ian Astbury's having referenced the same fourteen years ago by his inclusion of the song "Tyger" (it's at the bottom; Blake's poem of the same title appeared in his anthology Songs of Experience, whereas its poetic counterpoint, "The Lamb" (also mentioned) is from Blake's Songs of Innocence). But (of course), the book is replete with the passage and passages of many, many songwriters over the course of more than 20 years (never more so than the recent); -and yes indeed, their voices will be heard

"The Tyger" and "The Lamb" with their hyperlinks are Blake's first appearance in the book. Blake's second appearance in the book has to do with his final anthology of poems, "Jerusalem". -It is not a footnote; it appears in the book itself. The third footnote as per Blake was provided by Bono at Glastonbury 2011, since he sung the preface. As far as I'm concerned, "Footnotes" are the book, part and parcel, -and at least with those at present you can begin to see these threads of thought existed and were published prior under everyone's noses (which is saying nothing since no one's looking).

Whatever people's debates may be about what came first in the prospective future - it will remain unnassailable in the sense that this book was submitted for copyright April 1st, 2013. (-All subsequent changes are almost all purely cosmetic, enough to be beyond dispute, the assertions below included.)

So I'm at liberty to say that Blake makes a second appearance in the book (which caused this footnote), -because his illustration was apparently employed (Gallery 3 - scroll down) in order to signal recognition of the protaganist's appearance in virtual on the SP Official Forum by her true name(s) very shortly after she was compelled to announce them (January 2nd, 2001).  (-Not the most comfortable image, is it?->>>)

That would be quite a pivot on which the plot's development rests, -wouldn't it? It was an illustration of Blake's from his epic tome "Jerusalem" that was used to signify recognition.

Neato, but not that neat. -It's accidental/coincidental in the sense that the book was delivered before that part was written. It is only inside a massive matrix that little things like that are even appreciable. 

*these stones are so small,

 it's like dancing on skipping stones

 the river stones smooth and round you pick for skipping over the water*

One more: the analogy of singer/songwriter/bandmates/musicians as spiritual soldiers (which appears in "This is Where You Can Reach Me Now") makes its advent in the same chapter (Chapter 25), at the crucible moment where the protagonist sets out to prove herself in the face of just one artist. She starts by posting a dream. (Of course the protagonist's dreams must figure prominently for the book to possess an accompanying Dream Journal.) As seems the pattern, this artist (God bless 'im -he may find the present a wee bit familiar); -the Great Pumpkin Billy Corgan thought it would be a matter of ease and no consequence to kill his feminine concept/object behind his concept album and so kill the debate. (Didn't quite work out that way.)

His way of perhaps reaching out at the moment was to confide, in turn, what may have been his own real dream (as opposed to the false fiction/artification he was making of the moment) -as follows:

"the night before the final concert, GLASS has a prophetic dream that he is a soldier in a war...he wears a uniform, but does not know who the enemy is or even what side he is fighting for...he wanders the empty streets, gun in hand, looking for anyone at all...in a dark starewell he meets a faceless soldier who takes him by the hand into a dusky basement...the soldier does not speak, and together they sit underneath a single hanging bulb...he is just an animal, seeking shelter, warmth, food, and love...this dream, and the MACHINES final concert send GLASS into a disturbing tailspin...he feels truly and utterly alone..."

-That shook her empathy; she took it seriously. So, utterly undaunted, she continued in the face of all the "crazy" imputations with this, her first rejoinder, "I am giving his soldier a face". He was in need, -obviously. If there is even an iota of probability of being able to provide, -you provide.

This falls under the category of #idontknowhow/whythishappened,whoknows? (-At second glance, Bono did get a hyperlink explaining how, when and why Billy had posted "A Modern Fable" in his second explanatory letter - the postscript.) -But beyond that, the content of this passage was in no way specifically mentioned in the Chapter summary Bono was provided with. -What was mentioned was the fact that Billy went on to post his official meaning of Machina where he wrote "June" off as dead (letting the hyperlink to what he wrote speak for itself) -omitting her response.

Now, let's meet under the cherry tree...

Didja know there is only one (now one other) song that historically references the cherry tree in U2's blessed cannon? (With Songs of Innocence we now have "Cedarwood Road" -this is talking about finding Andy's brother Guggi as a friend.)

The only other cherry tree reference in all of Bono's work is in "Salomé".

"Salomé" is so pivotal inside this book, it is the only song to have reared its head to conquer a chapter, - Chapter (-bless its blush and beating heart) 17. It is called "What Happened in the Rearview Mirror", -because "Gone" was going to happen, and this was a "known" before it arrived.

So 'a course I have my own basis for its appearance at present, as well as being thankfully informed as to the cherry tree's origin (the Rowen family's yard). Andy Rowen makes mention in the songs themselves based on Bono pointing out in Songs of Innocence' accompanying write-up that he is subject in the Dublin bombing related inside "Raised by Wolves". It is this accompanying write-up that brings Andy to the fore; you wouldn't know the song had anything to do with him otherwise.

(In the land of 'incidentalisms', the protagonist's father's name literally means 'alpha wolf', though not specifically by those words; "alpha" is our term in our time. -Another incidentalism: Bono is on record saying "The Troubles" concerns domestic abuse. That's Chapter 28 (and many chapters before that one, as the wolf's first victim was her mother, and yes, Bono got a summary on that last one, -and the full sum before that).

Andy Rowen appears in this book in Chapter 22. The Chapter that landed in Dublin, Ireland, literally landed on Andy. It was meeting Andy by chance (though having no clue who he was) - that led to the protagonist ever finding and meeting Bono in the first place.

The notion of the cherry tree in Bono's lexicon has an imagined as well as an historic and now literal context because of this, because the book got dropped on Bono (this happened when the 360˚ tour made its return to Chicago), literally, when it reached the point of meeting Andy. And Andy leading her to meet Bono could have only happened because of the mutual Biblical background between the protagonist and Andy, which came about by having some striking similarity in upbringing due to their clan fathers (complete with their respective progeny/clans), -with the biblical clan of the Rowens having a very pronounced influence on Bono throughout his life (with the write up Bono authored to accompany "Songs of Innocence " he said so). In turn, the Rowen's father/family influence could have led to the Biblical confluence between the book's protagonist and Bono's deliberate use of such in his lyrics, which was literally responsible for everything that was to follow.  

It was thanks to what Bono did on tour after the Chicago 2011 performance that the author got to learn who Andy was and that this was who she'd met (because Bono resurrected "Bad" into U2's setlist with Andy in the audience the (stated) night the author's returned to the USA). By implying the "cherry tree" allusion in Bono's canon may have three contexts, including an imagined one, I mean this in conjunction with the book, the literal sense being that Andy was how Bono and the book's protagonist met in the real world (and the Rowens may have supplied the spiritual Biblical context as well that in turn supplied the other conjunction) with the imaginary (what transpired through art thanks to the Biblical confluence occurring) possibly appearing in the book. (The last verse of "Cedarwood Road" hijacks a line from the 1987 track "Deep in the Heart", the second last with "Northside just across the river from the Southside, That’s a long way here" may also have been an intentional allusion to "North and South of the River" (both made mention in the draft Bono received more or less with this included journal entry.) -You can search "Deep in the Heart" in the book, just as you can "Salome", which I'd suggest doing with and without quotes, -as with quotes you'd be isolating where the song is discussed, and without you're going to find it occurs in the book way beyond that, so the point is Bono adds these layers to his songs deliberately, that are not just there to apply in the literal sense and they've been active and interpolating and building for over thirty years.)

The author had no clue 'a course, where that 2011 book drop went, or didn't, in terms of whether Bono would 1) receive it or 2) absorb it. -Not until the song titles for Songs of Innocence dropped. On July 5, 2011, a book on a flash drive got dropped on Bono's chest, and was picked up by his personal security. In wrapping up the opening letter to introduce the whole package, two sets of contact information were provided, where the author lived, in addition to where she was going to be for that month, -under the headings, "this is where you can reach me" and "this is where you can reach me now". So there is the little matter of track ten from Songs of Innocence (09/0914) being titled thus. That imparting is only existent between the author and the recipient, for the letter (Word docx) it was in literally only exists on the flash drive she gave him in Chicago three years ago. It’s the only place she saved it. (This is the last of several “teasers” that appear to play on its contents.) This affirmed that he probably got it, not whether or not he might read it. (With "Songs of Experience" it seems apparent that Bono read it as well.)

Can't back that first claim at all (the second, thanks to the book having been pre-published, I can assert somewhat). Though as always, I do get stuck with having one witness who knows it to be the truth. Oh, the irony.

-Last but not least, Songs of Innocence is intensely autobiographical and delves back into U2's very first years as younglings; -precociously vulnerable, with no clue they would succeed in the future, or what the future might be.

The book Bono got handed was (it won't be said whether it's fictional or not) an intensely interior personal autobiography from birth through childhood to adult. At the point of progress where the writing collapsed from prose into notes, (with the latter chapters merely being summaries, though the last chapter lay writ), -the protagonist was age 27-28. So the entire notion of "going back" and what a process that is, the entire creative foray is analogous.