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Hit Song Breakdown: Pride – U2

November 17, 2008

Recently I have become obsessed about looking into the mind set of some my favourite artists. What inspired them? How did they solve the obstacles all musicians face? How and why did they evolve and change as artists?

Although Bono is a glorious douche bag, I do love his music and will defend him to end. So in my search into the mind of Bono I stumbled upon a Rolling Stone interview completed during their last world tour. In it Bono talks about writing Pride (In the name of Love):

“As a lyric, it’s daft! It’s a missed opportunity to.. to uh…  I mean, I even get the time of Dr. King’s assassination wrong! I say early morning, but it was early evening! It’s no description of him, it’s more of a description of a feeling he unlocked in me.”

To me the lyrics to Pride were always perfect. To be honest, I never really looked at the lyrics because Bono communicates so much through the emotion he sings with. The lyrics painted a picture but it was so fractured that I was able to bend my life to fit the song. I made the song mine. The lyrics were perfect.

But I can understand his point. Artists want every piece of work they do to be their best. If I was Bono and had a major factual error in one of my biggest songs, it would drive me insane. I would want to remedy the situation in any way possible.

Yet sometimes you need to let your art into the world and see what becomes of it.

If Pride were an okay song, the lyrics would be pointed out as a problem. But Pride is not an okay song; it’s a flat out, undisputed classic song. Everything worked on Pride because the band unlocked the same feelings within its audience as Dr. King did within Bono. They communicated emotionally.

That is why Pride is a hit. It is a piece of music that communicates emotionally.

That’s what all classic hit songs contain. Emotion. The efficient communication of universal, emotional, human truths.

Take Control of Your Music,


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2008 9:23 pm

    pretty insightful stuff there. I find myself doing that kind of analysis more and more as I get older, just wondering where stuff came from in general, like oft-used phrases and such. It’s cool to think about.

  2. Ali permalink
    November 30, 2008 9:05 am

    well done U2, more music …

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