Saturday, March 14, 2009

You Two and Three

Why is U2 obsessed with the number three?

On the song "Breathe" from their latest al-bum No Line on the Horizon (which was released, [co]incidentally, on 3/3/09), Bono sings,

16th of June, 9:05, doorbell rings,
Man at the door says if I want to stay alive a bit longer,
There's three things I need you to know. Three.
In "Unknown Caller," the protagonist finds himself "lost between the midnight and the dawning, in a place of no consequence or company." Then, at "3:33, the numbers fell off the clock face." This may be a veiled reference to the cover of the band's 2000 album All That You Can't Leave Behind, on which they had the display in the upper left altered to reference Jeremiah 33:3, which Bono calls calls "God's phone number."

Referring to the fact that we tend to kill those whom we admire ("Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief. All kill their inspiration, then sing about the grief"), Bono sings in "Hold Me, Thrill me, Kiss Me, Kill Me":

They want you to be Jesus,
They're going down on one knee;
But they'll want their money back,
If you're alive at thirty-three.
And then, of course, it was "three o'clock in the morning," when "it was quiet with no one around," that the character portrayed in "Stay (Faraway, So Close)" heard "a bang and a clatter, as an angel hits the ground."
If you've got an interpretation, then by all means weigh in, because I haven't a clue....