Saturday, January 23, 2010

Where the streets have no names


. . .opening track from U2's 1987 album, The Joshua Tree.

In a 1987 interview, Bono said of the song:

"Where the Streets Have No Name is more like the U2 of old than any of the other songs on the LP, because it’s a sketch - I was just trying to sketch a location, maybe a spiritual location, maybe a romantic location. I was trying to sketch a feeling. I often feel very claustrophobic in a city, a feeling of wanting to break out of that city and a feeling of wanting to go somewhere where the values of the city and the values of our society don’t hold you down. An interesting story that someone told me once is that in Belfast, by what street someone lives on you can tell not only their religion but tell how much money they’re making - literally by which side of the road they live on, because the further up the hill the more expensive the houses become. You can almost tell what the people are earning by the name of the street they live on and what side of that street they live on. That said something to me, and so I started writing about a place where the streets have no name."

Of course, Bono's on to something that we all recognize in our own cities.  What if we lived in a community where the value of the human capital was not linked to nore judged by place of residence, income level, race, religion or educational attainment?  What if we all began to recognize the inherent worth, in real world terms, of every single person living in the city we call home?  What if status was determined by generosity, commitment to neighborhood and one's fellow citizens?  What if the names on the street signs simply told us our geographic location in our increasingly smaller world? 

I think I get this song.  How about you?



I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I want to reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

I want to feel sunlight on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear
Without a trace
I want to take shelter from the poison rain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name

We're still building
Then burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you
It's all I can do

The city's aflood
And our love turns to rust
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust
I'll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We're still building
Then burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you
It's all I can do

Our love turns to rust
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind
Oh, and I see love
See our love turn to rust
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind
Oh, when I go there
I go there with you
It's all I can do