Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"blending television with Bible, war with love, Schwarzkopf with Schwartz"

Can't wait for this book in English:

"U2 Testi Commenti (In the Name of Love)" by

Andrea Morandi

Interview with the author (in English) found here (atU2.com) and excerpted below:

What resources did you use to help you write your book?

I started with the lyrics and went backwards. The Bible has been a key source because in the book I compared Bono's words with those of Habakkuk, Isaiah and David, but there is much more. There is an influence of Karl Popper in "Zoo Station"; of Jean Baudrillard in "Even Better Than the Real Thing"; of Raymond Carver in "Acrobat"; and of Paul Celan, Patrick Kavanagh and Soren Kierkegaard in "The First Time." There are also influence from essays on foreign politics, books on the history of blues, Sam Shepard and Flannery O'Connor, John Boyle O'Reilly and Norman Mailer, John Clare and Thomas Mann, and Günter Grass and Virginia Woolf. I discovered all these thing starting from reading old interviews with Bono, old quotes, suggestions and well-known things (John Boyle O'Reilly is the man in "Van Diemen's Land").

I've read many books about U2, of course, but the one that I followed like a polar star was U2 by U2. There are many revelations in that book and I try to investigate them more. I read Stokes' Into the Heart but I tried to dig deeper; he doesn't go very deep into influences from the Bible or literature....

What did you notice
..about the way Bono used Scripture in his songs?

He's very fascinated with the stories, about the men and women in the Bible. He discovered that the Bible is not only a great religious book, but a great book in general, and he learned a lot from the experiences of people in the Bible.

Is there a U2 album that seems to be influenced more than the others by Scripture?

Well, yes, October is full of Bible quotes and so is War, but so is even No Line on the Horizon, from "Unknown Caller," where there is the voice of God, like a chant, from Jeremiah 33:3, "Call unto me and I will answer thee," to "Magnificent," with Mary's Magnificat from the Gospel of Luke.

...What did you learn about Bono from studying his lyrics?

I learned that Bono is a much more complex writer than has been said or written by critics and that only Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen have been able to sum up the Bible in three minutes like Bono can. From The Unforgettable Fire on, his research on words is high-level and it gets to its climax on Achtung Baby and Zooropa, in which he blends high and trash culture together, the television with the Holy Bible, war with love, Norman Schwarzkopf with Delmore Schwartz, Leni Riefenstahl with Frank Sinatra.

As a matter of fact, I found out that the lyrics for Pop, U2's most criticized album, are among the best Bono has ever written. Why? Because that is the moment in which Bono sees very clearly in his life and analyzes his mother's death in "Mofo" and the status of a rock star in "Gone." He's very well-focused, like never before or after on that record.

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