Tuesday, December 10, 2013

U2's Mandela songs: "not sugarcoating a real moment for an epic man"/ "Agape love forged like steel in the fire"

The video for the  U2 tribute song for Mandela (for the "Long Walk to Freedom" film, and released just weeks before his death), "Ordinary Love," works on a few different levels, as do the lyrics.

But not many seem to have gotten that the basic inspiration was the relationship between Mandela and his wife:

U2.com: Can you explain  the idea behind the words disappearing?

Oliver:  It’s about the difficulty of permanent love. The correspondence between Nelson Mandela and Winnie (his then wife) worked so well within confinement but when he was released, the real world took its toll and made it go away. So it was about the lack of anything permanent, really. It’s disheartening, but it's also heartening to a degree,  where it inspires you to hurry up a little bit.
Mac: The idea of the writing fading is that when things go away, it’s often not a clean break. They fade away in different forms and different manners, different ways. It’s not a clean process. You don't know how its exactly happening but you can see that it is. I think Oliver and I both responded to the song in that it didn't look to sugarcoat a real moment for a very epic man.  The opportunity to portray that human element of someone so grand is pretty humbling. We wanted to do the best work to represent that.  link, full interview

As usual, Beth the detective has detected something else in the video that could be missed:
"I'm intrigued by the elevator inscribed with what seem to be sections of Dante's Inferno (I've identified Canto 11 which describes the tomb of Pope Anastasius"- link

Enjoy, video below (cover versions here).

Also, the Mandela version of "Breathe" below  (backstory here; I love it..wish, though, the first draft chorus ( "Agape love forged like steel in the fire. Agape love like a whisper that calls us to walk out into the street with your arms out and the people you meet are neither down nor out, hey there is nothing you have that I need. I can breathe. I can breathe") lyric has been left in.

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