Do you need to be good with words to write great song lyrics? Eddie Vedder, Thom Yorke and Gord Downie would make me think “yes” and Michael Stipe and those bickering coke heads from Oasis make me think “no”. Well, now One, by a little outfit called U2, is the top lyric.
The vote to establish the nation’s favourite song lyric by music television channel VH1 produced an unusually credible winner in One by U2. A twisted ballad about our obligations to our fellow humans, its central notion is that we need each other to survive, whether we like it or not: “We are one, but we’re not the same/We get to carry each other” is the chorus motif.
Apparently, One is among the most requested songs at weddings, which does make you wonder if people actually listen to lyrics. Band leader Bono has revealed it was written against the background of the painful divorce of guitarist The Edge. The bitterness of romantic failure is spelt out: “You say love is a temple, love the higher law/You ask me to enter but then you make me crawl.” I certainly wouldn’t have it played at my wedding.
For those of you racking your brain for a song with good lyrics, I have nine words for you: Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.