My U2 buddy Jim started a Face Book war this past Monday with his claim that U2’s Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own, Bono’s ode to his father, is “More personal” than Iris, Bono’s ode to his mother.
Like all U2 songs, you have to delve deeper and go beyond just the lyrics that Bono wrote or the music that the band plays in order to make an educated decision about such matters, you need to get to the emotion and sentiment behind such complex issues. Is there anything more complex than the family dynamic? If you think there is, I invite you over to my house for Thanksgiving dinner. A few glasses of Scotch in my father and you’ll see dynamic thrown right into your face, along with the bowl of mashed potatoes.
The relationship between a child and his/her parents is the most special bond on earth. Bono’s bond with both his parents have been beautifully illustrated in both songs, but when you go past the lyrics and get to the feelings of each song, there is no doubt in this observers eyes, that Iris is a much more personal song than Sometimes. I could go through the lyrics of each song and point out specific lines, but that is not what this post is about, nor is it about finding supportive evidence for my claim. It’s about the sentiment behind each song. SYCMIOYO is a personal song….Iris is more personal.
A boy’s bond between his mother is a special one that a father cannot fathom, just like there is a bond between a father and his little girl. These bonds are just there and cannot be explained. Like Sammy Hagar once said, “What is understood, does not need to be explained.” We all know Bono’s relationship with his father was a strained one. Believe me, I CAN RELATE, but a bond with a mother is one that just naturally exists. It’s something special. When my mom passed away a few years ago, part of me died too. She was great and my love for her will never fade. Like Bono, I love my dad too, very much so…it’s just different.
Part of the reason I may feel that Iris is a more personal song is the time that’s elapsed since Bono’s mom died. To rip out a song like Iris that is full of lyrical gold forty years after her death astonishes me. Another reason is to lose a parent in the most formative years of your life must be a traumatic event times infinity. A child needs both parents, but a boy needs his mom more and this is coming from a dad. I will never have the bond that my son has with his mom and my wife. I’m not upset over this fact, it’s just natural. Of course there’s exceptions to every rule, but more often than not, a boy’s bond with his mother is stronger than his bond with his father.
So there you have it…no specific lines, no scientific algorithms to prove my point, just a belief that exists and cannot be proven or disproven. So, what are you thoughts…you MOFO’S! 😉