I’m Wide Awake

For today’s Song of the Day I’m going back to a classic. This has always been one of my favourite U2 songs, but I never really paid a lot of attention to the lyrics.

Have you ever had insomnia? It’s amazing how quickly the human body starts to break down when deprived of sleep. Concentration, motivation, aspiration — they all suffer. Insomnia basically attacks on all fronts, with both mental and physical repercussions — and sometimes it seems like the more one tries to fight it, the worse it gets. You can’t will yourself to sleep, so what are you left with? Hour upon hour of relentless consciousness.

I paint a bleak picture. Forgive me. That is not my intention. For here is a song that, when I was listening to it today, made me think of the turbulence of sleeplessness, but also of the peace that sometimes comes in the early morning hours. This is song that, to me, explores the beautiful dark corners of a sleepless mind with gentleness and compassion. I picture this song soothing a restless brow, stroking a mind fevered with lack of sleep, whispering “it’s okay…it’s going to be okay”. Let’s not fight this. Let’s celebrate being awake, and conscious, and alive.

I don’t know what U2’s Bad was written about. But this is how it speaks to me.

To let it go
And so fade away
I’m wide awake
I’m wide awake
Wide awake
I’m not sleeping, oh no, no, no

4 responses to “I’m Wide Awake

  • Trevor

    I use to play (Bad)-U2 in a 80’s cover band called Red Square…
    it was always a highlight for the band, bringing the energy down,
    to make people pay attention to the fact, there is a band not a jukebox playing…

    But I equally, never thought of what it meant to me, except maybe having political overtones concerning the IRA & Ireland.

    But I can relate to the lack of sleep shituation…
    count backward from 0 to 100

  • Ted

    Hey Spencer
    Several comments but let me begin with: wow those were some excellent mullets!!!
    Interesting choice of lyrics to include, I’ve heard the BookcluB put almost that exact same passage at the end of Running to Stand Still with great effect.
    As an insomniac I was interested in your literal translation but really I think the good voice meant it metaphorically, as in he is aware of what is going on, he’s not sleeping.

    • Spencer

      Hey Ted,
      Thanks for the comment! Yeah, I think Bono was singing in more of a political context…which makes total sense. That’s what I love about music though…lyrics can speak to you in so many different contexts.
      Agreed about the mullets – amazing!

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