Where the Streets Have No Name is a song written by U2 and included in their album The Joshua Tree.

This song was written by The Edge in his new home at Melbeach, with a 4 tracks recording machine. He create the full first arrangement of the song with the guitars, the bass, some keyboards and an electronic drum machine.

The main purpose of the guitarist was to “conjure up the ultimate U2 live-song“. He tries to imagine what type of song a real U2 fan would listen at a live show. The result was so good that he tells about that recording session:

this is  the most amazing guitar part and song of my life – The Edge
The others members of the band really likes the song and the power of his sound, but when they start to try to record the song they have some serious difficulties.
The frequent chords progression and a time shift signature in the middle of the song, at that time was a big technical challenge for the band.They started to record so many takes and overdub, that at one point the co-producer Brian Eno, suggest to erase all the audio material that they have recorded.

The full erase don’t happens, but the band restart from the scratch.

Like the drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. said about the recording sessions of the song:

 It took so long to get that song right, it was difficult for us to make any sense of it. It only became a truly great song through playing live. On the record, musically, it’s not half the song it is live.

Lyrics

I wanna run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

I want to feel, sunlight on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear
Without a trace
I want to take shelter
From the poison rain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building, then burning down love
Burning down love, and when I go there
I go there with you, it’s all I can do

The city’s a flood and our love turns to rust
We’re beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust

I’ll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building, then burning down love
Burning down love, and when I go there
I go there with you, it’s all I can do

Our love turns to rust
We’re beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind, oh, and I see our love
See our love turn to rust

Oh, we’re beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind
Oh, when I go there, I go there with you
It’s all I can do

Where the Streets Have No Name – U2 – Meaning

 

There’s a mith about the streets of the city of Belfast in the Northern Ireland.

You can know the person’s religion and income of a person only knowing the name of the street where the person live.

In Etiopia, where Bono and his wife Ali Hewson are went for an Humanitarian visit, all the streets don’t have name.

And Bono sees that this little thing leads to less separation between the people. Less differences and more integration.

The lyrics of this song starts all from here.

Dreaming of a world where there aren’t such division.

A place where the streets have no name.

 

I wanna run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

Bono thinks deeply that the music can help the world to tear down all the walls that divide us.

Like all the social categories and all the way we use labels to divide humanity.

Race, colour, sex, wealth, country, income. Are all labels that divide us. That define our social status.

The music live shows can be a place where everyone are equals. Where the music can make us closer.

This is the dream of Bono. As a man. But first as an artist.

This is the ultimate meaning to make art, and to be an artist.

 

We’re still building and burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you
It’s all I can do

Humanity is not perfect. Humanity is on a journey.

We learn everyday how to become better. How to have less walls inside our lifes.

We build and tear down again and again, the love and the life that are inside us.

We must be together. We can’t do anything all by ourself. We can’t live alone.

We must go there. In the future of the mankind. Together.

 

Conclusion

This song is made for the live shows. And in the live shows of U2 is a constant presence. And the open minded state of his lyrics gives to us a lot of different interpretations.

Leave a comment or a different vision of the meaning of this song if you want.

 

 

 

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