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U2: One Meaning

Song Released: 1992

One Lyrics

Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same
Will it make it easier on you now
You got someone to blame
You say...

One love
One life
When it's one need
In the night
One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don't care for...


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    Sep 2nd, 2009 9:27am report

    It's about an old relationship falling apart.

    "Is it getting better
    Or do you feel the same"

    Obviously a question, any progress, any hope yet?

    Will it make it easier on you now
    You got someone to blame

    I know I made a mistake, will you use that blame to break us up?

    "You say...
    One love
    One life
    When it's one need
    In the night
    One love
    We get to share it
    Leaves you baby if you
    Don't care for it "

    Its what love should be. He forgot that when he made a mistake, he didn't take care of their love

    "Did I disappoint you
    Or leave a bad taste in your mouth
    You act like you never had love
    And you want me to go without
    Well it's...

    Again about his mistake, he left "a bad taste in your mouth". She acts like he never loved her and now she wants him to go without love. She is leaving him.

    "Too late
    To drag the past out into the light"

    Its double in meaning. Literally late night discussions about the relationship. Yet another talk. Its too late in the evening for this again. On another level it
    also means its too late to save the relationship. Past the point of no return, talkning about the past won't heal the wounds anymore

    "We're one, but we're not the same
    We get to
    Carry each other
    Carry each other

    We are together, not yet broken completely apart. We both feel blue and both need a shoulder for our tears. Tohether and alone at the same time.

    "Have you come here for forgiveness
    Have you come to raise the dead
    Have you come here to play Jesus
    To the lepers in your head "

    It's about the reason he came to talk yet again. Why did you come to talk to me tonight?
    Do you want to be forviven for the things you said and did that hurt me? Did you come just to drag the past into the light again!? Did you come to say you are not to blame, that its my fault? Dont its just your ghosts haunting you, your thoughts in your head ("To the lepers in your head")

    "Did I ask too much
    More than a lot
    You gave me nothing
    Now it's all I got
    We're one
    But we're not the same"

    He asks forgiveness, he knows its a lot to ask. She will not give it to him. Now he is alone. "we're one" He thinks they should be together "one", but instead they are both alone now. "but we're not the same". They don't agree. He wants to be together. He is hurting for that reason.

    "Well we
    Hurt each other
    Then we do it again"

    A lot of arguing and doing things you shoudnt. Both parties carry blame for wrecking the relationship.

    "You say
    Love is a temple
    Love a higher law
    Love is a temple
    Love the higher law
    You ask me to enter
    But then you make me crawl"

    She says love is unity (one). She at some point agreed to try saving the relationship again, but he feels she did not forgive him, she punished him and thus ruined the chance to make it work.

    "And I can't be holding on
    To what you got
    When all you got is hurt"

    He knows he hurt her and he can't take more of her blameing him, hurting him.

    "One love
    One blood
    One life
    You got to do what you should "

    You only get one life, ie one chance. Do the right thing.

    "One life
    With each other
    One life"

    And not just do the right thing by your woman, but also in all other importaint relationsships in your life, ie family and friends (sister and brother can also mean friends, as in afro slang)

    "But we're not the same
    We get to
    Carry each other
    Carry each other



    We are not the same, we have different strengths. Support each other, you can't always be strong. Help when you see a weak moment those you love. Its important because you only get "one life". and because you can become "one" with the one you love.


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    Sep 29th, 2006 9:42pm report

    I think this song is about a couple who still loves each other but realize they can't be together. There might have been an issue about cheating here, and one person is trying to re-energize the relationship ("have you come here for forgiveness, or have you come to raise the dead") (relationship). What a great song...


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    Oct 3rd, 2006 10:10am report

    This song was written about relationships in general, and heavily influenced by edge's divorce and the musical difficulties the band were dealing with while recording achtung baby at hansa studios in berlin. Everybody in the band knew that they needed and wanted a new musical direction, but they weren't quite sure how to achieve it. The had a rough time dealing with each other for awhile, and then one night, this song just sort of happened while the band were playing and bono started ad libbing lyrics.

    It was later adopted by aids activists, which is perfectly all right. But bono did not have a father and a gay son in mind when he started singing that night in hansa.


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    Jan 17th, 2013 1:41pm report

    Jesus H. Christ. If you don't know for SURE -- don't saddle us with your lame-ass theories. what a collection of imbeciles.
    i only wanted to learn more about the song -- i've just learned that there are more dumb people out there than i had feared.


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    Aug 21st, 2012 8:59pm report

    To me meaning of this song is:
    Many years back I was crazy about this guy from my church who I thought and was hoping was interested in me. How ever, when I tried showing him I was interested in pursuing us, he treated me badly, he did not care. I was hurt. specially because I thought he felt the same, it is impression I got when ever I saw him. When ever I listen to this song I wish that just once I would know the real truth...because I heard years later that he might have been interested but things happened that neither one of us had control over. Well, it is too late for us now because we are both married with our own families but when ever I listen to this song I wish somtime if it really was the truth that we both had feelings for one another what could have been and why did we do this hurtful things to each other. I wish, even though, we both have families of our own and it is too late for us to bring the past out into light, I wish I know for sure if he really ever wanted to be with me.
    So when I listen to this song there are so many parts of it that I relate too.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Aug 11th, 2012 8:30am report

    In one of those "Behind the music" at VH1 BONO himself, not a reporter, an interpretation, or something else; the writer himself said that is was about " a gay son explaining to his dad his choise". SO no guitar guy, no homophobic crap, nothing. Check the "Behind the Music" from the late 1990's and you will see it. I know because I saw it, not quoting wiki or any crap I head from someone else. BONO himself said it. I guess he would know better than any other source.


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    Jul 30th, 2012 7:07am report

    The song one is about his fractured relationship with his father. His mother died when when Bono was 14, and his relationship with his father was not healthy by any means, why do you think Ali had to care for Bono after his mothers death!?! Bad blood between father and son, hence the part of "one blood" obviously you can't have one blood in relationships and with band members, but of course family is BLOOD! It's NOT about couple relationships or a son being gay!!


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    Mar 10th, 2012 3:18pm report

    Well, first off One is NOT about Edge's break up. the song that portrays that break-up is Love is Blindness.Look it up, the performance in Sydney is absolutely beatiful, especially Edge´s Solo.

    Second, edge's current wife danced in the Zoo TV tour, she was not on the WOWY video.

    Third the song is about the band, at least according to Bono. He's said that a number of times. In fact he also said that he doesn't get it why people play it in wedding, since it is about a break-up, not of a couple, but of the band. As I already red in a comment here, while in Hansa studios the band was going through major issues, since they didn't like the path the band was taking. If you think about it you can easily relate every aspect of the lyric to the band. The band as one,the need to carry each other. They have "hurt each other" and it will happen again, that's why the need to be as one


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    Jan 22nd, 2012 1:30am report

    This song is about two people in love, but the woman is struggeling with te past because of a broken heart.
    Her fear in her heart makes her act like she had never had love, and want him to go without....The pain in her heart isn't over and because of that is she afraid, that she wil be hurt again en she blames him for all the things another man has done to her. It isn't real, but these thoughts are the te lepers in her head. He invested so much in this relationship, but she gave him nothing in return and his reaction is also defensive and hurt her back, that's why the line: Well we hurt each other then we do it again".She tells him everytime that love's a tempel and a higher law, but everytime she asks him to enter, she let him crawl en thats why he says, that he cant keep hanging on if all she got is hurt.
    It is about a love, which she has a broken heart, what has not yet been healed....


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    Aug 18th, 2011 8:15pm report

    All of you are idiots. Knowing nothing on what is going on in the world. That is why America is falling apart. Because of idiots.
    The song is about East Germany and West Germany uniting to become one Germany. It is a song critical of East Germany which became a big burden on West Germany. And critical of the Eastern block, of course.


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    Jun 21st, 2011 6:35pm report

    I think that the song started to be a "love" song about broken relationship but later was interpreted by many different groups of people from a different perspective. From my perspective the song meaning is following:
    "is it getting better Or do you feel the same. Will it make it easier on you now you got someone to blame"
    1. he is asking her if she is ready to forgive him after all this time he hurt her and played her and now every time he sees her around he is trying to talk to her but she pretends he does not exist.

    "You say One love, One life When it is one need in the night One love we get to share it leaves you baby if you don't care for it"
    2. He tells her that she said and tryed to show him love but he did not care for it back then and the love left him but now he regrets it.

    "Did I disapoint you or leave a bad taste in your mouth, you act like you never had love and you want me to go without. Well it's too late tonight to drag the past out into the light"
    3. He is asking her again if he disapointed her then and left her holding resentments towards him and society he belongs too because every time they are in the same circle she acts like she does not know him because he used to ignore her,or that is at least how she understood it at the time. He tells her it is to late to bring the past into the light now because they each have moved on and got their one lives (families). That is where "Lepers in your head" comes from. He is telling her that she created her own version and conclusion of their relationship where he had totaly different goal. He knows that she wanted to be with him but he had hurt her and now he wants her but she will not give him time of the day and avoids him when they are in the same circle.
    "Did I ask too much
    More than a lot
    You gave me nothing
    Now it's all I got
    We are one
    But we're not the sam
    Well we
    hurt each other, then we do it again"
    4. Meaning, they are of the same nationality and hang around same circles sometime but they do not understand each others point of views and they keep hurting each other with their actions.
    He now wants her to forgive him and have some kind of relationship but she feels it is too late now, even though he does not...there are other people to be taken in consideration at this time and she keeps ignoring him.

    "You say
    Love is a temple
    Love a higher law
    Love is a temple
    Love the higher law
    You ask me to enter
    But then you make me crawl
    And I can't be holding on
    To what you got
    When all you got is hurt"
    5. At one point she wanted them to be together but he played her because he did not understand he interpretation of what love should be but now he wants her but she is making him crawl (beg) and is not forgiving him and he is saying he can not understand and hold on to past like she is...he wants to move one forward but she keeps holding on to resentments even though they both should believe in forgivness according to their religious believs.

    All in all, I think the song is about a lost love that once could have been but it was not due to his mistake...and now he feels regrets and wants her to forgive him and form some kind of relationship but every time the are around together in the same circle she pretends he does not exist.


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    Jun 12th, 2011 6:07am report

    The beauty of this song is that it can be applied to nearly any type of long term relationship. Could be a friend, family member or romantic interest... really doesn't matter. When you love someone, and you've been a part of their life for years, there's bound to be conflict. In fact, the closer you are, the stronger the conflicts will be.

    To me this song is about love. Not fairy tale love. Real. Honest. Messed up. Love.

    Throughout the song you get the feeling that the narrator deeply loves the person they are talking to, but at the same time experiencing a great deal of pain thanks to them. They're in the midst of the "big question": Should I stay or should I go?


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    Jan 7th, 2011 1:54am report

    I think Bono was dating a Mormon girl, and they sort of clashed. For example, when it says
    "have you come here to play Jesus..."
    It means that he feels like she is only trying to save, or heal him from death or sin.
    "...to the lepers in your head" refers to his belief that he doesn't need her help.
    "Love is a temple
    Love, the higher law.
    You ask me to enter,
    But then you make me crawl.
    And I can't be holding on..."
    Could refer to the LDS Church's (Mormons') Temple marriages. To be worthy to enter,
    a) you must be a member
    b) you must be drug, alcohol, and immorality, etc. free
    c) (...many other things)
    To someone like Bono, who was probably living like most singers, this would definitely be "crawling." So, he couldn't keep holding on.
    "One life,
    You got to do what you should..." could refer to the basic Christian (Mormons included) doctrine that you should live a good life because it's the only one you have. Additionally,
    and brother..."
    could refer to the Mormon tradition of calling one another Brother and Sister (ex: Brother Johnson; Sister Anderson, etc.)

    This is my opinion from a Mormon perspective, but I don't know


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    Aug 6th, 2010 8:22pm report

    You many think this is spam or whatever but this song is actually about a teenage boy telling his father he is gay and has AIDS. The lyric "you gave me nothing now its all ive got" refers to when you have AIDS its all youve got. "you act like you never had love do you want me to go without" The dad is probably mad at the son and this is a quote from son to father. "one need in the night" i think you can guess what that means. I may be wrong but this is what i got out of it


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    Jun 26th, 2010 6:56pm report

    Just a question for everybody: love this forum, but what still remains unclear for me in this song: when it's one need in the night: can this be explained / re-phrased by anyone. I'm not native English speaker, sorry!


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    Jun 10th, 2010 6:18pm report

    I think that it can either talk about a relationship or about someone who feels like they've fallen away from God or whatever they believe in and feels misunderstood on a spiritual level and wants to give religion another try.


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    May 26th, 2010 5:04pm report

    Certainly most every U2 song has multiple meanings. Another that clicked with me while reading one of the books (probably the Bono) book, is that some of it is a reference to Africa and it's people and it's/their relationship with the US government and it's policies toward Africa. I believe Bono comments on this during the audio interviews with Rolling Stone. Those are available via podcast on iTunes. Specifically how the US policies and money come with so many strings and requirements it dooms them to failure. I think Bono may have said though that though a lot of it fits, he wouldn't say it was intentional originally.


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    Apr 9th, 2010 4:11pm report

    Wow! Although the propagated scriptural inculcations may have potential meaning, and I do believe they (the scriptures) have certainly foretold many things in many regards; it seems, rather, that similar relationship difficulties that many of us, or perhaps particular individuals, have encountered. Great song; piercing effect.

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