What does Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own mean?

U2: Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own Meaning

Tagged: Loss [suggest]
Album cover for Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own album cover

Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own Lyrics

Tough, you think you've got the stuff
You're telling me and anyone
You're hard enough

You don't have to put up a fight
You don't have to always be right
Let me take some of the punches
For you tonight

Listen to me now
I need to let...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Sep 29th 2007 !⃝

    Bono wrote this song about his father and how, even though they may not have been the closest during his childhood, he still looked up to him and wanted to help him.

    He talks about how his father tried to be tough after his mother had died and how he didn't really have to, that he himself could have done something to help.

    The prechorus is Bono telling his father that he is there for him, to support him.

    The chorus:
    And it's you when I look in the mirror-Bono sees aspects of his father inside himself.
    And it's you when I don't pick up the phone-Bono regrets not being closer with his father, not calling him as often.
    Sometimes you can't make it on your own-telling his father that he can rely on other people sometimes and doesn't have to do everything himself.

    The second verse talks about how Bono and his father fought because they were so similar, almost like 'the same soul'. He also says that he knows that if they weren't so similar, they probably could have gotten along better.

    The bridge is possibly the most interesting part of the song.
    I know that we don't talk. I'm so sick of it all-He wishes that he talked more with his father and that he's sick of NOT talking to him.
    Can you hear me when I sing?- He wonders if, in the afterlife, his father can still hear him singing.
    You're the reason I sing-Bono telling his father that he is the main cause of his singing, his main inspiration.
    You're the reason why the opera's in me-Bono revealed in the 'Go Home: Live at Slane Castle' DVD that his father sang opera. This line is him telling his father that he is the reason music is in him because of the music that he listened to while he was growing up.

    Where are we now? I've still got to let you know-Bono wishes that he could have had more time with his father, so he could tell him more or talk to him more
    A house doesn't make a home-Bono is saying that home is where the heart is, or something like that, it doesn't matter where they are living
    Don't leave me here alone-A plea for his father to come back to him, to not leave him alone in this world, a desperate plea from a child

    And it's you when I look in the mirror-again, seeing his father in himself
    And it's you that makes it hard to let go-Bono telling his father that it's going to be hard to get over his death, he'll find it hard to let him go on
    Sometimes you can't make it on your own
    Sometimes you can't make it, best you can do is to fake it-tells of how his father would sometimes make it seem like he was dealing with things when inside he was crumbling
    Sometimes you can't make it on your own-telling his father that he could have been there to help him

    This is a purely emotional song, written from the core of Bono's being to his father who left this world. This is only my interpretation, even if it's an obvious one, but to me, the way that Bono sings this song and the carefully written lyrics makes this one of the best and most emotional song that U2 have ever made.

  2. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 24th 2016 !⃝

    My Son gave me the words to this Song and Told me although he is singing it about his Father /Son ? He said it could be me and him !!! I've had this song and words in my Bag for over 3 yrs and I have finally listened to the song and it has Broken my Heart that my Son and myself have wasted so many years not Talking it he is not involved in our lives !! And as we are both getting older it Hurts more of all the wasted years .I love my Son with all my Heart and would walk on Hot Coals for Him !! And I Just wish we could just Clear the Air as I'm not getting any younger and it's only when I'm gone he will miss me !!! He once told me I Don't like you As a Person !!!! But I will Always Love you as my Mother !!!! And it breaks my Heart as my Son and my Daughter mean world to me !! But I've had to live without him mist of my life his choice ? I Have always said as long as I'm alive my Home will always be his and Door Open ! Deeply sad Mum xxxxx

  3. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 10th 2010 !⃝

    I heard that Bono sang this song at his dad's funeral. To the listener, it may sound like it's about someone who tries to get out of a situation like a bad relationship or moving out or something, but yet they can't do it all on their own. I actually babysit for a family where the mother takes on too much and never wants to ask for help from anyone because she feels so independent, even though she knows that she drives herself crazy when she tries to do stuff on her own and can't get anything done.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 10th 2009 !⃝

    Bono may have written this as dedication to his father, but maybe there's another reason. Maybe he's trying to put us into perspective. With all the trouble he's going to to help the people in Africa, maybe that's also another way of him telling us, "Africa can't make it on their own."

  5. TheSeeker
    click a star to vote
    Apr 2nd 2009 !⃝

    This is an extremely powerful, personal song that Bono wrote after his father passed away. He and his father had a strained relationship, and Bono felt like they never had the chance to truly connect due to stubbornness on both of their parts.

    The opening lyrics are about how his father was stoic and emotionally distant, even though Bono could tell he was hurting over losing his wife and Bono's mother (she died when her son was quite young). Bono is wishing that his father would've just opened up to him emotionally and let him comfort his father for once, and that he knew just how much his son loved him.

    The middle lyrics tell of how similar they are in personalities, including personal flaws, and how they would often clash. It's suggested that part of the tension was brought on by the fact that when Bono's father looked at him, he saw his own shortcomings and defects, which were hard to face.

    But through it all, Bono never stopped loving his father. His father's love for music helped inspire his son, and to this day he acknowledges this influence. He just regrets that, because of all the anger and grudges and things left unsaid, they never had the chance to truly tell each other just how much they loved each other.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 17th 2005 !⃝

    Bono did not get along with his father during childhood. Stricken with cancer during the Elevation tour, Bono would fly back to Dublin to sit bedside with his father. This song is about him coming to terms with his failed relationships with his father.

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