What does Vertigo mean?

U2: Vertigo Meaning

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Album cover for Vertigo album cover

Song Released: 2004

Vertigo Lyrics

Unos, dos, tres, catorce

Turn it up loud, captain!

Lights go down, it's dark
The jungle is your head
Can't rule your heart
A feeling is so much stronger
Than a thought
Your eyes are wide
And though your soul
it can't be bought


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Aug 5th 2006 !⃝

    Bono has said that vertigo is a like a club to him, a place of temptation. He is surrounded by things in this world that he hates being around and wants to get away from. When he sees the cross around the girl's neck he realizes it's his only hope for salvation and focuses on that. He realizes that the only way to escape temptation is god, hence "your love is teaching me how to kneel."


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 27th 2007 !⃝

    Another fun fact,
    if you take the numbers 1,2,3,14 and apply them to the Bible you may be surprised. 1= the first testament, 2=the second book (exodus), 3=the third chapter, 14= the fourteenth verse. This is where Moses asks God what he should refer to him as, and God responds, "Yahweh." (also the final song on the album) coincidence?


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 16th 2006 !⃝

    Vertigo is an incredible rock tune that evokes deep, spiritual meaning. The first stanza talks of sin: "it's dark, the jungle is your head". Darkness represents confusion while the jungle represents a place of chaos. It finishes off with the line: "and though your soul, it can't be bought your mind can wander". This shows that those of us who have given our lives over to jesus and his forgiveness cannot be bought by the devil. However, it does show that one's mind can wander from god, and be tempted by the devil and sin. This is a warning, that our minds must stay focussed on god, unwandering.

    The 2nd last stanza is one of the most brilliantly executed ones in the era of modern music lyrics. The idea is taken from matthew 4:8-9, where the devil is trying to tempt jesus while jesus is fasting in the desert for 40 days: "again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. All this I will give you, he said, if you will bow down and worship me".

    The song's line is: "all of this, all of this can be yours/just give me what I want and no one gets hurt". This is a temptation from the devil, directed not only towards jesus in the bible, but also towards us human beings today. At that point of vertigo, where the devil tempts us, we must make the choice to follow the lord and to reject the world and the devil and his ways. After all, it is god's love that teaches us "how to kneel".

  4. anonymous
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    Feb 10th 2018 !⃝

    These are the last lines of the song:

    " I can feel your love teaching me how
    Your love is teaching me how to knee..."

    Ask yourself this question:

    Is it really love when it makes you kneel?

    Surely, it is not love if it makes you go down your knees.

    Love is compassionate, it is supposed to uplift you, not bring you down.


    If there is something which teaches you to kneel, it is not love.

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 8th 2017 !⃝

    The talented BONO of The Great U2 Band for me has been the ultimate Catholic Je[w]suit rock star that learned how to COUNT and speak Spanish in this song. In order to ''try'' to win ''The Senorita's soul'' by the offer of Temptation and probably in need for more of illegal alien souls in The Americans for Himself and The Catholic Church. He is mostly loved in all the hot and ''dry places'' of the world. And I do believe as only a fan, The Popes, white and black love Him and His Band and vice versa. He is one of Their favorite rock stars that has been on a Je[w]suit rock star mission for years to win souls for all of Them and The Catholic Church.

  6. anonymous
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    Jul 28th 2017 !⃝

    the beginning with the 1,2,3, 14 The next line says turn it up loud. So I thought maybe he was referring to the volume.

  7. Philip Dalton
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    Jun 15th 2014 !⃝

    This song is basically a reference to the Illuminati, an organization of celebrities who have sold their soul to Satan to acquire fame and fortune. Bono has admitted to attending their meetings, he is constantly being photographed doing hand signals which are associated with them, and the U2 song "Yahweh" briefly shows their symbol, the Eye of Horus, in its video. I couldn't be 100% sure of this, but Bono is probably a true-blue Satanist. The very name of the song 'Vertigo' probably refers to the unusually high mountain which Jesus was taken to when he was tempted by Satan, and of course there is the bit which says "All of this, all of this can be yours". Jesus was able to resist Satan's temptation, but Bono hasn't.

  8. anonymous
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    Feb 1st 2012 !⃝

    In the case of 'Vertigo,' I was thinking about this awful nightclub we've all been to. You're supposed to be having a great time and everything's extraordinary around you and the drinks are the price of buying a bar in a Third World country. ...you're just looking around and you see big, fat Capitalism at the top of its mountain, just about to topple. It's that woozy, sick feeling of realizing that here we are, drinking, eating, polluting, robbing ourselves to death. And in the middle of the club, there's this girl. She has crimson nails. I don't even know if she's beautiful, it doesn't matter but she has a cross around her neck, and the character in this stares at the cross just to steady himself.

    -Bono, U2 By U2

  9. anonymous
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    Dec 12th 2011 !⃝

    I wonder if this is partially based off Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. The main character Scottie suffers from Vertigo. There is also a scene in the movie where Madeline ends up in the woods and when she wakes up she has no idea how she got there and she wishes she wasn't there (It's everything I wish I didn't know). There is also a deep love between Madeline and Scottie (you give me something I can feel). And Scottie is following Madeline and trying to save her from herself (I can feel you reaching me. Your love it's reaching me)

  10. anonymous
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    Aug 13th 2011 !⃝

    I speak spanish and I can clearly hear that in the part of brackets says 'Contesta', wich in english means 'Reply'

  11. Stephen Starkiller Potter
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    May 18th 2011 !⃝

    This is less of an interpretation and more of a question to those who are more experienced in analyzing songs. U2's song "Native Song" eventually morphed into "Vertigo". I was wondering if anyone found any good connections between the two, as I really don't know "Native Son" well enough to draw them myself.

  12. anonymous
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    May 26th 2009 !⃝

    This song talks about when the Devil was trying to tempt Jesus in the book of Matthew( All of this can be yours/ just give me what I want and no one gets hurt). I'm not sure what the part about kneeling means though.

  13. anonymous
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    Apr 6th 2008 !⃝

    In case anyone was wondering, the girl with Jesus around her neck is dancing in a club but wearing a crucifix. This just shows that Jesus doesn't judge people and neither should we.

  14. anonymous
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    Jan 4th 2008 !⃝

    Ok, this is not an interpretation, but an explanation. U2 deliberately said 1...2...3...14 as a joke. There was an interview and he was asked if it was poor Spanish or what and he said it was just a joke. LOL! I wrote this because I saw some people were confused...

  15. blue
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    Aug 14th 2007 !⃝

    The first verse of the song evokes an image of a club, dark, like a jungle. People are amazed and confused, similar to the Earth's state now.

    In the second verse, this image is further developed, with the names of worldly, sometimes sinful things, like bullets, and gold. Bono sings, "I can't stand the beats, I'm asking for the cheque, the girl with crimson nails has Jesus round her neck." He doesn't want to be in this place or this state of vertigo (dizziness) accompanying it. He sees a girl with a rosary/Jesus necklace around her neck and he's completely absorbed in it.

    Then in the bridge, the lyrics are a paraphrasing of scripture, where Satan tempts Jesus: "All of this can be yours. Just give me what I want and no one gets hurt." This symbolizes temptation that people face, specifically, Bono, or the main character in this song, while in the club. Then after a sudden and brief rest, which I guess is to symbolize a peak of temptation, the chorus kicks in, showing that Bono, or the main character has chosen not to give in to this temptation.

    The chorus also shows some meaning: "Hello, Hello (Hola!)/ We're at a place called Vertigo (Donde esta? [Or "como estas?" or "Bogota" depending on what you think]) It's everything I wish I didn't know (or "Lights go down and all I know") But you give me something, I can feel you love teaching me how..your love is teaching me how...how to kneel..kneel..." He doesn't want to be in temptation, and God is helping him through it.

    That's about it. Also, something interesting I saw: If you watch the video, the rings rising around the band seem to grow as the song goes on and then after the bridge don't seem to rise much after that. If you look at this song as being about temptation, the rings could symbolize the temptation I was talking about.

  16. anonymous
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    Sep 6th 2006 !⃝

    The person who said that jesus (the cross round the girl's neck) is the only salvaion is correct, that's what bono says the song is about... He's in a club, the people are people he doesn't want to be with, the music isn't what he wasnt to hear, he feels dizzy (vertigo) but he's sees this girl with 'jesus round her neck' and its all he can concentrate on. And at the end he says 'your love is teaching me how to kneel' which I think is a great way of saying that he's accepted christ as his saviour but he know he still has a long way to go.
    Also I love the imagery in 'the night is full of holes // as bullets rip the sky of ink with gold' also interesting that it says twinkle on the album but he says sparke when he sings it live. And I like the line 'boys play rock 'n' roll //they know that they can't dance' just cause it's funny!

  17. anonymous
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    Jun 2nd 2006 !⃝

    The song is about the fact that once you are saved you can never be unsaved. But there are things in this life in ones life that makes us believe that we can be doomed back into eternal damnation.

  18. anonymous
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    Dec 14th 2005 !⃝

    I'm sure they say "¿dónde está?" It makes sense, bacause they said hola!" before. Though that interpretation about a place like that is fine :)

    I'm from Spain, and I think it's so cool the saying some Spanish words in the song. By the way, it is really one of their best song!

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