U2: Where the Streets Have No Name Meaning
Song Released: 1987
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Where the Streets Have No Name Lyrics
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I want to 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
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous Jan 16th 2009 report
I actually think this song is about a better place then here, like Heaven or so. Bono seems to be talking about escaping from such a flawed place and going to someplace better. "I want to tear down these walls that hold me inside/I want to reach out and touch the flame/where the streets have no name. In Heaven, the streets are paved with gold and I'm guessing don't have names. "I want to feel sunlight on my face/see that dust cloud disappear without a trace/I want to take shelter from the poison rain/where the streets have no name.
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:anonymous Jan 17th 2008 report
After watching's Bono's brief interpretation of this song, he elludes to it being a place without social distinction, something that weighs heavily upon him. He yearns for a place where social classes are not readily apparent by areas within a city.
3TOP RATED#3 top rated interpretation:anonymous Mar 28th 2006 report
It's about class segregation. In Dublin, people know what social standing you have based upon the street you live in. So the song is about a world where streets have no names; where there is no segregation based on where you live.
In Ireland, cities are divided according to wealth and religion, it is enough to be in a neighborhood to know the Net worth of this or that inhabitant and their religious current.
In my opinion, they were inspired by this real fact and imagined by opposition an imaginary place, where there aren't such divisions, and mostly where people are not categorised. A place where you can feel anonymity.
So, to me, this place where streets have no name is an ode to freedom. They describes a place, but it is not designated, so everyone can imagine their own freedom place.
To me,Bono expresses in this song his desire of freedom.
Indeed this song was written during his trip in Ethiopia .That may indicate that he compared the freedom of a wild place in Ethiopia where he feels « the sunlight on [his] face » to the « dust cloud » and « the walls » found in Ireland.
Hence his yearning for a heaven on earth
where he could be himself freely without the social pressure chaining him down,for a place « where the streets have no name »
As far as I am concerned, the singer, Bono, expresses his love for freedom. It is quite relevant because of the historical context : when the Irishmen had to live under the yoke of the English and they had to fight the oppressor. Moreover, he says "I want to tear down the walls / That hold me inside". He feels like he is in jail because his island is not completely independent. The title 'where the streets have no name' refers to places which have English names but not Irish names, and those English names mean nothing for him. To add more, 'I go there with you / It's all I can do' may be interpreted as the only thing I have when I go to another place is my freedom, even if I am the poorest man in town. Thus, if I don't have it anymore, if ' our love turns to rust' , I will try to recover it, I will try to ' reach out and touch the flame ' of freedom again. Furthermore, it may be heard like a call to battle against the perfidious Albion.
In my point of view this song let you imagine where it is because Bono doesn't mention any city or street's name ( it's normal they don't have). I think Bono want to escape the real world, that is for why he doesn't want to give names to streets because a name can remember you something. If we make a parallel with current situation, the world where the streets have no name could be a paradise without covid 19. Moreover, he says "the poison rain", that could be the virus which spreads everywhere as rain. Storm could be a metaphor of effects of covid on the entire world. When he says "And our love turns to rust", I imagine he wants to show that when they are a problem (covid for instance) relationship are wholly affected, during lockdown we can't see your friends and that had affected many friendships or relationships.
In my point of view this song let you imagine where it is because Bono doesn't mention any city or street's name ( it's normal they don't have). Therefore he let you create your own place. I think Bono want to escape the real world, that is for why he doesn't want to give names to streets because a name can remember you something. If we make a parallel with current situation, the world where the streets have no name could be a paradise without covid 19. Moreover, he says "the poison rain", that could be the virus which spreads everywhere as rain. He uses the lexical field of storm to call to mind. Storm could be a metaphor of effects of covid on the entire world. When he says "And our love turns to rust", I imagine he wants to show that when they are a problem (covid for instance) relationship are wholly affected, during lockdown we can't see your friends and that had affected many friendships or relationships.
In summary, at the first listening, it's easy to think it's about the hard end of a love story but when you listen again you realize it's really more than that, even if 1987 covid didn't exist, the link is easy to make today.
I think that Bono refers to the 1987 Dublin situation (date of creation of the music):there was segregation between catholics and protestants in North Ireland. So in my opinion, Bono who is a very popular and influencer, dreams that his country stops these wars and becomes a country at peace. That's why he says "where streets have no name". Moreover, in this peaceful country, he could lives in peace with his wife (we can suppose that is not the case actually because he says "Our love turns to rust"
At first sight the singer is lost in his music so in his own life. He seeks to go beyond the walls that enclose him. In his inner world where nothing makes sense, where he probably found himself in a depression after losing a loved one, he is lost and cannot even find his way back because of the streets that simply have no names. He is in this parallel world, stuck in his brain in search of an answer, a click, an exit. This idea represents the tip of the iceberg because in a second time, One may think that the singer does not think of a particular place or even a box but more globally to the sky and to that spiritual side of a zone without borders where there is only dust leaving free room for his thought. This second way of thinking would then be the submerged part leaving more to appear the deeper and spirited ideas of Bono.
By listening the song of U2, I think that this song can be related to the death of a soulmate. After the death of the person, the singer is devastated. He wants to escape this situation of sadness and suffering in which he is stuck. He expresses his will through the first lyric “I want to run, to hide, tear down the wall”. Before the death, the two soulmates try to maintain their relationship despite reluctance. Through the sentence “We’re beaten and blown by the wind” , it make me believe that the couple was roughed up because some people doesn’t want them to be together. The people would be represented by the wind. And maybe the lover killed itself because of the harassment of one’s who doesn’t approve the relation. Also, he says “I want to take shelter from poison rain”, maybe the poison rain was all the bad words, behaviors or judgments that other people have toward the couple. And with the wave of hate, the soulmate died and the “love turns to rust”. Like oxygen break down iron, judgement destroy the couple by destroying the life of the soulmate. And now the death affects the singer so much that he wants to kill himself to join his lover to the place “where streets have no name” which is the Heaven. We can imagine this in the sentence “I want to reach out and touch the flame where the street have no name” and it is all he can do and wants to do.
In my opinion, this song is about Irish prisoners in the UK during The Troubles.
Indeed the main caracter want to fly away, to "tear down the walls", to break out of his jail, to destroy everything that keep him away from his beloved country.
And the title of the songs, "where the streets have no name", refers to the country he is incarcerate where,for him, nothing has a name.
The singer is lost in his music so in his own life. He seeks to go beyond the walls that enclose him. In his inner world nothing makes sense, in which he probably found himself following a depression after the loss of a loved one, he is lost and he cannot even find his way back thanks to the streets that have just no names. He is in this parallel world, blocking in his brain in search of a response, a click, a way out.
anonymous May 28th 2021 report
The opening in 2001 says it all
What can I give back to God for the blessings he has poured out on me? This is out of a psalm, The reference to James being blown and beaten by the wind indicates how life on earth can blow you away, So what is the only way to get to the streets with no name, where all bleeds into one ( heaven). he clearly references God saying the that he goes with Him and its all you can do
So he opens with the question then answers it, after drawing the audience into a frenzy of energy, and a man reaching beyond his Grasp. After all , what is a heaven for?
anonymous May 10th 2018 report
in dublin people will know if your catholic or protestant y what street you live on-that is straight from u2 interviews and books.
anonymous May 6th 2017 report
I feel this song is about Heaven. It's always the 'feeling' I got when I listened to this song when it was first released. I listen to it now, and think of my dad, who is in heaven, and other family and friends who have passed. I know there's a place. HOWEVER since I have read other's thoughts on the song meaning, I can see how it could be related to class segregation etc. The video was filmed in a not so nice section of town, in Los Angeles. Where I am sure some wonderful people live. Even if it's not so 'nice' there. But I'd also still like to point out heavenly influence as it is after all The City of Angels.
I like the fact that music means something different to everybody - that demonstrates the power of the words in the song. Almost everybody here is right, and I guess I would add one more interpretation. Our brother just died - a horrible battle with cancer that was painful and long. We buried Johnny on Thursday in the cemetery, where the streets have no names, where the wind blows across the ridge of the hill against the eternal flame. To us, the song gives Johnny his voice. In a cemetery, everybody is the same - all loved, all missed, all gone, lying cold on plots sided by little streets with no names. Sometimes the meaning of a song depends on when you listen to it. The fact that so many of us get so many different things from just one song, one string of words, says that Bono is a true poet.
In Jpanese,this song is ransrated as "the Land of Promise". As you know,this name appears in the Old Testament.Then, what is BONO singing about? It is definitely about the place where we can feel God's love. Maybe it is heaven.Maybe it is just faith in God.Anyway,through this lyrics,we can see BONO's honest faith in God.I'm really happy to see that.
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