Throwback Thursday: “Running to Stand Still” by U2

Lizzy Partsch, Staff Writer

U2 is legendary for their rock solid instrumentals and extremely emotional song lyrics that usually describe and express personal and political struggles. Their songs not only touch the hearts of few, but the hearts of millions of people across the globe.

U2 is an Irish rock band from Dublin, consisting of Bono, lead vocalist and guitarist; The Edge, guitar, keyboard, and backup vocals; Adam Clayton, bass guitar; and Larry Mullen, Jr. on drums and percussion.

The band was first formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in 1976, when they were teenagers. Over a span of four year they signed a contract with Island Records, and released albums Boy, War, October, and Unforgettable Fire, but what really prompted the band to international superstardom was their fifth and most popular album, Joshua Tree.

This album includes hit record songs such as “With or Without You,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and “Where the Streets Have No Name,” but one of their most enduring, yet quiet, ignored songs, is “Running to Stand Still.”

The song is about a heroin-addicted couple living in Ballymun Flats, in Dublin. There are seven towers in Ballymun Flats, in which Bono used to play in. But over time, the band said it began to have poor maintenance and poor child facilities, as well as smell like vomit and urine, and have used needles lying around.

“I see seven towers / But I only see one way out…” is probably one of the most emotional lyrics of the song because Ballymun Flats, the seven towers, has the highest suicide rate in Ireland. The hidden meaning of this lyric not only demonstrates committing suicide, but shows how out of all the different possibilities in life, you only find one out, jumping.

Other lines like, “You got to cry without weeping / Talk without speaking / Scream without raising your voices…” show that addiction is silent struggle and that most don’t like to admit that they need help.

“You know I took the poison from the poison stream…” definitely illustrates the use of drugs, as well as the line, “She runs through the streets with her eyes painted red, under black belly of cloud in the rain…” This line illustrates the physical features of someone who would be using drugs.

Overall, one of the most simply beautiful, yet most dramatic parts of the song is the end, when the song starts to fade out and the lyrics are sung, “She will, suffer the needle chill, she’s running to stand still…”

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