Didn’t like this song upon first hearing, it took a while to get into and a while further to like it a lot. Maybe it took seeing it on videos of the Innocence + Experience tour to really appreciate it. Now, thinking about the song and context in it, I like it a lot musically, and have only mild problems with some of the lyrics.
My wife consistently asks “are they really singing raised by wolves?” when this song comes on, and I have to admit they are. That may be the single thing that triggered me into disliking it in the first place, the embarrassment that I feel when thinking about the title. Most of the rest of the music is fine, but then they jump into that title, repeated a few times, and I always feel a little cringe coming on. Frankly when first rating the song I thought about giving it a one or two based on the title alone, and even now it loses a point because of it.
The song is one of those songs where Bono switches between literal writing and writing in allusions. The literary comes across most clearly in the first verse, which is the description of a car bombing, and in that verse it kind of works, mostly. The other one is the “registration 1385WZ” which is frankly a terrible line, this is such an on the nose description that it defies belief that he would put it in the song. I really don’t understand why it would be there, it doesn’t add anything to the song, almost there just to complete the rhyme.
The allusions, the good part, come in further down. “Crushed under the weight of a cross” and the words around it is fantastic, it very strongly tells the point of religion, the idea that your belief in religion can be so strong that it crushes you into becoming a person who will break the laws of that religion in order to enforce it. “The worst things in the world are justified by belief” is a continuation of that thought, perhaps even further than the previous line as being in your face about religion. We see that all the time in the world today, where we have people justifying their actions by their religion, but then when others try to do the same thing using their own religion we think it is wrong. It is yet another example of the hypocrisy of organized religion, the idea that you can do something terrible but as long as you do it in the name of your religion then you’re good.
By the way this post marks a milestone of sorts. Normally I write these posts the day before posting them (very rarely a couple of days ahead of time), and schedule them to post at 1am. For the first time all year I am writing this one on the day of posting, and will post it several hours later than usual. The reason is that I was very sick yesterday, the whole vomiting and diarrhea thing, and spent most of the day laying in bed feeling miserable. I still don’t feel good now, headache mostly, but I guess I should be pleased that my dedication to this project is that the first thing I am doing after getting up this morning is writing this post. Just don’t want to have to do it again.
My rating for Raised By Wolves: 5 / 10