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To Let It Go

If I could through myself
Set your spirit free, I’d lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light
And to the day
— U2, Bad

When you think about the trajectory of U2 prior to the ubiquitous madness of Joshua Tree, it was Bad that became the song the crowd took possession of. The band carries it, always, but it soars with the collective energy of the crowd. It was the performance that everyone was talking about during Live Aid (at least until Queen took the stage). U2 grabs moments in that way, elevating a simple song about heroin addiction into so much more.

This desperation
Separation, condemnation
Revelation in temptation
Isolation, desolation
Let it go

Each person who hears the call in Bad feels themselves in it. We never dabbled in drug addiction but we have our own demons. Listen to it now, with the perspective of a global pandemic and yet another war and the collective addiction of social media and its demand to pick sides. Listen to it now having lost something of yourself. Listen to it having seen parts of yourself slip away. It takes on a meaning it didn’t have in simpler times.

Even with—especially with—this bruised and battered lens of 2022, the call is the same: To wake up and find hope somewhere above the darkness in the world. Above the darkness in ourselves. To let it go and set your spirit free. It remains a timeless call waiting to be heard.

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