Bono told Q magazine February 2009 that this song was written from the point of view of, "this guy on a motorcycle, a Moroccan French cop, who's going Awol. He drives through France and Spain down to this village outside of Cadiz where you can actually see the fires of Africa burning."
The ambient Middle Eastern sonic collage at the start of this song was influenced by the decision of the band to start work on the album in a makeshift open-air recording studio in the ancient North African city of Fez, Morocco. The Edge explained to The Sun February 27, 2009: "The idea was to jump out of Western culture for a second and see music as a broader concept. We went to this spiritual music festival and saw people of all different religious backgrounds. The location itself started to infuse our music."
Co-producer Daniel Lanois explained to The National Post how this song came together: "The Edge had a kind of symphonic guitar little moment that was free time. And I always liked the sound of it so I took that and chopped it into a tempo and presented that back to the band. I used one of Eno's beats and I kind of created an arrangement out of what was a free wheel but it always had a great sound. On the strength of that sonic I persisted with that piece. Bono thought that it had this feeling like it was almost something coming to life. Like a flower opening or coming into the world and then into the 'Being Born' section. That's the high-speed rhythmic part. We had a vibe very early on, so we married those two tracks together after the fact." Lanois added that he put the two tracks "in the same key, anticipating that they might live together. I always look for outstanding transitions like that. They can't be taken for granted - they have to be designed and thought of scientifically. I love that triplet - it's something I created in my editing process, then the downbeat. Then the main song. I think it's a fantastic transitional moment."
Larry Mullen on recording in Morocco: "Initially, the idea was to do this esoteric thing and have a few hits there as well. It's kind of morphed into something else. I think there is experimentation in there... it's just a different animal. It's not quite what people would expect a U2 experimental thing would be. I mean, if you think of Zooropa, or Passengers, this is not that. This has got a lot of weight... I think it's some of the best music we've ever written."
Greg from Harrington Park, NjThis is a brilliant song and is probably the most underrated and underappreciated song on No Line on the Horizon. Nice melody and I love the way the let me in the sound technique was incorporated into the song over the baseline in the beginning of the song