The Blackout
by U2

Album: Songs of Experience (2017)

Songfacts®:

  • Bono explained to Rolling Stone that this buzzing, thumping rocker started off its life about a personal apocalypse ("some events in my life that more than reminded me of my mortality") before events such as Brexit and Trump's election transformed it into a critique of the current volatile political climate ("the political dystopia that we're heading towards now.")

    Bono added: "'Dinosaur, wonders why it still walks the earth. A meteor promises it's not going to hurt' would have been a funny line about an ageing rock star. It's a little less funny if we're talking about democracy and old certainties – like truth."

    "The second verse 'Statues fall, democracy is flat on its back, Jack. We had it all and what we had is not coming back, Zac. A big mouth says the people they don't want to be free for free. The blackout, is this an extinction event we see?' goes straight to the bigger picture of what's at stake in the world right now."
  • In writing and rewriting the song, Bono told The New York Times, "I made it about democracy, not an aging rock star."
  • The clip features grainy black-and-white footage of U2 performing the song in front of a small crowd, who showed up after a call on the band's official website.

    "U2 performed it live for the assembled audience five times, though with some pre-recorded vocals as well," according to U2gigs.com. "The audience picked up the catchy chorus quickly, and on the fourth take Bono asked jokingly if it had leaked on the 'Interwebs.' He let the audience sing it on the fifth take. Bono also crowd surfed during one take of the song."

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