“Vertigo” by U2

U2’s “Vertigo” focuses on modern day culture and how people are more concerned about their feelings and sensations rather than doing what is needful. The singer likens the state of this culture to Vertigo which involves a feeling of dizziness and spinning sensation even though you are not moving.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for U2's Vertigo at Lyrics.org.

The first verse which mentions going down, having a jungle in your head and not being able to control your thoughts seems to allude to the feelings that a drug could induce.

Since a Vertigo is naturally an unpleasant feeling, one can safely assume that the singer is not pleased but feels mentally trapped. Though he cites pleasure seeking activities such as music, dance, and drugs, he is ultimately not satisfied with these. Instead, he seems to be trapped in a state of wanting and desiring.

Bono of U2 speaking about the song noted that it’s actually very different from their usual catalog and has a very fresh outlook to it.

Writing, Release and Album Info

Written by all four musicians that constitute U2, “Vertigo” features production from one of the industry’s most relevant producers, Steve Lillywhite.

It appears on their “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” album and supported the entire project as its lead single.

Success of “Vertigo”

Shortly after its 2004 release, the single became a relevant radio hit and went straight to the top of diverse singles charts, including that of the following countries:

  • Scotland
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Denmark
  • United Kingdom

In US of A, it was also a significant hit. For instance, it hit No. 31 on the renowned Hot 100 and No. 1 on Billboard’s “Alternative Airplay” charts.

In countries such as Australia, Germany and Norway, it was a bona fide top 10 hit.

Rolling Stone compiled a list of the decade’s (2000 – 2010) best songs. This hit was placed at the 64th position on this list.

Grammy Win

During the 2005 edition of the Grammy Awards, this song took home three Grammys, including the award for the “Best Rock Song”. In winning this award, it beat the following songs:

  • Green Day’s “American Idiot”
  • The Killers’ “Somebody Told Me”
  • Modest Mouse’s “Float On”
  • Velvet Revolver’s “Fall to Pieces”

4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s worth noting the quite part of the song, about 2/3rds of the way in.

    All of this, all of this can be yours.
    All of this, all of this can be yours.
    All of this, all of this can be yours.
    Just give me what I want, and no one gets hurt.

    It’s totally out of place with the rest of the song, easy to miss, and can be seen as a startling, even vertigo educing, indictment of the band, the music industry, and/or the entertainment industry in general.

    • Anonymous says:

      Always thought it was a Bible reference. Matthew 4:8-10. Though there’s some obvious parallels to the Temptation of Christ, and maybe the double meaning was intended.

      • Beth says:

        Yes- Bono is revealing through the confusion and dizziness of the world he feels God calling him. “Uno, dos, tres, catorse”, referring to the ancient 14 stages of the cross. The last line “your live is teaching me to kneel”, meaning kneeling before God surrendering to God’s Love and His merciful forgiveness.

  2. Ron RoXtar says:

    Bono has clearly stated in his book this song is abut the temptation of Christ.

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