Sunday, July 11, 2010

U2's 'Magnificent': Bono's Magnificat

I love this song. Always have. Always will. The simple euphoria of the melody is infectious. "Magnificent" originated from the band's improvised recording sessions with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois in Fez, Morocco in June 2007. The track was created out of a series of chord changes in the midst of a jam. The Edge noted that "The basic chord progression had a power that got everyone inspired. I think we all knew that it was inherently joyful, which is rare." A group of Moroccan percussionists played along with the band, and the result quickly became a band favourite during the sessions.

Bono noted that the lyrics were influenced by both Cole Porter and Bach, and that the song is about "two lovers holding on to each other and trying to turn their life into worship."

Oh, oh, magnificent

I was born, I was born
To be with you in this space and time
After that and ever after
I haven't had a clue only to break rhyme
This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar

I was born, I was born to sing for you
I didn't have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice from the womb
My first cry, it was a joyful noise, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love unites our hearts
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, magnificent

There are some who have made comparisons between this song and the words of Psalm 40 (which was probably the inspiration of an earlier U2 song '40')

1I waited patiently for the Lord; •
he inclined to me and heard my cry.

2He brought me out of the roaring pit,
out of the mire and clay; •
he set my feet upon a rock and made my footing sure.

3He has put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God; •
many shall see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

4Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, •
who does not turn to the proud that follow a lie.

5Great are the wonders you have done, O Lord my God.
How great your designs for us! •
There is none that can be compared with you.

6If I were to proclaim them and tell of them •
they would be more than I am able to express.

7Sacrifice and offering you do not desire •
but my ears you have opened;

8Burnt offering and sacrifice for sin you have not required, •
then said I: ‘Lo, I come.

9‘In the scroll of the book it is written of me
that I should do your will, O my God; •
I delight to do it: your law is within my heart.’

10I have declared your righteousness in the great congregation; •
behold, I did not restrain my lips;
and that, O Lord, you know.

11Your righteousness I have not hidden in my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; •
I have not concealed your loving-kindness and truth
from the great congregation. R

12Do not withhold your compassion from me, O Lord; •
let your love and your faithfulness always preserve me,

13For innumerable troubles have come about me;
my sins have overtaken me so that I cannot look up; •
they are more in number than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails me.

14Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; •
O Lord, make haste to help me.

15Let them be ashamed and altogether dismayed
who seek after my life to destroy it; •
let them be driven back and put to shame
who wish me evil.

16Let those who heap insults upon me •
be desolate because of their shame. R

17Let all who seek you rejoice in you and be glad; •
let those who love your salvation say always,
‘The Lord is great.’

18Though I am poor and needy, •
the Lord cares for me.

19You are my helper and my deliverer; •
O my God, make no delay.

There are those who proclaim this song as U2's 'Magnificat'

1My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; •
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.

2From this day all generations will call me blessed; •
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.

3He has mercy on those who fear him, •
from generation to generation.

4He has shown strength with his arm •
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,

5Casting down the mighty from their thrones •
and lifting up the lowly.

6He has filled the hungry with good things •
and sent the rich away empty.

7He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, •
to remember his promise of mercy,

8The promise made to our ancestors, •
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Mary proclaimed the greatness of the Lord in the whole of her being. Resultantly she became Theotokos, God bearer. My soul proclaims God's greatness tonight as I find myself singing Bono's words. May we too be Theotokos...

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