At first listen, I didn’t think much of U2’s latest CD, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (Nov. 2004). I bought it the day it was released in 2004 and listened to it in the car on the way home from the store. I was a little disappointed that nothing hooked me like 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind (also purchased on release day and subjected to my rigorous in-car listening). Almost 18 months later, I can say the album has matured in my mind; I especially love the closing song, “Yahweh.”
I still think the first track and first single, “Vertigo,” isn’t terrific, but the rest of the album has some solid winners. How to Dismantle… is a darker, more uncertain walk through the world. For me, the final track “Yahweh” is the kicker that seals the record. Through Rolling Stone criticized it as a saccharine end to hard questions, it’s a remarkable note of hope that perhaps takes on more meaning considering Bono’s well-publicized work with global health and poverty.
In “Yahweh,” Bono sings a plea, presumably directed to the song’s namesake. He asks, “tell me now—why the dark before the dawn?” The song resonates with me especially now because it is peppered with requests for help with what needs to be done. Take these shoes and make them fit. Take these hand, teach them what to carry. And the last line seals the prayer and ends the record: take this heart and make it brave.