'War' album lyrics by U2

This album is characterized by its explicit political and social commentary, reflecting the band's growing maturity and engagement with the turbulent world around them. The thematic content of "War" is a powerful exploration of conflict, both external and internal, and the human experiences intertwined with these struggles.

One of the most prominent themes in "War" is the critique of political conflict and violence. The album's opening track, "Sunday Bloody Sunday," is perhaps the most explicit in this regard. The song references the "Bloody Sunday" incident of 1972 in Northern Ireland, where British soldiers shot unarmed civil rights protesters. Here, Bono's lyrics convey a sense of outrage and despair at the senselessness of such violence, yet the song is also a call for peace, not a rebel song, as Bono often clarified in live performances.

Another significant theme is the loss of innocence in the face of war and conflict. This is particularly evident in songs like "New Year's Day," which, while inspired by the Polish Solidarity movement, also speaks to broader issues of division and the longing for unity. The lyrics convey a sense of disillusionment with the promises of change and the persistent reality of division and strife.

The psychological impacts of war and violence are explored in tracks like "Seconds," was focussed on Bono's concerns about nuclear arms and features The Edge singing the first two verses. The song reflects the anxiety of the Cold War era, capturing the paranoia and existential dread of living under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation.

War album Cover

In contrast to the outward-looking political songs, "War" also includes more personal and introspective tracks. "Drowning Man," for instance, offers a respite from the album's political fervor. This song leans towards themes of love and support as a means of salvation, suggesting that in the midst of turmoil, personal connections can provide a sanctuary.

The album's closing track, "40," shifts the focus inward, with lyrics adapted from Psalm 40 of the Bible. This song reflects themes of faith, hope, and redemption, providing a contemplative end to an otherwise intense album. It serves as a reminder that amidst the chaos and conflict of the world, there remains a space for spiritual reflection and inner peace.

"War" is a seminal album in U2's discography, representing a pivotal moment where the band firmly established their voice on political and social issues. The themes explored in this album resonate with the universal human experiences of conflict, despair, and the search for hope and unity, making "War" a powerful and enduring work in the landscape of rock music.

War album Lyrics written by Bono:

1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
10. "40"

A leftover from the War recording sessions was the song, Angels Too Tied To The Ground

War was produced by Steve Lillywhite and was U2's first number one album in the UK, knocking off Michael Jackson's Thriller of the chart's top spot.