The Wanderer: U2 / Johnny Cash

This song has been inescapable for me over the past few days. I have known of its existence for some time, I have heard it before, but for some reason when it popped up in my mp3 player the other day (set to "random") it made an impact. Since then I have listened to it probably 40 or more times, and I still haven’t made total sense out of it. In any case, I thought I should share the lyrics and recommend that you get a hold of a copy for yourself and give it a listen. For those who don’t know such things, its on U2’s Zooropa (and shame on you for not knowing that!).
I went out walking through the streets paved with gold
Lifted some stones
Saw the skin and bones
Of a city without a soul
I went out walking under an atomic sky
Where the ground wont turn
And the rain it burns
Like the tears when I said goodbye

Yeah I went with nothing
Nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering

I went drifting through the capitals of tin
Where men cant walk
Or freely talk
And sons turn their fathers in
I stopped outside a church house
Where the citizens like to sit
They say they want the kingdom
But they dont want God in it

I went out riding
Down that ol' eight lane
I passed by a thousand signs
Looking for my own name

I went with nothing
But the thought you'd be there too
Looking for you

I went out there
In search of experience
To taste and to touch
And to feel as much
As a man can
Before he repents

I went out searching, lookin' for one good man
A spirit who would not bend or break
Who would sit at his fathers right hand
I went out walking with a Bible and a gun
The word of God lay heavy on my heart
I was sure I was the one
Now jesus, dont you wait up
Jesus, Ill be home soon
Yeah I went out for the papers
Told her I'd be back by noon

Yeah I left with nothing
But the thought you'd be there too
Looking for you...
Yeah I left with nothing
Nothing but the thought of you...
I went wandering

Comments

GoobyNelly said…
Don't you love it when that happens? The same thing happened to me with Sufjan Stevens and a whole host of his songs. I'm assuming Cash wrote the lyrics. I love songs with ambiguous narrative and imagery. They allow us to do the work.
Ben Myers said…
Yes, I love that song -- it so perfectly captures Cash's persona.
Patrik said…
The lyrics are Bono's. He seems to be the best when he writes in character, which is very interesting indeed.

Popular Posts

Abortion, Authoritarian Self-Deception, Evangelicals, and Trump: a collected Twitter essay from Christopher Stroop

Marilynne Robinson on Theology

Reversing Theology—A Personal Reply to Torres and Roberts, by David Congdon

Ents, Hobbits, and Salvation in the Shadow of Charlottesville: David Roberts on "The God Who Saves"

How to Understand Schleiermacher's Theology—A guest post by Daniel Pedersen