“Beautiful Day” is a song by the Irish rock band U2 as part of their album All That You Can’t Leave Behind and is definitely one of my favorite songs. I like this song because of it’s great combination of beats, guitar, vocals, and the overall message of the song. It is a great song to wake up to, and in addition, provides motivation for me. Not to mention that the song won 3 Grammy Awards and has gone multi-platinum in many countries.
The song was composed and released during 2000, when U2 was experimenting with new and different sounds. Bono, the lead vocalist, originally though of “Beautiful Day” as the song title and it launched from there. However, there was disagreement between the Edge, the guitarist for U2, and Bono. The Edge wanted to use more guitar in the song, while Bono resisted. Edge ultimately won that argument and that moved proved to be the right one. Not only did the song sound better, but with the added synth and beat box, it incorporated a new style of sound while maintaining U2’s classic beats.
The lyrics of this song have so much meaning and description. One particular passage I feel is important is this:
“See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out”
I interpret this to be a message about how humans are ruining the environment for our own personal satisfaction and beauty, when it is so beautiful already. “See China right in front of you” may be in reference to living in a small world, and how every small action can have big consequences. “Canyons broken by cloud” is referring to natural scenery, but maybe also referring to rain and erosion of the earth by water and humans alike. The next three lines are fairly straightforward. Tuna fleets and most fishing vessels in general over fish and are emptying the oceans of life. The Bedouin are a tribal people in the Middle East who live in tents and have a rich history. The oil fields relate to the middle east and the quest for power and wealth, and how big oil companies often drive these native people off their lands. The last two lines are a biblical in reference to Noah’s Arc and how rainbows signified mercy and goodness after the big flood and the bird in reference to re population and re-imaging the earth.
The sound in this song is spectacular. It is fast paced, has varying types of instruments, ranging from the spectacular guitar talent of The Edge to the synthetic strings in the intro, to the energetic chorus, and that steady and powerful bass and drums. The guitar’s presence in this song was quite strong and it definitely helped bring the song together.
Overall, the theme of this song is about how we should appreciate the natural beauty of life amidst power, greed, and the struggle to survive in this greedy and selfish human world. The catchy lyrics , passionate chorus help to make this song a great and have such varied and deep meanings. Finding quality music like this is rare, and I think we should all take a moment to appreciate Mother Earth for nurturing us and appreciate just being alive.