Eerie song from U2's sonic about-face, Achtung Baby. "Ultraviolet" shares the somber, mellow tone from the other songs on the second side of U2's seventh studio album.
Ultraviolet light is barely outside of the human visual range yet pours down on us every day from the cosmos (mostly from our own sun). It is used for a variety of purposes, mostly making things visible which are not normally -- certain substances, when excited with ultraviolet light, will flouresce with a spooky white glow. The voice of this song is obviously calling on a higher power to give him vision to find a path which he cannot see. A tried-and-true theme for rock and roll, strongly associated with The Who's Pete Townshend and of course U2's Bono.
During the recording of Achtung Baby, there was significant amounts of tension in the studio between bandmates Bono, Edge, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton. Numerous times the boys from Dublin debated whether or not to call it quits. Urban legend (and retrospective interviews) claim that "One," the central anthem of the album, was the piece that brought them together. "Ultraviolet," on the other hand, shows much of the turmoil that was going on inside each member of U2 as they fought through rocky recording sessions and strenuous music video shoots.
(A fun "kiss this guy"ism in this song is to listen for the falsetto "Ultraviolet"s during the chorus and try to hear them instead as "ultraviolence," Anthony Burgess' popular term for rape, murder, and general disorder from A Clockwork Orange.)
Title: Ultraviolet (Light my Way)
Album: Achtung Baby
Written by: U2
Released: November 1991
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