The counting Bono does in the beginning is uno does tres catorce is spannish for one two three fourteen. According to several sources in the U2-Talk mailing list, the album is U2's 14:th album (including Wide Awake in America) and Lillywhite has been involved with U2's first, second, third and now fourteenth album. There have been some debate to which albums to include to get fourteen albums, if the "Best of" or "Wide Awake in America" should be included etc., but nobody knows for sure what Bono is referencing to yet. It might be so he just thought it sounded cool.
Jonas Steverud (Maintainer of U2MoL) (29:th of September 2004)
Rumours has it that Bono have said the following in some interview:
It started out life as a song called Native Son and it sounded great if a little earnest and a little predictable from us. Then we were having some fun with this riff that Edge had up his sleeve from a year previous - when he was calling it Full Metal Jacket - we were just playing around with it and that's when it turned into Vertigo, almost beat poetry, light verse and then this huge chorus...
Jonas Steverud (Maintainer of U2MoL) (28:th of October 2004)
Here Bono seems to be dizzy with the temptations and darkness and choices of the world he lives in. The mind is a jungle but mustn't rule your heart and Your eyes are wide And though your soul It can't be bought your mind can wander. In the darker quieter shadow casting shift of pace and sound level the devil gets his say and an inviting say it is. Quoting what the devil said to Jesus on what the Gospel According to Matthew calls a very high mountain, All this, all this can be yours All of this, all of this can be yours All this, all of this can be yours Just give me what I want And no one gets hurt... In the end the lesson is learned...You're teaching me ...aaahhh Your love is teaching me ...aaaah How to kneel Kneel! It is a great lesson from a great song. Vertigo is a sonic explosion of spiritual shrapnel! Get lacerated!
Ian Kelly iankelly134hotmail.com (20:th of November 2004)
Bono said on Jo Whileys BBC Radio 1 Show that he didnt realise that it meant 14-he thought it meant 4 and that there may have been some alcohol involved at the time!
mrstheedge2u mrstheedge2uyahoo.com (30:th of November 2004)
Vertigo depicts the temptations that Bono faces in this world. To prove the temptation aspect of the song please consider the following similarities.
Bono expresses that despite the chaos of this world, God allows him to see and feel beauty of life. Consider the verses Its everything I wish I didnt know, but you give me something I can Feel and Your love is teaching me how to Kneel. Im sorry if the theme is overly-christian... but based on the analysis of several months, im pretty sure this is an accurate representation.
"Mark Galardo" swissair135hotmail.com (14:th of January 2005)
About the spanish count in, I heard Bono say in some interview that he loves bad spanish and he loves to speak his own language: this spanish badly spoken. He actually gave a demonstration.
About the rest of the song, I heard Bono say in some other interview: The album ends in quite an ecstatic place, so we wanted to start off with a little bit of electric shock treatment, and it's a club and you're supposed to be having the time of your life but you want to kill yourself. It's a light little ditty. and later
It's a dizzy feeling, a sick feeling, when you get up to the top of something and there's only one way to go. That's not a dictionary definition, that's mine, and in my head I created a club called Vertigo, with all these people in it and the music is not the music you want to hear, and the people are not the people you want to be with, and then you see somebody and she's got a cross around her neck, and you focus on it, because you can't focus on anything else. You find a little tiny fragment of salvation there.
Bono's referring to the line I can't stand the beat (the music is not the music you want to hear)/ I'm asking for the check (he wants to get out)/Girl with crimson nails/ Has Jesus 'round her neck/ Swinging to the music which is a girl in that same club, who's dancing, but she has a crucifix around the neck (just like Bono has. In fact he points to his rosary when he sings this line in the video and some live performances) and it's that crucifix that can remind' Bono -who's lost in the club, uncomfortable- about Jesus. It's the girl who give me something, I can feel and whose love is teaching me how to kneel. It's her that leads Bono to Jesus.
So I think Bono means that sometimes you're lost in temptation and sin (at a place called Vertigo Club) but you always have Jesus to take you out of there and it always depends on yourself, because Jesus always wants to save you. It's about wheter you let Him or you don't.
The rest of the lyrics is easily reportable to all this idea of temptation and salvation afterwards that other people said above.
Francisco Pinto da Silva francisco_pintodasilvahotmail.com (22:nd of January 2005)
The general thrust of this song is a parallel between Christ's temptations and Bono's, as has been pointed out. But some specific parallels, currently overlooked in the discussion, should be emphasised. Two of Jesus' temptations take place in high places: the highest point of the temple, and then a high mountain. It is the latter that seems to be particularly relevant to Vertigo, where Satan says, effectively, all the world can be yours if you give me what I want. -- a refrain echoed in the song. The vertigo comes of being at a dizzy height, but also from being offered a stupendous prize--a prize that comes at no less a price than kneeling to Satan. Vertigo parallels this moment with being on stage, where, like Christ on the mountain, Bono figuratively has the world at his feet, along with its pleasures and temptations, with vertigo clouding his reason. But in the end, we see him, like Christ, resist the temptation, finding in God's love something of more value to kneel before.
Dani Scarratt dani.scarrattoptusnet.com.au (2005-09-29)