Stay (Faraway, So Close!)

  1. The title of this song alludes to the 1993 Wim Wenders film: Faraway, So Close. The film is a follow-up (Wenders insists it's not a sequel) to his earlier (1988?) film, Wings of Desire. Both follow the lives of angels in Berlin who become human and stumble around trying figure out life once their wings are clipped. The film is very drawn-out at times but the visual appeal of many of the scenes is irresistable. Anything from the angels perspective is black and white and the film goes colour when things are seen through human eyes. Once I understood how this all worked, the video for the song made a lot more sense (clue: the band is playing a bunch of angels and Bono apparently becomes human at the very end). The songs is from the perspective of the angels who feel helpless as they watch everyone's life unfold (And when I touch you, you don't feel a thing). The song is about helplessness more than anything (And if you shout, I'll only hear you). The angels know everything but they seem unable to change it. They've watched everything (You used to stay in to watch the adverts, You could lip-synch to the talk shows) we are like they're children and they can only watch.

    Dan Gouge gouge@ican.net (contributed before the 20:th of February 1998)

  2. "That sort of came when I was jumping off on kind of a Frank Sinatra tip. And then we had kind of a verse idea from the Achtung Baby sessions which didn't have a home. It was kind of just this verse melody. And I always liked it, so I remembered it. So when we were making Zooropa, I took out a copy of that half-finished song and I think we even called it at that point something like 'Sinatra Piece,' or whatever. So I just kind of had a go at writing a song for Frank. And then I came up with this version. I did a demo on like a four-track cassette and played it for the rest [of the band] and we kicked it around for a while, and between us all we kind of got the final structure and arrangement and that was it.

    But it took a long time to record, because, originally, we had so many guitars and keyboards on the tune, it was really kind of overloaded with ideas. And when it came time to do the final mix, one of the guitars that I had least interest in -- or put hardly any time into -- became the main guitar part in the tune. Ya know, we really kind of stripped it back. Flood just turned out this great mix. And in fact we tried to remix the song for the new collection because we thought, ya know, 'That mix was done so quickly, there has to be an even better mix there if we just put some time into it.' But we couldn't beat it -- it's got such a vibe that's so subtle. Ya know, it's sort of a masterful piece of work. So I was kind of happy in a way that we didn't [remix]. We sort of restored my faith in capturing a moment and how music is really something that has to happen spontaneously. It's not something you can really work on over a long period of time." -The Edge (2002)

    From Salvation in the Blues, compiled by Chris Taguchi chris@taguchi.ca (3rd of April 2007)

  3. Propaganda, Issue 19, May 01, 1994

    The German film director Wim Wenders and U2 are old collaborators. Wim shot a video for their contribution to the AIDS benefit album Red, Hot and Blue, while they have contributed songs to his two recent films Until the End of the World and Faraway, So Close! Last year Wim took a break from editing his film and U2 took a break from recording Zooropa, to talk on the phone about films, the Zoo TV tour, the new Europe and media fatigue.


    Bono [in Dublin]: The song we're most sure about [from the upcoming album, Zooropa] is the one we've called "Faraway, So Close!", like the film.

    [Wim Wenders (in Munich):] I've listened to it once or twice. Wonderful. There are three versions on the tapes, one instrumental, a second called "Control Room," much more tender and sweet, while the third is more rock with an omnipresent guitar.

    Bono: That's it. We've sent you the instrumental version because I thought that the words, even if they share some of the themes of the film, were too specific.

    [Wim Wenders:] What you consider too specific is in fact very close to the film, the last couplet about the fallen angel is superb.

    Bono: It's a song about an impossible relationship and someone looking at what's happening. In those kinds of situations, observing and the desire to intervene can poison everything.

    [Wim Wenders:] Yes, it destroys everything. I really like the way that ties in with one of the film's big themes.

    From Salvation in the Blues, compiled by Chris Taguchi chris@taguchi.ca (3rd of April 2007)