President Barack Obama’s farewell address on Tuesday night was already going to be a major emotional event, but few of us were prepared for the heart-string-tugging entrance music that the president walked out to: U2’s “City Of Blinding Light.”
For anyone who paid close attention to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, the opening guitar strains will sound familiar — the song was a favorite of Obama’s, so much so that U2 performed the number at the president’s first inauguration in January 2009.
Some people may not agree that the words to U2’s song are still the best for Obama’s message — certainly the opening lyrics, “The more you see the less you know / The less you find out as you go / I knew much more then than I do now” seem to argue against the progress that Obama’s speech focused on.
But Genius.com editor JWG interpreted the lyrics this way: “After having gone out into the world, grown and changed to becoming a man, having gained experience at the cost of innocence, is it possible to come full circle and recapture a little of what you’ve lost?” Perhaps this makes the song even more pertinent — telling the story of an slightly naïve candidate who has had a very challenging presidency.
Regardless of your interpretation, no one can argue that U2 helped open the emotional faucets for this final speech of Obama’s presidency.