"So Cruel" as written by and Dave Evans Adam Clayton....
We crossed the line
Who pushed who over?
It doesn't matter to you
It matters to me

We're cut adrift
We're still floating
I'm only hanging on
To watch you go down
My love

I disappeared in you
You disappeared from me
I gave you everything you ever wanted
It wasn't what you wanted

The men who love you, you hate the most
They pass through you like a ghost
They look for you, but your spirit is in the air
Baby, you're nowhere

Oh...love...
You say in love there are no rules
Oh...love...
Sweetheart,
You're so cruel

Desperation is a tender trap
It gets you every time
You put your lips to her lips
To stop the lie

Her skin is pale like God's only dove
Screams like an angel for your love
Then she makes you watch her from above
And you need her like a drug

Oh...love...
You say in love there are no rules
Oh...love...
Sweetheart,
You're so cruel

She wears my love like a see-through dress
Her lips say one thing
Her movements something else
Oh love, like a screaming flower
Love...dying every hour...love

You don't know if it's fear or desire
Danger the drug that takes you higher
Head in heaven, fingers in the mire

Her heart is racing, you can't keep up
The night is bleeding like a cut
Between the horses of love and lust
We are trampled underfoot

Oh...love... You say in love there are no rules
Oh...love...
Sweetheart,
You're so cruel

Oh...love...
To stay with you I'd be a fool
Sweetheart
You're so cruel


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"So Cruel" as written by Dave Evans Adam Clayton

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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So Cruel song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationThe song is about a couple who drift apart after trying to enhance their sex life by the introduction of another woman into their lovemaking. At the beginning, the male speaks in the first (and second) person to his female lover. He immediately suggests regrat and his blameing of his female partner for coming up with the idea of enriching their love life with a bi-sexual / threesome experience.

    "We crossed the line
    Who pushed who over?
    It doesn't matter to you
    It matters to me"

    She insists it doesn't matter where the idea came from, what's done is done. It does matter to him, suggesting that he was satisfied with their relationship, but she wasn't.

    "We're cut adrift
    But still floating
    I'm only hanging on
    To watch you go down,
    My love"

    They are drifting apart from one another, yet he remains for the sexual experience, as opposed to the emotional one. As well, this is an obvious reference to watching his lover perform oral sex; however, it does not indicate if he is watching her go down on him, or another person.

    "I disappeared in you
    You disappeared from me
    I gave you everything you ever wanted
    It wasn't what you wanted"

    This suggests the disconnect they have been feeling during heterosexual intercouse. He disappears in her (sex) and she disappears from him emotionally. The paradoxical statement following that suggests he has tried everything she demanded to fulfill her sexual needs, but it wasn't enough. Hence, a new partner is introduced.

    "The men who love you, you hate the most
    They pass through you like a ghost
    They look for you, but your spirit is in the air
    Baby, you're nowhere"

    A suggestion to the emotional distance from men the female partner has always seemed to feel. Perhaps it's not men she desires, yet because of the societal expectation of heterosexuality, she cannot express her bisexuality or homosexuality openly.

    "Ohhhh
    You say in love there are no rules
    Ohhhh
    Sweetheart, you're so cruel"

    If there are no rules in love according to her, this is further evidence suggesting she is the one who desires to break the morays of monogamy in order to fulfill her desires, and he calls her cruel for this, obviously hurt by her apparent rejection of him and his inability to satisfy her, despite the love he feels for her.

    "Desperation is a tender trap
    It gets you every time
    You put your lips to her lips
    To stop the lie"

    Desperation for sexual fulfillment seems to have captured the female in a trap of desire -- continually wanting those same desires fulfilled. Desperation to make her happy has trapped the male partner into allowing the relationhip to become "open". Once this is done, it is difficult to get back to exclusivity. "You put your lips to her lips to stop the lie" is crucial here -- Everyone here normally assumes a change from the first person into the third; however, if we assume the speaker does NOT change here, then the "you" remains his female partner, which makes the "her" being kissed another woman. The lie being stopped then also changes drastically... the lie she stops is the lie of her heterosexuality and the lie of their male-female relationship.

    "Her skin is pale like God's only dove
    Screams like an angel for your love
    Then she makes you watch her from above
    And you need her like a drug"

    If the speaker is still speaking to his female lover, then this again becomes a commentary on the sexual relationship between the two women. "need[ing] her like a drug" then is suggestive of the female's true desires becoming inescapable. She needs to be with a woman to be happy, making the man feel obsolete.

    "She wears my love
    Like a see-through dress
    Her lips say one thing
    Her movements something else"

    The fact that he says "my love" again indicates that a shift from the first person never occured and the use of "her" did in fact refer to a second female. This is where the song becomes much sadder, as we see the woman's inability to simply admit her homosexuality; she continues the lie of the relationship with a man in order to live up to the expectations of others. He seems to truly love her, but she "wears" that love like a see-through dress; it's superficial and external only. And he knows it. he can see that she's pretending, but still loves her anyway. Sad.

    Trampled by both love and lust? Seems that each person in the relationship is suffering.
    darkclawon July 07, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI absolutely love this song - Bono just sounds so sarcastic, and he's awesome!
    "I'm only hanging on to watch you go down....my love" is one of the best lines ever!! It sounds to me like the guy in the song is frustrated with the girl because she's so aloof but she's also impossible to forget about because he wants her so much. It's a kinda bitter song that is so good when you are in the mood to just be angry at someone!!
    leaneyson August 20, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI spent six years in the situation that this song is about. My God, it hurts. And the lyrics are indeed brilliant.

    My favorite lyric is "She wears my love like a see-thru dress / her lips say one thing, her movements something else"

    Also, "I disappeared in you, you disappeared from me / I gave you everything you ever wanted, it wasn't what you wanted"

    My God... this song... this...

    1.) What they had is in ruins... He won't let her destroy him... he bent over backwards to please her, and it drove her away... she doesn't like being taken care of, she doesn't think she's worth it, she uses up men and moves on because she can't stand being loved but needs to be loved... she's a nasty, frigid bitch...

    2.) The more you try to hold on to her, the more you get dippy-in-love, and the more she runs away... she's so beautiful, and so damaged, and you just want to take care of her... and she pushes you away, runs off with another guy... but won't let you off the hook... she is a nasty, frigid bitch.

    The bridge: She puts his love on like a sexy dress when she wants to feel good about herself, but she just makes it complicated... she'll tell him she doesn't love him, but she comes running to him when she hurts... she'll tell him she needs him but she'll run away again. How can something so beautiful hurt so bad? How can she make love into something so damned horrible?

    3.) In the end you can't let go, and you're not sure if it's because you're afraid of losing her or because you still love her after all this... it's like an addiction now... and she thinks you're obsessed with her but she's the one who did this to you... she won't let you go... you've tried...and you just get run over. She is one nasty, frigid bitch.

    This could indeed be about Aislinn O'Sullivan (Edge's first wife). It also sounds like my most recent ex-girlfriend. The hell of it is, I sitll love her. We don't talk anymore, I'm free of her, and I'm better off for it, but I miss her every day and I think I will for the rest of my life. How do you undo six years of emotional torment? I don't honestly know.

    She's so cruel...
    Keyser Sushion August 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat my ex wife did to me and will continue to do. She is given love and care, but that's not what she wants. Lies and pain she enjoys...
    graniteon January 11, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentgood thing my boyfriend sent me this song a few months ago to listen to! that was the only time he ever sent me a song he wanted me to listen to. talk about being secretly resented. oh well, i've been there before too, just not on this side. great song
    fairydust9on January 02, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm surprised that nobody has commented on this song, yet! I think it's a grest song!
    U2aholicon July 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree!
    People, this is one of the greatest songs on the album.
    I can't listen to it without getting choked up.

    I just hope I never get in a situation where I can 'relate' to what he's saying. That would be a very depressing time...
    NewWaveMonkayon August 11, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah these are probably the best lyrics ive ever heard in a song. Bono is such a great lyricist!
    obviously its about a guy who is trying to get back at an ex by giving her a taste of her own medicine.
    its weird though one half of the song he is talking to the girl and then its as if he is warning someone about her.
    joeytheboyon September 03, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh my god.. this song. Lies and lies... its love all about lying? You offer what he/she wants, and then you are alone, not knowing what you did wrong, alone with the ilutions of promesses... just by yourself, needing sometimes even the pain, like a drug, consuming, killing u inside, but you need him/her, you need to be hurted, it makes you feel alive, because sometimes you love, and you don´t even see what´s in front of you. But you are still all alone."You put your lips to her lips .To stop the lie" . Loves makes you go blind. Ill relation but true love. Killing-love.
    DeadCanDanceon September 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is definitely one of U2's greatest songs ever, much better than "Mysterious Ways" even tho that gets all the radio time. The line "and you need her like...a drug" just makes me shiver, as does all good songs... gotta love this song
    ProudesterMonkeyon June 09, 2004   Link

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