"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
Oh, huhh
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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39 Comments

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  • +2
    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 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 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
  • +1
    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 CommentTo me, it's about a man that fell in love with a woman already in a relationship; she cheated with him.

    The two used to be good friends. She has been cheating on her partner with the man, i.e.crossed the line. He feels guilty, and asks who pushed who over the line. He loves her and cares about the situation and is confused.. he believes she doesn't care because she kept her mouth closed like nothing happened.

    The relationship is wrong, cut adrift, but they still continue to see each other, still floating. After feeling guilty, he starts to feel angry. He's mad that she can't reciprocate his love fully.. she's still with the other guy too. She won't leave that relationship to be with him. He's hanging onto her in hopes that she will go down and end her other relationship, so that he can have her.

    He's fallen in love hard with her, but is so sad that she won't leave the other guy. It's ripping her apart too, but he is blinded by his own emotions. He thought he was doing the right thing by loving her, giving her what she wanted, after she cheated with him... but the cheating was a mistake, it wasn't what she wanted.

    He feels like her actions means she hates the two men who love her (him and the other man she's in the real relationship with). She continues to see both men, a seemingly heartless act to the man. Her position on who she loves is nowhere to him.. he doesn't understand how she can love both him and the other man at the same time. There are no rules to what she's doing, there is no plan.. she's just trying to not hurt either of them; she loves them both. There are no rules to who you can love.

    He's desperate for her love. He can't stop, even though it hurts him that she's with the other man. When he's with her, he briefly forgets their secret relationship is a lie (he at least believes it's normally a lie).

    She loves his love, but keeps it hidden from others.. it's see-through. She does not speak of their relationship to anyone, but it's obvious to all that know them by her actions. The man knows the relationship cannot go on like this, and the love is dying.

    At this point the man doesn't know what to think. He wants the relationship, but it feels wrong and he doesn't understand what's going on. He likes it though, put his head in heaven.. but it's wrong, makes his hands dirty in the mire.

    He realizes he has to end it. It has gone on long enough, and she won't come clean or leave the other relationship. He has fallen in love, and has been lusting for her.. he knows he can't stop loving her, so his only option is to stop the intimacy. To stay with her he'd be a fool.

    He still loves her though. He's not actually calling the woman cruel, he's calling LOVE cruel. There are no rules to how love works or why you fall in love with people. Sometimes love makes you love the "wrong" person. It's cruel.
    Machieroon April 28, 2016   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

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