"Unknown Caller" as written by Adam Clayton, Dave Evans, Paul David Hewson, Larry Mullen, Daniel Roland Lanois and Brian Eno....
Sunshine, sunshine
Sunshine, sunshine
Oh, oh
Oh, oh

I was lost between the midnight and the dawning
In a place of no consequence or company
Three-thirty-three when the numbers fell off the clock face
Speed dialing with no signal at all
Go, shout it out, rise up
Oh, oh

Escape yourself, and gravity
Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak
Shush now
Oh, oh

Force quit and move to trash
I was right there at the top of the bottom
On the edge of the known universe where I wanted to be
I had driven to the scene of the accident
And I sat there waiting for me
Restart and re-boot yourself
You're free to go
Oh, oh

Shout for joy if you get the chance
Password, you enter here, right now
Oh, oh

You know your name so punch it in
Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak
Shush now
Oh, oh

Don't move or say a thing


Lyrics submitted by young_jables

"Unknown Caller" as written by Dave Evans Adam Clayton

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, THE ROYALTY NETWORK INC.

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Unknown Caller song meanings
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  • +2
    General Commentumm yeah...

    i like this song. it has a positive message that you can start again. Apparantly its a call from your creator force. I don't think its a specific God reference, even though it contains religious imagerey. The whole album seems to be a positive one. "no line on the horizon" - its not the end of time yet. "its not a hill its a mountain as you start out the climb" - it may seem hard at first but it will get better. "the future needs a big kiss" - embrace the future. "Get on your boots" - get your shoes on we have work to do.
    bigrobbo2006on February 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYay 1st!!! I've heard this is about a phone call from god.
    young_jableson February 18, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationMy interpretations of the song:

    This is a beautiful worship song portraying an intimate experience with God.

    The song is nonlinear. It is looking back at an event with narration spliced through the event. It's easier to understand by regrouping the lyrics. Everything Bono sings solo is the main character of the song narrating or recalling his state previous to the event. The Bono/Edge harmony is the character of God. God’s words are nonlinear also. The character is retelling them in a different order.

    The soft opening, bird sounds, and Sunshine, Sunshine is the present time. The character wakes with new meaning seeing the Light (Light of Christ, John 8:12) in a new way.

    Bono solo/recalling the character's situation.

    I was lost (these three words give all the meaning. He was lost. Isaiah 53:6) between the midnight and the dawning
    In a place of no consequence or company
    3:33 when the numbers fell off the clock face (the call from God comes at 3:33 Jeremiah 33:3)
    Speed dialing with no signal at all

    I was right there at the top of the bottom (he was stuck in the middle of nowhere)
    On the edge of the known universe where I wanted to be (he didn’t exactly realize he was lost or stuck, he thought he was where he wanted to be)
    I had driven to the scene of the accident
    And I sat there waiting for me (his life was out of control and he was about to crash)

    Words of God:

    (first grouped by the technical metaphor, then the rest)


    Force quit (This Macintosh metaphor is a poetic masterpiece. Force quit in Mac language is the method to quit a program that is out of control and can’t be stopped the normal way. It needs a different kind of intervention. God is doing a force quit on this guy’s life.) and move to trash (Mac language for delete. God is deleting the man’s life. Isaiah 1:18)
    Restart and re-boot yourself (John 3:3, 2 Cor 5:17)
    Password, you enter here, right now
    You know your name so punch it in

    Go, shout it out, rise up
    Escape yourself, and gravity
    Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak, Shush now (You’ve been so busy doing your own things to hear me before. Stop and listen.)
    You're free to go
    Shout for joy if you get the chance (Psalm 40:3. This is a U2 theme. They have been shouting the joy of God and redemption throughout their time in the spotlight. Gloria, 40, October, WTSHNN Elevation tour version, Yahweh.)
    Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak
    Shush now
    Don't move or say a thing (Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.)

    The last part of the song is the best. My interpretation is that the message we hear in the lyrics of the song is “be quiet so I can teach you” and the generic message “leave your old life and start a new life in me”, but there is much more after the lyrics end. After God speaks the final words of “Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak, Shush now, don't move or say a thing”, the song goes right into non-lyrical music as if it is a continuation of the lyrics. I believe U2 is using music as a way to imply spiritual communication (Ephesians 5:19, see U2’s interpretation of the Holy Ghost in The First Time “She got soul, soul, soul, sweet soul. And she teach me how to sing”).

    The music starts out with beautiful organ/cathedral style music and then moves into an amazing Edge guitar solo, as if the meaning and feeling God is speaking is too beautiful to put into words and instead is portrayed by music over the final minute and half of the song.


    raw7466on February 23, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentaddendum

    I just discovered the final 1:30 of the song including Edge's guitar solo is taken from the hymn "My Savior's Love". This adds even more meaning to the song. This implies an alternate interpretation for the final 1:30. This could be cutting back to the present retelling of the account and is the character's answer and expression of God's admonition: "Shout for joy if you get the chance."


    The words of that hymn:

    I stand amazed in the presence
    Of Jesus the Nazarene,
    And wonder how He could love me,
    A sinner, condemned, unclean.

    Refrain
    O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
    And my song shall ever be:
    O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
    Is my Savior's love for me!

    For me it was in the garden
    He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine.”
    He had no tears for His own griefs,
    But sweat drops of blood for mine.

    O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
    And my song shall ever be:
    O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
    Is my Savior's love for me!

    In pity angels beheld Him,
    And came from the world of light
    To comfort Him in the sorrows
    He bore for my soul that night.

    O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
    And my song shall ever be:
    O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
    Is my Savior's love for me!

    He took my sins and my sorrows,
    He made them His very own;
    He bore the burden to Calvary,
    And suffered and died alone.

    O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
    And my song shall ever be:
    O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
    Is my Savior's love for me!

    When with the ransomed in glory
    His face I at last shall see,
    'Twill be my joy through the ages
    To sing of His love for me.

    O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
    And my song shall ever be:
    O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
    Is my Savior's love for me!

    raw7466on February 23, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwow, it would be fantastic if we could get an opinion on what the song means without the opinion of the song being three times as long as the song it is commenting on!!! and theresa, get back in the kitchen. =]
    stillwateron March 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is clearly about the joy of eating a steaming plate of waffles on brisk autumn morning. The 'unknown caller' is the maple syrup, which calls down from the bottle and covers our plate with syrup. The syrup is like the soul. The protagonist of the song is Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, a known waffle afficionado. I like the lyrics a lot.
    ptanzolaon March 21, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTheresa is gone, thank the lord almighty saviour. great song, second fave on the album after breathe. The whole phone conversation theory does it for me but it can be interpreted in a few different ways
    blobertcoltraneon April 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt can be about our consciousness.
    Dawudon February 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMaybe it's me but put the meaning aside and just listen musically. I swear this song could be put on War or Unforgettable Fire. It has that 80's U2 sound to it.
    yrogerg1on March 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRaw - I love your interpretation of this song, it really makes sense and makes it an even more beautiful song! Thanks!
    U2fantasyon March 05, 2009   Link

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