"City of Blinding Lights" as written by and Pd Hewson L. Mullen....
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

Neon heart, day-glo eyes
The city lit by fireflies
They're advertising in the skies
For people like us

And I miss you when you're not around
I'm getting ready to leave the ground

Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
In the city of blinding lights

Don't look before you laugh
Look ugly in a photograph
Flash bulbs, purple irises the camera can't see

I've seen you walk unafraid
I've seen you in the clothes you've made
Can you see the beauty inside of me?
What happened to the beauty I had inside of me?

And I miss you when you're not around
I'm getting ready to leave the ground

Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
In the city of blinding lights

Time, time, time
Time won't leave me as I am
But time won't take the boy out of this man
Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
Oh, you look so beautiful tonight

Yeah, the city of blinding lights
The more you know, the less you feel
Some pray for what others steal
Blessing's not just for the ones who kneel, luckily


Lyrics submitted by Lyra

"City of Blinding Lights" as written by Dave Evans Adam Clayton

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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City of Blinding Lights song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentBest song off the album, can't believe people haven't commented on it...beautiful, beautiful song.
    deathbearon November 23, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI found the following quote somewhere, can't remember where though.
    Bono: "It's a New York song. About going there for the first time. We were the first band to play Madison Square Gardens after 9/11. During 'Where the Streets Have No Name' the house lights came up and there were 20,000 people in tears. It was beautiful."
    Lyraon November 24, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentgreat song, i like the line 'what happened to the beauty a i had inside of me?
    paolitaon December 10, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn my opinion, this song is about how time may change somebody’s characteristics, but it will never change things such as who they truly are, the fact that they love each other, and that God’s plan remains the same no matter what happens.

    “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”

    These lyrics seem to talk about how time has changed Bono, as he says in the bridge: “Time won’t leave me as I am”. The things Bono is seeing now is changing his beliefs, and he doesn’t think that what he knew in the past is relevant, hence the line “I knew much more then, than I do now”. Bono can also be leaving some parts of his childhood behind, and is entering a new chapter in his life. So as he gets older, the child in him is leaving. However, he knows it will never fully leave (“Time won’t take the boy out of this man”).

    “Neon heart, day-glo eyes
    The city lit by fireflies
    They’re advertising in the skies for people like us”

    When Bono says “people like us”, he doesn’t mean him and his wife, Ali Hewson. He is referring to anyone who is in the city (New York) because it has “advertised” them with its beauty (“Oh you look so beautiful tonight”). This city is a part of Bono, and although it has changed him, it’s also allowed him to find who he is by guiding him with light. Bono could also mean that Ali’s love is what gets Bono through the night
    GamrMagnificenton September 02, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a beautiful song with only one musical misstep, IMHO (the awkward bridge of "Time... time won't leave me as I am..."). It takes the classic circular structure that I particularly love, starting with a three-line stanza beginning with "The more you see the less you know" and ending with a three-line stanza beginning with "The more you know the less you feel."

    The final message is classic U2 in both its religious and ecumenical thrust, reminding us that God loves us all, even the unfaithful. It's also classic U2 in its earnestness, emerging from faith that love and reason will see us through troubled times.

    The stanzas "Neon heart dayglo eyes / A city lit by fireflies" remind me of "In God's Country": "Sad eyes, crooked crosses / In God's Country."

    Many of the reviews of this album dwelled on U2's era of irony / self-awareness / self-indulgence (Achtung-Pop). If this song is indeed a paean to NYC, it's also a word of encouragement and advice to not let self-awareness become self-doubt, as these critical lines tell: "Don’t look before you laugh / Look ugly in a photograph." These words are painful, evocative of a teenager whose sudden realization of identity leads her to mug for the camera to avoid the reality of her true beauty. If, like that girl we all know, NYC is waking up to itself, it needs the reassurance that "Oh you look so beautiful tonight." Audaciously, unashamedly, U2 offers it that assurance.

    Those same lyrics also evoke, for me, U2's era of pretentious facadism. In confessing "All that you can't leave behind," U2 acknowledged that the act of remaking yourself is both impossible and inherently self-indulgent. Personally I feel like they are coming to peace with the realization that "The more you know the less you feel."
    padmewanon November 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe meaning of CITY OF BLINDING LIGHTS becomes simple when you watch the film THE ROAD TO ELDORADO!
    In additional, the gitar melodies are just as in the film, soundtrack done by Elton John.
    gutoon November 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbest song on album by miles granted.
    bazza102on December 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree paolita. my favorite lines from the album are, "Can you see the beauty inside of me?
    What happened to the beauty I had inside of me."
    maybe...i haven't decided yet.
    city of blinding lights was the first song on the album to really POP out at me, you know? i just think it's a beautiful song... i have a question about a line or twho though (and the weird thing is that i thought i already wrote this somewhere...) when it says, "They’re advertising in the skies, For people like us." what does that mean? 'cause it can be taken a couple different ways
    U2takemehigheron December 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like this song so much. I heard it for the first time a couple of days ago when I was in my cousin's car and they had the U2 cd playing and this song caught imediatly my atention. It talks about a big city (New York). It talks about the beauty of this city and also of the beauty of a particular person.
    The song kick ass!
    punker girlon December 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like the last line "Blessings are not just for the ones who kneel… luckily "

    I agree that this song kicks ass and reminds me of the best of U2 past like "where the streets..." anthemic, exhilarating and utterly overpowering

    cant wait to see it live
    morningbelon January 02, 2005   Link

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