You know he got the cure
You know he went astray
He used to stay awake
To drive the dreams he had away
He wanted to believe
In the hands of love

His head it felt heavy
As he cut across the land
A dog started crying
Like a broken hearted man
At the howling wind
At the howling wind

He went deeper into black
Deeper into white
Could see the stars shining
Like nails in the night
He felt the healing
Healing, healing
Healing hands of love
Like the stars shiny shiny
From above

Hand in the pocket
Finger on the steel
The pistol weighed heavy
His heart he could feel
Was beating, beating
Beating, beating oh my love
Oh my love, oh my love
Oh my love

My love

Saw the hands that build
Can also pull down

The hands of love


Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

Exit Lyrics as written by Dave Evans Adam Clayton

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Exit song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +4
    General Comment

    I feel that this song is about a man who lost the one he loved in an unnatural way - maybe murder - he was overwhelmingly depressed about it and the unfairness in it and went out to get revenge. I believe the line "A dog started crying like a broken hearted man at the howling wind at the howling wind" is him cursing God for causing him pain. On his way to get revenge he "could see the stars shining like nails in the night" - like Jesus being nailed to the cross - and he forgave the person he was going to kill and decided against it.

    "He saw the hands that build can also pull down the hands of love"

    the hands that build = God the hands of love = the man, because he was doing it for the one he loves

    God stopped him from committing murder.

    Hathorreon June 14, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I had heard that the guy who killed the actress Rebecca Shaeffer (My Sister Sam) listened to this song to put him in the mood to kill her. I've listened to this song thousands of times and I have never been put in the mood to commit murder.

    jdappletonon June 23, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    U2 - Exit (with my comments)

    You know he got the cure, you know he went astray

    • He shot himself because he couldn't deal with his depression over the sad things in life He used to stay awake to drive the dreams he had away
    • So many of us have bad dreams over things we've seen He wanted to believe in the hands of love
    • A man wondering why Jesus doesn't stop the unfairness

    His head, it felt heavy, as he cut across the land

    • He saw the problem was not isolated A dog started crying like a broken hearted man
    • Dog crying is disturbing, represents what was in his heart At the howling wind, at the howling wind
    • Howling wind represents storm of life

    He went deeper into black, deeper into white

    • More & more he kept seeing how unfair the world is.
      Could see the stars shining like nails in the night
    • In deep depression, even reality seemed to be stark in contrast He felt the healing, healing, healing, healing hands of love Like the stars shiny shiny from above
    • He had the idea to kill himself to stop the torment. Maybe God would forgive him for this one sin?
    • Didn't Jesus have nails pierced through his hands for our forgiveness?

    Hand in the pocket, finger on the steel The pistol weighed heavy, his heart he could feel Was beating, beating, beating, beating Oh my love, oh my love, oh my love, oh my love

    • Basically, he went through with it. (shot himself)

    My love

    He saw the hands that build Can also pull down, the hands of love

    *** Last 2 lines: The main point of the song.

    The very thing that we all strive for, morality, the thing that's supposed to make the world a better place, has also torn this person's soul apart. He can't stop any of the unfairness in the world and doesn't understand why God does not do it either.

    I think this song is about a person similar to me. I'm not suicidal, but I feel very strongly about the sad things that seem to happen to innocent people.

    mark_simmons_txon February 22, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    just an idea...maybe a murder-suicide? because it sounds like a guy whos really wacked out...maybe wanting to take someone out, then himself?

    heythere81201on March 14, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I love this song live (ie 1987), how the energy builds up - and then straight into In Gods COuntry with no pause ...awesome!

    coggsteron November 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    At first appearance, the song seems to talk about suicide, but I actually read somewhere that one part of the lyrics are quite similar to a book or article written on murder...implying that this song is about murder rather than suicide.

    U2aholicon July 06, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    either or...

    USPOAHZMSFon March 08, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    ah, well. again, i think it's murder as well... i think. i can do some more research on this...

    U2takemehigheron April 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I've always felt that this is about a man who ,once believed (The hands of love) , now does not because of all the bad things associated with formal religion. The man , full of dispair , kills himself to find out if God (love) is true. Nothing else to live for.

    TRIPPEDBYWIREon December 01, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    a year ago I used this song as inspiration for a project of school, I had to pick a song and visualise it 3 times. I first wrote down what I thought it meant and this is (in short) what I put down: I always had the feeling this song was about suicide rather than murder because of the sudden ending of the song, I feel like the person killing themself is thinking that he is actually doing what God would want him to do. now I read the previous posts I also agree with 'trippedbywire' on that he is killing himself to find out is God is true. And that this is all that matters, to find this out, nothing else left.

    intuhon February 20, 2005   Link

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