[Verse 1]
Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same?
Will it make it easier on you, now
You got someone to blame?

[Chorus]
You say one love, one life
When it's one need in the night
One love, we get to share it
Leaves you, baby, if you don't care for it

[Verse 2]
Did I disappoint you
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without

[Chorus]
Well, it's too late tonight
To drag the past out into the light
We're one, but we're not the same
We get to carry each other, carry each other
One

[Verse 3]
Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus
To the lepers in your head?

[Chorus]
Did I ask too much? More than a lot
You gave me nothing, now it's all I got
We're one, but we're not the same
Well, we hurt each other, then we do it again

[Bridge]
You say love is a temple, love a higher law
Love is a temple, love the higher law
You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl
And I can't be holding on to what you got
When all you got is hurt

[Chorus]
One love, one blood
One life, you got to do what you should
One life with each other
Sisters, brothers
One life, but we're not the same
We get to carry each other, carry each other
One
One

[Outro]
Ooh-ooh-ooh
Oh-ooh
May we, may we, may we get
Higher
Oh, higher
(Ay, yeah, go) higher
(Oh) Higher


Lyrics submitted by spitfirek7, edited by anintellectual, Mellow_Harsher

One song meanings
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241 Comments

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  • +9
    My InterpretationI agree with most that this song is about the impending end of a relationship (detailed in the verses). But the lyrics also hint at a hope/want/need for reconciliation so that the singer/receiver and other people in this same situation can make it through life (choruses). My take on the first verse is that the singer is conciliatory...willing to take the blame for whatever went wrong in the relationship, even though s/he may not be at fault. The second and third verses have the same theme when I read them--the denial of love by the receiver (“you act like you never had love/and you want me to go without”/”you ask me to enter/but then you make me crawl”) because of perceived wrongs committed by the singer or issues with the receiver (“…when all you got is hurt”).

    The choruses sound a lot like a call for universal love that starts at the individual level. The verses and choruses are very nice interplay between the concepts of local and global love. Local love (between the singer/receiver) magnifies the power of global love. We each do our part and the collective is strengthened.
    solw0727on October 08, 2013   Link
  • +8
    General Commenttwo people who love each other, but they hurt each other, over and over again. it kind of reminds me of my situation right now so it means a lot to me. especially when it says "you ask me to enter but then you make me crawl.......when all you got is hurt". people say love is great, love is wonderful. but when they get it, they don't treat it the way they should. it sucks, really.
    sparkle21on March 12, 2002   Link
  • +8
    General Commentit's actually not about love
    it's about a brotherhood of men, and stuff like that, i heard them say that in an interview
    pabloon April 25, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThe Ultimate in "I love you but you hurt me" songs.
    lorienmareneon November 27, 2001   Link
  • +5
    General CommentNot every song is about romantic relationships between two people. I think "One" is about a much bigger picture than that. "One" has a world peace, and caring for your fellow man vibe to it.
    WildNWonderfulon August 13, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI can't say if it's true,but someone told me it was a song a gay son sings to his father. It surely works on that level if you read the lyrics with that theme in mind."Did I disappoint you..leave a bad taste in your mouth. You act like you never had love and you want me to do without...we're one but we're not the same" etc.
    satisfaction2000on March 30, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Look, it's a little odd for me when people walk up and say 'We played One at our wedding - thank you so much.' Did you ever hear the lyrics?! The spleen and the bile, and you walked down the aisle to that one, did you?" - Bono in this months MOJO, when talking about odd uses of songs, and no-one listening to the lyrics
    Deltawingon June 16, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentit's amazing how after so many years of loving this song (and achtung baby in general), suddenly this song takes on a new meaning for me personally. it's effing devastating. by far, the most beautiful U2 song ever. yes, i agree it is about the band... but NOW, i truly understand the dynamic of those who see this as an "i love you but you hurt me" love song. yikes.
    chicananerdon October 28, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"We're one
    But we're not the same"
    Great line
    Paymaanon October 26, 2015   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationIs it getting better
    Or do you feel the same
    Will it make it easier on you
    Now you got someone to blame

    For me this is Bono or the main character asking his former loved one how they are doing, sounding caring, and then criticizing her for blaming him for what happened.

    You say
    One love
    One life
    When it's one need
    In the night
    It's one love
    We get to share it
    It leaves you baby
    If you don't care for it

    Here he talks about how if you don't put in an effort, love will leave you.

    Did I disappoint you?
    Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?
    You act like you never had love
    And you want me to go without

    Bono asks his former loved one if he didn't suit her, if he just didn't feel right for her. Then he accuses her of being inexperienced with love and possibly sabotaging him trying to get a new relationship after theirs.

    Well it's too late
    Tonight
    To drag the past out
    Into the light

    Now he's saying she can no longer use what happened in their past to use against him, and that the past is the past, they have new issues to deal with.

    We're one
    But we're not the same
    We get to carry each other
    Carry each other
    One

    He points out how they might've been together, but they never truly had anything.

    Have you come here for forgiveness
    Have you come to raise the dead
    Have you come here to play Jesus
    To the lepers in your head

    He now sees she's come back to him, trying to rekindle the relationship. When he says "Have you come to raise the dead" that is her trying to bring back their "dead" relationship. She tries to heal their sick status. It is represented by Jesus healing lepers (sick people).

    Did I ask too much
    More than a lot
    You gave me nothing
    Now it's all I got

    Bono has responded by asking if what he did (apparently HE did something) was so bad. But then he says the little she gave him is all he has left.

    We're one
    But we're not the same
    We hurt each other
    Then we do it again

    (I already explained lines 1
    bonoedgeU2on October 18, 2012   Link

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