"Until the End of the World" is a song by rock band U2 and the fourth track from their 1991 album Achtung Baby. The song began as a guitar riff composed by lead vocalist Bono from a demo, which the band revisited with success after talking with German filmmaker Wim Wenders about providing music for his film Until the End of the World. The song's lyrics describe a fictional conversation between Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot. The first verse discusses The Last Supper; the second is about Judas identifying Jesus with a kiss on the cheek in the Garden of Gethsemane; and the final is about Judas'suicide after being overwhelmed with guilt and sadness.
Bono wrote the lyrics relatively quickly at his father-in-law's house in Wexford, having woken up with the idea of a conversation between Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot. Bono did not feel comfortable trying to find a particular key to sing in, as he remarked that he sings most songs "a little bit too high or a little bit too low". Consequently, the only melody he felt comfortable singing was conversational. Reading poetry by John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and George Gordon Byron inspired Bono to introduce the theme of temptation into his lyrics.
David Werther, a faculty associate in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, compared "Until the End of the World" with U2's 1987 song "Exit" in an examination of the role music can play in catharsis. He noted that both were powerful songs, but that while "Until the End of the World" allowed the possibility of purification, which he described as the cleansing of the soul "through pity and fear", by placing the listener in the position of Judas Iscariot, "Exit" was an example of purgation, a freeing from excess pity and fear. Werther noted "'Exit' evokes feelings of fear, fear of losing control, giving into one's dark side, perhaps even taking one's life", contrasting it to the "waves of regret" experienced by Judas.
You could've fooled me. On first listening--without benefit of criticism--thought it had something to do with a psychopath poisoning his girlfriend's drink. (A date gone really, really bad.) But I guess the religious imagery makes sense. I suppose you could very well interpret this song's meanings on a multitude of levels.
Pretty, multidimensional & apocalyptic. Just right for the New Year.
BTW--The world didn't end today (not yet anyway...) as the Mayan calendar purportedly predicted.
Until the End of the World
Haven't seen you in quite a while
I was down the hold just passing time
Last time we met was a low-lit room
We were as close together as a bride and groom
We ate the food, we drank the wine
Everybody having a good time
You were talking about the end of the world
I took the money
I spiked your drink
You miss too much these days if you stop to think
You lead me on with those innocent eyes
You know I love the element of surprise
In the garden I was playing the tart
I kissed your lips and broke your heart
You were acting like it was the end of the world
In my dream I was drowning my sorrows
But my sorrows, they learned to swim
Surrounding me, going down on me
Spilling over the brim
Waves of regret and waves of joy
I reached out for the one I tried to destroy
You, you said you'd wait
'Til the end of the world
--song written by U2 [music] & Bono [lyrics]
Video Editing by GV PRODUCTION
U2 - Until the end of the world ( UMG rights reserved)