What I'm Looking For
video, 6:31, 2017
An exboyfriend who sang like Prince - and dressed the part - was a U2 fan. Not me – except of course for the Eno produced album Zooropa – but really only the track “Numb” featuring The Edge – who is also credited with production of the album. And the song “I Still Haven't Found What I’m Looking For” from their 1987 album the Joshua Tree – which Eno also produced with Daniel Lanois. The song’s unmistakable opening chords can make anyone roll their eyes or fill with emotion because they know they will hear Bono moaning about looking for something he is missing. And moaning and moaning and moaning...
What is he singing about? Who or what is he missing? The spiritual yearning expressed in the lyrics amplified by Bono’s impassioned wail have always struck an existential chord with me – kind of like that line in “The Farmer in the Dell”: “The cheese stands alone.” There’s something a little bit funny about sitting in your car in traffic, your four-door filling with Bono's philosophical musings... but as with any moment of active thinking, sometimes those musings can ring true and lead you straight into a self-reflective pool, wondering, “Have I found what I'm looking for? What exactly am I looking for?”
The value of pop music lies not on the surface, but how it scratches through those surfaces. What we are looking for is oneself, like the cheese, standing alone, somewhere where the music has turned into non-music, into a sort of feedback loop of disintegration to allow us the opportunity to understand ourselves - and others - more deeply.