“If you’re going through Hell…keep going.”

 

I drove past The Flavour of India in Edgecliff (Sydney) the other day. It’s the restaurant where the late INXS singer/songwriter Michael Hutchence had his last meal in 1997 before he tragically died in a hotel room down the road in Double Bay. It got me thinking about Hutchence and the heartbreakingly poignant U2 song, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of which Bono wrote for and about Hutchence.

The song is creativity driven by pain, a rare and powerful blend of beauty and anger. Bono’s lyrics are based on a conversation he wishes he’d had with Hutchence in which he tries to talk him out of suicide. “It’s a row between mates, you’re kinda trying to wake them up out of an idea…a row I didn’t have when he was alive”, said Bono. When he sings “You gotta stand up straight/Carry your own weight/Cause tears are going nowhere baby”, you can feel his rage at Hutchence for letting himself get weighed down by the shitty stuff and slip under into the darkness. The anger gives way to sadness and frustration at the waste of such an extraordinary life when we get to: “I will not forsake the colours that you bring, the nights you filled with fireworks, they left you with nothing.” But the verse ends with a flicker of hope at the idea that Hutchence’s spirit will live on in his friends’ hearts: “I am still enchanted by the light you brought to me, I listen through your ears, through your eyes I can see.”

Bono has also said about the song, “I feel the biggest respect I could pay to him was not to write some stupid soppy song so I wrote a really tough, nasty little number, slapping him around the head.” But although that’s true of the words, the magic essence of the song is its gospel-tinged melodies and The Edge’s lovely guitar part. These seemingly incongruous elements combine to create something transcendent, an anti-suicide, anti-giving-in anthem that’s helped many a struggling soul through many a dark night. At its bleakest it warns that “It’s a long way down to nothing at all”. But the beating heart of the song, the brilliantly inspirational theme is the simple message that no matter how bad things get, “It’s just a moment, this time will pass.”

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About antmelder
Creative Partner at DDB Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

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