Lyric of the Day: Love & Freedom

Today’s Lyric of the Day installment actually pulls together two lyrics from two very different songwriters, from songs released four years apart, one from a, at the time, hardly-known up and coming artist, the other from an internationally famous superstar. And, despite these disparities, whenever I think of one of these lyrics I always think of the other, regardless of which one I hear first. They are inseparable for me.

This past Monday, I happened to think of the more recent of the two first:

Freedom has a scent
Like the top of a newborn baby’s head

–Bono, from U2’s Miracle Drug, 2004

I thought of these beautiful lines, when I happened to catch a glimpse of a photo of my son, taken soon after he was born, his head resting on his mother’s bosom. It’s a photo that, when I look at it, always brings a surge of very deep, strong feelings and vivid memories, of holding him myself, his head nestled in the crook of my elbow, and then raising my arms and lifting him closer to my face, so that I could kiss him on his head and breathe in that utterly unique smell, the very odor of love.

That’s what I think of Bono’s lyric, that it’s a clever way of describing pure love.

And yet he writes: Freedom has a scent…. What does freedom have to do with it?

That’s where the second lyric comes in:

Freedom’s the ability to feel love for everyone

–Mason Jennings, from United States Global Empire, 2000

So, you can see how these two quotes complement one another. Freedom, Jennings suggests, is feeling that pure love that Bono speaks about, not just for newborn babies, but for everyone. And, circularly, if you define freedom as Jennings does, then you understand how Bono can refer to pure love as a Miracle Drug.

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