Meaning of Moment of Surrender by U2 & The Story Behind

Rolling Stone called Moment of Surrender “the most stunning ballad U2 has performed since One”. Is it any wonder that the magazine included it in the list of the five hundred greatest songs of all time.

But in this case, hardly anyone will dispute the choice of an authoritative publication.

The story of Moment of Surrender by U2

The track was written by U2 and produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.

Daniel Lanois talks about the creation of Moment of Surrender:

It was a co-creation. It had this great Eno/Mullen twist from the start. Something like a repetitive manual drum beat. According to the original plan, I was responsible for the chorus. Bono kept pointing at me: “So, Lanois, you sing the chorus.” It has a lot of Canadian sound, a tribute to The Band. We call it “Simco sound” [озеро в Канаде].

The National Post

Meaning of Moment of Surrender by U2

Fans of the group put forward different versions of the interpretation of the meaning of the song. Unhappy love, drugs, religion – it makes no sense to list all the options.

Let’s take a look at U2’s official website where the idea behind the song is explained:

In No Line on the Horizon, Bono stopped writing in the first person and sang from other characters’ points of view. The hero of Moment is a drug addict who is facing a crisis of faith and Epiphany… The very title of the song is a term used by Alcoholics Anonymous when an addict recognizes his helplessness.

The composition was recorded in the Moroccan city of Fez in May-June 2007. To quote the band’s website again:

While recording Moment of Surrender, he [Brian Eno] and Daniel Lanois thought the band was as close as possible to the album’s original concept of writing “future anthems”. As Eno explained to at the time, “It was my most magical experience in the studio.”

Recording and release

The composition was born as a result of improvisation by U2 musicians and producers. It was created in a few hours and recorded on the first try at the Riad El Yacout.

The song became the third track on the album No Line on the Horizon (2009). It was not released as a single and only charted in the US (Mediabase Triple A) and Belgium (Ultratop 40 Singles).

Video of Moment of Surrender by U2

Check out the Moment of Surrender live video released on U2 360 at the Rose Bowl DVD.

Interesting Facts

  • Moment of Surrender is featured on several top songs lists, including the famous Rolling Stone Top 500.
  • The composition was included in the soundtrack of the film Linear directed by Anton Corbijn.

Lyrics Moment of Surrender by U2

I tied myself with a wire
To let the horses1 run free
playing with the fire
until the fire played with me

The stone was semi-precious
We were barely conscious
Two souls too smart to be
In the realm of certainty
Even on our wedding day

We set ourselves on fire
Oh, God, don’t deny her
It’s not if I believe in love
If love believes in me
Oh believe in me

At the moment of surrender
I’m falling to my knees
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I’ve been in every black hole
At the altar of a Dark star
My body’s now a begging bowl
That’s begging to get back
Begging to get back
to my heart
To the rhythm of my soul
To the rhythm of my unconsciousness
To the rhythm that years
To be released from control

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me

At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I was speeding off the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down till the pain will stop

At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

  • In the slang of American drug addicts, “horse” means “heroin”.

Song quote

… it was a spell, and we were in it.

Bono (on recording the song), NME

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