Author Topic: salome  (Read 8600 times)

jimbo913

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salome
« on: July 15, 2005, 10:22:11 AM »
I have always liked this song (even though it sounds like salami), and have always wondered a bit about what the song meant.

I found this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salom%C3%A9

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herodias

The song makes sense now.  I guess the blue blood refers to incest (like the blue bloods in the Appalachian (sp?) Mountains. And "don't make me stick to my promise" is pretty clear now.

Or maybe I am wrong, but it does seem to make sense.  Anyway, I thought it was interesting.

Between Two Worlds

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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2005, 03:10:25 PM »
You are quite right. It's an excellent piece of music. I got really into U2 through the B-Sides of the Best Of albums... which means I got to know the Zooromancer Remix (Edit) first! It has this haunting aspect, I think. The original version has more of the sickness aspect... They are both great...

I don't get your reference to the Appalachian mountains. (I am a German living in the UK - maybe this excuses me.)

I wonder whether the reference to blood turning blood has anything to do with Herod's aspirations to be recognized as proper royalty. His genealogy was not highly respected among the Jews he was governing and suspect Bono knows about that. But I don't know how this would fit in. In fact, I don't understand "When I crawled from your door"...

I love the double entendre of "untie the knot" -  the knot Herod got himself into through his careless promise would not have been there in the first place if he had untied the knot earlier (John the Baptist was in prison for condemning the marriage). Very clever.

Is there any significance to the cherry tree that I miss?

By the way, it is not the only time that Bono explores a Biblical story from an unusual angle - the perspective of the villain of the piece. There is one other piece in the U2 catalogue: Until the End of the World - Judas looking back on what he has done.

jimbo913

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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2005, 04:02:26 PM »
Thanks for the reply :)

The Appalachian mountains run in the eastern part of the US and is generally considered to be "back woods" especially certain parts.  I am not saying it is all like that, but it is the stereotypical view of the area.

It seems I missed a certain part in my post.  Urban legend has it that some of those folks have somehow aquired blood that has a bluish tint, most likely from incestuous relationships (which Harod had married his niece).  Of course, I don't know if that is all true, just what I have heard growing up in Kentucky.  I am probably way off base.

I think of Salome in a much more sexual way (similar to UTEOTW) , untie the knot being a reference to disrobing, "I'll give you half what I got if you untie the knot" refering to his promise that he would give her anything, up to half what he had for her dancing).  I think the song paints the picture that Harod has his eye on Salome, he likes her dancing and he wouldn't mind developing the relationship a bit further.  But your explanation makes perfect sense too.

That is what you have to love about U2 lyrics, very open to interpretation.

Between Two Worlds

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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2005, 04:54:16 PM »
Absolutely - a sign of good poetry. I agree that sexual innuendo is not far beneath the surface. Given that untying the knot first of all refers to getting ready for a dance, your explanation fits well, maybe better than mine which presumes that Herod is already trying to disentangle himself from the mess he got himself into early on in the song.

Thanks for clarifying the Appalachian blood bit - a real eye-opener. Herod had married his brother's wife which I think would have been considered an incestuous relationship by most Jews of the day (as well as adultery). Your idea that in the song Herod might be in pursuit of another incestuous relationship had not entered my mind but it makes sense. Thanks!

Between Two Worlds

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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2005, 05:02:43 PM »
Just edited the Wikipedia entry on Salome to correct the neglect of U2  ;-)

Carl

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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2005, 02:16:27 AM »
A very interesting discussion, the only knowledge of blue blood I had was that of claims made by European royalty.

On the second wikipedia entry it ended "there is another legendary version saying that John the Baptist refused sexual propositions from Herodias and Salome, and that contributed to his death." I always kind of associated that with the song, although it would only make sense if John had given in.  It'd be useful to read Wilde's play, as I'm sure Bono is familiar with it.

I remember reading somewhere that this song kind of fit with Mysterious Ways (like wowy, walk to the water, and luminous times) - with dancers and "Johnny" the baptist, can't recall if it was official or fan speculation. Of course taking Mysterious Ways in the light of John singing to Salome (wasn't he imprisoned, "living underground, eating from a can") casts an interesting light on things (as does the fact he was beheaded and "will she be there when you hit the ground, ow!" hehe).

re: the remix on the best of album it had <a href="http://www.u2wanderer.org/disco/songs.html">shown up earlier</a> - it just got an unannounced edit on the album. Not sure if it's all that important though.

jimbo913

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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2005, 01:07:49 PM »
Thanks for updating wikipedia... good move :)

I am glad this post has stirred some discussion.

Again, I could be way off on the blue blood thing, but I have always associated blue blood with incest.  But that could be my ignorance.  I have also heard it in terms of hard work ("blue-blooded American").  But sometimes my mind takes a piece of information and fills in the dots, often in a wrong way.

I hadn't made the connection to Mysterious Ways, very interesting.  I have the U2 book about the songs and meanings, I will have to go look up these songs to see what it says.  I am not sure it has Salome in it though.

I would love to hear more interpretations :)

Carl

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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2005, 01:55:47 PM »
ah - apparently the board autocensors some words like in_cest hehe. hence the blank after 'with' at the end of the first sentence in the third paragraph.

I'll play with that and fix it up.

slaneman

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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2005, 09:00:55 PM »
Excellent stuff Jimbo! I too was wondering if there is any significance to "cherry tree".  I certainly don't know the Bible as well as Bono. Maybe Between Two Worlds has some idea.

I think the blue blood tie-in to in..cest makes sense. "My blood turned blue when I crawled from your door"

Strauss' opera "Salome" caused quite a scandal in it's day (1905).  Strauss took many liberties with the German libretto based on Wilde's equally notorious play. The music is very difficult to sing and not often performed live today, though the theme now causes less concern. It's amazing how many cross references flow from this song.

[Edited on 2005-7-21 by slaneman]

Carl

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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2005, 01:56:25 AM »
I took the cherry tree line as referring to george washington - the one where he cut down a cherry tree (won't you swing down low) but refused to lie about it, I suppose how John didn't recant and was put to death?

Not exactly sure how it fits in, but having a cherry tree along with an ax seems to make it an apt fit in my mind.

jimbo913

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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2005, 10:16:39 AM »
ah ha...

I could have sworn I put incest in my first post, but it wasn't there when I read it.  I thought that maybe I left out the most important part of the sentence.  So it was an auto filter thingie.

I forgot to look it up in the book last night.  I will have to do some fact checking tonight.

I tend to go back and forth on my interpretation of the song.  Maybe it isn't incestuous in the strict sense, but I definately get the sexual vibe.