90’s Song of the Week: U2’s “Stay (Faraway So Close!)”

Stay, and the night would be enough. -Bono, “Stay (Faraway So Close!)”

Probably not as good as Achtung Baby, but certainly better than Pop.

Probably not as good as Achtung Baby, but certainly better than Pop.

“Stay (Faraway So Close!)”  was the third single off of U2’s Zooropa, a 1993 release. Since timing is everything, I thought it was a great album (mostly because of MTV), but it had the misfortune of following 1991’s Achtung Baby, the record which gave us the bangers “Mysterious Ways” and “One”. A bit of trivia I picked up from VH1’s Pop-up Video: the video for the song is inspired by and actually uses footage from the German film Wings of Desire, a 1987 movie about which Wikipedia says:

The film is about invisible, immortal angels who populate Berlin and listen to the thoughts of the human inhabitants and comfort those who are in distress. Even though the city is densely populated, many of the people are isolated or estranged from their loved ones. One of the angels, played by Bruno Ganz, falls in love with a beautiful, lonely trapeze artist. The angel chooses to become human so that he can experience the human sensory pleasures, ranging from enjoying food to touching a loved one, and so that he can experience human love with the trapeze artist.

If that sounds familiar, it should. 1998’s City of Angels is basically an American remake. U2 lent “If God Will Send His Angels” to that movie’s soundtrack, but the only thing anyone remembers about that movie – other than Nic Cage’s sterling performance – is this. Nic Cage’s plight in that film is pretty standard. He falls in love with some who doesn’t know he exists. Also, she can’t see him. She can’t hear him. Also, he’s an angel. Also, he give himself the name “Seth Plate”. The odds are against him. Eventually, however, he learns that he can “fall”. He can choose to give up his angel membership card and become human and theoretically join Meg Ryan in pleasure town, which he does! For one night. Meg Ryan dies after their first night of passion and herein lies the movie’s tragedy and message. It’s really messed up, but Cage stands by his choice. Of course it was worth it. I don’t know if I agree with him. You see, I too am in love with someone who doesn’t know I exist.













The New York Mets have been my favorite team since the end of the 1998 baseball season. I was at a college party (Inter-Cultural House!) when they were eliminated from the playoffs in the season’s final week. I missed so much class during their play-off run in 1999 and their World Series appearance in 2000. I love them. I love them in a way that defies all logic. I watch two games at Shea Stadium in 2006 which was also the last season they made the playoffs. I have endured some tough times as a Mets fan.

They don’t hear me when I scream at them. They don’t care when I shout any of their names in anger. They don’t hear me cheer every single hit and make the “Grrdddtt!” noise when a Mets batter hits a grounder to shortstop. But I do it every single game. If I were took look back through the hundreds of folders on my computer filled with pictures, I am sure I would find dozens of pictures of myself (and wife and daughter) wearing or doing something Mets related. My love affair with the Mets is the longest romantic relationship I’ve ever had. I have been at Damien for 14 years and I have aged and changed, but if you ask any student I’ve ever taught, I am positive they could tell you about my obsession with the Mets. Whenever I try to think about what it would take for me to support another team as ardently, I fail. I can’t possibly conceive a scenario under which that might happen.

Bono sings “Stay, and the night would be enough.” These words are the lyrical version of Cage’s assertion that a single night with Meg Ryan was worth it. The superstitious ex-ball player in me has spent all summer on radio silence about the Mets. Yet here we are, in the middle of a pennant race in mid-August. There is, as they say, “a lot of baseball left”. But still. Nic Cage is right. When it comes to love, all you really want is a chance to see if could ever work out. It probably won’t. But if it does?


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