"Beautiful Day" is like an ecstatic proclamation that Peter and James might have sung just after Mary had come back to the disciples' hiding place with resurrection news. The biblical image used may be the dove going out from the ark to bring back the leaf that informed Noah that the old world had ended and a new one could begin. But even that depicts the whole celebratory mood of dead man waking up and a whole new Kingdom being birthed. The album and the Elevation tour would see a new resurrection shuffle of a mood in the U2 camp.
At the end of the song, Bono lists the things that can be left behind: "All that you fashion/ All that you make/ All that you build/ All that you break/ All that you measure/ All that you steal/ All this you can leave behind." They are man-made things, but he adds to the list all the wrong things or mistakes that the Gospel deals with. Jesus came and died and was raised to life to offer a new start, leaving the regretful things and guilt behind and heading on afresh.
The song and the Gospel have the same conclusions: "Love is not the easy thing/ The only baggage you can bring." Jesus, when asked what the most important commandment was, told the enquirer, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself." Whether you're heading for justice on earth or a fuller realization of the Kingdom of God in the next life, everything else can be left behind.
The soulful, Motown-sounding "Stuck in a Moment," which may become a U2 classic, was written about the suicide of Michael Hutchence, an event that hit Bono hard. He claims that the song is an angry conversation between him and his dead friend." Yet the title itself is another moment when the transcendent belief at the core of U2, and indeed this album, suggests that there is more to this whole charade than the material world or the clock that seems to hem us in like walls to our left and right. It is so easy to get stuck in the moment of our troubled and hassled and painful and angry lives.
But there is the hope of escape. If we could lift ourselves out of the moment and see all our moments from a panorama above us, then this moment in which we are trapped would hold new perspective. Ecclesiastes deals with this concept as well. There is nothing new under the sun, and if there is nothing above the sun, then this is all "meaningless, utterly meaningless" (Eccles. 1:2, 9). But if there is something above the sun, then a different perspective comes to bear. That faith perspective, a belief in an eternal God, gives hope and strength in the moment to keep on keeping on, and the conclusion of the song almost becomes a brother of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For": "And if the night runs over/ And if the day won't last/ And if your way should falter/ It's just a moment/ It will pass."
"Elevation," which follows "Stuck in a Moment," is the song that would have sat most comfortably alongside the Pop material. From being stuck in that moment, it prays for elevation that would give a higher perspective: "Love lift me out of these blues/ Won't you tell me something true/ I believe in you." Becoming the title of the tour to follow, "Elevation," like many songs on the tour, would take on a spiritual gospel feel. The "you" clearly becomes God. Elevation is about revelation and in the power of the live show touches close to transfiguration, a mystical experience that Jesus shared with a few of his disciples on a mountainside.
There is an overriding thought from John 3:8, where Jesus tells Nicodemus that the wind blows wherever it pleases; no one sees where it comes from or where it is going. Jesus was referring to the believer in that conversation, but that's the root of Bono's idea. Like a kite blowing about in the spirit unseen. This might be a moment when he is meditating on who his children will become in this unpredictable world and asking himself what they think of their father up until recently dressing up in make-up and horns in front of thousands of people every night.