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"The First Time" by U2 (The Best of 1990 - 2000, 2002)

The Shore I Walk: Photography by Shawn Michel de Montaigne

The First Time



I have a lover

A lover like no other

She got soul, soul, soul, sweet soul

And she teach me how to sing

Shows me colors when there's none to see

Gives me hope when I can't believe

That for the first time

I feel love

I have a brother

When I'm a brother in need

I spend my whole time running

He spends his runnin' after me

When I feel myself going down

I just call and he comes around

But for the first time

I feel love

My father is a rich man

He wears a rich man's cloak

Gave me the keys to his kingdom coming

Gave me a cup of gold

He said I have many mansions

And there are many rooms to see

But I left by the back door

And I threw away the key

And I threw away the key

Yeah, I threw away the key

Yeah, I threw away the key

For the first time

For the first time

For the first time

I feel love


For me, this incredible song resonates as one of rebellion,

of nonconformity, and of subversion.

There is biblical imagery here,

but at the beginning you think that this song

is going to be the standard one of love,

romantic or brotherly.

His father has many mansions, he sings.

His father gave him a cup of gold

and the keys to his kingdom coming.

But our rebellious friend threw away the key.

And for the first time, he feels love.

My feeling is that this song is written backwards,

in that we should first be hearing about his father

and the many mansions the man has,

of throwing away the key,

and then about his lover,

and then about his brother.

We don't.

We get instead a non-linear telling of this

man's tale, which begs the question--why?

Throwing away the key brought this man not just love,

but the understanding of love,

which leads to the realization that he feels love,

and that it's the first time he has ever felt love.

He rejected, at least partly, his father's wealth.

I will leave it to you, the listener of this beautiful song,

to consider what he did with the other key or keys

(there was more than one),

and what he did with the cup of gold.


Photography: The Shore I Walk by yours truly


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