U2’s newish single “Vertigo” begins with a count, a convention common to rock songs and certainly in place within this song. There’s much debate over what the numbers actually are, however. I had always heard “uno, dos, tres, catorce,” Spanish for “one, two, three, fourteen.” And of course I wondered why the big leap. Some people insist that he’s actually saing “once, doce, trece, catorce,” Spanish for “eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen.” That doesn’t sound right to me. Initially, I wondered if Bono simply wasn’t up on his Spanish and this was just a blunder (one of a much less irritating sort than the tooth-grinding “say a little prayer for I” Paula Cole inflicted upon the English-speaking world). In an interview on BBC Radio, Bono apparently answered a question about the non-sequential lyric by saying “There may have been a little drink involved.” Apparently How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is U2’s fourteenth album, and so it doesn’t seem too great a stretch that they’re making note of that fact, combining a standard rock and roll count-off with an elliptical count of their albums. Further, the first, second, third, and fourteenth albums happen to have been produced by Steve Lillywhite, and so some fans take it as a tribute to him. I dug this information up from a discussion at I still don’t know for sure why Bono jumps up to catorce, but it was interesting to read about the different theories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s