This song came up on my Spotify. I’ve always liked it, but I am now convinced this may be some of Bruce’s finest writing in the 21st century.
The way he takes on different points of view in this particular song is really heartbreaking.
On verses one and two you have a suicide bomber trying to make his way to Paradise, absolutely convinced he’s on the right path, saying his goodbye to a son or daughter and using his/her backpack to blow himself up.
On verses three and four you have someone mourning the loss of a loved one to terrorism. Visiting him/her in dreams and waiting for death, which in this case is the same as Paradise as that’s where they’ll be reunited.
Then for 5 and 6, Bruce writes brilliantly from what could be the son/daughter or love one’s perspective, pondering suicide as a way to reach Paradise. Everything is simple in death (“waters cool and clear” as opposed to “where the river runs to black”). But upon visiting the other side, they see that there’s nothing in death. Just eyes empty as Paradise.
And in the end they turn around. “I break above the waves. I feel the Sun upon my face”. They choose life.