One Step Closer (U2 song)

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"One Step Closer"
Song by U2
from the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Released 23 November 2004
Genre Rock
Length 3:48
Label Island Records
Producer(s) Jacknife Lee, Chris Thomas and Daniel Lanois
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb track listing
"Crumbs from Your Table"
"One Step Closer"
"Original of the Species"

"One Step Closer" is the ninth track of U2's eleventh studio album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

The song is a slow tempo recording, with Bono's lyrics centered on traffic images. The "foggy atmospherics" harken back to U2's mid-1980s work, befitting Daniel Lanois' involvement.[1]

The origins of "One Step Closer" date back to the All That You Can't Leave Behind sessions.[2] It was revived for Atomic Bomb, with Lanois introducing a pedal steel guitar in addition to guitars from the Edge and Bono, and musical influences varying from country music to the Velvet Underground making themselves felt.[2] One recording of the song ran for more than 15 minutes, with Bono adding many verses that were subsequently dropped.[2] Producer Jacknife Lee also contributed to the final form of the recording.[3]

"One Step Closer" is billed in the album with thanks to Noel Gallagher of Oasis. The title of the song comes from a conversation Bono had with Gallagher about Bono's dying father, Bob Hewson. Bono asked, "Do you think he believes in God?" to which Gallagher replied, "Well, he's one step closer to knowing."[2] As with most U2 songs, however, multiple readings are available,[4] with the singer's feeling of being lost, but still drifting towards some kind of understanding, possible at any age. Verdicts varied based on the listener: Bono biographer Mick Wall felt the song was "clearly linked" to Bono's father, and made for "painful if beautiful listening,"[5] Chicago Tribune reviewer Greg Kot did not make the same Bono connection and felt that Lanois' "foggy atmospherics" masked a lack of ideas,[1] while Christianity Today saw it as a "sadly uncertain, yet hopeful" depiction of Bono's father having a crisis of faith.[6]

Through the end of the Vertigo Tour, the song had never been performed in any U2 concert.


  1. ^ a b Greg Kot, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb album review, Chicago Tribune, November 21, 2004.
  2. ^ a b c d U2 Limited (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 325. ISBN 0-00-719668-7. 
  3. ^ Interview with Bono and Edge for promotion of How to Dismantle ...,, undated.
  4. ^ Adrian Deevoy, Walk on Water, Blender magazine, November 2004.
  5. ^ Wall, Mick (2005). Bono: In the Name of Love. Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 307. 
  6. ^ Russ Breimeier, How to Dismantle ... review, Christianity Music Today, undated.

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