When I Look at the World

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"When I Look at the World"
Song by U2
from the album All That You Can't Leave Behind
Released 30–31 October 2000
Genre Rock
Length 4:14
Label Island / Interscope
Songwriter(s) U2 (music), Bono and The Edge (lyrics)
Producer(s) Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois
All That You Can't Leave Behind track listing
"Peace on Earth"
"When I Look at the World"
"New York"

"When I Look at the World" is the ninth track from U2's 2000 album, All That You Can't Leave Behind.


The song is about a person's faith being troubled by tragedy. It has been described by Bono as being told from "the point of view of someone who is having a crisis of faith looking at someone who has built their house upon the rock."[1] "When I Look at the World" has also been described as being about the commitment of Ali Hewson towards Chernobyl and the victims of the tragedy.[2]

Live history[edit]

The guitar, drums, and bass were recorded during a short time span during the sessions for All That You Can't Leave Behind, and by the time the recording of the album was finished The Edge realized that the song had been recorded so quickly he couldn't remember how to play it.[1] Because of this, the song was one of only three from the album never played live in its entirety, the other two being "Peace on Earth" and "Grace".[3] "When I Look at the World" was snippeted during one performance of "Bad" on the Elevation Tour in Kansas City[4] - this is the only recorded performance of the song by U2.


  1. ^ a b McCormick, Neil (ed), (2006). U2 by U2, page 300. HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-00-719668-7
  2. ^ Stokes, Niall, (2005). U2: Into The Heart - The Stories Behind Every Song, page 158. Avalon Publishing Group Incorporated. ISBN 1-56025-765-2
  3. ^ U2 Faqs.com, U2 album songs never played live
  4. ^ U2gigs.com, Performances of When I Look at the World

External links[edit]