Ordinary Love: A tribute to Nelson Mandela

Edward Valencia, Writer/Parents and Teachers Editor

Irish rock band U2 released a new single on Nov. 29titled “Ordinary Love”, written for the new Nelson Mandela movie, Mandela: Long walk to Freedom. Studio executive Harvey Weinstein approached the band, asking them if they would write a song for the new movie, to which they quickly replied “yes”. They were allowed to watch early versions of the movie for inspiration. U2 frontman Bono wrote the lyrics, while fellow band mates Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Adam Clayton, and producer Danger Mouse composed the music.

The entire song sounds somber but aims to deliver a message of hope and love, the same kind of message Mandela delivered. The song uses pianos, synthesizers, and backing vocals, which makes it unique and creates a contemporary sound that U2 has never exemplified. The song is well executed and perfectly portrays Bono’s excellent singing ability, which rivals his passion for justice. The song mainly uses piano and synthesizers, although the latter is not as audible. The lyrics don’t directly refer to Mandela, but they describe the struggle to go on as a society where they can’t share “ordinary love”. Bono’s lyrics are powerful, saying, “we can’t work together if we can’t feel with ordinary love”.

The members of U2, and particularly Bono, are known for their humanitarian work, and they became good friends with Mandela. Less than a week after the song was released, Nelson Mandela died at his home in South Africa. His death happened during the London premiere of his biopic and lead actor Idris Elba, who plays Mandela in the movie, announced the sad news to the crowd outside. The cruel irony of Mandela’s death is that he was never able to watch the film or hear the song. As the world reflects on the life of Nelson Mandela and his struggle (and eventual victory) against apartheid in South Africa, his biopic and song will certainly be scrutinized, as they are now released in a different atmosphere and will take on a whole new meaning.