Misheard Lyrics: U2’s Beautiful Species

(Full disclosure: I wrote this post about a year ago actually, so it’s already seen the light of day, but not on this blog. Sorry ’bout it if you’ve already read it! I’m repostin’!)

“Beautiful Day” always seemed like the song that I wanted so badly to be cliché because it was so easy and cheerful and overplayed, but to this day, no matter when I hear it, I get all wrapped up and happy in the sound. Of course, there’s always that stretch of a song that you just kinda fake along the lyrics to and forget that you don’t actually know the words, or better yet, create your own. After nearly twenty-one years of singing along to Bono’s phrases, I present to you the dilemma-

(please listen to 2:24, approximately)

Now, this video does prove two things- that U2 loves a good diverse atmosphere in music videos, and that all my creative power was wrong. If you listen, Bono sings, around the 2:24 mark (and these lyrics have been confirmed by the helpful U2.com)-

“see the tuna fleets clearing the sea out”

Unfortunately, this never quite made it into my consciousness. See, I always heard-

“see the chitterfleets glittering the sea, ow”

What is a chitterfleet, you ask? This is the same question I asked for years. After much thinking, I came to believe that the chitterfleet was either a rare fish or exotic bird that sparkled beneath the waves. I mean honestly, Bono has traveled more than most, and so I figured he, of all musicians, deserved a unknown species reference to school us regular citizens on how lovely the world is. In my mind, chitterfleets were endangered, and Bono was out to save them. Clearly his last refrain of “ow” at the end of the phrase meant he felt for this species and that without the chitterfleets, the very day he was describing might be a little less beautiful. Furthermore, without their glitter and hope of survival, he wouldn’t have anything to sing about.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that no, instead of a mythical and magical animal, Bono decided to let us observe tuna. TUNA.


We’re talking about the canned concoction that made everyone else turn up their noses at the elementary school lunch table. Is this beautiful, Bono?! I mean, I know Planet Earth in HD makes us all excited to live on this world, but is tuna really the picture you were going for? Are tuna really that majestic? Did Starkist pay you a little somethin’-somethin’ under the table to give tuna a new rock and roll image, further saving their company? C’mon! Is tuna swimming around, trying to avoid the canning industry, really that gorgeous? Really, Bono?! YOU COULDN’T GO WITH COLORFUL CORAL? OR STARFISH? OR EVEN THE BEAUTIFUL PATTERN OF WALLPAPER IN MY BATHROOM?!

But, I digress. For whatever reason, Bono went with a common household pantry fish. And maybe he finds beauty in such simplicity. Maybe if we were all to stop being so ridiculous with our metaphors, the world would look a little better. Honestly, I’m in no way denying that each day has the potential to be beautiful and that beauty is everywhere, I’m just sad one beautiful creature is no more.

Goodbye Chitterfleets. I know  that according to the same song, we don’t have you in the world, so we don’t need you now, but I will miss singing about you and thinking about what you could have been. Rest in peace, mythical creature. I’ll never forget you and still sing along with your name as a lyric.

(Photo Credit: here)
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