"Ordinary Love" (CD Single)

Music review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
"Ordinary Love" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Mandela biopic's Oscar-nominated track is clean, reflective.

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The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Bono sings, "We can't reach any higher / if we can't deal with ordinary love." Nelson Mandela believed that his country couldn't move forward unless apartheid was abolished and "ordinary love" or equality for all was established. But U2 also wrote this song about Nelson and his wife Winnie's relationship. The lines "We can't fall any further / if we can't feel ordinary love" remind us that love isn't only about grand gestures but also includes the everyday, "ordinary" aspects of a relationship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

"Ordinary Love" was inspired by Nelson Mandela, a leader in the fight against apartheid. After serving 27 years in prison, Mandela was elected the first African-American president of South Africa and dedicated his life to the fight for freedom and equality.


Because this song was written for a Nelson Mandela biopic, listeners may associate it with the long struggle against apartheid, which was violent and oppressive. However, the song itself has no violent language or imagery. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that U2 was asked to write a song for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and felt inspired to write "Ordinary Love" after watching early versions of the biopic. There's nothing iffy to worry about in the tasteful lyrics video or this clean, Oscar-nominated track -- which also won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song -- about Nelson Mandela's love for Winnie Mandela and his quest for equality in South Africa.

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old May 25, 2015

All Ages Can Handle This

If this was a movie, I'd rate it G because practically any age can handle it; there is nothing inappropriate. It is inspiring song about world leader and S... Continue reading

What's the story?

ORDINARY LOVE was released as a limited edition 10" vinyl for Record Store Day, which happened to be less than a week before Mandela passed away in 2013. In addition to watching early versions of his biopic, the Irish rockers also read the love letters that Mandela wrote to Winnie while he was still imprisoned. U2 carefully crafted this reflective single as a way to honor their friend of many years while gracefully touching upon Mandela's personal and political lives.

Is it any good?

The opening sounds of the light piano allow listeners to really focus on these emotional lyrics before adding the steady drum beats and Edge's haunting guitar riffs. With his clear falsetto, Bono passionately sings, "I can't fight you anymore / it's you I'm fighting for." Not only was Mandela fighting for equality but he also was fighting for Winnie. This mid-tempo ballad questions whether we're "tough enough for ordinary love," and the uplifting chorus serves as a reminder that "Ordinary Love" can inspire and lead to greatness.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the song's purpose in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. What do you think U2 is trying to say about Nelson Mandela in "Ordinary Love"? What do you believe is "ordinary love"?

  • How does this track compare to U2's previous work? 

Music details

  • Artist: U2
  • Release date: November 29, 2013
  • Type: Single
  • Label: Interscope Records
  • Genre: Soundtrack
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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