In the October issue of 2004 of Blender Magazine, Adam Clayton comments that this began as an outtake from Pop. To us, it was an homage to Scott Walker. The working title was 'Scott Walker'.
Jonas Steverud (Maintainer of U2MoL) (28:th of December 2004)
Bono addressed the crowd [during Top of the Pops] and said: 'This next song is about how we used to come to cities like London and New York when we were younger and naïve and how over time our innocence has disappeared and how experience has kind of kicked in especially when you're smoking 40 cigarettes.' He added: 'We played this amazing show after September 11 and we remember all these blinding lights after playing Where The Streets Have No Name. People were crying and it was an amazing thing to see.' The band then ended the show with new song 'City Of Blinding Lights'
Tom Brinkman tombrinkmanhome.nl (3:rd of December 2004)
I think this song is also about the topic of the entire album: Bono's father Bob Hewson. I red in an interview in which after he died Bono set off in a very difficult period of his life. He become so rude and aggressive even against his children and his wife Ali sometimes used to say "I think something has changed in you" . You see that the verses "You see the beauty inside of me/What happened to the beauty I had inside of me" makes sense.
Lorenzo Brancaleone lorenzou2tiscali.it (29th of October 2006)