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Old 10-10-2009, 07:22 AM   #1
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Alan McGee on U2

Just came across the following article by Alan McGee; don't remember it being posted here before. It's always interesting to hear other peoples view on U2, especially those within the music industry.

Personally speaking, I think he's absolutely clueless.

U2 make great songs, but where are the classic albums? | Alan McGee | Music | guardian.co.uk

"Even typing those two letters brings forth in me an almost Pavlovian purchasing response. Why? For more than 29 years I've been compulsively buying U2 albums looking for the song. It's fair to say U2 don't make classic albums. But they do make classic songs. And I'm always on the hunt for the next one.

It is, however, a tiresome pursuit and, for six months, their new album, No Line On the Horizon, has sat unplayed in my house. In fact, it wasn't until last week, on a flight to New York, that I bothered to listen to it.

Even in 1980, U2 polarised music fans. I remember the lines were firmly drawn between fans of Echo and the Bunnymen and U2. I still love Echo and the Bunnymen and their fractal music shot through with punk and psychedelia; their albums were full of surrealism, humour and colour. In comparison, U2 could seem dry, dull and pompous. I was determined to dislike them, but I discovered in 1980, much to my shame and dismay, that they did have a great song in them: I Will Follow (from their debut, Boy).

From then on, I was stuck with the band. I've bought every subsequent U2 release in anticipation of finding the next great song. Throughout their many transformations, nothing has changed in my relationship with the band. They still haven't delivered an album I could call "classic", but they've made plenty of great tunes.

Three years and one utterly terrible album (October) into my quest, I was rewarded again, with New Year's Day, from their third album, War. The Unforgettable Fire was a disappointment and gave me nothing – could I face buying another album? It was with a heavy heart that I purchased Joshua Tree, and I was lavished with two great tunes, With Or Without You and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. Good times! Things were picking up … or were they? 1988's Rattle and Hum documentary was impossible to sit through, and my mind has blacked out the entire surround-sound experience of both the film and the accompanying album. Nonetheless, my two abiding memories of the film are Bono saying "Here's a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles and now we're taking it back" before launching into their atrocious cover of Helter Skelter, and a television interview where Henry Rollins of Black Flag was astounded and mystified by Bono's cowboy hat as he strolled down Sunset Boulevard. After Rattle and Hum, it seems even U2 knew they had gone too far, spending the next couple of years on a musical hiatus. Luckily, this interval allowed enough time for me to repress my memories of these rock'n'roll misdemeanours, and I bought Achtung Baby in 1991 with restored confidence.

Achtung Baby turned out to be a gold mine for songs, and I still believe it was created under the influence of both Primal Scream and Happy Mondays. Mysterious Ways, The Fly and One stood out as milestones in my U2 odyssey, but, sadly, would taunt and tease me, as it would be another 13 years and three albums before U2 released anything else great: the utterly camp and cool Discothèque, and the cathartic Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own.

I had feverish hopes for No Line On the Horizon when U2 announced Rick Rubin as producer. I was looking forward to Rubin's almost magical tricks of reinvention and – maybe – an actual, bona fide classic album. The long gestation period was also a good sign. Then Rubin was dropped in favour of the standby of Brian Eno: uh oh, bad sign. For this reason, I delayed playing the album until my trip to New York, as the thought of hearing another October or The Unforgettable Fire was too exhausting to contemplate. And after 10 listens to it, I'm afraid the album is completely underwhelming, with the exception of the propulsive soul stomper The Magnificent (another one for the list). And so my quest for the classic U2 album continues. After 29 years on the hunt, I still haven't found what I'm looking for."
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:27 AM   #2
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that was almost funny
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:12 AM   #3
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Well this is coming from Alan McGee, the guy whose label was about to declare bankruptcy when Oasis saved them. He's since spent the past 16 years kissing the Gallaghers' asses, which would be enough to send anyone's critical faculties haywire.
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:13 AM   #4
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I'm not sure he has any idea what an album is.
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:14 AM   #5
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Alan McGee signed the House of Love. He can hold any opinion he wants.
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:14 PM   #6
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What an idiot.
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:15 PM   #7
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I can see any album in U2's catalog outside of JT/AB having a few tracks to hold someone back from calling it a classic... but not even those? Magnificent is the only good song on NLOTH? OK, dude. (That's what you get for listening to it once).
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:16 PM   #8
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No classic song on TUF.
TUF, Pride, Bad anyone???
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:19 PM   #9
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No classic song on TUF.
TUF, Pride, Bad anyone???
Classic track = mega selling single I guess or something
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:23 PM   #10
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TUF is the classic U2 album.

The dude has no idea. I guess he only listens to mainstream radio.
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:55 PM   #11
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The dude has no idea. I guess he only listens to mainstream radio.
Well, you would hope not since he's the co-founder of Creation Records, probably the most famous indie label of the 80s and early 90s...

Again, to put his bulls*** into perspective: someone recently posted a letter McGee wrote in some magazine where he claimed that Oasis are the only 'big' rock band that matters in the current music scene (!), which should tell us how out of touch he is. I can only assume that Noel Gallagher didn't send him his Christmas bonus, so he had to brown nose a bit more.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:45 PM   #12
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The dude has no idea. I guess he only listens to mainstream radio.
You haven't the faintest clue about music.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:50 PM   #13
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Joshua Tree, mr. McGee. There's your classic U2 album.
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:28 PM   #14
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There is so much wrong with this article.

Over the years I've noticed certain trends of U2 bashing. I think Mr McGee falls into the category of those who don't like band but pretend to do so in order to appear more credible when they express their disappointment at their output.

House of love my arse.
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:38 PM   #15
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what a good article! i agree with everything he said.
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by roy View Post
There is so much wrong with this article.

Over the years I've noticed certain trends of U2 bashing. I think Mr McGee falls into the category of those who don't like band but pretend to do so in order to appear more credible when they express their disappointment at their output.

House of love my arse.
QFT .
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:55 PM   #17
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First and foremost...the fucking title...
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:11 PM   #18
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I'm going to print that article and wipe my ass with it.
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:17 PM   #19
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I'm going to print that article and wipe my ass with it.
I wanna poop on that article, it was that bad.

He said that October was crap. No one disses October.
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Old 10-11-2009, 12:32 AM   #20
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I wanna poop on that article, it was that bad.

He said that October was crap. No one disses October.
No one except everyone who doesn't frequent Interference, about half of those who do.
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