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Old 06-23-2018, 09:38 AM   #1
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Best Bass Lines

So I just saw U2 in DC with a couple friends of mine who both play bass. Had to endure the “Doesn’t he just play eighth notes and the root?” nonsense about Adam. Of course I tried to defend him and say there’s more than just WOWY. I ended up putting together a playlist of what I think are his more impressive bass lines. What do you think? Are there any glaring omissions? (I went for more complex, showy parts. Stuff like SDABTO, while groovy, aren’t that difficult.)

Twilight
The Ocean
Gloria
Scarlet
New Year’s Day
Two Hearts Beat As One
The Unforgettable Fire
Love Comes Tumbling
Zoo Station
Even Better Than the Real Thing
Lemon
Please
A Man and a Woman
Magnificent
Volcano
Red Flag Day
The Blackout
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:56 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Fly33 View Post
So I just saw U2 in DC with a couple friends of mine who both play bass. Had to endure the “Doesn’t he just play eighth notes and the root?” nonsense about Adam. Of course I tried to defend him and say there’s more than just WOWY. I ended up putting together a playlist of what I think are his more impressive bass lines. What do you think? Are there any glaring omissions? (I went for more complex, showy parts. Stuff like SDABTO, while groovy, aren’t that difficult.)

Twilight
The Ocean
Gloria
Scarlet
New Year’s Day
Two Hearts Beat As One
The Unforgettable Fire
Love Comes Tumbling
Zoo Station
Even Better Than the Real Thing
Lemon
Please
A Man and a Woman
Magnificent
Volcano
Red Flag Day
The Blackout
I always thought the bass line in Miami was cool too.
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:09 AM   #3
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Do You Feel Loved has the coolest bass line, complexity / sampling considerations aside
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Old 06-25-2018, 02:59 PM   #4
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Twilight
The Ocean
Gloria
Scarlet
New Year’s Day
Two Hearts Beat As One
The Unforgettable Fire
Love Comes Tumbling
Zoo Station
Even Better Than the Real Thing
Lemon
Please
A Man and a Woman
Magnificent
Volcano
Red Flag Day
The Blackout


You can add:

Tryin To Throw Your Arms Around The World
Some Days Are Better Than Others
Hold Me Thrill Me (Fun to play)
Pop Album
Grace
Moment of Surrender
Cedars Of Lebanon
This Is Where You Can Reach Me
Best Thing (fun to play)


Adam is a very good bass player. Simple & unique which goes a long way for U2. Plus he's the coolest looking bass player ever.
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:56 PM   #5
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I think it's futile to try to prove to people that he's better than they think. We all know what he brings to U2. He's not one of the world's most innovative or important bassists but that doesn't matter.

One thing I would like to say about him however is that he's the only member of the band who has actually come away from the last few years with a tick to his name. While his bandmates have often floundered around him, there's been quite a few bass lines from songs in the last 10-15 years that are the genuine highlights of the songs.
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Old 06-27-2018, 09:51 PM   #6
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One thing I would like to say about him however is that he's the only member of the band who has actually come away from the last few years with a tick to his name. While his bandmates have often floundered around him, there's been quite a few bass lines from songs in the last 10-15 years that are the genuine highlights of the songs.

I wholeheartedly agree. I hate to say it, but Edge’s playing hasn’t been amazing on the last two albums (and the best riffs he “sampled”/stole from Haim and One Republic). It’s really Adam (and Larry) who have stood out to me. Both have continued to be creative and fresh.

In other news, I don’t think either of them have listened to the songs (not totally surprised), but it’s been fun and cool to reappreciate Adam!



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Old 06-27-2018, 11:07 PM   #7
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Bad

If you wear that velvet dress

Stay

Stranger in a strange land
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:26 AM   #8
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Listening to 80-90 B-sides as I type, "Endless Deep" should count too, even without his "vocals".

And agreed that he's literally instrumental to the band. As a bass guitarist myself in an overall-collaborative band, it *matters* to some extent. If I'm not mistaken, he came up for the chord progression for fucking "Pride" (which would make Edge musically subservient, in a sense, for once--a *huge* once).

Some bands "need" all (ideally original members). Joy Division broke up upon Ian Curtis' death because they'd apparently made a pact for Joy Division to only be those four (hence, New Order). U2 (though, musically, seemingly less so for the past half of their existence) "rightfully "need" Adam and Larry--forgetting their (I'd imagine "more-than-considerable") social bond entirely in the context of this post.

That we and the hoi polloi (who obviously know "New Year's Day" and especially "With or Without You" from the get-go, and especially, or perhaps because of, the latter's simplicity), immediately recognize both songs speaks volumes. People may not hear the Eno synth first, or Edge, but as soon as those aforementioned "eighth notes" come in, people both "apprehend" and (maybe) appreciate that they're hearing "With or Without You". It's both mystifyingly simple yet utterly idenitfiiable. (At the very end of U2's and/or Adam's life, that bassline is not only what will always be remembered and cherished, it's the part of a U2 song that I'm willing to bet your "man-on-the-street" will reliably perceive as U2 and/or "With or Without You"--as it kinda is even now!). I'm not sure off the top of my head how many other bands have such a simultaneously simple/immediately-distinctive bassline, maybe I'm forgetting other good examples. Still hard to beat here, especially as a US #1 (not that that "matters", but it's the reason everyone aged 20-70 knows it, at least in passing).

Outside of pure musicality, let's also not forget his early commitment to, and belief in the band, at times when even I believe Bono and Edge weren't sure (and I don't just mean the October-era "crisis").

From my opinion, as a bassist and someone who has been in bands, he is a *great* bandmate--doesn't (at all) have to be musical leader, but someone who is totally devoted to the cause and [should be] truly embraced on all levels.

Also, "while we're at it": "Endless Deep" and "Wire".
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:44 AM   #9
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Surprised nobody said Until The End of the World.

I like the stuff he does on I'm Not Your Baby, too.

I always thought the bass on the bridge from Discotheque was the coolest part of the song.

But, then, I always liked the bass on Red Light.
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Old 07-09-2018, 03:33 PM   #10
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Red flag day anyone?
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:01 AM   #11
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I'll toss Playboy Mansion on this excellent pile.

I don't know enough -- which is to say anything -- about bass playing to assess his technical skill level; I just know his lines have made my ears happy. Would we agree he's come the furthest, musically, of the four of them, from their first meeting as teenagers? Or would that distinction go to Bono's singing?
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:16 PM   #12
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Definitely Bono's singing.
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:11 PM   #13
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I’m a decent guitar player, and as a result of that I’m a mediocre bass player. I find that as Adam’s career progressed, the better he got, and the harder his stuff is to learn.

A trained ear can definitely tell that his bass playing style and abilities changed between Zooropa and Pop. During U2’s break in ‘94, he took bass lessons from the best teacher in NYC, mainly to deconstruct his style and reteach him how to approach the instrument. Before that, he was mainly either playing the root notes, or the driving riff while Edge played over the top of the foundation he laid. These days his playing is much more in the pocket and subtle, but there’s a lot more going on than there used to be in his playing. He really has become a truly great bass player. He always was great, but had continued to grow.
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Old 07-31-2018, 11:18 AM   #14
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Nobody mentioned 40...oh wait
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:55 AM   #15
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Last Night on Earth ftw!
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