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Old 12-09-2017, 08:54 AM   #1
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The Evolution of U2's Creative Process

So with SOE now released, we have been getting bits of info on "how" this album was made. It made me think back over the decades about how U2 has written songs, made records and how that has changed, or in some ways stayed the same .

I've been a fan since TUF and have tried to keep up pretty well with the band and such, but I'm sure there are others here with a lot more insight.

The first window into their creative process that I remember was the "Making of The Unforgettable Fire" documentary. At the time, it seemed as though Eno/Lanois were producers in the traditional sense, not necessarily "co-collaborators", but again, others may know more of the inside scoop!

The first "aha" moment for me was Eno getting co-writing credit on Luminous Times, but again, I don't know how involved Brian and Danny were in the actual creation of the songs on the album.

I remember R&H being the first time that Bono mentioned his obsession with being able to play U2 songs on an acoustic guitar, an obsession that's never left, for good or bad!!

Again, in my opinion, the 90's were U2's creative peak, AB through Pop, but then the creative process seems to get cloudy. Eno upset about songwriting credits on ATYCLB, the "collaboration" on NLOTH, then we come to the current period.

I admit, as much as I love Summer of Love, it's nagging me a bit that Ryan Tedder/One Republic MAY have written huge portions of the song, but without songwriting credit. It nagged me a little that he wrote the chorus melody of EBW, not because of the quality, I love it, but no songwriting credit.

I know lines are blurred often with producers/writers/co-creators etc, but to ME, this may be a transparency issue for U2. Are they seeking relevance and the "fountain of youth" so badly that they will pay other songwriters to NOT get a co-writing credit, and pretend it's their own work??

I love Brian Wilson, and am glad he has still been making good records over the last 30 years, but sometimes it's had to determine how much of it is Brian, really, and how much is it his collaborators doing Brian Wilson imitations??

Is it like when Aerosmith started writing with Desmond Child and Diane Warren?? Anyone and Glen Ballard??? Where the "future is drying up", so lets keep the band/artist on life support as long as we can , under the "illusion" that they "still have it"??

Again, I am asking those who know more about these things to please chime in?? I don't know what I think right now. It won't stop me from enjoying SOE, but it may help us understand where the band is REALLY at creatively after 40 years.

Thoughts??
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:01 AM   #2
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Are they seeking relevance and the "fountain of youth" so badly that they will pay other songwriters to NOT get a co-writing credit, and pretend it's their own work??


Are we seeking relevance so badly that we’re willing to spin and make up our own alternative facts?
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:09 AM   #3
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Bono and Edge talking about wanting to write songs they can play on an acoustic goes back further to at least the conspiracy of hope days. They recalled a moment being in a room full of musicians/ contemporaries and people sharing what they’re working on and them being embarrassed they couldn’t pick up a guitar and do the same.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:15 AM   #4
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Are we seeking relevance so badly that we’re willing to spin and make up our own alternative facts?
Ok, Tedder just gave a chorus to EBW without any compensation. I guess we don't know for sure, but we've been round this bend before, he wrote the chorus, not saying the lyrics, but writing the "chorus melody" is pretty significant for that song, IMO, whether you want to believe it or not.

That is NOT an "alternative fact."
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:24 AM   #5
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A few things I’ve learned from being a music fan over the years and writing some stuff in general…
  • Unless you’re in a room with somebody, or especially a band, it’s extremely hard to figure out who wrote or contributed what to the exact minutue detail. There’s book and websites devoted to figuring out whether Lennon or McCartney did this or that on the Beatles songs they wrote together (or, in many cases, wrote on their own). We’re kind of lucky in that this band is big enough to do plenty of interviews and such and give some insight into the process. But unless we’re in the room with them, it’s really all just speculation anyway.
  • Writing credits are a weird thing to start with and can’t really be an exact basis for who contributed what. Tedder didn’t credited for contributing the chorus melody line to Every Breaking Wave, but I’ve also heard a story about a record producer getting a writing credit on a song for merely humming how a solo should go. What about all the U2 producers that might’ve come up with something during the previous 40 years or so? Bands hardly ever do every single thing or idea entirely on their own anyway…
  • If we have to “cancel” out Summer of Love because a young producer may have written parts of it, do we also cancel out Do You Feel Loved because it contains a significant sample of another song that didn’t get a writing credit? Or is it somehow safe because they were in their 30’s when they wrote it and because it was during the 90’s halcyon days some of us hold them up to be?? Do we cancel out a lot of ATYCLB because of the claims by Eno (and Lanois?) that they co-wrote significant portions of it? Do we suddenly not like NLOTH for similar reasons?
  • At the end of the day, it's not a situation like Blondie's where they basically outsourced 2 or 3 tracks from their recent album to outside producers, then have Chris Stein standing in the background as they perform the lead single off it live on The Tonight Show while the "new" guitarist plays all the important parts. That's not to say I don't like the singles off that album. But in terms of hipster street cred among the fan base, maybe people will look at that and think "How dare they!"

By all accounts, this band still does the writing and then has guys help them in the process. Whatever the extent of that is, it might not differ a whole lot from what it was before. The Haim thing already shows that people can like a song despite at least some of it coming from another source. Unless, of course, Haim and Tedder are the equivalent of cooties in someone's eyes because they're young and not one of the four guys...
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:27 AM   #6
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Ok, Tedder just gave a chorus to EBW without any compensation. I guess we don't know for sure, but we've been round this bend before, he wrote the chorus, not saying the lyrics, but writing the "chorus melody" is pretty significant for that song, IMO, whether you want to believe it or not.

That is NOT an "alternative fact."


What?! Believe it or not, what are you talking about?

I understand he came up with the chorus melody, I’m just not sure that warrants writing credits. I’m sure there are several producers when working with bands like U2 who create in the studio that recommend melody ideas.

And I’m sure he got paid since he was a producer, but the whole U2 paid them off to be quiet is the shit trolls do in order to get people to start spreading that idea around.

Let’s find out the story first, shall we?
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by trevgreg View Post
A few things I’ve learned from being a music fan over the years and writing some stuff in general…
  • Unless you’re in a room with somebody, or especially a band, it’s extremely hard to figure out who wrote or contributed what to the exact minutue detail. There’s book and websites devoted to figuring out whether Lennon or McCartney did this or that on the Beatles songs they wrote together (or, in many cases, wrote on their own). We’re kind of lucky in that this band is big enough to do plenty of interviews and such and give some insight into the process. But unless we’re in the room with them, it’s really all just speculation anyway.
  • Writing credits are a weird thing to start with and can’t really be an exact basis for who contributed what. Tedder didn’t credited for contributing the chorus melody line to Every Breaking Wave, but I’ve also heard a story about a record producer getting a writing credit on a song for merely humming how a solo should go. What about all the U2 producers that might’ve come up with something during the previous 40 years or so? Bands hardly ever do every single thing or idea entirely on their own anyway…
  • If we have to “cancel” out Summer of Love because a young producer may have written parts of it, do we also cancel out Do You Feel Loved because it contains a significant sample of another song that didn’t get a writing credit? Or is it somehow safe because they were in their 30’s when they wrote it and because it was during the 90’s halcyon days some of us hold them up to be?? Do we cancel out a lot of ATYCLB because of the claims by Eno (and Lanois?) that they co-wrote significant portions of it? Do we suddenly not like NLOTH for similar reasons?
  • At the end of the day, it's not a situation like Blondie's where they basically outsourced 2 or 3 tracks from their recent album to outside producers, then have Chris Stein standing in the background as they perform the lead single off it live on The Tonight Show while the "new" guitarist plays all the important parts. That's not to say I don't like the singles off that album. But in terms of hipster street cred among the fan base, maybe people will look at that and think "How dare they!"

By all accounts, this band still does the writing and then has guys help them in the process. Whatever the extent of that is, it might not differ a whole lot from what it was before. The Haim thing already shows that people can like a song despite at least some of it coming from another source. Unless, of course, Haim and Tedder are the equivalent of cooties in someone's eyes because they're young and not one of the four guys...
Totally fair assessment, and you're right, many folks get credit for what they HAVEN'T done as well as people NOT getting credit for what they have done.

I am certainly not wanting to slam the band for any of it, I just find it interesting, and am curious to hear others insights about these types of things. Maybe it means something to me with U2 because Bono says "we have a contract with our audience. They give us a good living, and we give honest effort to make the best music we can." Again, I'm not saying they are NOT doing that, but scenarios like Tedder and EBW and SOL I think are fair to evaluate. As well as the past stuff with Eno.

I don't want it to be like " we don't talk about that!!" I generally am curious as to others thoughts. I am new here, but have lurked for awhile, and appreciate the excellent conversations you guys have.
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:12 PM   #8
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What?! Believe it or not, what are you talking about?

I understand he came up with the chorus melody, I’m just not sure that warrants writing credits. I’m sure there are several producers when working with bands like U2 who create in the studio that recommend melody ideas.

And I’m sure he got paid since he was a producer, but the whole U2 paid them off to be quiet is the shit trolls do in order to get people to start spreading that idea around.

Let’s find out the story first, shall we?
Dude, this is why people lurk instead of try to get involved in a healthy conversation on this board, because of people like you.

I never said U2 "paid him off", but that he was compensated. In the music industry, many people are compensated rather than get a writing credit. So we disagree about whether writing a chorus melody should give someone a writing credit, ok??

To you that makes me a troll. We don't need more of the story about EBW, we have it and it's been discussed.

And no, BVS, I do not need nor am seeking relevance from a music message board. I'm good, thanks.

Wow.
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Gzusfrk View Post
Dude, this is why people lurk instead of try to get involved in a healthy conversation on this board, because of people like you.



I never said U2 "paid him off", but that he was compensated. In the music industry, many people are compensated rather than get a writing credit. So we disagree about whether writing a chorus melody should give someone a writing credit, ok??



To you that makes me a troll. We don't need more of the story about EBW, we have it and it's been discussed.



And no, BVS, I do not need nor am seeking relevance from a music message board. I'm good, thanks.



Wow.


“Are they seeking relevance and the "fountain of youth" so badly that they will pay other songwriters to NOT get a co-writing credit, and pretend it's their own work??”

This IS the definition of a payoff, that is exactly what you’re suggesting. That is not healthy conversation.
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:38 PM   #10
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“Are they seeking relevance and the "fountain of youth" so badly that they will pay other songwriters to NOT get a co-writing credit, and pretend it's their own work??”

This IS the definition of a payoff, that is exactly what you’re suggesting. That is not healthy conversation.
Ok, look, I apologize if my wording inferred that, because that was NOT my intent.

However, WHAT I said happens ALL THE TIME in the music industry, that in lieu of a songwriting credit, an individual will be paid as a producer, or whatever and we know that Ryan Tedder was a producer and I'm sure he got paid for it.

The point is, he wrote the chorus melody, I think that's enough for a songwriting credit, you disagree. Ok, that's fine!

This was supposed to be a bigger topic than just this one song, but since we have zeroed in on it, that's fine too! If U2 would have disagreements with Eno about songwriting, obviously it's an important thing for them, but I think it's fine to evaluate.

One last thing, BVS, I don't know you, you don't know me, but you could have just asked me to clarify my statement without getting snarky and labeling me a troll.
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:38 PM   #11
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It's a great post, Gzus. In a way I've been contemplating the same stuff a bit this album cycle.
I know Eno and Lanois were a big part of the creative process in previous albums. But because I was a kid in 85 when my fandom started, and because there was no internet in the 90s when I was a peak-fan phase, I never knew about uncredited in-studio collaboration till relatively recently.
Unpacking a U2 cassette and reading every word on the sleeves was highlight of the late 80s/90s for me. And I just believed the 'words by Bono, music by U2' thing.

I have had the same lingering doubt with this album re how purely U2 it is. And yeah I get that's probably cause I'm naive.

And don't worry about BVS . Too much awesome conversation to be had on here to be put off by that sort of thing.
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Gzusfrk View Post
Ok, look, I apologize if my wording inferred that, because that was NOT my intent.
No reasonable person thought you were implying that, and you have no need to apologise. Your topic and thread are legit avenues for discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gzusfrk View Post
Dude, this is why people lurk instead of try to get involved in a healthy conversation on this board, because of people like you.

I never said U2 "paid him off", but that he was compensated. In the music industry, many people are compensated rather than get a writing credit. So we disagree about whether writing a chorus melody should give someone a writing credit, ok??

To you that makes me a troll. We don't need more of the story about EBW, we have it and it's been discussed.

And no, BVS, I do not need nor am seeking relevance from a music message board. I'm good, thanks.

Wow.
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Originally Posted by Gzusfrk View Post
One last thing, BVS, I don't know you, you don't know me, but you could have just asked me to clarify my statement without getting snarky and labeling me a troll.
BVS calls everyone he disagrees with a troll. And he takes even mild criticism of U2 very personally. Ignore him.
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Old 12-09-2017, 01:03 PM   #13
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The Evolution of U2's Creative Process

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gzusfrk View Post
Ok, look, I apologize if my wording inferred that, because that was NOT my intent.



However, WHAT I said happens ALL THE TIME in the music industry, that in lieu of a songwriting credit, an individual will be paid as a producer, or whatever and we know that Ryan Tedder was a producer and I'm sure he got paid for it.



The point is, he wrote the chorus melody, I think that's enough for a songwriting credit, you disagree. Ok, that's fine!



This was supposed to be a bigger topic than just this one song, but since we have zeroed in on it, that's fine too! If U2 would have disagreements with Eno about songwriting, obviously it's an important thing for them, but I think it's fine to evaluate.



One last thing, BVS, I don't know you, you don't know me, but you could have just asked me to clarify my statement without getting snarky and labeling me a troll.


Look, I’m not trying to pick a fight.

And I’m no longer talking about the EBW issue.

I’m talking about SOL. The issue seems to be that some are interpreting that this was a song written by One Republic, then used by U2 and they’re getting the song writing credits.

There’s two different scenarios here(regarding the video):

1. It was written by OR and Tedder gave it over to U2.

2. It was a song written by U2 and Tedder was playing it for his band and they were messing around with it.

If it’s number 1, then U2 were wrong for taking the writing credits. That would go beyond any gray area of how much a producer contributed to the track. But think about how many people would know. Do you really think U2’s going to take writing credits for a song knowing that several people outside of just Tedder know that this started out as an OR song, at the risk that someone inside of OR’s camp might say something someday?
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Old 12-09-2017, 01:09 PM   #14
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No reasonable person thought you were implying that, and you have no need to apologise. Your topic and thread are legit avenues for discussion.



BVS calls everyone he disagrees with a troll. And he takes even mild criticism of U2 very personally. Ignore him.


FFS you’re insufferable. This had nothing to do with a disagreement. I only use the word when it aligns directly with Interference’s definition of trolling.
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Old 12-09-2017, 02:06 PM   #15
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Look, I’m not trying to pick a fight.

And I’m no longer talking about the EBW issue.

I’m talking about SOL. The issue seems to be that some are interpreting that this was a song written by One Republic, then used by U2 and they’re getting the song writing credits.

There’s two different scenarios here(regarding the video):

1. It was written by OR and Tedder gave it over to U2.

2. It was a song written by U2 and Tedder was playing it for his band and they were messing around with it.

If it’s number 1, then U2 were wrong for taking the writing credits. That would go beyond any gray area of how much a producer contributed to the track. But think about how many people would know. Do you really think U2’s going to take writing credits for a song knowing that several people outside of just Tedder know that this started out as an OR song, at the risk that someone inside of OR’s camp might say something someday?
Agreed! That's why I said a big IF regarding SOL, which you're right, we don't know which it is. I hope it's you're second scenario!!
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