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Old 02-15-2010, 03:51 AM   #1
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U2's second chance

(IMO)
We all know (even U2) that bringing out GOYB as a first single AND as a representative for NLOTH was fairly miscalculated and in fact, a mistake...
It's a fun song, it's bold, production-wise it's sounded fresh, and (apart from the Vertigo-similarities) it sounded new. So I can understand why U2, especially Bono, were enthousiastic about it...
But for your "Joe-Average"-part of the audience (which unfortunately is a huge part) the song was simply too "weird"... The almost out of key sounding chords in the chorus:.."you don't know how beautiful..", the structure of the song, the similarities with Vertigo, and merely the abscence of the "big" U2 sound... It was simply too experimental as a (first) single).
(Again IMO) had U2 chosen to put out Magnificent as a first single, I think the sales would have gone through the roof. It has this U2-Greatness, it has head-and-tail and a massive passionate song in the middle, and it has a "feel" that simple everybody likes, like Beautiful Day had... I know for U2 themselves it's a challenge to write songs like Boots and Breathe, but the moment "God walks through the room" during the writing sessions (as they say so themselves) and songs like Streets, One, Stay,Beautiful Day and Magnificent come out, it's U2 at their best. Everybody knows that...

So my point is: I think there is a song lying on the shelves which has all this potential. And it's very similar to Magnificent.. The song is: Mercy. (I hear the Mercy-haters sigh..)
But: It has a similar "tingling" guitar-riff in the chorus: "Love hears when I lie.." like Magnificent. The chorus itselve is huge and passionate and resembles Magnificent: "only love, only love can leave such a mark.." I mean, it has the same "high" feel.
Of course Mercy still sounds very demo-ish but so did the beach-clip of Magnificent. Still, at that time, everybody here were praying they would record, evolve and put out Magnificent because the potential was apparent. IMO Mercy has that same potential. And if they would never use Mercy at all, then I think U2 should focus more on creating more songs like that. But in that proces, at the same time beware they don't fall into the trap of writing clunckers like City Of Blinding Lights! Which IMO is an attempt to write a larger than life U2-song, but turned out to be a big U2-cliché: U2 imitating U2. (and yes I agree: it looks nice on the latest tour with all the lights and gear full-throttle...)

So if U2 wants another chance to come out with a massive first single AND a hit, they should focus on a Beautiful Day/Magnificent/Mercy-type of song!
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:36 AM   #2
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No. They could probably get a lot of mileage if another opening single were of the quality of Beautiful Day (and Magnificent isn't 1/10th as good as BD), but I think what they really need to lift off their next major album, and I've said this half a dozen times before, is another Fly type single. Not a song that sounds anything like the Fly, but a new U2 song that sounds wildly different and new (for them), while still being super-commercially viable, but without dumbing down. Not another very-U2ey BD or Magnificent type of song, not a new-sound-for-them but ultra, ultra dumbed down Vertigo type song, but a Fly. Fresh, attention grabbing, commercial and respectable. The holy grail, but I do think it's still possible.
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by onyourkneesboy View Post
(IMO)
So if U2 wants another chance to come out with a massive first single AND a hit, they should focus on a Beautiful Day/Magnificent/Mercy-type of song!
How about no.
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:50 AM   #4
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What's funny is on the local alternative station in Seattle, the ONLY song off NLOTH that I've heard is Moment Of Surrender... an album track.
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:05 AM   #5
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No. They could probably get a lot of mileage if another opening single were of the quality of Beautiful Day (and Magnificent isn't 1/10th as good as BD), but I think what they really need to lift off their next major album, and I've said this half a dozen times before, is another Fly type single.
U2 just did that. The song was called Get On Your Boots. It really was a single like The Fly. Even the initial reactions to it were the same as 17.5 years before.

Quote:
Not a song that sounds anything like the Fly, but a new U2 song that sounds wildly different and new (for them), while still being super-commercially viable, but without dumbing down.
Hmm, that sounds like a contradiction to me. Because The Fly was not super-commercially viable at all. In fact, it was a very uncommercial song that only got wide exposure because it was U2 (back in the time when radio would play anything new by U2 a lot, regardless of how commercial it sounded).

U2 thought they could do it again, like they did in the late 80s and the 90s. However, radio has changed a lot and U2 doesn't have that power anymore.
So I think another single like The Fly would probably yield the same results as Get On Your Boots (BTW, GOYB charted higher in the US than The Fly did). Unless they decide to autotune Bono's vocals...
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:09 AM   #6
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a new U2 song that sounds wildly different and new (for them), while still being super-commercially viable, but without dumbing down. Not another very-U2ey BD or Magnificent type of song, not a new-sound-for-them but ultra, ultra dumbed down Vertigo type song, but a Fly. Fresh, attention grabbing, commercial and respectable. The holy grail, but I do think it's still possible.
I agree with that too. That would be another possibility...
Sadly, it's been almost 20 years now (release of The Fly) they pulled such a thing off... I'm afraid they're not as eager as that anymore. They were very, very, sharp and daring at that time. And they had a lot to conquer. Especially Edge.. Unfortunately I think Edge has been too comfortable with his distortion chords and chiming notes for more than a decade now... Back in the AB-days his kicked the shit out of his gear and was was looking for really great weird sounds for his guitar to create new moods (The Fly, Mysterious Ways, Zoo Station, Zooropa, Lemon, etc..)
I doubt that anything like that would ever again...
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Earnie Shavers View Post
No. They could probably get a lot of mileage if another opening single were of the quality of Beautiful Day (and Magnificent isn't 1/10th as good as BD), but I think what they really need to lift off their next major album, and I've said this half a dozen times before, is another Fly type single. Not a song that sounds anything like the Fly, but a new U2 song that sounds wildly different and new (for them), while still being super-commercially viable, but without dumbing down. Not another very-U2ey BD or Magnificent type of song, not a new-sound-for-them but ultra, ultra dumbed down Vertigo type song, but a Fly. Fresh, attention grabbing, commercial and respectable. The holy grail, but I do think it's still possible.
I agree totally(though I rate Magnificent a lot more than you do), but I fear that U2 thought they were releasing a single to have the same impact as The Fly with GOYB, but they were wrong...I guess it's hard to come up with something that groundbreaking and fresh again...but perhaps foolishly I really believe they can.
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by onyourkneesboy View Post
(IMO)

So if U2 wants another chance to come out with a massive first single AND a hit, they should focus on a Beautiful Day/Magnificent/Mercy-type of song!
Why do you name three songs as examples, that are totally different and don't have much in common?

IMO, Magnificent is just as good as BD and it should have been the first single.

The Fly ... funnily enough, I heard the song on one of our radio stations just yesterday and was really surprised because I've never heard it on radio before. I didn't even know that it was a single if I wasn't a U2 fan. IMO, the Fly didn't have a very big impact and it would have a similar impact now as GOYB did, which means: not much.

Then again the question is if U2 really need hit singles. Most fans want U2 to do something innovative, fresh and experimental while at the same time putting out singles that have an impact on radio and charts. How is that supposed to work? I take all the songs of NLOTH as they are right now gladly over anything radio friendly.
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:22 AM   #9
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People also forget that when The Fly was released, U2 had been (for them at that time) absent for a considerable time. And The Fly had a limited release as a single.
And was heavily promoted as such. So all the U2 fans rushed out and bought the single in the first week before it was removed (I know I did )
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:28 AM   #10
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Well, why do they even need a second chance and who do they need a second chance with? It’s not commercial success. Just nailing another big commercially successful single isn’t what they need. If they’re down on any front, it’s that they’re fighting a perception and fighting for respect. That’s where they need another chance. And whats the problem? There’s a creeping perception that they’ve entered the dinosaur faze of their career. That everything new (in terms of singles) sounds a little bit like everything old and a little bit stale. A perception that they’re a greatest hits touring monster whose best days in terms of new work are well behind them. That they’re goal is far less as a creative force now, and far more a commercial force, and commercially those singles did not do as well as the most recent previous attempts – ergo, U2’s stock is perceived as down. To wrestle that perception to the ground, what they specifically don’t need are songs that play to a U2 stereotype, or wreak too much of a cheap craving for pop-market relevance and commercial success alone.

Don’t take my example of the Fly as being about the Fly. It’s about lead single as a message as much as anything else, not lead single as a mega big huge hit and nothing more. The Fly boomed out of the gates and got massive radio play, yes, because it was U2. And no, it wasn’t sales-wise a mega, mega single by their standards. But it’s the perception that came with it that I think is important in respect to what U2 need to do now. It was commercial enough, catchy and snappy enough, while more importantly speaking volumes about where U2 were at, which at that time was again fighting a not too dissimilar perception problem. Comparing it to GOYB is ridiculous. If anything, GOYB’s closest cousin is probably Discotheque, but that’s another story. Releasing a first single that has enough to it that it will get the initial airplay, but wildly different enough so that it’s clear U2 are in new territory says that they’re still up for a risk and chasing creative satisfaction, biggest band in the world and commercial satisfaction be damned – that’s what they need. The single that comes after that can be the big hit, just as the Achtung singles that followed the Fly were far larger and in the end far more memorable, but I think the worst thing they can do is launch whatever comes next off the back of a kinda-heard-this-before U2 song, or too obvious big-hit craving.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:21 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Earnie Shavers View Post
Well, why do they even need a second chance and who do they need a second chance with? It’s not commercial success. Just nailing another big commercially successful single isn’t what they need. If they’re down on any front, it’s that they’re fighting a perception and fighting for respect. That’s where they need another chance. And whats the problem? There’s a creeping perception that they’ve entered the dinosaur faze of their career. That everything new (in terms of singles) sounds a little bit like everything old and a little bit stale. A perception that they’re a greatest hits touring monster whose best days in terms of new work are well behind them. That they’re goal is far less as a creative force now, and far more a commercial force, and commercially those singles did not do as well as the most recent previous attempts – ergo, U2’s stock is perceived as down. To wrestle that perception to the ground, what they specifically don’t need are songs that play to a U2 stereotype, or wreak too much of a cheap craving for pop-market relevance and commercial success alone.

Don’t take my example of the Fly as being about the Fly. It’s about lead single as a message as much as anything else, not lead single as a mega big huge hit and nothing more. The Fly boomed out of the gates and got massive radio play, yes, because it was U2. And no, it wasn’t sales-wise a mega, mega single by their standards. But it’s the perception that came with it that I think is important in respect to what U2 need to do now. It was commercial enough, catchy and snappy enough, while more importantly speaking volumes about where U2 were at, which at that time was again fighting a not too dissimilar perception problem. Comparing it to GOYB is ridiculous. If anything, GOYB’s closest cousin is probably Discotheque, but that’s another story. Releasing a first single that has enough to it that it will get the initial airplay, but wildly different enough so that it’s clear U2 are in new territory says that they’re still up for a risk and chasing creative satisfaction, biggest band in the world and commercial satisfaction be damned – that’s what they need. The single that comes after that can be the big hit, just as the Achtung singles that followed the Fly were far larger and in the end far more memorable, but I think the worst thing they can do is launch whatever comes next off the back of a kinda-heard-this-before U2 song, or too obvious big-hit craving.
Believe it or not: I think you are right! I forgot to mention that it's not exactly my point of view, but merely U2's and especially Bono's! It's Bono who keeps on rambling everytime about striving to be the biggest and the best. And it's Bono who was really disappointed that GOYB had such little effect, commercially and "hit"-wise.
My personal opinion is that they needn't to put out singles ever again... I mean, to compete with what? Nowadays music is utterly crap and I regularly wonder how more worse it's going to get... (And the time of interesting B-sides has been long gone.)
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:52 AM   #12
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i'll say it once again, GOYB and Vertigo are not even close in structure.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:59 AM   #13
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U2 wrote Miami.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:29 AM   #14
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i'll say it once again, GOYB and Vertigo are not even close in structure.
No, it's not, but it's not like the average listener catching it on the radio are going to give it a deep, critical, structural analysis. Bono gives a similar (similar) style of delivery in the verses, the main riff is similar enough in style to the casual ear. They're wildly different songs, I think everyone here understands that, but I still totally get a casual listeners Vertigo 2.0 reaction to GOYB, even if it is a silly reaction in reality.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:34 AM   #15
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U2 wrote Miami.
U2 wrote Yahweh and Stand Up Comedy.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:16 AM   #16
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I think they need another WOWY before another Fly if they want it to be hugely commercially successful. I think a slower song would suit them better in the public sphere in terms of becoming massive at their age. That's not to say that I don't think they can still write a great rock song (I love Breathe and the title track to NLOTH), but I think their best bet is a slower song that swells and sounds not-quite like U2 but is unmistakably U2 at the same time.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:31 AM   #17
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U2 wrote Miami.





on the subject: I still think Boots was a great first single. BUT to me the problem wasn't the song. It was the piss poor marketing, it had no big announcements like new U2 single soon... then when it had been released to radio there was NO video for two weeks, then we had one quickly and it was pulled down because people here noticed it still had watermarks in it.

It's not just the song that sells, it's everything that comes with it. Without a video Boots was pretty much useless. Same with the other two singles, they were released WAY too far apart from each other to even remotely grasp any attention. Everyone kept whining how MOS should've been the next single, but that wouldn't have done anything better than Magnificent and Crazy did.

I'm still amused though that Crazy, which is apparently a hate it or love it song here, did it better in the charts here than Magnificent did(which you're supposed to love apparently).
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:23 AM   #18
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What's funny is on the local alternative station in Seattle, the ONLY song off NLOTH that I've heard is Moment Of Surrender... an album track.
The Mountain? I've heard Crazy Tonight a few times, too.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:38 AM   #19
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NLOTH should have been the big lead single, its just pure marketing for the album with the same name, then they could have followed up with Magnificent, then Breathe, CT.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:40 AM   #20
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COBL is not a clunker.

Magnificent is a great song and everybody knows GOYB (while great live) was a poor choice for a lead single.

Mercy shows a lot of promise, but we've all heard it before. Don't know that it would be a great lead single unless they rework it considerably, it is too long. Every Breaking Wave, at least from the descriptions we have heard, sounds like it could be lead single material.

haven't we done this thread before?
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