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Old 07-07-2008, 10:25 PM   #106
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He may have been laughing at your avatar.
I find yours particularly wonderful

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The reason why I love U2 is because they make music that is uplifting and gives me hope at the end of the day, though not denying the darkness. As Bono says, it's not about denying it but about making some light. There is nothing "sexy" about "dark" music. I don't feel the last two albums were any less heartfelt or any more "shiny happy" than anything they'd done before. Like any other human being, they have grown, aged, matured, changed. Unlike some fans here, who only want to hold on to the past.
Yes, seconded. I don't agree with this "shiny happy" bullshit, it's only used by people who are so passionately against the last two that there can be no redeeming qualities emanating from them.

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Lay off the sideswipes, eh? Besides being against the forum rules, it's really getting old.


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Here's the one key word in this thread 'downfall'....are we in that period of U2's career? Two highly acclaimed, multi-platinum selling albums and two of their top grossing tours in the past 8 years?

Where's the downfall in that...
U2's downfall only exists in the people who... eh see above.

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Originally Posted by A stor View Post
Perhaps, because of my age. I like ATYCLB. It is my second favorite album.

Beautiful Day is uplifting to me. It sounds great in the car. Possibly a cure for road rage!

Walk On....one of the best love songs, Bono has ever written.

Kite reminds me of losing my father.

When, I Look at the World....I love that song. For me, it can mean many things. Hopes of what kind of world your children or grandchildren will inhabit. Loses in life, love possibly old friends you have lost touch with. Or being cynical about the world around you.

Peace on Earth reminds me of 9/11


Though your avatar keeps reminding me of johnnytakeawalk's, and he never really liked the last two albums if I remember correctly, and so I'm getting confused

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I agree with your premise, but AB sounds pretty labored to me, but that's the beauty of it, too. That one was a difficult birth as well, but it seemed like the conflict and tension was part of the overall story of that record.
One was the song that saved them!

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I personally think In Rainbows is like #2 to Ok Computer. Coldplay's album is nice especially "Strawberry Swing" but it's a little hollow because Chris Martin rips everyone off so much that there's little to chew on after a few listens. I find myself still listening to Radiohead after almost a year, and I don't feel too much like listening to Viva la vida. Yes they are more happy sounding than those sad sacks Radiohead, but very little on Coldplay's album can come close to "All I Need" or "Reckoner" for soul or some kind of emotion. Radiohead is a repeat listen. I know a lot of younger people are behind Coldplay because they usually don't like older bands, but in another 2 or 3 albums they won't be young. I actually think A Rush of Blood to the head is their best so far.

I agree with Chris Martin himself that U2 and Radiohead are better than they are. Chris is honest. Maybe Chris should get Danny Lanois AND Eno for the next album?

It's all personal taste to me. U2 is going to wipe the floor with both of them anyways
Of the three new albums I bought, REM's, Coldplay's and Radiohead's, In Rainbows is the one I keep coming back to, for the reasons you've stated above. VLVODAAHF is nice enough, sure (I do like it) but for the soul/emotion kind of thing, something that connects a bit deeper, I can't go past the likes of Weird Fishes/All I Need/Videotape.

For the record I listen to Accelerate the least. I can't find anything redeeming it, no song that pulls me back listen after listen.
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:33 PM   #107
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I wish I was that optimistic... I like In Rainbows and Viva la Vida much more than the last two U2 albums...
Yeah it's personal taste. Enjoy what you like. People like different music for different reasons.

I like the last 2 U2 albums way more than Viva la Vida and In Rainbows. There's just something about U2 that makes my hands sweat and my hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I listen to them; something ecstatic. Sometimes I get that with Radiohead, but not as much. I don't know why people don't like HTDAAB on this board, because that is just an awesome album from an old band.

Achtung is still my favorite. It's the only album that I can listen to where none of the songs are still in my head after listening to them, and it sounds so fresh so often. I've probably listened to it hundreds of times, and I'm not bored with it. I'm still hearing new sounds on it.

Lots of songs can bore away into my head repeating and I'll figure the music out and then I don't feel like listening to it for a long time or never again.
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:21 AM   #108
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Darkness...Optimism...whatever...for me it all just boils down to the songs.

AB had darkness, but it also had Mysterious Ways, one of U2's most uplifting tunes. Sure, you could probably pick apart the lyrics and come up with something dark, but who cares, it's the feeling it gives you. It makes me wanna dance!

I'm in that rare camp of someone who actually loves and respects ATYCLB but utterly loathes the BOMB. ATYCLB dealt with dark subjects, but it had a little something called HOPE in there. Even in Peace On Earth, really nothing too hopefull lyrically in that number, but the Christmasy arrangement is what provided some kind of unspoken hope.

The BOMB had more musical darkness...a song like AMAAW sounds like its coming out of the shadows in a dark city alleyway...but it missed in the end because Bono was in cheese-ball mode and totally blew an opportunity to make the song the least bit interesting. And the biggest gripe I have with BOMB is the cheesiness. I never got the feeling listening to ATYCLB that U2 were trying to be cute...even a line like "a mole digging in a hole" sounded great set to the right beat and atmosphere. When the magics there it just works. On BOMB they sound like they're really really really trying to be HARD or HOPEFUL or UPLIFTING or DARK or this or that. On ATYCLB it just flows, the whole thing, beginning to end.

In the end, what I'm trying to say is...dark or not dark, if it sounds good, it sounds good. In the end you have to serve the song, and follow its magic rather than force it. BOMB sounds forced. ATYCLB doesn't.

IMO, U2's biggest downfall would be cheesiness. Sure I'd like a darker album, but beware that could be cheesy too. If I had the choice I'd rather have a genuine uplifting album than a forced corny dark album.
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:32 AM   #109
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U2's eagerness to write an album full of joyful songs will eventually be their undoing.

the only way this album has any chance of being considered one of u2's best is if it has some sort of darkness or sexiness somewhere in the songs. this is what has been lacking in the last two albums especially.

it is true that darkness/sexiness doesn't always translate as well live, but it is essential to any album which hopes to have longevity. the songs that have choruses that an entire stadium can sing along to are great, but they do not always hold up as well on an album. u2 need to get personal again, they've conquered stadiums, they don't need to aim for that anymore. i think their eagerness since pop to write albums that translate well live has been their downfall in the studio.
I think you're right; that's a big part of it. There needs to be subtlety in music and lyric. Just listen to a song like "Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World". The guitar is very subtle -- lots of loud and soft, no attempt to fully emphasize every note. It's beautiful. Nowadays they write obvious garbage like "A Man and a Woman".

Bono needs to write honestly about the complexity of life -- about his dark sides and difficulties and not just trying to make people feel "up" because it feels phony somehow.

U2 needs to not care about the mainstream and only write great complex music that speaks honestly to the human condition -- that deals honestly with what America has done to the world, as he did in the '80s. Take Bush to task, Bono, even if it's indirectly. Stop trying to kiss American ass, and write fairly. Don't let the music just be part of some African campaign that needs to win over Americans and not offend them. If it does seek to arouse interest in Africa, let it be through complexity, not the rubbish of "Crumbs From Your Table". Stop trying to communicate to 13 year olds, so they "get it" and be satisfied with metaphor; "Please" was the last great political lyric.

U2 needs to find the art without the artsy fartsy nonsense of Zooropa and Pop.

I think they can do it if they're willing to follow their original mission to make challenging, different music, instead of letting their insecure desire for grandiosity and legacy get the better of them. U2 has to be willing to come at things as a new band -- as the band it was before it released "The Joshua Tree" -- to deserve the artistic acclaim they've now exploited for over a decade while releasing mostly easy nonsense. Be the U2 of old. Do your best and let the mainstream come to you.
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:40 AM   #110
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Wait wait wait. Where do you get the idea that the sounds are "uplifting" for commercial reasons? Unless you are inside the guy's heads, how can you say you know why they wrote the music this way. Absolutely nothing I have ever read about this band no matter who it was written by ever talked about commercial aspects infiltrating the actual creation of the music stage of the process. I've never come across anyone who has worked with them ever saying they wrote something a particular way for commercial reasons. They may have marketed things in such a way as to maximize commercial impact but there's nothing wrong with that. Show me a quote that backs up that statement please. As someone here challenged me before let me see the back up for that arguement.

Dana
There are lots of accounts. Larry said "Beautiful Day" was U2's attempt to compete with Britney Spears. Also, Adam and Larry advised reworking the HTDAAB songs in 2003 or so because the band hadn't had a Top 10 hit or something since "Discotheque". The evidence is there. Also, the band has been constantly talking about trying to be like The Beatles. "Window in the Skies", "Original of the Species" are very self-consciously Beatles-esque. You can't deny there's been an artistic shift since "Pop" driven by a fear to appease the mainstream. Even "U2 by U2" cites record sales and statistics of popularity to reassure themselves of their success. Old U2 was all about not caring about letting the desire to be big infect the art -- because you end up with stuff that sounds like everything else on the radio. U2's later art is full of cliche; "City of Blinding Lights" sounds like "Streets" mixed with Coldplay. All of HTDAAB have sonic guitar elements ripped off "Electrical Storm".

The band has not been really trying for something honest, except "Stuck in a Moment" if it might hurt record sales. It's why "Mercy" was not further developed; it was too dark.

If U2 keeps up with this middle age crisis market-driven ethic, they'll be a lot less relevant than Radiohead, whose artistic integrity has granted them far more artistic influence, though fewer record sales.
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:44 AM   #111
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I'd also love Bono to write about his insecurity -- about feeling uncomfortable around people and wanting people's attention. Not in a tongue in cheek way, but an honest, painful way that I can actually relate to. That's what Thom Yorke is able to do so well. Bono did it on "Achtung Baby", but he needs to continue.
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:07 AM   #112
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U2 will tell the world who's still the best band ever.... just wait 3 months!
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:50 AM   #113
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Also, Adam and Larry advised reworking the HTDAAB songs in 2003 or so because the band hadn't had a Top 10 hit or something since "Discotheque". The evidence is there.

I'd love to see that quote.
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:55 AM   #114
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"You don't have enough songs." - Steve Lillywhite
Larry only said it's "not good enough" in 2003, and presumably Adam felt the same.

Though there was an article where Adam said he felt they needed more hits on Bomb as opposed to only having BD in 2000, to get more new/young fans in.
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:00 AM   #115
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I can't say that I've ever cared much for Bono's lyrics, or care about the lyrics on the upcoming album. I'm not really a fan of more abstract/universal lyrical style, and I just don't think that Bono is that good when he's going for a more direct approach.

As for dark vs. happy, I've always felt that U2 never really wrote a song that was either fully dark -or- fully happy. Their darkest songs, to me, still have a lighter or hopeful underlining, and their happiest songs always have a bittersweet core.

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If U2 keeps up with this middle age crisis market-driven ethic, they'll be a lot less relevant than Radiohead, whose artistic integrity has granted them far more artistic influence, though fewer record sales.
I'd say though that U2 are in a different position to Radiohead because, unfair though it may be, the relevance of the truly massive mega-bands like U2 is judged both by the artistic merit -and- the amount of records they sell. Especially when the band in question is openly ambitious and not a reluctant or accidental kind of superstar.
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:05 AM   #116
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Radiohead is good at what they do. But that's their thing, and U2 doesn't operate the same way.
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:31 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Muldfeld View Post
I think you're right; that's a big part of it. There needs to be subtlety in music and lyric. Just listen to a song like "Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World". The guitar is very subtle -- lots of loud and soft, no attempt to fully emphasize every note. It's beautiful. Nowadays they write obvious garbage like "A Man and a Woman".

Bono needs to write honestly about the complexity of life -- about his dark sides and difficulties and not just trying to make people feel "up" because it feels phony somehow.

U2 needs to not care about the mainstream and only write great complex music that speaks honestly to the human condition -- that deals honestly with what America has done to the world, as he did in the '80s. Take Bush to task, Bono, even if it's indirectly. Stop trying to kiss American ass, and write fairly. Don't let the music just be part of some African campaign that needs to win over Americans and not offend them. If it does seek to arouse interest in Africa, let it be through complexity, not the rubbish of "Crumbs From Your Table". Stop trying to communicate to 13 year olds, so they "get it" and be satisfied with metaphor; "Please" was the last great political lyric.

U2 needs to find the art without the artsy fartsy nonsense of Zooropa and Pop.

I think they can do it if they're willing to follow their original mission to make challenging, different music, instead of letting their insecure desire for grandiosity and legacy get the better of them. U2 has to be willing to come at things as a new band -- as the band it was before it released "The Joshua Tree" -- to deserve the artistic acclaim they've now exploited for over a decade while releasing mostly easy nonsense. Be the U2 of old. Do your best and let the mainstream come to you.
WhOah!!
Yo, Muldfeld: Are you aware that you will be crucified here by the U2-gestapo here?
You are not allowed to be critical at your favourite band even if your arguments are almost all facts!! Let me put it this way: apart from your point about Zooropa and POP and A Man And A Woman, I agree completely with you!
There's not one american band that campaigns more for America than U2! U2 Irish? Gimme a break! In the early years, yes... but in the last 20 years? 1 or 2 albums that deal with the "idea" of America is fine. It gave us JT and R&H. Very happy with that.. But from there on: songs about America, Bono kissing America's ass constantly, Bono yelling (The Saints Are Coming) "I am an Americaaaan", the jacket during the Super-Bowl, etc, etc,... I like America very much but it's enough now, Bono!
U2 have been bathing in so much stardom, glamour, celebrity, grandioso, ego, that they've become sloppy: during concerts Bono forgetting his own lyrics, on-auto-pilot playing, quick flat performances of passionate songs (Streets, One, etc..) There were numourous times that I crinched at Bono's cliché oneliners, his attitude..
Still I respect him very much for all the work his doing for the good cause! But this (all the time that goes in the good cause) combined with U2's bigger than life status for the last 10 years, have made them sloppy and less sharp. And because of that U2 became snowed under by all this stardom. It made them forget how to be subtile and passionate as they once were! Original, because they wanted to really say something with their music. Nowadays this all turned in to cheesiness!! In-your-face emotion on the ballads (you know which ones I mean..) And U2 being it's own tribute band! The best example of this cheesiness, U2 imitating U2 and indentity/midlife crisis is: City Of Blinding Lights! Just terrible! U2-unworthy...
The whole HTDAAB-album is U2 "clutching at straws" (great Marillion-album btw!) and recycled material:

Vertigo: good song but too much obvious Boy influences
Miracle Drug: sappy flat U2 song (U2 imitating U2 with a little Coldplay)
SYCMIOYO: over-the-top cheesy emo "your the reeeason I saaaing, your the reason wha-ha-ha-hay the opera is in me.."
LPOE: recycled Zoo-Station-ish tune with a little Depeche Mode flavour
COBL: no comment.. no wait:
ABOY: what a train-wreck!
AMAAW: soft lyrics, maybe.. but fantastic clear singing by Bono and original sounding music
One Step Closer: "The First Time" recycled.. just more boring (filler)
Crumbs: recycled chord-structures of "Walk On", terrible shrieking mixing, in the end: weak track
OOTS: forced U2 doing Beatles-track
Yahweh: great track! This sencere U2 feeling is here!

When it comes to artistic intergrity, Radiohead blows U2 right out of the water the last 5 years. No wonder: U2/McGuinuess is just going: "do we have big hit-singles, are we still the biggest? Can we (still) outsell Rolling Stones" Who cares if the music suffers!" Who cares if we become a sad residu of who we once were, who cares if we become a Disneyland band with only big stadium-sing-along tunes! We need to be the biggest and sell, sell, sell !!!"

Don't get me wrong: I think it's totally o.k. that the boys are rich and famous but the music seems to suffer for years now... the sharpness and originality seems snowed under by it all..
Even Larry stated about HTDAAB: it's just not good enough!
So on this new album they have to come from far!
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:04 AM   #118
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There are lots of accounts. Larry said "Beautiful Day" was U2's attempt to compete with Britney Spears. Also, Adam and Larry advised reworking the HTDAAB songs in 2003 or so because the band hadn't had a Top 10 hit or something since "Discotheque". The evidence is there. Also, the band has been constantly talking about trying to be like The Beatles. "Window in the Skies", "Original of the Species" are very self-consciously Beatles-esque. You can't deny there's been an artistic shift since "Pop" driven by a fear to appease the mainstream. Even "U2 by U2" cites record sales and statistics of popularity to reassure themselves of their success. Old U2 was all about not caring about letting the desire to be big infect the art -- because you end up with stuff that sounds like everything else on the radio. U2's later art is full of cliche; "City of Blinding Lights" sounds like "Streets" mixed with Coldplay. All of HTDAAB have sonic guitar elements ripped off "Electrical Storm".

The band has not been really trying for something honest, except "Stuck in a Moment" if it might hurt record sales. It's why "Mercy" was not further developed; it was too dark.

If U2 keeps up with this middle age crisis market-driven ethic, they'll be a lot less relevant than Radiohead, whose artistic integrity has granted them far more artistic influence, though fewer record sales.
I'll give you that they stated they wanted to compete for the charts and Adam and Larry balked at the 2003 version of Bomb because they felt the songs weren't there but they never said that they were specifically trying for uplifting which is what was originally stated. And I don't think there was evidence in the charts that uplifting music would be an automatic hit. Their aim was to get rock into the charts again against the predominance of rap, hip hop and boy and girl band cheese. ATYCLB did not conform to what was predominant in the charts at the time.

As for Mercy being to dark for Bomb, I find Crumbs much more cutting than Mercy. COBL sounds like Streets because on that song U2 was specifically trying to create a song that could replace Streets in the live shows. Looking to try to shed some of the older material so as not to end up a Greatest Hits band. The only reason they still used Streets on tour was after coming up with the flag video sequence segue from Pride into Streets which Bono felt finally made sense of a song whose lyric began in Ethiopia when he and Ali worked in the feeding camps.

The big problem I see is all the people that assume that just because U2 wants mainstream widespread success it is for money when their is ample evidence throughout their career that the motivation has always been to touch people's hearts. The only way to prove that in an unchallengeable way would be to perform for free for the rest of their lives but although they are idealistic they aren't fucking stupid. They know in their hearts what their motivation is and their is plenty of evidence of it available and if people choose not to see that then that is their problem, not U2's.

And for everybody who keeps trying to put U2 back in the cult, experimental band box when are you going to realize that they never wanted to be there in the first place. From the very beginning their stated purpose was to make music that touch peoples hearts, and had a cleansing healing effect on them. The last two albums did that in spades. If it's not your cup of tea that's fine but they still did what they wanted to do. The purpose of challenging Brittany wasn't to sell more records but to show that Rock music was still relevant and could still reach out and touch people. If U2 were truly as greedy as they've been criticized of being of late they'd be making a fucking fortune licensing their songs all over the place. For 30 years U2 has shown character and integrity and it astounds me that so many hardcore fans seem totally incapable of giving them the benefit of the doubt on anything but will immediately jump to the worst possible conclusions based on the flimsiest of information. I'd expect that of the general internet population but it still amazes me on a dedicated U2 board. I would have thought that fans would actually have some kind of trust in the band.

Dana
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:54 AM   #119
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The big problem I see is all the people that assume that just because U2 wants mainstream widespread success it is for money when their is ample evidence throughout their career that the motivation has always been to touch people's hearts. The only way to prove that in an unchallengeable way would be to perform for free for the rest of their lives but although they are idealistic they aren't fucking stupid. They know in their hearts what their motivation is and their is plenty of evidence of it available and if people choose not to see that then that is their problem, not U2's.

And for everybody who keeps trying to put U2 back in the cult, experimental band box when are you going to realize that they never wanted to be there in the first place. From the very beginning their stated purpose was to make music that touch peoples hearts, and had a cleansing healing effect on them. The last two albums did that in spades. If it's not your cup of tea that's fine but they still did what they wanted to do. The purpose of challenging Brittany wasn't to sell more records but to show that Rock music was still relevant and could still reach out and touch people. If U2 were truly as greedy as they've been criticized of being of late they'd be making a fucking fortune licensing their songs all over the place. For 30 years U2 has shown character and integrity and it astounds me that so many hardcore fans seem totally incapable of giving them the benefit of the doubt on anything but will immediately jump to the worst possible conclusions based on the flimsiest of information. I'd expect that of the general internet population but it still amazes me on a dedicated U2 board. I would have thought that fans would actually have some kind of trust in the band.
Dana
I totally agree with what you're saying, these are my feelings exactly.
U2 have touched millions of people around the world with their last albums and tours and if some fans are always out to bitch and moan about everything the band is doing now it's not the band's problem but the fans' problem, really. I don't want U2 to be stuck in the past, I don't want them to "go back" to anything, I don't want them to sound like another band, if I want the sound of another band, I go listen to that other band and not U2, I want U2 to be U2 because that's why I love them. As long as they do what they want to do and feel like doing it's totally okay for me. As long as their music is heartfelt and comes with passion and enthusiasm, it's totally fine for me. They have changes, as human beings and as artists, and I have no doubt that their music reflects their current state of mind and emotions. I have NEVER felt anything on the last two albums wasn't sincere. I feel some people here are way too negative and this, IMO, is exactly the opposite of what this band is about.
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:15 PM   #120
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"SYCMIOYO: over-the-top cheesy emo "your the reeeason I saaaing, your the reason wha-ha-ha-hay the opera is in me.."

your joking right?
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