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Old 10-27-2005, 10:46 AM   #1
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Pop to ATYCLB: What happened?

I'm very curious what happened between 1997 and 2000 to bring the boys back around. Allow me a brief explanation:

Ok, so Bono has ALWAYS written about the place he's in--transitioning to adulthood, searching for God, allowing himself worldly pleasures, etc...

For Pop, he had some SERIOUSLY dark lyrics--think MOFO, IGWSHA, Wake Up... It all sounds so lost and in dispair.

Now, compare that to ATYCLB--BD, Walk On, Stuck. Hope and joy returned.

You don't just arbitrarily change your style or lyrical content, especially from such polar extremes. Something had to have happened to him in that intervening time, but WHAT? I'd wager he had a serious spiritual experience. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-27-2005, 11:02 AM   #2
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Bono's always approached his spirituality with some questioning.

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For...

I just think he was being a little more honest and introspective on Pop rather than writing optimistic anthems. The same desperation is there in Peach on Earth, it's just not as straight forward as Wake Up Dead Man.
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Old 10-27-2005, 11:05 AM   #3
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I don't know that something really happened. Maybe I'm wrong though. I think it's more the different decades they were working in. During the 90s the music was experimental and the lyrics focused on their own demons more. Now, they're in more of a back-to-rock 'n' roll period, with the lyrics being more general, especially on ATYCLB.
I believe it's just a change in their artistic focus.
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Old 10-27-2005, 05:58 PM   #4
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Re: Pop to ATYCLB: What happened?

Quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Lemonseed
I'm very curious what happened between 1997 and 2000 to bring the boys back around. Allow me a brief explanation:

Ok, so Bono has ALWAYS written about the place he's in--transitioning to adulthood, searching for God, allowing himself worldly pleasures, etc...

For Pop, he had some SERIOUSLY dark lyrics--think MOFO, IGWSHA, Wake Up... It all sounds so lost and in dispair.

Now, compare that to ATYCLB--BD, Walk On, Stuck. Hope and joy returned.

You don't just arbitrarily change your style or lyrical content, especially from such polar extremes. Something had to have happened to him in that intervening time, but WHAT? I'd wager he had a serious spiritual experience. Any thoughts?
He says in the new Rolling Stone interview that he had a serious health scare around '96/'97 or so. He was sure it was throat cancer.
He doesn't end up saying in that article what it actually turned out to be, but it is known that he had some sort of surgery and was not able to sing for several months.
I have always found it very revealing that he chose to read out a portion of Psalm 116 before Streets during the Elevation tour.
Here is Peterson's version, the one Bono used, from The Message:

I love GOD because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy
He listened so intently
as I laid out my case before him.
Death stared me in the face,
hell was hard on my heels.
Up against it, I didn't know which way to turn;
then I called out to GOD for help:
"Please, GOD!" I cried out.
"Save my life!"
GOD is gracious--it is he who makes things right,
our most compassionate God.
GOD takes the side of the helpless;
when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.
I said to myself, "Relax and rest.
GOD has showered you with blessings.
Soul, you've been rescued from death;
Eye, you've been rescued from tears;
And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling."
I'm striding in the presence of GOD,
alive in the land of the living!
I stayed faithful, though bedeviled,
and despite a ton of bad luck,
Despite giving up on the human race,
saying, "They're all liars and cheats."
What can I give back to GOD
for the blessings he's poured out on me?
I'll lift high the cup of salvation--a toast to GOD!
I'll pray in the name of GOD;
I'll complete what I promised GOD I'd do,
and I'll do it together with his people.
When they arrive at the gates of death,
GOD welcomes those who love him.
Oh, GOD, here I am, your servant,
your faithful servant: set me free for your service!
I'm ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice
and pray in the name of GOD.
I'll complete what I promised GOD I'd do,
and I'll do it in company with his people,
In the place of worship, in GOD's house,
in Jerusalem, GOD's city.
Hallelujah!

I don't think it's reading too much into things to see why a really serious health scare could lead one to identify strongly with the beliefs expressed in this Psalm. It's interesting to note that Bono's activism for social justice also came back into full force after this important event in his life. Perhaps some promises were made which he is determined to keep. Remember, he has said several times that he has "pledged" his life to the cause of helping the poorest of the poor, a very significant choice of words, I think.
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Old 10-27-2005, 07:36 PM   #5
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Re: Re: Pop to ATYCLB: What happened?

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Originally posted by biff


He says in the new Rolling Stone interview that he had a serious health scare around '96/'97 or so.
Great theory but the timing doesn't work with the question at hand.
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Old 10-27-2005, 10:04 PM   #6
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Maybe the reaction against the PopMart tour really got them down, too. My question is, how low did they go, and when was the low point? Seriously, almost every track on Pop is either about material excess or lack of faith. Then in '98, an apparent turnaround with The Sweetest Thing, and the Best Of. Maybe it was a confluence of factors, or natural "mellowing" with age? Burn out from so many insane tours?
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Old 10-28-2005, 06:41 AM   #7
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Re: Re: Re: Pop to ATYCLB: What happened?

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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


Great theory but the timing doesn't work with the question at hand.
Huh? The question was what happened between 1997 and 2000, so the timing is bang on. If he thought during 1997 that he had cancer, which is what he says in that article, then that would explain a lot.
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Old 10-28-2005, 08:24 PM   #8
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Pop to ATYCLB: What happened?

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Originally posted by biff


Huh? The question was what happened between 1997 and 2000, so the timing is bang on. If he thought during 1997 that he had cancer, which is what he says in that article, then that would explain a lot.
Yeah I thought the surgery was before Pop, but just looked it up and it happened in 1999, so maybe you're right.

My bad.
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Old 10-28-2005, 08:29 PM   #9
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Interesting thread....I do find Pop quite a 'heavy' album to listen to, in terms of the lyrics being pretty pessimistic in parts.
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Old 10-28-2005, 10:29 PM   #10
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pop to ATYCLB: What happened?

Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar

Yeah I thought the surgery was before Pop, but just looked it up and it happened in 1999, so maybe you're right.

My bad.
Thanks for that, BVS. Here's the actual quote (or as much as I could find; I think there was more):



"At one point I thought I might have throat cancer, which would've closed down the (recording of) album All That You Can't Leave Behind. I didn't even tell the band.

"My voice had been on low par for about five years... You can really hear it. It seemed to just come down in power.

"The singing on Pop (album) isn't very good. The tour I found difficult to do. I didn't know if it was my voice or whatever.

"I don't want to get too melodramatic about it, but actually it is pretty melodramatic if you think you mightn't be around to see your kids (grow up).

"But luckily, I'm out of those woods."

It's clear that in this article he's really downplaying the impact of that event, but it's not hard to read between the lines.

I'd really like to know what "those woods" actually were. What was making him so ill? We'll never know, I suppose. It's just great that his spirit and his voice are now healed.
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Old 10-28-2005, 10:35 PM   #11
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pop to ATYCLB: What happened?

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Originally posted by biff
"At one point I thought I might have throat cancer, which would've closed down the (recording of) album All That You Can't Leave Behind. I didn't even tell the band.."

Smokers sometimes get paranoid about their health.
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Old 10-28-2005, 10:48 PM   #12
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Can you blame them? I'm paranoid about my health all the time, but I don't smoke. (Though I guess the crack might be a factor. )
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Old 10-29-2005, 12:30 AM   #13
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That's *very* interesting...I remember reading an interview around that time period where he mentioned something along the lines of not having much time left in response to a question.

The news of a "health scare" made me wonder if that was what he was refering to?

When I originally read that article I thought he meant that his music career was winding down...
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Old 10-30-2005, 09:36 PM   #14
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This has been answered before. By all four members I feel.
U2 wants to change the world. They can't change it not being on the radio as Larry said a few times and Bono too.
Also Bono was involved in Jubilee 2000 etc.. around that time, also probably taking a listen to POP and seeing it was a very down record, I really think that influenced and brought out the positive music.
There was another quote as well where Edge said they were trying to be so unpredictable that in a way it was now predictable.
I think it was a combination of all these things and also the fact that so many people purchased The Best Of in 1998!
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Old 11-01-2005, 03:42 PM   #15
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pop to ATYCLB: What happened?

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Originally posted by financeguy
Smokers sometimes get paranoid about their health.
As well they should be!
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