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Old 09-04-2016, 11:01 PM   #496
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its status as post-911 chew toy


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It's head and shoulders above HTDAAB even if the latter's 'return to rock' bullshit did fool some people some of the time, for a little while. Had it been their final album, I'd have considered it a disappointing but not disgraceful farewell.
I find it really hard to make a definitive call. If you asked me if I'd rather suffer through Peace on Earth, Stuck, and Grace or SYCMIOYO, OOTS, and Yahweh, I'd be hard-pressed to answer. Something like AMAAW is light years ahead of its equivalent, Wild Honey. For a lot of it, it's a bit of a wash - COBL and BD as the classics, Vertigo and Elevation as the dumb live rock song, Crumbs and WILATW as the "Bono's global conscience" thinksong (or Crumbs as a Walk On ripoff, whatever comparison floats your boat).
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Old 09-04-2016, 11:25 PM   #497
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Maybe it's just that HTDAAB gets my goat as a sort of more obnoxious doubling-down on the perceived success of the previous record. First time, ok, you know, it's something different for them. Second time, only worse? Fuck off.
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Old 09-04-2016, 11:28 PM   #498
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You thought ATYCLB was "something different"? Ehh.

I give The Bomb more points for actually having some energy. Neither was innovative, but the whole Eno idea of "more writing, less recording" on the former was not a successful experiment. The band definitely has a tendency to tinker too much, but no tinkering at all results in a very bland collection.
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Old 09-04-2016, 11:32 PM   #499
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You thought ATYCLB was "something different"? Ehh.

I give The Bomb more points for actually having some energy. Neither was innovative, but the whole Eno idea of "more writing, less recording" on the former was not a successful experiment. The band definitely has a tendency to tinker too much, but no tinkering at all results in a very bland collection.

Did you miss the part where I said 'something different, for them'. This was three years after POP, seven/nine years after Achtung Baby and Zooropa.

I remember Bono's big interview line back around 2000 was 'write as though you're dead' (which I take to mean, be artless in a sincere sort of way) and thinking, 'maybe don't do that'.
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Old 09-04-2016, 11:48 PM   #500
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You thought ATYCLB was "something different"? Ehh.

I never understood how ATYCLB was perceived as a throwback album. It just goes to show how much the media has an influence on shaping the perception of an album. Bono made the comment about Edge's riff on BD and somehow it's now a throwback. Just like AB was a "dance" album.

Like them or not but IALW, Stuck, even Elevation were departures for them.


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Old 09-05-2016, 12:11 AM   #501
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Going to agree with Kieran here. HTDAAB sounds so stale and unnatural and overcooked in too many places.

I've always felt ATYCLB has an organic feel to it, where the songs, even if you think they're bland or whatever, at least don't feel like they've been gone over 5000 times. I believe that, regardless of how the final product strikes you, the band were coming at ATYCLB from an honest creative standpoint of, 'ok, we feel like we lost ourselves in technology and in concept during Pop, let's get back to basics and learn to just be a rock band and write songs again instead of going on sonic expeditions that rely too heavily on the studio', the whole four guys in a room thing.

I say this as a Pop lover. I think you can both love that record and also recognize that from their viewpoint, they may have felt like they were straying too far from what they originally were and needed to get their bearings again. So I think they were at a genuine crossroads and had real motivation that wasn't just commercial in nature(although of course the commercial, and critical, stuff, was a big part of it).

On the other hand, HTDAAB just felt like, 'well, ATYCLB and the Elevation Tour were more successful than we ever thought they would be, let's try to just ride that wave'.

HTDAAB is arguably the least artistically ambitious record they've ever put out. There are some good or even great tracks on it - Vertigo and COBL are obvious classics, AMAAW is a great song, Fast Cars is good, maybe I wouldn't mind listening to some of the other tracks if I was in the right mood, but the record as a whole is uninspiring.

Whereas with ATYCLB, I can listen to almost the whole thing straight through and never be bored...POE is the only one I might skip(and I also consider TGBHF feet to be a part of the album in spirit, even if not in actuality). It's a much warmer, more inviting, and less stale record, both in songwriting and in production. Lanois and Eno's production on ATYCLB is warm and lush and provides space for both song and listener to breathe. Lillywhite's production on (most of) Bomb is like being punched in the ears. Lillywhite's production was good on the first three records, exactly what they needed, but it did a number on this record, and it still baffles me that he won a grammy for it.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:12 AM   #502
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Yes, it (ATYCLB) was absolutely a different kind of album for them, at that point. In no way did the songs on ATYCLB sound like the music they were making in the mid or later 1980s, much as 'back to basics' or 'back to the classic sound' crap got bandied about in the press.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:15 AM   #503
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Going to agree with Kieran here. HTDAAB sounds so stale and unnatural and overcooked in too many places.

I've always felt ATYCLB has an organic feel to it, where the songs, even if you think they're bland or whatever, at least don't feel like they've been gone over 5000 times. I believe that, regardless of how the final product strikes you, the band were coming at ATYCLB from an honest creative standpoint of, 'ok, we feel like we lost ourselves in technology and in concept during Pop, let's get back to basics and learn to just be a rock band and write songs again instead of going on sonic expeditions that rely too heavily on the studio', the whole four guys in a room thing.

I say this as a Pop lover. I think you can both love that record and also recognize that from their viewpoint, they may have felt like they were straying too far from what they originally were and needed to get their bearings again. So I think they were at a genuine crossroads and had real motivation that wasn't just commercial in nature(although of course the commercial, and critical, stuff, was a big part of it).

On the other hand, HTDAAB just felt like, 'well, ATYCLB and the Elevation Tour were more successful than we ever thought they would be, let's try to just ride that wave'.

HTDAAB is arguably the least artistically ambitious record they've ever put out. There are some good or even great tracks on it - Vertigo and COBL are obvious classics, AMAAW is a great song, Fast Cars is good, maybe I wouldn't mind listening to some of the other tracks if I was in the right mood, but the record as a whole is uninspiring.

Whereas with ATYCLB, I can listen to almost the whole thing straight through and never be bored...POE is the only one I might skip(and I also consider TGBHF feet to be a part of the album in spirit, even if not in actuality). It's a much warmer, more inviting, and less stale record, both in songwriting and in production. Lanois and Eno's production is warm and lush and provides space for both song and listener to breathe. Lillywhite's production on (most of) Bomb is like being punched in the ears. Lillywhite's production was good on the first three records, exactly what they needed, but it did a number on this record, and it still baffles me that he won a grammy for it.

Definitely all of this.

And the production, or mixing, or compression whatever the fuck you call is, is a good 55% of what's wrong with HTDAAB. I hear rumours that they fixed that on the LP version, but you know what, I don't give a shit.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:35 AM   #504
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Yes, much as I may dislike ATYCLB, I agree that it sounds far more organic than anything that followed it. HTDAAB is where the rot set in with over-thinking, over-polishing, and second-guessing every intention.

That said, the hints of this tendency are there on ATYCLB. Stuck, in particular, sounds like it would be right at home on HTDAAB. I can tolerate some live versions, but good grief that studio version sounds too slick and shiny, the quintessential early 2000s "so meaningful" pop single.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:41 AM   #505
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The sequenced horns are pretty much unforgivable on Stuck. Couldn't afford a fucking horn section?
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:43 AM   #506
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Of their post-Pop output;

All That You Can't Leave Behind - 8/10, warm and comforting
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - 6/10, the beginning of the decline
No Line on the Horizon - 7/10, a great album squandered
Songs of Innocence - 4/10, a couple of good songs can't save a poor, tonedeaf album
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:46 AM   #507
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Of their post-Pop output;

All That You Can't Leave Behind - 8/10, warm and comforting
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - 6/10, the beginning of the decline
No Line on the Horizon - 7/10, a great album squandered
Songs of Innocence - 4/10, a couple of good songs can't save a poor, tonedeaf album
What do you mean by tonedeaf?

I know you and El-Mel are outspoken in your dislike of SOI, but for me it's their best post-Pop effort. The second half of it in particular is the most exciting side of a record they've put out since Pop, bar none. Raised By Wolves, Cedarwood, Sleep, Reach, Troubles. So good.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:52 AM   #508
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What do you mean by tonedeaf?



I know you and El-Mel are outspoken in your dislike of SOI,

Both were very vocal about NLOTH as well, and now have modified their take. Once SOE comes out we might get some honest takes


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Old 09-05-2016, 12:57 AM   #509
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SOI may be the best post-Pop album simply by virtue of having nothing reprehensible. Sure, The Miracle is a bit stupid and Song for Someone thoroughly dull, but not even Volcano makes me truly wince. There's no Peace on Earth or Stuck or IALW, no OOTS or Yahweh, no Stand Up Comedy or Boots.

The highlights are a little thin on the ground too though - Cedarwood Road and The Troubles are the only songs I recall with any serious fondness right now. And damn it's so overcooked. But it doesn't make me rage at the lost opportunities like the car-crash middle of NLOTH. Perhaps there were greater opportunities for SOI, but it isn't made quite as glaringly obvious.
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:04 AM   #510
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What do you mean by tonedeaf?

I know you and El-Mel are outspoken in your dislike of SOI, but for me it's their best post-Pop effort. The second half of it in particular is the most exciting side of a record they've put out since Pop, bar none. Raised By Wolves, Cedarwood, Sleep, Reach, Troubles. So good.
The release, particularly the Bono/Tim Cook touching fingers moment, smacked of a band that isn't really in touch with releasing music in the modern age. And a retrospective "when we were young" album just isn't that interesting. Not sure many people were dying for a middling album by four rich dudes revisiting their early days.

Those five songs you mention are indeed the best five, but I've not even listened to the best of them, Troubles, since it came out.

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Both were very vocal about NLOTH as well, and now have modified their take. Once SOE comes out we might get some honest takes
You're half-right. I have modified my take on NLOTH - in that it's gone down in my estimation. I was a very strong supporter of it when it came out, aside from Magnificent, which I've always disliked.

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SOI may be the best post-Pop album simply by virtue of having nothing reprehensible. Sure, The Miracle is a bit stupid and Song for Someone thoroughly dull, but not even Volcano makes me truly wince. There's no Peace on Earth or Stuck or IALW, no OOTS or Yahweh, no Stand Up Comedy or Boots.

The highlights are a little thin on the ground too though - Cedarwood Road and The Troubles are the only songs I recall with any serious fondness right now. And damn it's so overcooked. But it doesn't make me rage at the lost opportunities like the car-crash middle of NLOTH. Perhaps there were greater opportunities for SOI, but it isn't made quite as glaringly obvious.
I would much prefer an album with some truly great highlights, which ATYCLB, HTDAAB and NLOTH all offer, than a decent album that doesn't have any outright stinkers (playing devil's advocate here, I don't agree with that).

In this day and age I'd rather U2 release one great song than an album full of middling, inoffensive tunes.
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