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Old 10-31-2005, 12:43 AM   #151
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Sometimes I think Bono is picking up the wrong notebook when he's heading off to the studio and is recording onto U2 albums the lyrics he scribbled down when he was writing nursery rhymes for a bit of a laugh with his kids. That's a bit harsh, I know. It's not that bad, but there's a significant drop off. Don't tell me that's just him writing direct. He writes direct about 50% of the time, albeit direct with enough room for you to paint your own story over the top. I don't call this nailing it down, just dumbing it down.

Look, this "experimentation vs songs" is really a bunk argument. As I said in another thread, experimentation and songs can be exactly the same thing. There is no doubt Angel of Harlem falls into the 'songs' category, but it's also a part of U2's experimentation into their American influences, no? I don't want to blow all of this debate out into the usual battle lines with dumbarse arguments on both sides "Sellouts!" "but they always wanted success!" "Can't you handle the fact that there are no loops and samples and that they are making straight songs?" "Can't you just accept something that doesn't have Edge's chimey guitar?" - they're all dumb and have no bearing on the topic, and I suspect that an attempt to avoid those arguments was exactly why this thread was started here and not down in the EYKIW forum.

I'm all for songs. One is a straight up song. Stay is a straight up song. So many of U2's finest moments are.

I, like all good U2 fans do when a new album is out, pimped The Bomb mercilessly among my friends for about 2 weeks after it's release. Excitement at new U2 overrides all else, and the quality of the album means nothing in that first couple of weeks, you're just excited to hear something new. So, in that first week, every car trip, every drinking night, I'm playing The Bomb. I'm a great pimp, but it didn't work. From the viewpoint of non-U2 Mad listeners, who just hear it as a new album by a great band (albeit one they own a lot of albums of, and have seen in concert and would call themselves low-level fans of) all gave it a strong thumbs down. Their music tastes are not narrow, they are not left field. These are people who comfortably have Robbie Williams sitting next to Sigur Ros on their shelf and see no problem with that. Jay Z sitting next to the Smashing Pumpkins. Whatever. Pop is cool. Commercial is cool. Left field experimental is cool as well. Still, The Bomb got resounding thumbs down. Why? "U2 are better than this." Love and Peace got resounding attention, in fact a couple of friends took the CD and burned that and that alone, but songs like Original of the Species were met with gagging all around. I pimped and pimped, using every argument about directness, straight songs, taking U2 ideals to the pop charts that are completely devoid of such things - none of it worked. In the end I had to agree. Within a few weeks, unbelievably, I had a U2 album in my hands that meant zero to me. Nothing in it for me at all. Tried and tried, but it's just a soulless album to me. It's not the same as a shift in sound or ideas or experimentation or influences or whatever. I fully expect it and understand when people jump on and off the wagon in that case, but that's not what U2 have done here.
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Old 10-31-2005, 12:45 AM   #152
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono's shades
Earnie - I swear, you and I share the same brain.

As far as songs vs. experimentation goes, I love good songwriting. I really, really do. Stripped-down songs without bells and whistles are great, but I'm not getting that from U2 right now. With a few exceptions, such Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, which is beautiful in its simplicity, honesty and naked emotion, U2 now seems to be specializing in making catchy songs designed to get stuck in our heads and sell more iPods (Vertigo), songs about spirituality that lack any kind of subtlety or complexity and seem like they could have been written by some awful contemporary Christian group (Yahweh) or songs that sound like bastardized, watered-down versions of their '80s work (COBL). And Bono's lyrics these days are just painful for this former English major to listen to. The guy used to write poetry. For the most part, he's now spouting platitudes.
agreed completely.
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Old 10-31-2005, 12:48 AM   #153
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Originally posted by Earnie Shavers
"U2 are better than this."
that about sums it up perfectly, in my mind.
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Old 10-31-2005, 01:27 AM   #154
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Ok, there's a lot of different thoughts coming from several people right now...

First of all, about the lyrics that Axver and Zootl were arguing over....come on. When comparing some Bono's recent lyrics to his lyrical genius on UF, AB, and Pop, it is as if Shakespeare, after writing all of his plays, wrote a play with dialog like 'yo, wazzup', and then people saying that that is on par with Romeo And Juliet or Midsummer Night's Dream. I understand that not all lyrics have to be deep and ultra-meaningful, I get that, and if this were Matchbox 20 and Rob Thomas had written the lyrics to COBL, I wouldn't care. That'd be fine. But it's not MB20 and Rob Thomas. It's U2 and Bono. And Bono is capable of so much more. And for every fan that accepts the lessened overall quality of Bono's post-2000 lyrics, that's one more reason for Bono to rest on his laurals and not try to reach the lyrical heights he is capable of reaching.

Now, back to the main topic about U2 using pop ideas in their music now: As has been said by others in this thread, I have no problem with good pop music. I am a sucker for a good pop melody. But there are no really good pop melodies on Bomb. The only one that comes close is the chorus of OOTS. A truly good/great pop melody is one that, when you hear it for the first time, you feel like you've known it forever. Listen to the bulk of the Beatles' catalog. Listen to RH's OKC. Listen to the bulk of the Abba catalog(fuck off, Abba were great). Listen to Neil Young's 'Heart Of Gold'. You get the idea. These are great, great pop melodies. Melodies and hooks are FAR from being the same thing, and Bomb(as well as the bulk of ATYCLB) is built on pop HOOKS, not pop MELODIES. A pop hook is there to make people listen. A melody is the payoff. There's no payoff for Bomb's hooks, because most of the supposed pop melodies sound forced(never more than MD), and that's why it gets a little, dare I say, boring for some of us. U2 are not a pop melody band. That has NEVER been their forte. They are, at their core, an alternative/experimental/progressive/whatever you want to call it band. In the 80s they were alternative with the Cure and Depeche Mode and The Police. In the 90s they were alternative with REM, Radiohead. Out of these bands, only RH in my experience have been able to produce great pop melodies. Like I said, it's not really what U2 is about.

So why then are they using these pop ideas anyway? Well, my explanation is a little long-winded, but here it goes: Remember in the Popmart Mexico City video, where Bono says, 'if it keeps us interested, then it's not gonna be bullshit for you'? Well, maybe that's it. They have families now. Bono has Africa. This is totally fine. They are absolutely entitled to have their own lives outside of the band. But having those lives is a factor in how much interest is had in the music. The more of their interest is in other places, the less of it is focused on making the record. Maybe Bono's more interested in Africa right now. Maybe Edge is more interested in his family. Maybe Larry is more interested in his family or the acting career he is supposedly interested in. Larry even said before this tour, if he didn't have to tour, he wouldn't. But he does have to. Because touring is the real money-maker. And I think the tour is the reason U2 are using these pop ideas.

Take AB/ZooTV. U2 recorded AB, then designed a tour around those songs, made a vehicle to take them on the road with. Same with Pop/Popmart. With Bomb/Vertigo Tour, it seems like the songs were written to be preformed on a stage for which the basic design was already known by U2. The songs were written for the tour, written to get 20000 people singing along, by using those notorious pop ideas, rather than the tour being designed around the record and songs, imo. If that is how U2 are approaching their records now, as fuel for a tour, then maybe it would be better if they stopped. Because that would be a definite sign that the interest is waning. And maybe Bono was right, maybe that's why the music is starting to smell like bullshit to some of us.
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Old 10-31-2005, 02:00 AM   #155
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Reading this thread, I'm reminded of a quote by William Shatner from SNL...

William Shatner: You know, before I answer any more questions there's something I wanted to say. Having received all your letters over the years, and I've spoken to many of you, and some of you have traveled... y'know... hundreds of miles to be here, I'd just like to say... GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show! I mean, look at you, look at the way you're dressed! You've turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!

[ a crowd of shocked and dismayed Trekkies.... ]

I mean, how old are you people? What have you done with yourselves?

[ to "Ears" ] You, you must be almost 30... have you ever kissed a girl?

[ "Ears" hangs his head ]

I didn't think so! There's a whole world out there! When I was your age, I didn't watch television! I LIVED! So... move out of your parent's basements! And get your own apartments and GROW THE HELL UP! I mean, it's just a TV show dammit, IT'S JUST A TV SHOW!
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Old 10-31-2005, 02:02 AM   #156
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Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
Reading this thread, I'm reminded of a quote by William Shatner from SNL...

William Shatner: You know, before I answer any more questions there's something I wanted to say. Having received all your letters over the years, and I've spoken to many of you, and some of you have traveled... y'know... hundreds of miles to be here, I'd just like to say... GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show! I mean, look at you, look at the way you're dressed! You've turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!

[ a crowd of shocked and dismayed Trekkies.... ]

I mean, how old are you people? What have you done with yourselves?

[ to "Ears" ] You, you must be almost 30... have you ever kissed a girl?

[ "Ears" hangs his head ]

I didn't think so! There's a whole world out there! When I was your age, I didn't watch television! I LIVED! So... move out of your parent's basements! And get your own apartments and GROW THE HELL UP! I mean, it's just a TV show dammit, IT'S JUST A TV SHOW!
My favourite Shatner bit ever!
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Old 10-31-2005, 09:13 AM   #157
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For everyone arguing that the lyrics on ATYCLB and Bomb are not interesting, have you ever listened to Dylan?

They are not my favorite lyrics for sure, but to say that they are throw away is a mistake.
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Old 10-31-2005, 09:41 AM   #158
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Originally posted by namkcuR
And Bono is capable of so much more. And for every fan that accepts the lessened overall quality of Bono's post-2000 lyrics, that's one more reason for Bono to rest on his laurals and not try to reach the lyrical heights he is capable of reaching.
This is a great deal! I think songs from the last 2 records are quite good musically and lyrically. As do many of my friends and family.

And as an added bonus, my liking these songs actually helps drive away people who haven't enjoyed the band for the past 5 years!

It's a "win/win" situation.
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Old 10-31-2005, 10:32 AM   #159
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Originally posted by namkcuR


U2 are not a pop melody band. That has NEVER been their forte.

Larry even said before this tour, if he didn't have to tour, he wouldn't. But he does have to. Because touring is the real money-maker. And I think the tour is the reason U2 are using these pop ideas.

I disagree. A lot of U2's songwriting power comes from the music/melody. Pride, I stil haven't found..., WOWY, One etc - wouldn't be what they are without the music.

Well, the tour almost didn't happen due to illness of a family member so I'd say their priorities are in check. Sure, I bet they'd all rather spend time with their families and friends or activism - but I don't think that the album is merely an excuse for the tour. U2 could probably tour behind a Greatest hits album and still sell out venues. Would you prefer that over getting 11 new songs?

On the last two albums, I think Beautiful day, Stuck, In a little while, Wild honey, Original of the species, A man and a woman and also the re-worked Sweetest thing are good pop songs.
That said, I would like them to explore the MDH soundtrack sound more.

It's interesting to see how, despite some of the comments here, it's actually the older fans that enjoy the last two records and it's the younger fans who got on board in the 90's that dislike them. Surely you don't think that the people who bought ATYCLB and Bomb (but not Zooropa or Pop) are all newcomer fans in the last five years?
But I guess everyone who even remotely likes anything off the last two albums is a lesser fan.
But this isn't really about songs vs experiment is it? It's about U2 not making the kind of music YOU want from them, and being successful at it.
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Old 10-31-2005, 10:41 AM   #160
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^ Ok, who let her in my thread?

Honestly, if I wanted to, I could have posted in EYKIW. I didn't.
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Old 10-31-2005, 10:54 AM   #161
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Old 10-31-2005, 10:58 AM   #162
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^ Ok, who let her in my thread?

Honestly, if I wanted to, I could have posted in EYKIW. I didn't.
Does it really matter? Zoomer pulled it off topic with post #9, and it hasen't even been close to on topic since.
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Old 10-31-2005, 11:00 AM   #163
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The anti-recent-U2 crowd made it sure this is just like a EYKIW thread. "My thread"? Good one.
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Old 10-31-2005, 11:03 AM   #164
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Originally posted by MrBrau1


Does it really matter? Zoomer pulled it off topic with post #9, and it hasen't even been close to on topic since.

True, but I was really hoping to avoid any of the "Great U2 Defenders" in this discussion. I'm not sure, why some people can't stomach criticism of the band.


Brau, how old are you? You and I seem to have a lot of the same sentiments toward the band. I became a fan in late 85. You?
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Old 10-31-2005, 11:10 AM   #165
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Some people really can't stomach anyone liking the last two albums.
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