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Old 10-23-2002, 10:27 AM   #1
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Bono and America

I picked this out of the Stylus review in one of the other threads:

"Call me close-minded, but I like my Europeans acting and sounding European; to me that seems honest and sincere—not humping America‘s leg like a capitalist dog in heat. But Bono is obsessed with making Americans love him and as such, Zooropa cannot be represented properly on their “Best Of”."

I think it is so true. I think Bono is obsessed with making Americans love him. I sort of cringe when I hear him yell out "U.S.A" or "America" in songs. Give it a break. I love just about everything that U2 has done, but they were at their best when they were their most European. Everyone with any musical taste knows that 99% of the music in America is awful. Even the best American bands are more popular in Europe (The Strokes, Dandy Warhols, Beck, to name a few). So, why cater to the masses in America if it means sacrificing your artistic integrity? I really do fear that they will go forward into adult-contemporary mediocrity, instead of creating challenging and compelling music. I really hope that they can bring back a ZooTV attitude, be rock stars, and model themselves after someone like David Bowie instead of someone like Rod Stewart or Elton John.

It's not all that bad. There were a bunch of songs off of ATYCLB that I liked. The Elevation tour was great. But compare it to U2 of 10 years ago, with one of the best albums ever with one of the best tours ever, when they were a band on the cutting edge with fantastic videos, they look like they are headed in the wrong direction, especially when it seems like that seems like a period that they aren't really proud of.

In short, U2 needs to explore Europe again. I don't care if it is an album full of pub songs (a la Wild Honey) or Achtung 2, as long as they strive to make compelling music, I'll be happy.
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Old 10-23-2002, 11:30 AM   #2
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I think Bono just loves America, like most Europeans do. Many Europeans (not all, so don't jump down my throat!) have this sort of infatuation with America. America is the leading world Superpower, home of Hollywod and big ideas...America holds a lot of ideals. When I did my travelling in England and South Africa there is a [begrudging] respect and awe for America. Bono probably feels somewhat the same way. Bono knows that to obtain the political help he seeks, he needs America. He wants America to love him because he loves America and all America stands for. I don't think this means he wants to make pure American music (whatever that means). His interest is so much more political than musical.

He lives in New York part time, so he is practically Americanized. Actually on the Oprah Show I was surprised to see how "Americaized" his Irish accent is.

Btw, I am Canadian, just for the record!
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Old 10-23-2002, 11:43 AM   #3
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I resent these comments about how Bono/U2 is "humping America's leg." I think that's complete bullshit. And for the last time, "The Hands That Built America" was written for the movie "The Gangs of New York," which is about Irish people coming to America. So obviously they couldn't call it "The Hands That Built China" or something.
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Old 10-23-2002, 11:58 AM   #4
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You know, I read this original post and decided to stay out of it. This seems to be a rather dramatic thread that is only going to cause fights.

Thats all I wanted to say. Well not really but I just don't have the energy to get into a huge discussion about Bono and America.


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Old 10-23-2002, 12:52 PM   #5
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Originally posted by U2SavesTheWorld
You know, I read this original post and decided to stay out of it. This seems to be a rather dramatic thread that is only going to cause fights.

Thats all I wanted to say. Well not really but I just don't have the energy to get into a huge discussion about Bono and America.


That's probably smart!
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Old 10-23-2002, 01:55 PM   #6
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I don't see anything offending with this thread, it's actually a really interesting and relevant discussion. I too liked it better when U2 was more "European" sounding but the fact is that Bono has always had an obsession and a love/hate relationship with America. This is the guy who not only wrote Bullet the Blue Sky but also The Hands that Build America. America is a remarkable country with its flaws and qualities, and I suppose that Bono finds all these contradictions inspiring. He still believes in the American dream and it seems that he wants to be part of it. Hence the Superbowl, 3rd leg of the tour etc. No doubt this also has to do with his campaigning for Debt Relief as he sees America has having to lead the way in order for other countries to follow. Probably also has to do with September 11th and his desire to help people. And also a little but of marketing and self-promotion as America is such a huge market. But I also think that musically, U2 are at their best when they adopt a little bit of European detachment and non-conformism. Maybe we'd be more tolerant of this whole obsession with America if it hadn't already been done in the JT...
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Old 10-23-2002, 03:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by lady lemonade
I don't see anything offending with this thread, it's actually a really interesting and relevant discussion

My thoughts exactly.

I like how you said Bono has a love/hate relationship with America. So true.
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Old 10-23-2002, 03:20 PM   #8
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I don't think there is anything OFFENSIVE here I just can see this getting into a big argument, thats all.

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Old 10-23-2002, 08:39 PM   #9
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you know what?

i've just heard now the hands that build america for the first time and i was going to put something like this on its appreciation thread:

«looks nice but i can't stand so many "america, america"...»

but then i saw this thread and i think it makes more sense here. and well, wertsie can be right when he/she says it's just about irish people coming to america, but to american brain-washeds it will sound like " it's great to have this guy that shows american flag inside the jacket acclaiming 'america, america', we should buy the record"... and bono nows it will sound like this.

i agree with everything from tom in boston except the "pub songs a la wild honey".
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Old 10-23-2002, 08:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by bedouin fire
you know what?

wertsie can be right when he/she says
She

Anyway...I can't see anyone here in the USA saying anything like, "Oh, U2 likes America so I'm going to buy their CD." If this song was not in connection with this film I might see your point, but, given the context, I don't...I think the band just likes America, but maybe especially New York. They seem proud of the fact that the Irish came to New York and built it. I don't know, but I'm a writer, and if, say, I wrote a novel that mentioned U2 a lot or something, it wouldn't be because I'm "sucking up" to them or anything? It would be because they've been an important part of my life and I'd want to showcase that.
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Old 10-23-2002, 09:20 PM   #11
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ok mrs wertsie, i might be wrong but from this side of the atlantic is what it looks like, and it's not only to me but especially to people who are not so well informed about u2 as we are, but are somehow interested.
i would say more but sorry, it's really late here and i must go for some sleep. good night.
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Old 10-23-2002, 09:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by bedouin fire
ok mrs wertsie, i might be wrong but from this side of the atlantic is what it looks like, and it's not only to me but especially to people who are not so well informed about u2 as we are, but are somehow interested.
i would say more but sorry, it's really late here and i must go for some sleep. good night.
I don't claim to have all the answers. Just my opinion. I'm just a hardcore U2 fan, so of course I'm biased.
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Old 10-24-2002, 07:16 AM   #13
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Re: Bono and America

- The last time I looked at a UK chart, there was plenty of exactly the same crap that pollutes the American one plus some home-grown crap. So I don't buy this thing about the Europeans having a better taste in music: Eurovision song contest, anyone? And how many freaking Number 1s did the freaking Westlife have in UK?

- Again, I'm perplexed by this notion that U2's music will somehow be cutting edge and innovative again if only they went back to something they did ten years ago. Isn't it a bit of a contradiction? To me it looks as if there is a past that it's ok for U2 to revisit and there's a past that's not. Someone supposedly said that their next album will be a "combination of WAR and Achtung Baby" and no one said, hold on, doesn't it mean that they'll be going backwards.

- I don't know what that reviewer bitched about, anyway. For an album that basically was made on the go, Zooropa is pretty well represented on the Best Of.
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Old 10-24-2002, 07:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by lady lemonade
I don't see anything offending with this thread, it's actually a really interesting and relevant discussion. I too liked it better when U2 was more "European" sounding but the fact is that Bono has always had an obsession and a love/hate relationship with America. This is the guy who not only wrote Bullet the Blue Sky but also The Hands that Build America. America is a remarkable country with its flaws and qualities, and I suppose that Bono finds all these contradictions inspiring. He still believes in the American dream and it seems that he wants to be part of it. Hence the Superbowl, 3rd leg of the tour etc. No doubt this also has to do with his campaigning for Debt Relief as he sees America has having to lead the way in order for other countries to follow. Probably also has to do with September 11th and his desire to help people. And also a little but of marketing and self-promotion as America is such a huge market. But I also think that musically, U2 are at their best when they adopt a little bit of European detachment and non-conformism. Maybe we'd be more tolerant of this whole obsession with America if it hadn't already been done in the JT...
I agree with lady lemonade, she pretty much summarized what I think and how I see Bono´s relationship with US.
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Old 10-24-2002, 09:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by wertsie


She

Anyway...I can't see anyone here in the USA saying anything like, "Oh, U2 likes America so I'm going to buy their CD." If this song was not in connection with this film I might see your point, but, given the context, I don't...I think the band just likes America, but maybe especially New York. They seem proud of the fact that the Irish came to New York and built it. I don't know, but I'm a writer, and if, say, I wrote a novel that mentioned U2 a lot or something, it wouldn't be because I'm "sucking up" to them or anything? It would be because they've been an important part of my life and I'd want to showcase that.
I agree wertsie, Bono even mentions this in New York when he says, "the irish been coming here for years, acting like they own the place". I mean, did you know there are more Irish folk living in the states than in Ireland? Its no mystery to me why U2 embraces the US the way it does. I have to admit I was a little supicious during the third leg of Elevation and the SuperBowl as to the sincerity of the band. But as I hard core fan I have to bakc thier play on this one.............
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Old 10-25-2002, 12:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by lady lemonade
I don't see anything offending with this thread,...
yeah.

Quote:
Originally posted by Tom in Boston
Everyone with any musical taste knows that 99% of the music in America is awful.
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Old 10-25-2002, 08:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by wertsie




Anyway...I can't see anyone here in the USA saying anything like, "Oh, U2 likes America so I'm going to buy their CD."



You don't think so? The American public is fickle when it comes to music. It tends to go toward what's "hot" at the moment. As much as I like U2, do you honestly think that Bono's American references after 9/11 weren't self promotion, given the fact that at that time America was looking for something positive? Why didn't he show his flag in his coat before 9/11?
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Old 10-26-2002, 02:02 AM   #18
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Originally posted by Fireball


You don't think so? The American public is fickle when it comes to music. It tends to go toward what's "hot" at the moment. As much as I like U2, do you honestly think that Bono's American references after 9/11 weren't self promotion, given the fact that at that time America was looking for something positive? Why didn't he show his flag in his coat before 9/11?
If I remember correctly, Bono shows off the flag in his coat during BTBS on Elevation DVD, as well as on the Elevation video.

And anyway, for someone who's got such a strong love/hate relationship with America as Bono does, I think that this sort of gestures is perfectly understandable.
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Old 10-27-2002, 12:15 AM   #19
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Bono definitely has a love/hate feeling towards the U.S. He's a European who's soaked up alot of American culture and obviously really likes certain aspects of it and really hates certain things about it. That's natural. Nothing's all bad or all good. I love "Zooropa" and like their "European" sound but their American influences do, uh, include rock 'n roll itself.
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