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Old 07-30-2003, 01:51 PM   #16
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Yeah, I had the same opinion as you of those two albums before I saw them perform them live back in 2001. That's when they came alive for me. It's amazing how mind opening a live performance can be.
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Old 07-30-2003, 04:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2DMfan
<begin critique of ATYCLB>

ATYCLB was a pop album, Bono himself has said that, even though you will see some U2 fans on this board who disagree, even though the man himself said it.

It was way too conventional for my taste. 'Beautiful Day' is a great song, although vastly overplayed. And there might be 4 others that are as strong as the rest of the bands catalog. 'Walk On', 'Kite', 'Wild Honey' and 'In a Little While' are solid although the last 2 I mentioned are not among my favorites.

'Stuck' is a fluff piece at best, too sentimental and it's manufactured white-man soul. 'Elevation' is a catchy cliche song you might expect from a band far lesser than U2. It's not horrible, it's just too obvious. "Woo-hoo" and the almost forced rhyming on the verses, I am underwhelmed by that song. The music itself is probably my biggest problem with it, very average.

'New York' sounds like it would have been great had they made it prior to 1999, on this album it not only doesn't fit, but "hot as a hair dryer in your face" sounds very un-Bono, almost pedestrian. They can't all be winners, I guess. 'Grace' is very uninspired and 'When I look at The World' is very close to being great, although the lyrics are almost too sugary. 'Peace on Earth' woul dhave fit better somewhere else, on this album it doesnt seem to fit much either.

'The Ground Beneath Her Feet' should have been on the American version, it is better than at least half of the album with ease. I personally think it's one of the best song from the whole period. 'Stateless' should have made the album cut, too. Damn soundtracks. (See HMTMKMKM left off 'Pop')

It's not as if I hate this album, it's just that it was the first U2 album that I liked for a good while, then started to almost detest it. Probably because the stronger tracks are more 'poppy' and taste better when you first hear them, but after awhile it wears off. I can listen to all of U2's other albums and still not grow tired of them, even October in it's weaker spots.

<end ATYCLB critique>


I think after 10 years of blowing my mind with experimentations, I was among many who were going to be underwhelmed by ATYCLB, if you catch my drift. The band has made 10 studio albums, at some point they are bound to dissapoint some of their fans. ATYCLB was just my turn. They didn't dissappoint me on Pop, like they did many fans, although that album could have been much stronger, even the band will admit that. But ATYCLB left me wanting a lot more, mostly if anything, not because there werent good songs on it, but because there weren't enough good songs on it.

My hope is that on the next album the band, get their 4 singles out of the way, so they can get the airplay they desire and just completely let it rip on the rest of the album.

You have to expect a soft ballad, a mellow closer, the obvious hit single, a lees obvious single and the midtempo rocker. These are the basic elements of almost all of their work. It's usually on the other 6 or 7 songs where the strength of the album truly lies. Tracks like 'Exit' 'Red Hill' 'God Part 2' 'Acrobat' 'Ultraviolet' 'Zooropa' and 'Dirty Day' are examples. Perhaps darker, and less obvious tracks that are usually fan favorites. U2 are generally good with the obvious hits, I just hope for more of the less obvious kick ass songs.

Outside of the obvious singles from ATYCLB, there werent many of these tracks to choose from. "Kite" may be the lone exception for my tastes.

If I had my wish, I would hope for electric guitar on every single song, often with distortion and echo, good solos, Bono singing, not speaking, and not trying to sound more like Al Green, but more like Roger Daltrey.

I'm sure I will like it, it is U2 afterall, but I wouldn't mind being blown away by it in the process.

And for those who feel the need to defend ATYCLB on every song, this is just my opinion, I've listened to it for almost 3 years, and in the last 2 my opinion has not changed. It's weak on the whole, but very contemporary, just not my particular favorite brand of U2.
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Old 07-30-2003, 04:35 PM   #18
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I'm with MrBrau1.

"I have HTTT, and like 1/2 of it. It's a great improvement over the last 2 "experimental", "groundbreaking", "humorless" shitfests."

I couldn't describe my feelings better myself. Radiohead is so afraid of the mainstream they would rather their music suck. They are a fantastic band, but is their music any better off with the beeps and backwards vocals and crap like that? No. I saw them live in 2001 and enjoyed it very much. Why can't they make records like that? Why does a good song, Like Spinning Plates, need to be messed up so much that the average listener has absolutely no interest in listening to it? It was fine when I saw it live. Does making the music so "challenging" that it is less enjoyable to listen to make it any better? No way. The band is extremely capable of being experimental and absolutely brilliant. Two words: Paranoid Android.

I'm wondering if a band could possibly be more pretentious than Radiohead. Maybe when fans and critics stop inflating their egos and listening, they might come back to earth.
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Old 07-30-2003, 04:47 PM   #19
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Sorry. Back to U2.

American Prayer is garbage. I liked it briefly, but I couldn't listen all the way through. I was nauseated. I'd comment more, but I haven't listened to it in a while and I have no interest in listening again. I think what Bono is doing is great, but enough is enough. Save it for retirement. Be in a band while you still can.

I like the idea of experimentation, but at this stage of U2's career, I don't see it being successful. They are better off doing something new to them. Make a rocking record that sounds like The Who or a loungy record that sounds like Sinatra. I think it would be interesting and fantastic (unless it turns out like a crappy Rod Stewart record, which I doubt). It would be new and engaging and it wouldn't sound contrived or an attempt to be young and hip (only Bowie can pull that off).
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Old 07-30-2003, 04:52 PM   #20
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Only David Bowie can rip off album cover art from David Byrne without anyone noticing.

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Old 07-30-2003, 05:24 PM   #21
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I am really happy to see the positive reactions that people have brought to "the table".. I am glad to also see some of the honesty that is coming out as well.
that little bit about how U2 could put out the crappiest album ever, and becuase of their huge fanbase could sell stadium seats.

this is a ballsy thing to say about the band you "love" but it is also the truth, and the one thing that i think U2 fans have loved is the fact they can be honest.. but come on! I dont know about you guys but I could go up to Bono and honestly tell him what I thought about ATYCLB.. it would be really hard but I think I could do it.


I wanted to que in again because someone wrote that U2 are getting older and their expermentation is and/ should take a back seat.

A couple of monthes ago I was on a forum and a question came up about what artists(all feilds) still experement and push the boundaries even in old age. This is a great question and not too many have kept on changing even for themselves.

Nearly all artists get to a point where they become adult contempary. U2 are already there (*sadly) I have heard them on AC radio stations, and I dont know if this is supposed to be a stab at AC radio stations but it is a stab at artists exhausting their ambitions, and instead of throwing in the white towel they just keep on going on creating shitty music.

U2 I hope hasn't lost it's ambition, and from the latest interviews he sounds more enthuisisastic than ever. but then they created American Prayer, What happened??!!!!

U2DMFan, I think he put it best, him and I are totally on the same page.

so back to the growing older and still being ambitious.. or shedding your skin a bit of the past.. Lou Reed hasn't really done this too much. Nick Cave is making AC music. maybe Peter Gabriel is one of the exceptions.. I mean if U2 could make an album like "UP" than I would be so happy. sure Peter wrote the Barry Williams Show, but the rest of the album is wonderful.. and still a little different than his past outings, and totally un-radio friendly. Tom Waits is still pushing it, Charles Ives did till he died, Dali even backed down in his old age, Frida kept pushing it, De Sade as well... and Johnny Cash!

but still over all most artists get old and go Adult contempary on us, and it becomes a yawn fest.

is U2 going in this direction?
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Old 07-30-2003, 05:30 PM   #22
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I am not up on U2 News, but I was thinking:

IT WOULD BE GREAT IF THE PRODUCER THEY HAVE RIGHT NOW (he has worked on Sex Pistols and Beatles for Godsake!) TOLD BONO THAT HE HATED ATYCLB AND HE TRYS TO GET U2 TO MAKE A 180 TURN AROUND...


just thought that would be a great thing, I sincerly never want a ATYCLB again.
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Old 07-30-2003, 05:33 PM   #23
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Well Joe Stummer said a few years back that it would be silly for him to make the same type of music with the same voice for his entire life. When he formed with the Mescaleros, he wanted to make music for his age and for his peers. He felt that it would be a fool's effort to try and sway young demographics with clichd tripe, instead of logically aging with grace. His music was still challenging and progressive, but there was an obvious departure from his days with The Clash.

Although I don't think U2 have really been "posing" the last few years... appeasing to a youthful audience and expanding fanbases often results in the creation of dishonest music. As long as they're making music they love and music that challenges them... keep on it, good work. I'm not in U2's age group, so I don't expect to be entertained with their work up until their retirement. That doesn't mean that I have to be complacent about it either. As a fan I have certain expectations, warranted or not, and if they are not fulfilled I will obviously feel unsatisfied. Rather than denying my thoughts and feelings about ATYCLB because of fanship trespassing, I think it's better to express through discussion in context. Critiquing them with a narrow sight is easy enough, but I'm glad a few of you have decided to consider the situation that U2 is in right now... before throwing cheap stones.
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Old 07-30-2003, 10:16 PM   #24
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I just wanted to chime in again, I don't often post.

I fully understand that every one of U2's albums are mainstream, that's the whole point of 'fucking up the mainstream' They look like The Osmonds compared to a lot of experimental, prog-rock bands.

But that was the whole point of the 90's material, was to challenge their very mainstream audience. It wasn't 'alternative' really to anything else that was currently in the mainstrea. You may remember that REM's 'Out of Time', Nirvana's 'Nevermind', Pearl Jam's 'Ten' and U2's Achtung Baby all came out within a very short time of each other back in 1991. It was just the nature of mainstream rock at that time, to be more 'alternative; to the current mainstream that had preceeded it.

I think ATYCLB was just an album of very structured pop-rock, which is not particulary what I desire from the band. It doesn't mean that it's a bad thing, it's just many fans do consider them a band that likes to reside outside of the mainstream. If anything ATYLCB was the most blatant mainstream album they have ever created.

The template for this band is the Beatles. An ungodly popular band that made very many catchy tunes that were very much a part of the mainstream. And then starting with 'Sgt Peppers' which would correlate to 'Achtung Baby' they began experimenting with elements of music that was not mainstream at the time.

None of which hurt their overall popularity, because for as many fans who didn't like the Beatles early stuff (or U2's early stuff) they probably gained as many with their new material.

It was all very mainstream. (OK, no more Beatles analogies, that is an entirely different topic)

The point I was making about U2 trying to regain fans from the Joshua Tree era was that some of those fans who bought the Joshua Tree and maybe saw them live, later lost interest when the band didn't "sound the same anymore". The Joshua Tree has sold more than 11 million copies in the U.S., no album since has came close,although Achtung Baby did do extremely well.

I think the band wanted to see if they could make a record that spoke directly to those mainstream fringe fans and try to get them to jump right back on the bandwagon. Why else woudl they have done so many things that were very untypical of U2? The vast amount of press, TV shows etc. in America?

Why would Bono have started the whole "we want the job back" dialogue? He wanted the band to become bigger than what he thought they were. Somehow the band thought they had lost a lot because of the Popmart backlash and the critical reaction to 'Pop'.

I don't think they had lost much of anything back in 97/98, but the resulting album which came out 2 years later was drenched with very contemporary, ear-friendly, sure-fire radio singles.

This was U2's first attempt at making an album that would gain those Joshua Tree fringe-fans back , or fans similar to those who like more whats on the radio, rather than whats really critically lauded as being experimental or pertinent.

I personally believe, and it is just my opinion that in order to accomplish what the band were wanting to do, they had to sacrifice those who had fell in love with their 90's music and it's willing to be risky.

If ATYCLB is anything it is the exact opposite of risky, and that is what the majority of U2 fans want, when it comes down to it, that's why ATYCLB was so popular and POP was so beaten down.

U2 in the 90's were only 'alternative' to U2. They weren't the same band that played Live Aid, and they weren't the same band that made a major motion picture.

U2 are only trying to live up to their own expectations, not mine or any of yours. I just am espousing my expectation that the band will move in a different direction, knowing that it makes no difference what I say, I am just a fan, a diehard fan who would like to see U2 make an album that would leave me wondering what they are up to, not knowing exactly what they are up to.


The majority of U2 fans are, in a way just like those Beatles fans who fell in love with the songwriting of the band outside of the experimentations. But after proving that they could make a record like Zooropa and proving they could make a record like ATYCLB, the next logical step would be to make an album like ATYCLB that is not quite as deliberate and does not have any purpose other than to rock our asses off, but with the same songwriting and spirit that was on Zooropa.

That is to say in so many words, to make a guitar rock album like they have promised for so long.


I can best point to one song in my example of expectations. I expect U2 to make a song as powerful and rocking as "The Fly".
However in recent articles, Edge is quoted as saying he doesnt thing it has stood the test of time. I, of course completely and whole-heartedly disagree. The band are just in a different place than I am, and that in itself is probably a first.

They planted themsleves right smack in the middle of mainstream rock. Which tends to be very ordinary, and I am just hoping that I can find that same place with U2 again, because there was nothing more important to me than their music for many many years.

I don't want to lose that, I don't want an album of songs that are meant to compete with the mainstream, I want an album of songs that isn't meant to compete with the mainstream, but does anyway, just like so much of their other brilliant music.

U2 have covered a gammut of music styles in their 25 years together, I don't ask for them to invent some new style of music, I don't ask of them to more than what they are. I want what I got in the past. I want the unexpected.
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Old 07-30-2003, 10:51 PM   #25
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feeeeck

feeeeeeeeeeeeck!!! I haven't posted in so long and I was so intrigued by this thread it actually inspired me to write a page long post then I came back to post it and U2DMFan wrote everything I had basically word for word, so i'll just spare you all and trash mine, unless you're really that interested in which case it's in a word doc. But seriously AMEN BROTHER!!!!
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Old 07-31-2003, 01:19 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2DMfan
I don't want to lose that, I don't want an album of songs that are meant to compete with the mainstream, I want an album of songs that isn't meant to compete with the mainstream, but does anyway, just like so much of their other brilliant music.


You should post more.

The only thing I disagree with is that you said U2 changed as a band. They never really abandoned the punk rock idiom... they just stretched the journalistic definitions that marginalized that particular genre. Trying to stay off-beat from everyone else, while also not subscribing to reactionary practices. In other words, a conscious disregard for surrounding movements, but still staying true to the elements. A difficult waltz that danced U2 into a corner... with nowhere else to go they released a tried and true method of songwriting... All That You Can't Leave Behind. From my vantage point, this album went against the very root of the U2 musical idea... it didn't matter to me that they've never done a "soul" album before. It was the delivery, not the content. Marshall MacCluhan said it best...

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Old 07-31-2003, 06:01 AM   #27
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U2MDfan: well according to the band - and a lot of fans - U2 did lose with Pop and Popmart (if the whole "damage control" theory about ATYCLB is true, then one has to ask the question just how good POP was in the first place?)
That's exactly why ATYCLB was important - it was either back to the front or fading away into obscurity. A part of it was also getting a new, younger audience - that is why they did all the promotion stuff. (the fanbase would buy the album anyway, but it's always nice to get a new audience)
Of course some fans will always go away no matter what, some will stick around and some will join in.
Sure ATYCLB was as close to mainstream as it gets for U2, but then again, you can hear songs from lots of U2 albums on the radio anyway. (except maybe Zooropa and POP and the earliest 2 albums)
With its success the band can now also safely continue their career without any worries. I think they will age gracefully and focus on songwriting, as indicated on the last album. (after all, sure you can have amazing tours and experiment your head out, but the thing that they will be most remembered by IMO will be the songs)
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Old 07-31-2003, 12:50 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2DMfan
which would correlate to 'Achtung Baby' they began experimenting with elements of music that was not mainstream at the time.
Unforgettable Fire is about 3 times as experimental as Achtung Baby in just about every department
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Old 07-31-2003, 12:56 PM   #29
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Salome, for once I agree with you! Achtung Baby simply borrowed from the Brit Pop scene (Manchester and the like) of the time, and even from people like Marky Mark and so forth. Achtung took what was already in the mainstream and made it better with the the unique sound U2 brings to the table. In this respect, Achtung was a very commercial album for its time, and the sales go along with that.

Unforgettable Fire, on the other hand, was pretty much U2 as an isolated band. This was a time when they took a step away from their punkish roots (ie, War) and did things no other band had ever done before (ie, 'Elvis Presley & America').
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Old 08-01-2003, 12:40 AM   #30
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Quote:
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Unforgettable Fire is about 3 times as experimental as Achtung Baby in just about every department
Yeah, that sounds about right. I agree as well.



U2girl, a few points:

1. Pop, in the majority's view, was a disaster... sonically and commercially. However, I believe the point of this thread was not to support the mainstream bias that equates record sales with success, or artistic relevance. If you don't subscribe to that belief or the topic of this thread, that's fine... just make sure to note that most of the posts were referring to "damage control", as you aptly put it, for public image. Not necessarily artistic credibility... which spawned ATYCLB. This may be a false assumption of mine, but I'll take my liberties.

2. Expanding your fanbase most oft times leads to the dilution of a creative effort, especially for an aging band. Take the Rolling Stones for example, where they imported more and more pop influences into their music in the later years. In some people's estimation that is a success, but contradicting your own integrity just to sell some units may also be considered less than righteous.

3. A lot of U2's former hits were not, at first listen, radio singles... they were somewhat tailored as pop songs, but incorporated new ideas... which allowed them to compete with mainstream artists on a different plane. Some hold the view that U2 came down to the level of complacency for ATYCLB... by challenging the current music with a brand not far from its adversary.

No one is denying U2's competency as a band... I think it's quite the opposite. Most are defending the musical idea that U2 was a proponent of some time ago... and most want to see a return to that pursuit.

Like someone else said, what direction are they taking? I myself would rather see a long arduous journey like that of Pop, which raised a lot of questions, and created a reaction... instead of the less than controversial follow-up.

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