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Old 08-22-2004, 07:42 PM   #31
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I agree with everything Michael has to say, especially the part about POP.
I'll add my 2 cents though:
I think the failure of POP bit them in the ass in such a way as that they STILL haven't forgotten what that was like; and here's the kicker: if the album was a total critical and commercial success, they would NEVER be saying that it "wasn't finished".
Here's the top rock band in the world in 1997, not having released a new album in 4 years, trying to "predict" the electronica craze and getting there first. In the past, they'd changed styles several times, mostly to critcal and commercial success. Now they're faced with the most expensive tour ever undertaken supporting an album that is largely dismissed by the general population, and even u2 fans as well, as being crap.
They were given a second chance though: ATYCLB's ass was kissed the world over because it didn't jump on any "latest craze" and basically presented the band in a "pop" format while still retaining their character. And don't think they didn't capitalize on the "only band still relevant after 20 years" angle.

Look, all the new album has to do is be great and all these arguments about pop and ATYCLB will vanish in a heartbeat.
If it's only pretty good, the arguments will intensify, and I think that the time for them to call it quits will be near, because if they can't get the magic in 4 years since the last release, they'll surely not get it again in 10.
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Old 08-22-2004, 08:43 PM   #32
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As someone who's been following U2, their lives and their music for over 23 years, I feel compelled to offer some thoughts but not to negate anyone else's ideas.

I do not think that U2 has lost any of their passion or fire over the years, but I do think that their maturity has possibly CHANGED THE WAY THAT THEY COMMUNICATE their passion in their songs.

Bono is no longer a young man, full of righteous indignation at the unfairness in the world, ready to shout out that indignation at any moment.

He is now a very astute middle-aged man, who has gone through all the ups and downs of life enough to want to approach song-writing and the difficulties of life more holistically.

Maybe Bono has found out that it is not enough for him anymore to simply scream his passions and indignations, but to sing about them in a way that BRINGS MORE HOPE AND LIGHT, and that UPLIFTS OUR SPIRITS, but can still be played on the radio. (which I see nothing wrong with)

Even in the '80s, Bono was talking about the process of song-writing and of how much he wanted to write songs that could get across their message and still stay within the bounds of airplay.

I personally LOVE ATYCLB as much as I cherish JT, UF, AB, Boy or really any of their albums. It's just DIFFERENT from the others (isn't that the main reason that we love U2's music anyway?).

So, I ENCOURAGE U2 TO ALWAYS DREAM EACH OF THEIR ALBUMS UP ALL OVER AGAIN. I WILL ALWAYS FOLLOW!
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Old 08-22-2004, 09:40 PM   #33
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heh

anyway,
I was expecting to come back from work and see this thread as a big ugly mess. But I'm glad people were civil.

I'm actually encouraged by the Atomic Bomb title, though I thought it was How To ASsemble...etc.
it's post modern, it's arty, it ironic and political.

all things which U2 are a lot better at than this "gola is soul" shit (worse slogan evah!)

and griffiths...those were some good words.
Describes the way I feel accurately (aside from POP, I really like that album)
it's too bad they feel they have to sell millions of copies...I think you're right, that pressure is holding them back from taking risks.
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Old 08-22-2004, 09:59 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by Salome
I don't listen to U2 just because of their energy
it's one element they've got

fucking up the mainstream also is only fun for a couple of years
U2 could probably poop out an album filled with indie sensibility every other year
it's an easier trick than trying to write songs in a way that's new to you
I don't think you seriously believe they could 'poop' out an album a year as good as, say, your favorite Will Oldham cd. That statement was purely defensive, which is a problem many U2 fans have. They see U2 as being in a competition with everyone. So when a band comes along with a lot of hype or acclaim. Or when somebody who is into indie music has a qualm with U2,
well then, that acclaimed band gets trashed and all indie music is simplisitc poop that U2 could make with their eyes closed.
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Old 08-22-2004, 11:51 PM   #35
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I think the only way u2 will call it quits is when they want to, not because the quality of their music isn't as good. The only people talking about this is the super u2 fans and the regular u2 haters, eveyone in between arent even close to having these thoughts. I mean, say what you want, but lets put a review on ATYCLB:

-it sold over 10 million copies.
-It won 5 Grammy Awards.
-Critics kissed it's ass.
-Fans kissed its ass: Voted the 15th greatest album of all time by the readers of Rolling Stone.
-It's tour was the 2nd largest selling tour of all time!
-It got more radio airplay than POP and ZOOROPA combined.

I know things like record sales and awards and radioplay dont mean anything to the music, but my point is they got all those things because people loved the record! I think people overlook what u2 tried to do with the last album. I dont think they've lost the passion, not after hearing "Kite" for the first time, or seeing the Slane DVD. So while I agree its not their best work (but seriously, do you think they will ever really top Acthung Baby?), they can keep making albums on the quality level of ATYCLB and I will keep being a loyal u2 fan.
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Old 08-23-2004, 01:07 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap


I don't think you seriously believe they could 'poop' out an album a year as good as, say, your favorite Will Oldham cd. That statement was purely defensive, which is a problem many U2 fans have.
I may have many problems, but U2 isn't one of them
(Will Oldham has probably become more formulaic in his songwriting than U2 btw but I don't care about that either because the man's brilliant)

I didn't say they would end up releasing a great album every 2 years, but these guys are talented enough and have enough experience to ensure that the album would not cause any of their fans to turn their backs on them

POP actually is a great example of this
because they did try to cater to what was 'happening' in the music scene outside the pop charts by having their chosen producer for this project add some kind of electronic sound over their music (I love MOFO, one of U2's best songs IMO, but it's also in many ways nothing more than U2 trying to sound like Underworld)
back then that was indeed the way music seemed to be going

and I am convinced U2 are definitely able to write a couple of good and a couple of great songs every other year and having the latest critics favourite (I'm still surprised Nigel Godrich only got to do a b-side) produce it

would I lose my interest in them?
probably yes
because you do need great instead of bits of greatness and bits of pretty good
but to me greatness can as easily be found in craftsmanship as it can be in profound lyrics, youthful energy, sonic explorations and overall kick-arseness
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Old 08-23-2004, 01:28 AM   #37
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I am really excited by this thread and anyone who hasn't read "I Miss the 'Accident's' from U2" thread must read it. It's in the same vein.

MG you're right, that the band would want us to challenge them the way we have on these to threads. I love a critical voice when it comes to the arts- visual, musical, etc. if anything, it will validate and commend the artist or possibly motivate and encourage the artist(s) to create instead of settle for a particular style. I live by the idea that the arts are not simply for the artist but for an audience. I have yet to meet or hear of an artist that made work for themselves. there must be some intention to meet the wants and desires of an audience or following. this almost automatically opens your work up to criticism, especially when you are a rock band with the weight of U2.

I am an artist myself- paint, draw, plus a variety of other media. I understand this thread and totally appreciate the truth and passion some individuals can express while being tasteful and wise. Thanks to all!!!
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Old 08-23-2004, 02:47 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha


Staying current shouldn't mean making records that get played to soothe and pacify, and that's what I heard with ATYCLB.

Huh, guess it really does depend on the listener. I had the hardest time listening to "Kite." I have no problem with death, no fear of it myself, but when it's someone close to me, other people's death, that I do have a hard time dealing with. Someone very close to me, came close to dying, and Kite, the lyrics, it made me want to cry whenever I heard it.

"I know that this is not goodbye--"


"Peace on Earth" actually has the names of real people who were killled in bombings. That shocks me into reality, not pop fluff. Not that soothing to be honest.

"Hope and history won't rhyme, so what's it worth, this peace on earth."

Nor pacifying for me.

Wild Honey, Beautiful Day, and Grace, are the only ones that gave me soothing or pacifying feelings, to counter the ones that didn't.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hmm, concerning "When I look at the World" perhaps it depends on how one interprets Bono's song writing. I know lots of U2 fans are not Christian, so this interpretation won't be theirs, but if the "you's" in the lyrics, were to be viewed as referencing God of the Bible,....I dunno, maybe it just works for me. I get a deeper song by doing that.

I gotta say, I agree with the Rollingstone writer who said ATYCLB was a rather dark album, rather than pop. "If the title in general refers to those things that really matter, it is also specifically about death, and about valuing whatever accompanies you when you die."

Elevation (the revamped "tomb raider" version) was the "pop" song of that album for me.
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Old 08-23-2004, 09:39 AM   #39
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I don't know why people think it's because they're old and slow. How come we have so many teenagers here who just now became fans because of ATYCLB? The album sold 9 million copies and means a lot to a lot of people. If you don't like it there's no need to keep whining, just don't play it!
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Old 08-23-2004, 09:40 AM   #40
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and anyone who wants to be blown away or have their socks knocked off you're listening the worng band. They have never been known as that hard of rockers.
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Old 08-23-2004, 10:22 AM   #41
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a lot of my favorite U2 songs are slow as hell

that's not the issue here

if I had an album full of Stateless....God help me, I'd never leave the room
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Old 08-23-2004, 02:43 PM   #42
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I agree bass, sometimes i THINK that u2 have lost their fire
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Old 08-23-2004, 02:49 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap
a lot of my favorite U2 songs are slow as hell

that's not the issue here
Indeed it isn't.

I can name all kinds of slower songs from the past that challenge and stimulate with a slower tempo.


As for not rocking, a few here need to go back and relisten to much of AB, JT, and the first three records.
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Old 08-28-2004, 10:04 AM   #44
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Re: Indulge me as I rant

Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap
I figure I should just have it out here once and for all so I can stop bitching on all the other forums.

My beef with U2:

today Streets came on the radio at work. It was the first time I have heard them in a long time...and my heart skipped a beat to hear one of my favorite songs of all time.
It's then I remembered, putting aside all my aquired indie sensibility, why I love(d) U2.

I don't think anyone could argue that U2 possess anymore talent at songwriting than most bands. There are certainly more brilliant songwriters, anyway.
So what was is about U2 that set them apart?
it was raw emotion.

listening to Ultraviolet or Streets or Please just makes you want to find some rain and dance in it. Or scream. Or laugh.
There are not many bands that can find that and incorporate it into their music. But U2 did.

then there was Ground Beneath Her Feet and stateless

and then U2 died

All the emotion and art was sucked from their songs leaving them lifeless pleas for media attention. The only time they even approach their former greatness in maybe in Walk On and Kite...but even these feel formulaic and 'by - the - numbers'

It's like they took a few templates and molds from the story of pop music and churned out a few easily forgettable tunes.

now it's lame press photos of four aging men hanging out in an airport
now it's bono and his senile speeches. Don't you ever wish he'd go the way of The Edge?...speak when spoken to.

for all the talk of soul they seem to have lost it.
You can always smell when someone is trying to hard...and ATYCLB tried so hard to change your life that it embaressed me. I was embarssed for them (even though I know it was a huge smash hit)

And that's where I lie now,
I'm nervous about the new album cos I know it could make me or break me. I want so much to put on the first track and get some ass kicking intro like zooropa...I want to hear a song that makes me shake like With or Without You or get angry like Wake Up Dead Man or dream like Sort of Homecoming.

But I don't think I'll get my wish.
what I'll get is more million dollar music videos

whatever happened to fuck the mainstream?
Well, don't listen to ATYCLB, then.

I hear plenty of emotions in it, and I get out of it more than their previous two albums, which are far more forgettable as far as most U2 fans are concerned.

U2 has used plenty of formulaic songwriting before, they often stick to verse-chorus-solo/middle-ending, and sometimes they don't. I don't really care, as long as the music connects with me.

It was a photo of four men in front of a joshua tree and no one minded (virtually all U2 albums have band pictures anyway), Bono had speeches back in the 80's so it's not really something new. Speak when spoken to?!?

Actually, U2 were trying SO hard to be cool and innovative with Pop/Popmart (trying to top Achtung Baby and Zoo TV), and look how that worked. For the first time, ATYCLB is the one U2 album where they aren't proving anything to anyone.
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Old 08-28-2004, 10:12 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap


I don't think you seriously believe they could 'poop' out an album a year as good as, say, your favorite Will Oldham cd. That statement was purely defensive, which is a problem many U2 fans have. They see U2 as being in a competition with everyone. So when a band comes along with a lot of hype or acclaim. Or when somebody who is into indie music has a qualm with U2,
well then, that acclaimed band gets trashed and all indie music is simplisitc poop that U2 could make with their eyes closed.
You know, the argument that many indie/alternative fans like to use when a band makes it big is that they "sold out". To which I say: boo hoo, everyone starts from zero and everyone has a chance. It is not U2's - or any other fault, people decide.

U2 is in competition, with other bands and mostly, themselves and their past.

BTW, Salome was right. It's easy to goof around (see Zooropa, Passengers), but the question is: will it work? (see Achtung Baby) I would also say they already f... up the mainstream: first they became a part of it (with Joshua Tree), then they challenged it (with Achtung Baby) and then they played by its own rules and succeded while maintaining their own sound (with ATYCLB).
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