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Old 11-02-2017, 04:29 AM   #106
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Achtung doesn't sound one bit like grunge.
I didn't say the most popular trends... I just said trends.
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Old 11-02-2017, 04:45 AM   #107
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I love the new songs. I also love SOI. I see this as a companion album so having Volcano's bridge be American Soul's chorus works fine for me.
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Old 11-02-2017, 04:59 AM   #108
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I didn't say the most popular trends... I just said trends.
Eh, it's one thing to be influenced by other music around you, which of course every artist and every album is. Sure, Achtung's sound was not in a vacuum at all. But it's another thing to release music that blends into the most popular trends on the most prominent media.

Achtung didn't do that. The Best Thing and GOOYOW sound so like what's commonplace on rock radio right now that you don't have to go far to find people who didn't realise it was U2 and thought it was some new band with a singer whose voice is similar to Bono's, or only twigged it was U2 thanks to that. (IWB even posted words to that effect about when she first heard Best Thing on the radio!)
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:11 AM   #109
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Eh, it's one thing to be influenced by other music around you, which of course every artist and every album is. Sure, Achtung's sound was not in a vacuum at all. But it's another thing to release music that blends into the most popular trends on the most prominent media.

Achtung didn't do that. The Best Thing and GOOYOW sound so like what's commonplace on rock radio right now that you don't have to go far to find people who didn't realise it was U2 and thought it was some new band with a singer whose voice is similar to Bono's, or only twigged it was U2 thanks to that. (IWB even posted words to that effect about when she first heard Best Thing on the radio!)
So yes, what I said was that the first instance of U2 making a reactionary shift in sound and chasing trends in the industry was Achtung Baby. I really don't think this part is debatable.

The debatable part (or non debatable depending on your opinion of post 2000s U2) is their decision making on WHICH trends to chase.
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:27 AM   #110
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I don't know if I'd call the shift "reactionary".

My main point, though, was simply that for most of U2's first two decades - and especially at the peak of their popularity - they really stood out on the radio.

I wish they would again. It'd probably get them that relevance they so badly want too.
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:30 AM   #111
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I could have imagined some new lows for U2 but blatantly lifting from the previous album would have been among my last guesses.
I don't understand why this is such a big low for people. I mean, this has been done all the time in music, artists referencing their own work. From Chuck Berry to The Beatles via Prince to Elvis Costello (who released a whole album sampling and referencing his own work and Wise Up Ghost is a good album), they all do it. So I don't see any issue in U2 referencing/re-imagining part of Volcano. It's not like they're doing something no-one has done before.
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:39 AM   #112
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I don't know if I'd call the shift "reactionary".

My main point, though, was simply that for most of U2's first two decades - and especially at the peak of their popularity - they really stood out on the radio.

I wish they would again. It'd probably get them that relevance they so badly want too.
I think that nowadays, considering the music landscape and given U2's current status as older statesmen, that will not happen anymore. They can't have a song anymore that stands out on the radio by being different, because then radio will just not play it. You're The Best Thing About Me is still played on the radio (mainly talking about US radio now), still gaining attention, etc. I don't think a song like The Blackout or American Soul would still be in such a position, because the radio stations with the most influence (i.e. most listeners) would not play the song.

At the peak of their popularity U2 could (and did) release anything they wished and it would be given much attention by radio just because it was new music from U2. After Pop U2 has to work harder to get radio interested. Releasing a song that stands out in the radio landscape does not help with that.
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:44 AM   #113
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Pretty solid , thoughtful discussion happening here. Bravo interference!
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:50 AM   #114
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Yep.

What also gets me is how this music blends in sonically with what other prominent mainstream rock bands are producing. One of the things that set U2 apart at the peak of their abilities was how different they were. Nothing on radio in 1987 sounded like WOWY. Plenty of post-punk bands were evolving in new directions in 1984 but none went quite as impressionistic or abstract as UF. Achtung and Zooropa were absolutely not grunge.

Pop was perceived as a bit of trendhopping, but my god, these four songs just disappear into the same sonic space as today's dime-a-dozen radio rock bands. It's more the production than the songs themselves, though the devolution of Bono's lyrics into bland platitudes doesn't help.
Yes. This. Very much this.
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:17 AM   #115
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I'm puzzled by how people are calling Get Out of Your Way and Best Thing the worst songs U2 have ever done. Are you people forgetting the sonic pile of cow dung that was All Because of You??? That song has absolutely ZERO irredeemable qualities. Sure, these two new songs are pretty bland, inoffensive pop songs, but at least they have nice hooks. All Because of You, on the other hand, is practically unlistenable. Stand Up Comedy is also much worse than these two new songs.

So yeah, Best Thing and Get Out of Your Own Way aren't that good, but they're nowhere close to the nadir of U2's musical output.

American Soul is lots of fun. RefuJesus is a major lol moment, but it doesn't ruin the entire song for me like it does for some people.

Blackout studio version also sounds pretty good.

The Little Things is still the best thing I've heard from this album. Hope the album version is at least as good as the live version.
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:27 AM   #116
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I'm puzzled by how people are calling Get Out of Your Way and Best Thing the worst songs U2 have ever done. Are you people forgetting the sonic pile of cow dung that was All Because of You??? That song has absolutely ZERO irredeemable qualities. Sure, these two new songs are pretty bland, inoffensive pop songs, but at least they have nice hooks. All Because of You, on the other hand, is practically unlistenable. Stand Up Comedy is also much worse than these two new songs.

So yeah, Best Thing and Get Out of Your Own Way aren't that good, but they're nowhere close to the nadir of U2's musical output.

American Soul is lots of fun. RefuJesus is a major lol moment, but it doesn't ruin the entire song for me like it does for some people.

Blackout studio version also sounds pretty good.

The Little Things is still the best thing I've heard from this album. Hope the album version is at least as good as the live version.
Completely agree about The Little Things
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:29 AM   #117
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I don't know if I'd call the shift "reactionary".

My main point, though, was simply that for most of U2's first two decades - and especially at the peak of their popularity - they really stood out on the radio.

I wish they would again. It'd probably get them that relevance they so badly want too.
What struck me most in a recent Weird Al interview with Rolling Stone was the following:

I'm at a point in my life and career where I can do whatever I feel like doing, regardless of whether it's commercial, or whether it's something people actually want to go see.
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:33 AM   #118
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At least we know it will be Rolling Stone's Album of the Year.
...including a lengthy paragraph on the brilliant usage of Refujesus and how... blah de dah de dah...

***** Wenners.
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:34 AM   #119
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I broadly agree that these songs are ok. I like Blackout, Get Out is melodic as hell and the rhythm of the verse vocals is cool. Best Thing is ok for what it is.
American Soul I'm not such a fan of.

So I'm not trashing U2. But holy fuck how can you listen to some of these lyrics and not cringe? Some are great (I unexpectedly am quite impressed with Get Out lyrically) but others...

How can you delay an album for 12 months of extra polishing and still retain refu-fucking-jesus?

Who is that line for? Who's the target? And that's what I don't get. These songs feel so TARGETED. Then there's stuff like that.

I dunno. Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe refu-jesus is all the rage with the kids.
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:37 AM   #120
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I think that nowadays, considering the music landscape and given U2's current status as older statesmen, that will not happen anymore. They can't have a song anymore that stands out on the radio by being different, because then radio will just not play it. You're The Best Thing About Me is still played on the radio (mainly talking about US radio now), still gaining attention, etc. I don't think a song like The Blackout or American Soul would still be in such a position, because the radio stations with the most influence (i.e. most listeners) would not play the song.



At the peak of their popularity U2 could (and did) release anything they wished and it would be given much attention by radio just because it was new music from U2. After Pop U2 has to work harder to get radio interested. Releasing a song that stands out in the radio landscape does not help with that.


It's an interesting contrast between this and the quote DeVaul posted. The chase for radio play strikes me as kind of old fashioned. The band are at a point where any tour will sell on the strength of their overall career, any album is a hot chance at number one, and they'll accumulate heaps of streaming stats too. Radio might be a tough nut to crack but do they need to crack it?

I can't help but feel that a less radio-centric approach would still reap sizeable rewards. I just wonder if some aspects of modern promotion have passed them by and/or working as a heavily corporatised machine makes it hard to move away from the old established approaches. And, well, trying something "new" with SOI burned them hard.
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