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Old 10-09-2008, 04:42 PM   #21
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Think you're missing the key premise of the book: U2 by... U2 (not U2 by various producers and hangers-on). The idea is that the 4 guys alone (okay, and McGuinness) can tell their own story at last.


I disagree. U2 are self admitted in saying that they are not adequate musicians to get the material they've put out on their own.

U2 simply are not U2 without the various producers that created their sound...and without their memories, opinions and viewpoints heard, U2 by U2 is a one-sided, incomplete story in my opinion. Is there anyone in this forum that honestly believes that U2 would have had the same sound without the Eno, Lillywhite, or Lanois? Or had the same live shows without Willie Williams? They've done to the creative side what Paul McGuiness has done to the business side of U2, so they should have been included.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:44 PM   #22
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I'm reading the book for the first time now (huge U2 fan, but I was able to support my affection for them in other ways until the hardback went on clearance pricing) and am just finishing the ZOOROPA section. If I have any one complaint (because, otherwise, I love it) it's that (along with the liner notes for the new remastered CD releases) U2 really seems to despise most of their catalog. I mean, discussion of almost every single track seems to be summed up with a thought like, "you can tell there's a great song in there, but we just didn't quite work it out". I mean, for God's sake, Adam disses on "Where the Streets Have No Name"! "Where the Streets Have No Name"!!! The greatest rock song ever recorded! I dread getting to their comments about POP. I realize we're all our own worst critics, and probably should be, but shit, guys, give yourselves some props. There are reasons why you'll go down in history as truly one of the greatest bands in rock history...
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:58 PM   #23
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U2 really seems to despise most of their catalog. I mean, discussion of almost every single track seems to be summed up with a thought like, "you can tell there's a great song in there, but we just didn't quite work it out".
I see that as humility not despise...
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:27 PM   #24
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I see that as humility not despise...
Or maybe it's even something else. Maybe they couldn't get it to sound like it would sound in their head (or even in the studio while playing it). When you're dedicated to your art, you often just hear the imperfections, not the amazing end result. Even though Brian Eno was probably right (as I think he convinced Bono to keep it that way) Bono still cringes over the first two lines of Where The Streets Have No Name. He doesn't just hear the rush, he hears two lines that maybe could've been so much better.

Going off track, but still on a related note, Elvis Costello has often (and publicly) derided his album Goodbye Cruel World as his worst album ever. And yes, the production is dated on that album, but it isn't half bad. However, he once commented on what might be the deeper reason for his distaste of that album. He made it while going through a painful divorce. So when he hears that album, he gets transported back to that time. The emotions connected to that divorce, make him dislike that record (and mostly not the musicianship, lyrics or its sound).
I guess the same applies to U2. They often might not hear the songs, but what was going on in their lifes at that time.
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:06 PM   #25
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I love that book. Not only because the fanclub picked me for the book signing, but because it tells me there story to date and they may come out with another book after they call it quits. I think that U2 realize that some of there fans are younger and don't know there story from the eighties.
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:46 PM   #26
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Or maybe it's even something else. Maybe they couldn't get it to sound like it would sound in their head (or even in the studio while playing it). When you're dedicated to your art, you often just hear the imperfections, not the amazing end result. Even though Brian Eno was probably right (as I think he convinced Bono to keep it that way) Bono still cringes over the first two lines of Where The Streets Have No Name. He doesn't just hear the rush, he hears two lines that maybe could've been so much better.
I agree, and that's kind of what I meant by humility, they knew it could have been much more but they just couldn't(like you said) get it to sound like what's in their heads. I think this is probably the majority of artist's thinking...
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:52 PM   #27
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so because you don't like it it was a mistake? that makes sense.
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:01 PM   #28
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so because you don't like it it was a mistake? that makes sense.
I think there were mistakes in how they went about the book, yes. I've already listed those reasons. Am I not entitled to that opinion? Or do I have to love everything U2 does?
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:02 PM   #29
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The book itself is pretty good, IMO.

But like Aardvark said the massive price that was charged to the fans that bought the book immediately on release leaves a very, very sour taste in the mouth
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:03 PM   #30
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Did you know at the time of Red Rocks, despite being semi-well known on the college rock scene, that 3 of U2's four members were still living at home with their parents?.
That bit is hardly news. It was mentioned in the Eamon Dunphy book (one of the few facts he got right).
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:13 PM   #31
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I agree, and that's kind of what I meant by humility, they knew it could have been much more but they just couldn't(like you said) get it to sound like what's in their heads. I think this is probably the majority of artist's thinking...

I write/record my own music, and I usually nitpick at the end result---so I see your point.

However, how much acclaim does a band need before they get over what looks like a self esteem issue? How many awards, sold out stadiums, classic albums, hit songs and fans does a band need before they finally say...."You know...even though we think this song isn't the song we heard in our heads, our fans love it...so it's great." I'm a high school teacher and what this reminds me of is the kid who has it all, who is extrememly gifted and has the world going for them, yet this kid cannot accept a compliment and constantly gloomy about things they've done that aren't "perfect."

What one person views is humility another person can view as self-loathing.
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:01 PM   #32
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What one person views is humility another person can view as self-loathing.
Exactly! Humility, self-loathing...call it what you will but, either way, it gets damn tiring...
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:38 PM   #33
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The book itself is pretty good, IMO.

But like Aardvark said the massive price that was charged to the fans that bought the book immediately on release leaves a very, very sour taste in the mouth
Well being a finance person, you should know that book prices are driven by market and not the "writers"...
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:42 PM   #34
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I write/record my own music, and I usually nitpick at the end result---so I see your point.

However, how much acclaim does a band need before they get over what looks like a self esteem issue? How many awards, sold out stadiums, classic albums, hit songs and fans does a band need before they finally say...."You know...even though we think this song isn't the song we heard in our heads, our fans love it...so it's great." I'm a high school teacher and what this reminds me of is the kid who has it all, who is extrememly gifted and has the world going for them, yet this kid cannot accept a compliment and constantly gloomy about things they've done that aren't "perfect."

What one person views is humility another person can view as self-loathing.
Well this will be a question that humanity asks until the end of time... Artist from the beginning of time have never been completely satisfied with their own works... To greet it with disdain or anger seems very odd.
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:56 PM   #35
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Exactly! Humility, self-loathing...call it what you will but, either way, it gets damn tiring...
You know, the thing is, nobody puts a gun to your head and makes you read this stuff.

If someone told me, I don't know, that Mick Jagger is very self-effacing and his humility can be perceived as self-loathing, well, that would be news to me...it could not get tiring for me, cos I'm not at all exposed to it. I listen to Exile on Main Street and enjoy it and that's about it......

If you're tired of U2's humility, self-loathing, self-deprecation, whatever you want to term it, then why don't you simply avoid having access to such information?
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:55 AM   #36
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What one person views is humility another person can view as self-loathing.
Be careful with psychological terms like this. Being critical of one's own work is a very natural, healthy and important thing for any artist. Self-loathing, as you call it, is a psychological PROBLEM. It makes me angry if people carelessly throw around terms like these. U2 being critical of their work has nothing to do with "self loathing". I would be more worried if they found everything they've ever done perfect.
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:13 AM   #37
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That bit is hardly news. It was mentioned in the Eamon Dunphy book (one of the few facts he got right).
Ah the Eamon Dunphy book, what a great bit of fiction.

I tend to agree with the view of the U2 by U2 being a great work of revisionism. I suppose it would be difficult for the members of U2 not to review their history with a great dollop of revisionism, but it does get a tad tiring. For my money, the best U2 books are the Hot Press compilations, and the Bill Graham book (who should have written their bio, not effin Dunphy).
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:35 AM   #38
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If you're tired of U2's humility, self-loathing, self-deprecation, whatever you want to term it, then why don't you simply avoid having access to such information?
Ah, great advice. If I don't like the truth of something, avoid it and create my own fiction to feel better about things. Religious man, are ya?
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:39 AM   #39
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Be careful with psychological terms like this. Being critical of one's own work is a very natural, healthy and important thing for any artist. Self-loathing, as you call it, is a psychological PROBLEM. It makes me angry if people carelessly throw around terms like these. U2 being critical of their work has nothing to do with "self loathing". I would be more worried if they found everything they've ever done perfect.
Suppose rather than "carelessly throwing around terms", some of us are legitimately of the opinion that U2 (rather irritatingly) straddles a real line between legitimate self-criticism and unwarranted self-loathing? What, just because it's U2, they can't have actual psychological problems? Hell, Bono has said many times that he needs a crowd of thousands cheering him nightly to feel normal; I'd say it's a given that they (that just about any public artist) have some level of psychological problems.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:29 AM   #40
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Yes, like any other human being.

Still I don't think "self-loathing" is part of that, it's a very strong term.

I am an artist myself and very critical of my work, I think that's a healthy and important attitude and has nothing to do with hating who you are. Of couse, sometimes it can be this way, but I don't see this with ANY member of U2.

And Bono is often being cheeky with comments.
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