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Old 01-08-2005, 08:09 PM   #1
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Lyrics: great or not so much?

As I'm listening more and more to HTDAAB my opinions about the lyrics are contradicting. Some lyrics like "Yahweh", "Original Of The Species" and "City Of Blinding Lights" sound great, really well-crafted stuff. Some are full of cliches or too abstract images, like "A Man And A Woman" and "All Because Of You". Some others are like gems in a pool: a beautiful stanza or line will not sound as meaningful or strong as the previous or following one: such as in "Miracle Drug", "Fast Cars" and "Love And Peace And Else".

By listening to this album, I feel that Bono's writing is still great, but turning a bit irregular at times, IMHO. Am I the only one? (Don't go harsh, this is just an opinion)
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:15 PM   #2
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I think he's always been either shit, or brilliant. Often within the same song. HTDAAB is the same. But, he's never scared to put out a line he knows people will call shit, so long as it serves the song.. I think that's brave.
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:17 PM   #3
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In an article I read (cant recall which one) Bono said he wrote the lyrics quickly on this album. I feel its not as lyrically well written as, say, Achtung Baby and Pop.
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrBrau1
I think he's always been either shit, or brilliant. Often within the same song. HTDAAB is the same. But, he's never scared to put out a line he knows people will call shit, so long as it serves the song.. I think that's brave.
Yeah, very true, Bono walks on a fine line between banality and brilliance. HTDAAB is no different from previous albums in that respect.
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Old 01-08-2005, 09:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy


Yeah, very true, Bono walks on a fine line between banality and brilliance. HTDAAB is no different from previous albums in that respect.
I have to disagree there to an extent. There are certainly a LOT of cliches on The Joshua Tree (I'm sure Bono would cop to that immediately), and it was mainly the freshness of the music that was so groundbreaking there. That being said, there are some beautiful pieces of writing on there like RTSS.

Achtung Baby, as great as it is, also has a handful of trite lines, but that's expected as almost every song is about relationships or the breakdown thereof.

However, I think you'd have a hard time finding banality or cliche on Zooropa and POP (as well as the Passengers and M$H projects), as Bono was tackling a lot of different characters, subjects and themes on those records. It's really why I prefer the 90's work, moreso than the daring of the music.

Bono's current "problem" may be in that he's lately been addressing subjects that tend to bring out cliches. When you're writing songs about the state of violence in the world or relationships, you're not going to have a lot to work with (especially after doing it so many times before). Even something as personal as SYCMIOYO is a far cry from Bono's writing about his mother in Lemon. When you're writing about the effect of technology upon our culture, or religion on culture, or these more "idea" driven topics, you're going to have a lot more to work with.

As sad as it sounds, I'm not envisioning the band dipping into that well again (Fast Cars is the only recent song that ventures into this kind of terrain). It seems like they've come full circle, and will perhaps explore the crises and thoughts that come with middle age (I recognize this is something that makes a lot of people cringe, as even John Lennon was only able to do this with a modicum of success). They will more likely than not be keeping it close to home. There's no doubt that we're only likely to see a couple more albums before the band quits while they're ahead. But of course, you never know, especially considering the personalities and eclectic tastes of the band members.


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Old 01-08-2005, 09:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by lazarus


Bono's current "problem" may be in that he's lately been addressing subjects that tend to bring out cliches. When you're writing songs about the state of violence in the world or relationships, you're not going to have a lot to work with (especially after doing it so many times before). Even something as personal as SYCMIOYO is a far cry from Bono's writing about his mother in Lemon.


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But he wrote Lemon after his Mom had been dead for 20 yrs or so. Stand SYCMIOYO up against Tomorrow. They're related.
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Old 01-09-2005, 05:34 AM   #7
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When the Fridays bring the weekends
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The smell of beer and perfume
The rhythm pushers down the street
They'd like to touch that freedom
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Old 01-09-2005, 06:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by lazarus


However, I think you'd have a hard time finding banality or cliche on Zooropa and POP as Bono was tackling a lot of different characters, subjects and themes on those records. It's really why I prefer the 90's work, moreso than the daring of the music.

MrBrau and financeguy, I agree with you.

IMO:

Half of the song Zooropa are copied advertising slogans. Lazy lyric-writing.
Numb is too repetitive. (Zoo station has the same issue)
Some days are better than others. (while a fun song, the lyrics barely fly)
Daddy's gonna pay for your crashed car - "anything goes" attitude (he's done better songs on drugs/sex)
Miami - IMO Bono's worst lyrics ever
recreation of topics or atmospheres (Do you feel loved tries what Even better than the real thing did way better, Last night on earth tries what Until the end of the world did better, and Playboy mansion tries to be clever only The fly did it much better)
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:34 AM   #9
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Many people thought U2 were going to break up after Rattle and Hum, because they had already "conquered the world" so to speak. I feel like they are in the same situation now. you never know what this band is capable of. For all we know, we might get another 10 or so years worth of music out of them.
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2girl
Half of the song Zooropa are copied advertising slogans. Lazy lyric-writing.
I disagree.

The brilliance of a song like Zooropa is how it uses those slogans in a satirical way, turning them into a commentary about the things that we're led to believe will fulfill us versus the things that actually will fulfill us.

I don't think that's lazy songwriting at all. Some of the best writers in the world play with the words and ideas that are held as accepted truths to express opposing views.

I think of Numb in the same way. It's "repetitiveness" is what gives it it's meaning.
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by beli
In an article I read (cant recall which one) Bono said he wrote the lyrics quickly on this album. I feel its not as lyrically well written as, say, Achtung Baby and Pop.
I haven't seen such an article Beli, but if true, then that's a good thing, because, IMO, "Pop" has the worst lyrics Bono ever wrote. And while AB has the brilliance of "One", there are quite a few missteps on it as well.

I find the lyrics on HTDAAB a step up from ATYCLB and on part with some of Bono's best.
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:59 AM   #12
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Achtung imo is lyrically Brilliant although I should point out that Bono imo is becoming more straightforward in his delivery of ideas which also probably shows he is less confused as a person as he might of been in the past, also everyone has lyrical missteps even Dylan and well Shakesphere ( Ya's know what I mean)
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Old 01-10-2005, 02:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by doctorwho


I haven't seen such an article Beli, but if true, then that's a good thing,
Australian Rolling Stone Feb 2005

Bono: "The lyrics were very easy. I have two critics in Larry and Adam, and an avenger with Edge. Thats how it works. But they were probably the easiest-ever lyrics for me - they were written in minutes."

I scanned the article to PLEBA on the 3rd of Jan - http://forum.interference.com/t108307.html

Dont you read PLEBA? Or do you just look at the Brad Pitt pics?
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