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Old 04-18-2005, 06:04 PM   #1
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Back-Handed Compliments

Ricardo Baca wrote an article in the Denvere Post entitled, "Are They the Last of a Dying Breed" (which you can find here at @U2).

Initially, the article might seem complimentary, but the more I read, the more insulting I found it.

Baca goes on to say how HTDAAB was released to a lot of "less-than-ecstatic reviews" last November. I will acquiesce, there were some very noisy people here on Interference who do not like HTDAAB; but from the professional critics I've read, this was one of the most praised albums I've read about! It received far stronger praise than albums like AB, "Pop" and ATYCLB. The biggest complaint I read was that perhaps it was a bit "too safe" as the album was somewhat similar to ATYCLB (some even said that this was what ATYCLB should have been - and I concur). While U2 never gets perfect reviews (as no artist will), the praise I saw was ridiculously positive. The facts back me up.

The author then questions Bono's vocals - which I think even the naysayers here will agree are FAR superior on HTDAAB than they were on "Pop" or ATYCLB. While I enjoyed Bono's more raspy voice, even I missed some of his operatic wails - and those have returned on HTDAAB moreso than on any album since R&H! His voice sounds strong and sure - again something I haven't heard in ages. So I really must question this critic.

But what really irks me is how he feels that U2 aren't "relevant" now, and that they're success in selling out arenas for the rest of their careers is only somewhat deserved.

I challenge this because I feel that U2 are just as relevant now as ever. A friend recently wrote me about Coldplay's "Clocks". He said when he first heard it, he thought it was a new U2 song. And indeed, "Clocks" could easily fit on many U2 albums, including the present one. U2's relevance and influence is painfully obvious in the sound of many current rock bands. What's unique though is that U2 is also a "current rock band"!!

So while Baca seems to compliment U2, it seems his personal bias distorts both the facts and actually insults U2. If you aren't a fan, say it - don't masquerade behind false compliments.

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Old 04-18-2005, 06:12 PM   #2
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I stopped reading thet same article when I got to the part about HTDAAB getting alot of bad reviews. That didn't happen.

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Old 04-18-2005, 06:26 PM   #3
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I've found a lot of reviewers give backhanded compliments, not just for U2. I think it's often a way for the reviewer to feel more important. I read a review about a musician I like and it was really very good...until the very last sentence where the guy just had to get in a little nasty dig. And that dig had nothing to do with that album either. But what are you gonna do?

But I don't pay all that much attention to professional reviewers. You would think they would be the most objective people to give their opinions of albums, but it doesn't really seem to be the case in far too many instances. I can't remember the last album or band I checked out because of what I read in a professional review. I pay much more attention to what fans say (I knock the praise given by a fan down by about a third and then see if it still sounds interesting ) or to what other musicians I like say they listen too. I've found bands I really love that way.
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