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Old 12-22-2004, 06:44 AM   #1
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devil's advocate: Should U2 second-guess itself?

After downloading U2's "rare and unreleased" tracks from iTunes, something's bothering me and I have to speak my peace (and I'm interested to hear what other fans think). I like HTDAAB. But I really like some of these unreleased tracks, too. And I'm starting to think it was poor judgment on the part of U2 and its cadre of producers to replace, for example, Native Son with Vertigo. And to include Fast Cars but not Mercy? Even in its unfinished form, Mercy is solid gold while Fast Cars feels like a plastic hood ornament (Xanax and Wine, on the other hand, at least has a clear message that it's mocking a lifestyle). My wish is for U2 to trust its creative instincts...to continue telling stories through lyric and song...rather than second-guessing / rethinking / tweaking its songs into obscurity based on the opinions of a handful of producers who don't think their music is fun and/or marketable!
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Old 12-22-2004, 07:01 AM   #2
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I'm sorry, but I think this is asinine. You hear a few 'unreleased' tracks and you think you know all about how the process works, and you presume to know the intentions and motivations of the people who make the decisions. This is the reason a lot of artists are afraid for studio bootlegs and working versions of stuff to get out in the first place - people listen and suddenly assume they know everything.

So you like "Native Son" better than "Vertigo" ... fair enough. Everyone has their preferences. But do you have the faintest idea what U2's "creative instincts" actually are? How do you know that it wasn't their "creative instincts" that lead them away from "Native Son" to "Vertigo"? What kind of Jedi mind trick did you use to learn that they changed their minds "based on the opinions of a handful of producers who don't think their music is fun and/or marketable?"

Like I said, asinine.
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Old 12-22-2004, 07:11 AM   #3
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No jedi mind tricks at play here. I was referring to this story floating around suggesting that Steve Lillywhite (in particular) didn't think the early versions of these songs were "fun enough." I completely disagree with him, even if he was one of the album's major producers. I have no idea how U2's creative process works, but I can compare the unreleased with the released versions. I wasn't bashing the band - I love the band and all of these songs - I am just saying that I like some of these rougher versions loads better than what they evolved into.
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Old 12-22-2004, 07:55 AM   #4
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The album versions are much better than the unreleased versions. I actually think U2 should second-guess itself for releasing these unreleased versions at all. It makes them look like a bunch of hacks and puts them in a bad light. In all cases, the released versions are superior.

I also never quite got the raves about Mercy. U2 didn't even release it as a b-side (obviously it wasn't good enough). And if you know your 1980's music, it is obvious that Mercy is nothing but a ripoff of A Flock Of Seagulls' "The More You Live The More You Love."

Cheers,

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Old 12-22-2004, 08:40 AM   #5
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"I actually think U2 should second-guess itself for releasing these unreleased versions at all."

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it's really interesting to see how the "nuts and bolts" of some songs change. On the other hand, it does cause fans to have differing opinions about what their best sound is, especially when two versions have been made available by the band. This same issue bugged me when U2 sort of semi-apologized for their Pop album (by suggesting over the years that it wasn't quite finished when they released it, etc.) and then rerecorded some of those songs for the "Best of..." album. Just my opinion, but I liked the versions on the album loads better than the remade versions, especially "Gone." Of course...you can't please everybody, and the band's gonna do what they want with their music, but I just like some directions better than others and, lately, I'm liking the earlier versions better than some of the reproduced stuff. Does anybody know whether "Always" came before "Beautiful Day", or vice-versa?
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Old 12-22-2004, 09:12 AM   #6
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Native Son and Xanax and Wine are superior to the finished product. Fast Cars is too ethnic to be anything but a novelty. Vertigo is another boring U2 song about hanging out in a dance club while Native Son had some musical fire in it, and was about Leonard Peltier...so it had more lyrical depth.

U2 definately should second guess themselves. Flowerchild and Levitate are better than half the songs on ATYCLB. Had they put those on and nixxed Peace On Earth and WILATW, they might have had a solid album.
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:08 AM   #7
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Right, like U2 aren't second guessing themselves every minute in the studio....

These kind of threads, while they let the poster declare his feelings, serve little purpose because what's done is done. And whether you like Native Son and I love Vertigo that fight has been over with for months.
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:34 AM   #8
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U2 don't need to second guess themselves. There are plenty of people here to do it for them. The wrong tracklist, the wrong lyric, the wrong mix, the wrong guitar tone, the wrong cover art, etc.
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Old 12-22-2004, 11:07 AM   #9
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Alright, well...I'd just like to remind everybody that it's U2 - the band mates themselves - who have made such a big deal about "starting over" this album. They're the ones who have been broadcasting the logic that went into the (re)making of the album, and they're the ones who released the song versions they shit-canned, so I was just wondering whether anybody liked the working versions better than the finished products, because I do in many cases. I am really, truly, seriously wondering whether it was U2's decision, or whether their record company had a hand in "encouraging" the band to morph a serious, politically-driven song like Native Son into a semi-popish, basically meaningless dance hit like Vertigo.
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:58 PM   #10
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I hate to say it, but I agree.

It is clear that U2 spent too much time second guessing themselves throughout the creation of HTDAAB.

They need to just make an album and release it...quit spending so much time dissecting it to pieces.
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:11 PM   #11
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I just think U2 needs to go into the stuido whilst on hiatus from tour after the second leg, bang out 12 songs in a month and release it, like they did with Zooropa. It would be more them and less studio. Perhaps they could even do some of those songs they released on the box set, only finish them. One thing I must say, though, is when I saw the dvd and Bono spoke of some of the solos the Edge was playing and it showed a clip of one, I got sad because I think the Edge should let loose on a few solos and quit playing it so safe. *shrugs* Bono said Edge was trying to be Led Zeppelin on Love and Peace. I think Edge should have proved it.
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:26 PM   #12
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Doesn't a variant of this thread come up every week.

LET IT GO!!

Who knows why some songs go on an album and some don't. Most of the B-sides to The Joshua Tree were great, Lady With The Spinning Head kicks ass, Hallelujah, Here She Comes and A room At THe Heartbreak Hotel were good, Xanax & Wine, Mercy and Flowerchild are great tracks. Some of my favorite U2 songs never made an album!! So what? Spanish Eyes has been played more live than a whole lot of songs that did go on albums and Sweetest Thing (dropped from The JT) became a single.

Trying to figure out the logic in why the band makes the choice to include some songs and not others is like trying to figure out why falling on your face hurts. That's just the way it is!!!!!

By the by, don't we all love these songs and albums. Why is the format they were released in so damn important?
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zoocoustic
I hate to say it, but I agree.

It is clear that U2 spent too much time second guessing themselves throughout the creation of HTDAAB.

They need to just make an album and release it...quit spending so much time dissecting it to pieces.
If they hadn't dissected a song called The Weather Girls to pieces we wouldn't have ever heard I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for.

If they hadn't dissected Lady With the Spinning Head to pieces we wouldn't have gotten UltraViolet (Light My Way) or The Fly.

If they hadn't dissected Always to pieces we wouldn't have gotten Beautiful Day.

If they hadn't dissected a synth piece and a rhythm track to pieces and merged the two we wouldn't have Where the Streets Have No Name.

If they hadn't dissected Sick for Love to pieces we wouldn't have So Cruel.

Look, I love Always, Lady with the Spinning Head and Sick for Love. In some ways I like each track better than the final product. But you don't hear people bitching about BD, the Fly and So Cruel.
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matthew_Page2000


If they hadn't dissected a song called The Weather Girls to pieces we wouldn't have ever heard I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for.

If they hadn't dissected Lady With the Spinning Head to pieces we wouldn't have gotten UltraViolet (Light My Way) or The Fly.

If they hadn't dissected Always to pieces we wouldn't have gotten Beautiful Day.

If they hadn't dissected a synth piece and a rhythm track to pieces and merged the two we wouldn't have Where the Streets Have No Name.

If they hadn't dissected Sick for Love to pieces we wouldn't have So Cruel.

Look, I love Always, Lady with the Spinning Head and Sick for Love. In some ways I like each track better than the final product. But you don't hear people bitching about BD, the Fly and So Cruel.
I agree. And, I know this is straying from the original topic somewhat, but I sometimes feel that Lady With the Spinning Head is as good, or better, than The Fly. That crazy guitar at the beginning gets me everytime. Yet, I still adore The Fly.

It's the same way with these new tracks. I think certain elements of Xanax and Wine are better than Fast Cars, but I still think Fast Cars is a bloody good track.

The only one I really can't get into is Mercy.
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:49 PM   #15
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If U2 never second guessed themselves they would not be a great band.
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:16 PM   #16
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I think it depends on who you talk to. If U2 had put Xanax, mercy, anything else unreleased on the album in another song's place, someone else would have written on this site that U2 should have included the other tracks.
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Old 12-22-2004, 03:15 PM   #17
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There are a lot of U2 songs in circulation that could've or should've been released on albums, but they weren't for whatever reason.

I love Spanish Eyes, but I don't make a habit of insisting that it's better than two or three songs on the Joshua Tree. What's the point?

As I said in my previous post, it doesn't matter what we think really. In the end U2 decide what's best and put it out. When the music buying public stops buying their CDs then maybe they'll second guess what they're doing, but until then they keep on producing hits, so why would they think they made the wrong choice?

Just be happy you can actually here those songs in all their imperfection (according to U2).
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Old 12-22-2004, 07:54 PM   #18
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Re: devil's advocate: Should U2 second-guess itself?

Quote:
Originally posted by ndmaxfield
After downloading U2's "rare and unreleased" tracks from iTunes, something's bothering me and I have to speak my peace (and I'm interested to hear what other fans think). I like HTDAAB. But I really like some of these unreleased tracks, too. And I'm starting to think it was poor judgment on the part of U2 and its cadre of producers to replace, for example, Native Son with Vertigo. And to include Fast Cars but not Mercy? Even in its unfinished form, Mercy is solid gold while Fast Cars feels like a plastic hood ornament (Xanax and Wine, on the other hand, at least has a clear message that it's mocking a lifestyle). My wish is for U2 to trust its creative instincts...to continue telling stories through lyric and song...rather than second-guessing / rethinking / tweaking its songs into obscurity based on the opinions of a handful of producers who don't think their music is fun and/or marketable!
You have a good point. If there is one thing this album sounds like, it is that it is over-produced. Trying to create the perfect 12 songs which eventually leads to making boring safe music. Original versions of All Because Of You, Yahweh and Xanax and Wine are better than the album versions, with songs like Levitate and Love you like Mad better and more fresh sounding than Miracle Drug and City of blinding lights. Also Native Son is nearly as good as Vertigo and probably would have been as good if they had finished it in its present form, and SYCMIOYO, while the vocals are not as good as the album version, there are parts of the original that are far better than it, like Larry's drumming sounds great towards the end of the song, and the omission of the cringeworthy falsetto part which they didn't need to include.
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Old 12-22-2004, 09:19 PM   #19
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Blame Larry.
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Old 12-23-2004, 02:07 AM   #20
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After hearing Levitate, Love you like mad, Flower Child and Smile I say U2 was right not to include them.
While I do like the rocking nature of Xanax and Wine, I also like the Arabic style of Fast cars, so that one is a tie.
Smile is the only one that has potential, and I have a feeling it was the starting point for Mercy anyway.
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