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Old 09-07-2002, 11:23 PM   #1
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Did You Like It Better When U2 Were "Cool"?

For me, U2 were never the "cool" band anyway, and in fact have always been about being "uncool" - by wearing their hearts on their collective sleeve. Like Brian Eno said, "cool" implies a detachment, really a sign of someone whose afraid of themselves, a sign of insecurity. U2 are about being vulnerable, honest, and thereby being open to criticism as a result. So, yeah, I like the fact that they are so "uncool". Anyway, I was just over at the main Coldplay message board, looking for info on the B-side 'One I Love', and out of interest I checked out the "Other Music" forum. There's a thread entitled, "U2 please stop". Here's a couple sample posts:

"U2 have become "actors". They are nothing like they used to be. Bono is no longer a lead singer, Bono is a "role " that he slips into. They have not really been relevant for years...."

and...

wow. this has exloded.
u2 is overrated. more than any other band ever. they had some good stuph. but had is the key word. hey you guys, lets come out with not one, but two greatest hits albums before we are even done making music, so that we can make more money for some unknown stupid reason.
their songs no longer invoke emotion like they may have like 10 years ago. now its all junk that is merely bla, its not terrible, but its not good. there are so many other bands out there that sound no different. and some smart guy can copy that and reply to it by saying "thats cause they copied off of u2" but guess what, those bands arent good either. u2 is good for nothing more than music in the background any more. music to do things to, because if you are doing nothing but listening to it, you will get bored and change it. they sell records because they used to be good.
and they said they were going to stop making music about 3 years ago, but damnit, they just had to make more. retire already. music is supposed to make you feel something, not just fill a void of silence. which is what their music does.


As bad as some of the writing in the second post is, I feel a lot of people share this opinion. I'm not saying it necessarily matters, but it's interesting. As for the thread itself, what's even worse is that some of the U2 fans who are defending U2 (how embarrassing) are actually more ignorant than the people who hate U2!!

Here's the link:
http://coldplay.artscience.net/vbb/s...?threadid=9523

I would have thought that most fans of Coldplay would mostly at least *respect* U2 even if they didn't like them, as Coldplay has been so heavily influenced by our Irish lads. Apparently not, though. It makes me wonder if U2 are even relevent among the "music fan elite" anymore, and further makes me wonder if that's even important. I talk with a lot of younger people, and it seems most of them don't like U2, or really care about U2, for that matter. One guy I work with said, "I didn't even like U2 when they were cool..." Kind of funny. (He must be talking about War and Achtung Baby, how's that for irony!) Do you think U2 have lost touch with the "kids"? Or is their current work for an older audience? Why do I feel so old all of a sudden? (Quarter life crisis, here) I would have thought a Coldplay forum would be indicative of general good taste, but apparently U2 aren't too popular in the wider-spectrum of things (and I don't mean mainstream radio and MTV, etc). Just mean what fans of music are generally listening to.

So the question I pose to you: now that U2 aren't the "cool" band anymore, do you want them to be again? Or do you prefer it this way? Thoughts to ponder...

On a side note, why is War always considered to be such a "cool" album when it's the most headstrong, foot-heavy, question seeking, honest, frightened, absolutely no artifice, heart on their perpetual sleeves album they've ever released?
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Old 09-07-2002, 11:29 PM   #2
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So long as they make good tunes, I could give a flying f*** what anyone else thinks...I do think it's interesting that people view them as "overrated" or "only actors"...but it only proves that most people make decisions and comments based on one experience, song, or album that a band puts out...

U2=Best band in the world. No question.
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Old 09-07-2002, 11:52 PM   #3
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U2 has always been cool.
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Old 09-07-2002, 11:56 PM   #4
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interesting stuff Michael, well I know that U2 were extremely un-cool around the time of Pop, and a lot of the younger generation seems to view them as a novelty act, a band that their older siblings or parents lilked, and it's not cool to like the bands your parents liked, right? I'm not sure how it is in other countries cause I don't live there, but I know in the US the "cool" mainstream bands that young people like are Korn, Papa Roach, Incubus, System of a Down, Tool, Puddle of Mud... you know, all those Oz Fest bands

I liked the Smashing Pumpkins before they were cool, while they were cool, and long after they weren't cool, and that happens to many bands but the Pumpkins rank in my top 3 all-time and I've saw their complete ride from unknown to cool to uncool; I wasn't a U2 fan from the beginning, but I liked them in the 80s and they went from cool during JT, to uncool during R&H to cool again during Zoo TV to uncool during Pop, now I'm not sure what they are... and I don't really care if mass culture defines them as cool or not cool

it's troubling that coldplay fans have that opinion of U2, if fans of a somewhat comparable band take that stance, I shudder to think what everyone else thinks...
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Old 09-08-2002, 12:21 AM   #5
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michael, please stop

you're freaking me out. ive posted on that board and in that thread!
lol

now thats a funky moonbeam moment if ever ive seen one.
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Old 09-08-2002, 12:21 AM   #6
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I think, honestly, that most Coldplay fans really like U2 - the few wankers on that Coldplay forum certainly got their ears boxed by fans of both.

I think, in this case, U2 may be victims of their own success - that there are people who haven't ever really given them a chance just BECAUSE so many other people like them.

U2's now been around for a really long time. If you saw the number of grammies they've won (seven in the last two years), the MONSTER tour they had, etc., you'd think them another Rolling Stones - and would assume they've been on autopilot for the last few years. But that would require you to ALSO ignore the music.

It's hard to imagine that anyone who actually listened to ATYCLB or went to the Elevation tour can think they no longer matter.
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Old 09-08-2002, 02:22 AM   #7
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I think Bono always played a role of rock musician, his role playing is what carried U2 through two decades.His antics often shield U2 as musicians, if you ask me, I think he would like to give that role anyday.But to date he is doing a damn good job playing it.

If somebody like a band because its image is cool, then what can be done about it. I know image is an important part of the show biz, but the core of the show biz is based on art.Same for the rock n roll. I dont listen to music because of its image.Sure Eminem is way too cool and I am not way too old, but I'd never like music because of the image of the musician. Good music always create its own cool image.

As for people who make those comments on some boards.All I can say is that their understanding of U2 is very limited. They obviously are not aware of the world around them, their own cushion of comfort is way too grand for the uncool or cool. Its ironic that we are asking this question when once again U2's popularity and respect is on all time high.
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Old 09-08-2002, 02:52 AM   #8
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Re: Did You Like It Better When U2 Were "Cool"?

Quote:
Originally posted by Michael Griffiths


So the question I pose to you: now that U2 aren't the "cool" band anymore, do you want them to be again? Or do you prefer it this way? Thoughts to ponder...
They are a band that is loved by the mainstream -- which makes them tragically uncool -- but I forgive them. I like their stuff.
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Old 09-08-2002, 02:57 AM   #9
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I've heard this before and sometimes it is really weird to be (seemingly) the only one at my college who is a U2 fan. I've run into others, but I wouldn't say we're the majority.

But it's good music...I listen to music because I enjoy it, not because it's popular. People are way too influenced by trends anyway. I kind of wish U2 was as hugely, universally popular as they once were because they do have such a positive message.

But you know, they are still highly respected by musicians--especially for the fact that they're still going strong and to me, that always says something. Look at how everyone jumped aboard the "What's Going On" single. The best critics still respect them too. You'll notice the majority of music critics just follow two patterns--trends, or anti establishment.

And anyway, I look at it this way...the hot thing at my college is underground music, especially techno. And if everyone is listening to it, well, to me it's as good as mainstream. So by listening to someone like U2, I therefore am underground and very cool.

Elisabeth
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Old 09-08-2002, 05:04 AM   #10
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With the music tastes being as fragmented as they are now, it's pretty inevitable that for every person who likes a certain band/artist, there's going to be another person who doesn't give a damn about them. So I wouldn't give much thought to what some people might say about U2 because you can bet there're thousands people in the world who don't give a damn about -their- favourite music. Especially when it comes to the bands like U2 who, as I've learned, have always tended to polarise the music lovers. And I imagine that some Coldplay fans might be quite annoyed by the inevitable and constant comparisons to U2 everyone makes.

I never thought of U2 as "cool" since I largely agree with Brian Eno's definition of cool that Michael quoted in his original post (and for the same reason, I can't say that I consider Coldplay to be a "cool" band either). They were never about being popular with the "music fan elite" either, so I guess that's another big sign of uncoolness too. It's pretty much inevitable that most of the teens may view U2 as their older sibling's band of choice (in the best case), but that's just a fact of life, and I find it rather admirable that the boys seem to be unashamed about their age.
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Old 09-08-2002, 05:25 AM   #11
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Re: Did You Like It Better When U2 Were "Cool"?

Quote:
Originally posted by Michael Griffiths
So the question I pose to you: now that U2 aren't the "cool" band anymore, do you want them to be again? Or do you prefer it this way? Thoughts to ponder...
i'd prefer for the band to be cool on their own terms. i often feel they have good instincts but they screw up at the crucial moments for the sake of the masses. for instance, "Pop" is a perfect example of this for me - they had a great idea but they wimped out. "Zooropa" is much more daring to me than "Pop," baring 'mofo,' of course. and "atyclb" is wierd for me, they reestablished themselves in the mainstream, but they could have done it with more authority, based upon their soundtrack releases and later releases. [/B][/QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally posted by Michael Griffiths
On a side note, why is War always considered to be such a "cool" album when it's the most headstrong, foot-heavy, question seeking, honest, frightened, absolutely no artifice, heart on their perpetual sleeves album they've ever released?
not sure with this one, but they had some really convincing singles with "war."
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Old 09-08-2002, 06:51 AM   #12
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wink

I don't know what you're talking about. U2 are cool! People think they're cool, and it's lucky they were able to win that rep back after becoming a laughingstock to most during Pop. The problem is that now they are 'old' and some people cannot accept older people as cool. As an 'old' person myself, having grown up with rock and roll, I know that this new generation of 'old' farts is not what 'old' was in the past, so people need to get that stereotype out of their heads. Still, many teens find Ozzy or Aerosmith cool, and they are a lot older than U2. Of course not everybody feels that way, but that might be it in a lot of ways.
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Old 09-08-2002, 07:41 AM   #13
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id love it if my mates liked U2. its not like they hate them , but they have other favourite bands. im the only U2 fan i know.

U2 are the best band in the world; i wish people would see that.
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Old 09-08-2002, 08:01 AM   #14
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Look at the evidence of their popularity:

Elevation 2001 Tour a sellout

80,000 tickets for Slane sold out in half a hour, and the demand was 250,000!

If they are uncool it seems to me that U2 are the "cool" band to see live, or one of the must see bands before you die or before they split up!

In the hearts of U2 fans they will always be cool!
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Old 09-08-2002, 09:09 AM   #15
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What other people think about them really doesn't change my opinion. For me, they will always be the best band in the world.
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Old 09-08-2002, 11:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by pub crawler


They are a band that is loved by the mainstream -- which makes them tragically uncool -- but I forgive them. I like their stuff.
same here
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Old 09-08-2002, 12:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Homey
U2 has always been cool.
Yes! I have always like U2 and will always like them wether or not someone else thinks they are cool or not! I dont like a band bc someone else likes them and I dont dislike a band bc someone dislikes them.

Personally, If someone is worrying about wether or not a band, whatever band that is, (in this case its U2) are cool or not is obviviously not listening to the music!


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Old 09-08-2002, 12:43 PM   #18
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It depends on how you define "cool". some people here may think mainstream =cool and some underground =cool.

From my point of view, it seems u2 is cool in a mainstream kind of way. U2 is one of the biggest bands in the world right now.
Among the people I hang with, U2 is the opposite of cool. I don't think U2 ever were cool amongst indie or underground-people, U2 is way to big and they don't make the kind of music those people appreciate. I like both indie-bands and U2, 'cause I think U2 has been the only expeption amongst such big bands to not sell out. Nowadays I've changed my opinion a bit about U2 selling out, I think they have, but I still consider myself a fan. but if the next record sucks like atyclb did I'm ripping my U2-posters off the wall.
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Old 09-08-2002, 01:03 PM   #19
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Personally I do not care if U2 is considered cool or uncool and I doubt they do.What u2s music is about and the subjects they deal with may not be cool (or commercial to some)but to me they say what they beleive and that is the COOLEST!!
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Old 09-08-2002, 01:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by u2sangel
Personally I do not care if U2 is considered cool or uncool and I doubt they do.What u2s music is about and the subjects they deal with may not be cool (or commercial to some)but to me they say what they beleive and that is the COOLEST!!
I think so too! I'd hate to see them do something they didn't want to do just to impress someone else. I want them to do what THEY believe, THAT makes them cool!
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