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Old 07-22-2004, 04:55 PM   #1
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Does U2 take themselves too seriously?

Just curious if anyone can think of another band that takes as long to make albums, and makes such a monstrous deal about the marketing of their albums. I realize that there is a lot of money at stake with any U2 album and the marketing is going to happen and be on a huge scale, but what about the intense secrecy. They never play songs on tour that they have recently written or before the album comes out, and they just take so much care in everything they do.
All that said they are great at what they do and that includes marketing and building hype so I'm not saying its wrong its just I can't think of any band that is so in control of every aspect of their careers. Is it because they take themselves too seriously? I personally think they are just such perfectionist there is no quick or easy way for U2 to do anything.
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Old 07-22-2004, 05:51 PM   #2
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Hello,

I don't think that U2 take themselves too seriously, but they do take their music serious. I know, this is almost a direct Bono quote, but I do think it's largely true. As you state, they do take their time to make albums and take into consideration the marketing of the album. Because that is about the music and if they feel they have a great album they want to 'sell' it to as many people as possible (as Bono once described it, 'even by going door to door if that's what it takes').
But about themselves, I don't think they take it too serious. Bono (and the others, but Bono is the main person who speaks most to the media) can relativate their situation and all of them can laugh about it (some great examples are in the At The End Of The World book and also BP Fallon's Faraway So Close).

As for your statement that they never play songs on tour that they have recently written or before the album comes out, that's not entirely correct. Granted, it does not happen often (especially the second example you mention because U2 rarely tour before the release of an album). They're also not writing many songs in the traditional manner (with Bono/Edge writing out the lyrics and music and then playing it with the whole band). Rather, they jam and improvise and come up with melodies over which Bono chants some words. Only at the very end will Bono (with the help of The Edge) put lyrics to the songs. So they basically don't have songs ready to play when they're touring.
Occasionally it has happened though. During the Lovetown tour they were already performing Slow Dancing. At the last tour they did play an improvisation at the second Antwerp concert. Their Australian tour of 1984 was before the release of The Unforgettable Fire, but did include songs of that album. And they performed Trip Through Your Wires for a TV audience about a year before the release of The Joshua Tree.
So even though it doesn't happen often, it does happen from time to time.

C ya!

Marty
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:12 PM   #3
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no band can take their music too seriously
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:25 PM   #4
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They take themselves seriously, whether or not they take themselves too seriously is just a matter of personal opinion. I, for example, do not believe they take themselves too seriously based on being a fan of theirs from 1991 and on during their whole "we're going to show the world we do not take ourselves too seriously phase."

People bring up the point about U2 taking "forever" to release albums and a span of 4 years between albums seems like a long time, and it is I suppose, but people need to take into account that these past 4 years they toured until early 2002, they released 2 DVDs and a Best Of as well as recorded a few new songs in 2002, had other obligations and such during 2003 and actually did take time to record a new album at their own pace, not rushed, in order to give us a good product. If they did absolutely NOTHING since the Elevation tour ended then I would probably be wondering what the hell has taken so long.

My only complaint is that U2 really hasn't "Gone away" so there is no allure as to what they're doing, like say, back in 1990 when the Lovetown Tour ended and the Achtung Baby sessions began. It was like they actually fell off the face of the earth and came back this entirely different band. With the advent of the internet and their ability to remain in the public eye almost 2 years after the Elevation tour ended it seems like U2 really hasn't gone away and there is no "mystique" or any real intrigue as to what is going to happen next. There is just the anticipation of wanting to hear new U2 music and that's about it.
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:29 PM   #5
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I hope not
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Old 07-22-2004, 08:09 PM   #6
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Wouldn't you?
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Old 07-22-2004, 09:00 PM   #7
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I don't think they ever did, even when they got accused of it. Do you mean they overvalue their importance, delusions of grandeur, is that it? If so, I agree with Najeena. Wouldn't you?
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Old 07-22-2004, 09:20 PM   #8
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I think as people they don't take themselves seriously. There too rich and enjoying there life to worry about such things. As for there art (music) I think they are serious enough that they are one of the lucky ones to actually have full control of that aspect of there profession and they are just going to do the best that they can to come out with a great product= a kick ass record this coming November!
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Old 07-22-2004, 11:21 PM   #9
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Themselves=no. Music=yes! And I do think they are ALL perfectionist-and why it takes so long for them to produce new music
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Old 07-22-2004, 11:34 PM   #10
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wanted to clarify that i wasn't talking about themselves and their own perceptions but the music / business side of the band. after meeting bono and edge, the first words i always use to describe them both was extremely humble. I simply was asking is there any band that is so careful and deliberate about everything they do professionally? there is not really a band around presently of U2's stature so it is hard to gauge, but for example radiohead went on tour to simply try out new songs (2002 spain and portugal), and frequently plays new material and doesn't seem to be so secretive about every move. Its not even that they take so much time, or are so particular about the music but the way they almost hide what they are doing.
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Old 07-23-2004, 03:07 AM   #11
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Their label takes them very seriously because of that whole $$$$$$$ thing. They can make a lot of it for the label, so the marketing for U2 will by default be much larger than just about any other artist at Universal Music.

The music has always been serious. Many big commercail artists who tour extensively take years in between albums. It's the nature of the beast. Nince Inch Nails, who aren't nearly on U2's level will put out an album this fall, their first since 1999, and before that it was 1994. Peter Gabriel took 10 years to make a follow up to So.

4 years is only a long time to an anxiously awaiting fan, which most of us are. In the grand scheme of things, I think it's just par for the course.
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Old 07-23-2004, 05:23 AM   #12
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Sorry David, but the idea of a band 'going away' will not happen anymore, especially for the devouted fans. I've been a fan if U2 since 1984 and the whole mystique of the band etween albums was that you didn't have a clue what they were doing, what they looked like etc. T'internet has put those days behind us, especially when the band goes back into the studio with fans camped outside reporting on Bono's every change of shirt and length of stubble, never mind any music heard through windows.

I would love to just catch the new single played on the radio 'for the first time' as I used to on Radio 1 here in the UK. Such excitement and apprehension. But I'll be tuned in to catch any 30 second clip, leaked or not, on the net , now I know the album is finished.

Now I like REM as well, but not to the extent of U2 and I don't frequent any boards or news sites and to me they've 'gone away'
as they don't do any press that I read and so I'll be getting my fix of opening the Cd case and listening for the first time, with their next release. U2 will never 'go away' from my weekly life now that I've daily access to what they're doing.
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Old 07-23-2004, 05:39 AM   #13
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I think when they need to.... they will but they're pretty nice guys really
I mean if it's business then it's business and ONLY a business
Don't forget they don't draw in big big money commercially, because they never to go commercial and have endorsements on tours.
Perhaps the label yes....don't forget U2 have always stuck to the same label, the music industry is bid, fierce and competitive
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Old 07-23-2004, 08:31 AM   #14
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I never understood what it means to "take oneself too seriously". I don't see what they're doing that's wrong or needs to be changed. As for the time between albums, so what? I'm sure we can all find at least one other group to listen to. U2 have lives outside of their music; their not hippies that travel around on broken down busses and shack up with groupies b/c they don't have anything else to do in the mean time. Maybe other bands should spend MORE time on THEIR records Besides, it's not like U2've done nothing in the past few years - we have a two new singles, 2 new DVDs, and a new Best Of.
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