Is it really all just subjective? - U2 Feedback

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Old 02-14-2002, 09:54 AM   #1
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Is it really all just subjective?

When I think of U2's music and the impact it has had on my life I began to wonder why it has not had a similar impact on everyone's lives?

Is the music really no 'better' than that of dozens (or maybe hundreds) of bands whose music has touched the lives of their fans as U2 has ours?

These questions come to mind as I was thinking of a neighbor who is a huge fan of Styx. They buy all their records, travel to concerts, think their music is the greatest ever, etc. Sounds familiar. Yet I wonder how could they be so attached to this music after they have heard U2 who, obviously in our minds, has created the greatest music of all time. I press them and they have heard of U2 and are aware of both older (War/Joshua Tree) and newer (AB/ATYCLB) material and they like it like they do that of dozens or hundreds of other bands.

I am crushed but I don't show it. Is my link to U2 just a happenstance of my life's journey (stumbling upon Boy and a RollingStone story about U2 early in my college years) or simply a chemical reaction in my mind (my favorite color is yellow and I prefer the mountains over the beaches, doesn't everybody)?

Could a simple environmental or physical change in my life resulted in me being a huge Styx fan (hey I did listen to some of their music in the mid 70's and early 80's and have a similar reaction to them as my neigbor does to U2)?

I don't expect to find answers to these questions but as with all of life's great mysteries how do I know that I am correct about U2 or are they just another band with its base of fans of which I am just one. I suppose over time things like record sales, polls, awards and just plain longevity in the world of music will justify their position of musical greatness in my mind and I guess that is all that really should matter.

Yet I fear that U2's music and Rock & Roll in general is fleeting and will be but a blip on the musical journey of man. I also sense that certainly Bono and very likely U2 collectively recognize this and are searching to take their music to a level beyond being just another Rock and Roll band. I think Bono would like to link their music in the collective mind of mankind to greater world issues (disease and poverty and suffering and human dignity) and is certainly on a mission to do this.

Whether the band with Bono's push can achieve this waits to be seen but it certainly provides them great opportunity in the future and makes this an exciting time to be a fan of U2 and this is one thing that a Styx fan cannot look forward to. For them it is just about the music but for us it is about so much more.


[This message has been edited by cm (edited 02-14-2002).]

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Old 02-14-2002, 10:12 AM   #2
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I don't expect to find answers to these questions but as with all of life's great mysteries
this is a good realization. it will probably save you a lot of time
a lot of different things govern an individuals relationship with any sort of cultural 'product' or any object for that matter.

d.a.<--for once i am real me.

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Old 02-22-2002, 10:03 PM   #3
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I have only been a U2 fan for a year(I am only 26), but in that year, they have had an impact on my life. Listening to some songs over and over has helped me when I have had a bad day, and in some cases, even prevented me from hurting myself someway. Some songs have also been fun to "perform" for freinds
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Old 02-22-2002, 10:05 PM   #4
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I meant 16. I am only 16, not 26
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Old 02-23-2002, 12:40 AM   #5
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Same thing. I'm 16 and U2 has helped me tremendously. They've already changed my life. I think music can change lives - but only few artists can change a variety of people's lives - from every nation and backround - like U2. Thank you U2, for shedding the light on me.

"And you give yourself away..."
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Old 02-23-2002, 12:44 AM   #6
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I found U2 when I was 14 - 10 years ago. Life was very intense and painful for me back then, and by the grace of God, U2 and Achtung Baby spoke to me on many levels and it changed me, saved me, transformed me, comforted me and I will never stop thanking them for what they have given to the world with their wonderful gifts.

I'm only asking, but I think you know.

"This is so bad it's gone way past good and back to bad again." - Enid, Ghost World.
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Old 02-23-2002, 01:02 AM   #7
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U2's music drastically changed my life. I discovered them during a crossroads in my life 4 and half yrs ago...and I thank God literally that I did...truth be told, only a trojan horse like u2 could have stole into a heart like mine at the, yes, maybe it is all subjective...but for me..u2's music means the world.
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Old 02-23-2002, 01:20 AM   #8
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Well, my favourite colour is blue and I prefer beaches over the mountains,

Yeah, at the end of the day it's all subjective and U2 are really just another band, and not the most prolific rock'n'roll band either. As for them being just a small blip... well it all depends on how great a scale you pick when you look at something. I mean, humanity itself is just a blip on the history of the Earth, and the Earth is just a blip on the history of the universe, which is very possibly a blip on the history of the multiverse and so on and so forth. All you can really be sure of is how much U2 rates on your personal scale... and it does rate a lot on mine.
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Old 02-24-2002, 03:50 AM   #9
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You've posed a provocative and searching that trips me up every so often, too. Because it drives me crazy sometimes to think that there are sites like this one, fans like we are, as obsessed and fulfilled by their band as we are. Drives me crazy to think that there are certain, er, behaviours I share with groups of (*gag* but this has to be said) know... 'NSync fans. At least to some observers. I've spent a goodly chunk of my rock'n'roll life telling myself I'm not a groupie! Even though I will fly a thousand miles and spend a thousand dollars for one show, four shows -- you all know. It gets harder the older you get, too -- the family understood when I was twenty, but now I'm nearly forty and ... I can afford even MORE shows! LOL
All of which is germane to my point: the arts are but dimly understood in this culture anyway, and the performing arts in particular occupy several levels in the collective psyche, many of them unconscious. We lump it all into "entertainment" -- I recently harrumphed to a friend in a letter:
"U2 and Britney may use the same tools and the same stages, but just don't tell me they're in the same business!" Because they aren't. There's vaudeville and there's classical tragedy. There's Porky's and there's Tom Stoppard. There's the Monkees and there's the Beatles. Which brings us to rock'n'roll's awkward place in the grand cultural scheme.

Thinking people among us readily acknowledge the important work done by artists in rock'n'roll; but maybe we tend to think of it as important to the music, rather than to the culture in general. Will we put Bob Dylan up there with Picasso in the 20th century? (We should, and some have -- but then again, he's a poet.) Will we put Jimi Hendrix up there? Van Morrison? Will we let rock musicians occupy those less obvious levels in the psyche, the ones that great art touches? validation. catharsis. vision. distilment of the pain and glory of living.

Mountains or beaches is subjective, yes; so is the God you find there. So is your worship, so is your "type" who becomes your life partner. "Favourites" have their place, but that word describes both likes and needs. Styx' music may fulfill a need for community, like Britney's, but how much more does it feed? There's catharsis in rock, of course; after that, what? How much more of your life will it address -- commitment, parenting, death, compromise, God, JOY? How much humanity is in your "favourite" artist (painter or guitar player)? This is where "value" makes itself known, not in enthusiastic masses, but in spiritual resonance, in solitude at midnight when your own pain suddenly seems manageable or others' pain becomes real -- when we are all joined somehow in our humanity, when we are made BIGGER through an artist's vision.

Most folks simply don't ask that of their rock bands. We do, and U2 delivers.

There's an endless debate, of course, about what constitutes "art," and that's not my point. That's subjective. (Depth and universality of "subjective" impact counts for something there, is about all you can say.) I guess I only want to say, don't fear you are misled believing in the substance of U2. (Actually, ZooTV was all about this cultural disorientation: the Ode to Joy and infomercials, you know?) There's belly-flops and there's baptism -- both have their function in life. It isn't that one is better, only that one is bigger, it holds more. It carries more. Sometimes U2 carries my life entirely in one song. My life is sprawling now and messy, it's heavy, it's dark and bloody in spots...and U2 meets me where I live, still. I'm spiritually ravenous, and U2 keeps me fed... as few can in their "business."

It's late, I'm listening to Your Blue Room and North and South of the River over and over, and I hope this makes a little sense in the morning.

thanks for asking,
thanks for listening.

in solidarity,
Deb D

take some time out and entertain the questions of a
longing heart
-- Steve Beard

the greatest frontman in the world - by truecoloursfly:

[This message has been edited by truecoloursfly (edited 02-24-2002).]
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Old 02-26-2002, 03:30 AM   #10
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Thank you so much, Curt and Deb ! so beautifully written. You said it all for me.
The subjective thing will always be a mystery. I've given up trying to work it out. I know we are all blessed to have U2 in our lives. We are the lucky ones, so sod the rest.



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