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Old 12-21-2004, 06:47 PM   #1
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All That You Can't Leave Behind IS U2's Third Masterpiece.

As well all see pretty much everyday here on Interference, U2's once beloved album, All That You Can't Leave Behind is gaining a notoriously bad reputation. There are many reasons for this. One reason is because of the new album out. People can't help but compare it to ATYCLB. If they really love the new album then they are amazed at "how much better it is than ATYCLB". If they don't like the new album then it's "This is almost as bad as that crap they put out in 2000."

Another reason might be because of those few people "hate" it. And those are the ones who voice their opinions the loudest. Every day it seems as if there are more and more of them. The one thing that I'm trying to stess in this post is that this album was praised as U2's third masterpiece the year it came out, and continued to recieve praise well into 2001 and even early 2002 because of the tone it took on after September 11th. What's my point? My point is that this truely is one of U2's best albums.

Before I get into this album too much here I'd like to state that I think How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is an incredibly strong album, but I'm still not sure yet how exaclty it compares to the rest of their catalogue. Give me another year before I make that desicion.

All That You Can't Leave Behind is not a rock album. It is a pop album. It is a pop album with a good fair amount of rock songs on it, but a pop album nontheless. When most people hear something described as a "pop album" they cringe. Srgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was a pop album. R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People was a pop album. Those are two very highly aclaimed albums by two very well-known and talented bands. Anyone would be quick to call them rock albums, but in reality they are true "pop" records. They are extremely melodic, a bit more complex than your classic rock album, and focus more on the acctual "song" than on the overall theme of the album. The thing is, will all great pop albums, when the songs are good enough, they make the album a great one.

U2's 2000 release accomplished two very important things for U2's career. First, it made them the biggest band in the world once again, a title they have not had since The Joshua Tree. Secondly, and more importantly, U2 finally opened up to embrace what they were trying to ignore all throughout the 90's. After they were finished with all the irony and emmersions into dance-rock, U2 welcomed real pop music with open arms and clean souls. U2 finally just let the song-writing come straight from the heart with no precomceptions except to want to knock us on our asses.

You see, All That You Can't Leave Behind is no the return to rock roots that all the critics were hailing it as. This album was a completely new venue for U2 to write music in. With the brilliant guidance of Daniel Lanois and Bring Eno, the band crafted brilliant songs with beautiful melody and precise musical accomaniment. This isn't the U2 we know and love. This is a U2 that we've never really seen before. It's scary. There's no more waving white flags from scafolding, painted roses or bleeding hearts. Gone is the glam and glitter of Macphisto, and gone are the giant lemons and funk space junk. In it's place is honesty. In it's place is songwriting on a higher level.

"Beautiful Day" is the perfect pop song. It's got a great guitar riff. It's got a catchy chorus and intimate verse. The bridge is next to heaven and the song just soars over us like a jet. Oh it's more than just a pop song. Not anyone can write a song as perfect as this. Not any artist can create a song as powerful and seamingly delicate at "Kite". Only U2 can create something so light and so floating as this album, but at the same time create something so pensive and strong as this album.

With All That You Can't Leave Behind, U2 created a near perfect pop masterpiece. The only problem is how people percieve it. In the beginning the majority saw this album for what it is. Four years later it seems as if other influences, stubborn or confused are clouding what makes this album so beautiful. It is just my wish that in time, even if it takes another 20 years, this album will be seen as a landmark album in this millennium.

Thanks for 'listening',
Lance.
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Old 12-21-2004, 07:05 PM   #2
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Great post, man. I think most people recognize the greatness of ATYCLB, and that even extends outside of U2's hardcore fanbase. But, I would only disagree with you slightly. ATYCLB is U2's FOURTH masterpiece. I think 'Zooropa' sticks out as nothing like the band has ever done before and exudes brilliance in tracks 1-10. I'd say it is U2 masterpiece number three

ATYCLB was very important, and a great, great album. Thanks for posting this.
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Old 12-21-2004, 07:49 PM   #3
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There is no third masterpiece as of yet (although HTDAAB has a lot of promise).
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Old 12-21-2004, 08:23 PM   #4
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There are 4 masterpieces: Boy, JT, AB, HTDAAB.
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Old 12-21-2004, 08:28 PM   #5
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Lancemc - if it's going to take YOU a year from today to decide whether HTDAAB is a great album, then you must also allow that four years may have been plenty of time for a lot of perfectly rational U2 fans to conclude that ATYCLB is a bland album, especially after such adventurous fare as Achtung Baby and Zooropa and POP (and earlier risks like The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree) and is not quite the timeless masterpiece that even they thought it was on its release. In any event, the lengthy case that you've just laid out is just an opinion, not a fact. And, calling fellow fans 'clouded', 'stubborn' thinkers isn't the most effective method of persuasion a person could come up with.
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Old 12-21-2004, 09:17 PM   #6
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I love ATYCLB, but it is not quite on the same level as JT or AB. I think it just missed.

I think HTDAAB, while also a fantastic album, just misses as well.

I think the third masterpiece is coming. Especially if there are more songs like "Mercy" lying around...
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Old 12-21-2004, 09:58 PM   #7
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[qupte]All That You Can't Leave Behind IS U2's Third Masterpiece.[/quote]
You make good arguments, but if I may say so, you are overreacting to the backlash against ATTCLB. It's a fairly good album.
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Old 12-21-2004, 10:14 PM   #8
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Re: All That You Can't Leave Behind IS U2's Third Masterpiece.

Quote:
Originally posted by Lancemc
As well all see pretty much everyday here on Interference, U2's once beloved album, All That You Can't Leave Behind is gaining a notoriously bad reputation. There are many reasons for this. One reason is because of the new album out. People can't help but compare it to ATYCLB. If they really love the new album then they are amazed at "how much better it is than ATYCLB". If they don't like the new album then it's "This is almost as bad as that crap they put out in 2000."

Another reason might be because of those few people "hate" it. And those are the ones who voice their opinions the loudest. Every day it seems as if there are more and more of them. The one thing that I'm trying to stess in this post is that this album was praised as U2's third masterpiece the year it came out, and continued to recieve praise well into 2001 and even early 2002 because of the tone it took on after September 11th. What's my point? My point is that this truely is one of U2's best albums.

Before I get into this album too much here I'd like to state that I think How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is an incredibly strong album, but I'm still not sure yet how exaclty it compares to the rest of their catalogue. Give me another year before I make that desicion.

All That You Can't Leave Behind is not a rock album. It is a pop album. It is a pop album with a good fair amount of rock songs on it, but a pop album nontheless. When most people hear something described as a "pop album" they cringe. Srgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was a pop album. R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People was a pop album. Those are two very highly aclaimed albums by two very well-known and talented bands. Anyone would be quick to call them rock albums, but in reality they are true "pop" records. They are extremely melodic, a bit more complex than your classic rock album, and focus more on the acctual "song" than on the overall theme of the album. The thing is, will all great pop albums, when the songs are good enough, they make the album a great one.

U2's 2000 release accomplished two very important things for U2's career. First, it made them the biggest band in the world once again, a title they have not had since The Joshua Tree. Secondly, and more importantly, U2 finally opened up to embrace what they were trying to ignore all throughout the 90's. After they were finished with all the irony and emmersions into dance-rock, U2 welcomed real pop music with open arms and clean souls. U2 finally just let the song-writing come straight from the heart with no precomceptions except to want to knock us on our asses.

You see, All That You Can't Leave Behind is no the return to rock roots that all the critics were hailing it as. This album was a completely new venue for U2 to write music in. With the brilliant guidance of Daniel Lanois and Bring Eno, the band crafted brilliant songs with beautiful melody and precise musical accomaniment. This isn't the U2 we know and love. This is a U2 that we've never really seen before. It's scary. There's no more waving white flags from scafolding, painted roses or bleeding hearts. Gone is the glam and glitter of Macphisto, and gone are the giant lemons and funk space junk. In it's place is honesty. In it's place is songwriting on a higher level.

"Beautiful Day" is the perfect pop song. It's got a great guitar riff. It's got a catchy chorus and intimate verse. The bridge is next to heaven and the song just soars over us like a jet. Oh it's more than just a pop song. Not anyone can write a song as perfect as this. Not any artist can create a song as powerful and seamingly delicate at "Kite". Only U2 can create something so light and so floating as this album, but at the same time create something so pensive and strong as this album.

With All That You Can't Leave Behind, U2 created a near perfect pop masterpiece. The only problem is how people percieve it. In the beginning the majority saw this album for what it is. Four years later it seems as if other influences, stubborn or confused are clouding what makes this album so beautiful. It is just my wish that in time, even if it takes another 20 years, this album will be seen as a landmark album in this millennium.

Thanks for 'listening',
Lance.
U2 has been the biggest band in the world since 1987. Even during times when sales were much lower like POP in 1997. It is true that since about 1994, U2 were no longer the most popular band in the United States and ATYCLB put them back on top in the United States. But worldwide U2 has remained the most popular band without let up, overall, since 1987.
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Old 12-21-2004, 11:05 PM   #9
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Yes, Sting2 you're right, but Lancemc is saying that the actual album is U2's third masterpiece. I love ATYCLB, those who are very vocal in their disapproval for it seem to be enamored with U2's 90's work. Nothing wrong with that, but with ATYCLB U2 stepped back, took a page out of their book and then stepped back into the new century.

Not everything can be as adventurous as Zooropa or Pop. Maybe they blew their wad in that sort of experimental phase, and moved onto making strong albums with great songs. To suddenly diss ATYCLB because a new album has arrived or it's not as "experimental" is close minded.

The album has beautiful melodies, and catchy choruses. The songs played well in concert as compared to some of the songs on Pop which never did translate (can we say Staring At The Sun, Miami and If God Will Send His Angels?). Pop is a good album by a great band. The road that U2 was traveling down at the time was exciting and new, however they were forced to take a shortcut and really never got to their destination. The band has said so themselves. The album we got is perfect imperfection. It is not a bad album, however when it hiccups it noticeable.

ATYCLB is a very good album and it has its share of hiccups, but they are minor in comparison in my opinion. I still think this is U2's strongest melodical album, though HTDAAB is moving up very quickly. It has some weak spots, but overall it's a great album.

That is my 2 1/2 cents on that.
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:12 AM   #10
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I agree that ATYCLB is not a return to rock roots. It has its own very distinctive sound. That in itself is an accomplishment.
But only the first half of the album is really great. I simply stop my cd player when it's time for "wild honey".
And I'm not just skipping past that song.
I can understand why you think it is important for U2 to be the biggest band in the world. Some of us witnessed the fall of Simple Minds. They competed with U2 in the 80's but it only took one crappy album to knock them off the centerstage.
The reason might be, that a supergroup cannot exist on lower levels. Is that the problem with U2?
Or is that why you rate the position of U2 as the biggest band in the world to be so important?
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:48 AM   #11
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Re: All That You Can't Leave Behind IS U2's Third Masterpiece.

Quote:
Originally posted by Lancemc
You see, All That You Can't Leave Behind is no the return to rock roots that all the critics were hailing it as. This album was a completely new venue for U2 to write music in. With the brilliant guidance of Daniel Lanois and Bring Eno, the band crafted brilliant songs with beautiful melody and precise musical accomaniment. This isn't the U2 we know and love. This is a U2 that we've never really seen before. It's scary. There's no more waving white flags from scafolding, painted roses or bleeding hearts. Gone is the glam and glitter of Macphisto, and gone are the giant lemons and funk space junk. In it's place is honesty. In it's place is songwriting on a higher level.

I particularly liked this paragraph. U2 went into the direction of pop and soul, and pulled it off well.

I also agree, and I read it recently on this forum, that Lillywhite said their songwriting is better than ever. They mastered the craft on the last two albums and are comfortable with just being a band.

As for it being a masterpiece, I don't know - the first 6 songs is definitely some very strong material.
U2 has the bad luck of always competing with their 80's material as far as songs are concerned and JT and AB as far as albums go - and I'm not sure they matched those two yet. I would say HTDAAB comes close, as it is one of the few U2 albums that doesn't let up in the second half.
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:19 AM   #12
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ATYCLB has already been declared by Rolling Stone mag as U2's third masterpiece to go alongside Achtung and JT which are also Eno/Lanois collaborations. I don't think there is any need to argue this. Rolling Stone's declaration is usually gospel truth. Even back in `85 before U2 released JT, Rolling Stone already correctly declared U2 as band of the decade.

Cheers,

J
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:07 AM   #13
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I know its early days, but for me HTDAAB is shaping up to be their 3rd masterpiece. ATYCLB has some outstanding songs on it, but I think HTDAAB is a much stronger piece of work from start to finish.
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:32 AM   #14
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1. Achtung Baby
2. Boy
3. Pop
4. HTDAAB
5. War
6. Zooropa
7. The Unforgettable Fire
8. JT
9. October
10. ATYCanLB
11. R&H

...enough said...

ATYCanLB is NOT a 3rd masterpiece... and I'm talking about personal choices this time, but about all U2 albums... that's why:

Quote:
There's no more waving white flags from scafolding, painted roses or bleeding hearts. Gone is the glam and glitter of Macphisto, and gone are the giant lemons and funk space junk. In it's place is honesty. In it's place is songwriting on a higher level.
...yes, maybe... but you do realise that this "higher" level is totaly empty? You actualy said it yourself, there is nothing in it...

Quote:
It is just my wish that in time, even if it takes another 20 years, this album will be seen as a landmark album in this millennium.
yeah... just like every Britney album...


Lance, do you realise that you mentioned 2 songs in your very long... thing? And that's what ATYCanLB realy is... 2 or 3 songs (diferent songs for diferent people) and no matter how good those songs are, they will never make a great album. Album has 11 songs, remember?

Right now I like this album even less. I mean after we got those outtakes from iTunes... When you have Levitate, Stateless, GBHF... all written after Pop... this album had a big chance do be their best, but somewhere in the songwriting they started to think about the money to much...
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:49 AM   #15
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What Jick said
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Old 12-22-2004, 04:16 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aardvark747
What Jick said
Is full of infinite wisdom
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Old 12-22-2004, 06:25 AM   #17
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No U2 album has so many mediocre or even weak songs in it. Without any innovation, just tired pop songs like Peace on Earth, Grace, Wild Honey, the embarassing Elevation, In a Little While, When I Look at the World.
ATYCLB was a great live album. Beautiful Day, Walk On and Kite really went somewhere live. They are great songs and absolutely the high spot of their 2000 songwriting. Other than that, this album for me was very disappointing.
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Old 12-22-2004, 07:50 AM   #18
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neither Joshua Tree nor Achtung Baby would make my top 3 favourite U2 albums, but being a masterpiece and personal opinion are 2 completely seperate issues

if there would be such a thing as a third masterpiece it would most definitely be ATYCLB
mostly for the reasons mentioned in the excellent original post in this thread and definitely because of what the album accomplished for U2
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:27 AM   #19
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IMO, every U2 album is a masterpiece - they are all the soundtrack to my life.

With that said, AB and JT are widely considered the 2 masterpieces. I don't think ATYCLB would be the 3rd. I enjoy every song on it, but the 2nd half isn't nearly as strong as the first half. In order for it to be a classic, it must be brilliant the whole way through.

HTDAAB, IMO, is excellent all the way through. However, I am not yet able to cannonize it as the 3rd masterpiece. Only time will tell...i need more time to live....have more life experiences.....& then revisist the album and see if it still sounds fresh and exciting.

I do have a strong feeling though, that this album will sound excellent in the live setting, just as AB/JT did/do.
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Old 12-22-2004, 09:01 AM   #20
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ATYCLB would be some band's masterpiece, but it doesn't even remotely compare to any of U2's.
It's too bland, lopsided, bloated with awkward lyrics and ruined by a horrible tracklisting. It's got serious problems and sounds too sophmoric for a band that's been around for as long as U2 had at the time of release.
It was nice, but it was no masterpiece, don't kid yourself.
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