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Old 09-22-2003, 04:56 PM   #1
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U2 and REM

I read an article (interview) on REM, and i came across this about U2:


Question: I have my own theory: With the exception of "Achtung Baby," U2 was never quite as innovative or experimental as R.E.M., so it has always been more palatable to the mainstream. For instance, why did Love's "Forever Changes" sell less than "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"?

Answer: I love U2. I think they're great. They do make real commercial records, and it doesn't harm them. I'm not sure we could reach that level of commerciality without sounding bad or bogus.


I think REM is an OK band, but to say that U2 never was as experimental as REM makes me really wonder what's going on. U2 has experimented with: punk, blues, contry, soul, ROCK, techno, pop.... and what not! REM is OK, but lately i have found them very boring and predictable! The last album was nothing more than their other albums. And i feel U2 is not as commercial as people think. If U2 are told that they can't do "that"... U2 are doing exactly "that" (popmart, Elevation tour). What do you think. And what other things has U2 experimented with... jazz, gospel, electronic music....



(the article is at: http://www.suntimes.com/output/enter...day-rem21.html)
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Old 09-22-2003, 05:00 PM   #2
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That's fairly funny. REM has always been mainstream commercially.(So has U2)

If I remember correctly, Michael Stipe even admitted at some point that they were trying to reinvent themsevels with Monster like U2 did with Achtung Baby. I'm trying to think of how REM was ever innovative or experimental....not coming up with much. At the same time, I dont really find U2 as 'innovative or experimental' as some people do here either. Both bands are just really good at what they do.

Innovation doesnt equal excellence. Lets face it, most (if not all) of what both U2 and REM have ever done has been done before, but I loe both of these bands because they do it so much better than anyone else.
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Old 09-22-2003, 06:57 PM   #3
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Exactly, they excell in what they are doing. However, I think U2 really experimented a lot. In every kind of music they were into, they reached the top. That's their strength.
I recently saw the Stones live. Great band, great music, great show, still rockin at 60, but their songs are played just like they did twenty or thirty years ago. That's the difference with other bands U2 and (to less extent I think R.E.M.): they still keep reinventing themselves. I think making the Achtung Baby album and doing the Zoo TV tour, which I think is the best thing they've ever done - so far, has really created their identity; the fact that they every time have the creativity to adapt their songs and their style to a new 'era'. It makes them relevant. That's the magic thing with U2.
Look what they did with The fly during the Elevation tour. Isn't it great that they can turn a song with a special character, linked with the Zoo TV era into something new, suited for a new era (Elevation).
I saw them live in Antwerp two years ago and I still have that feeling that this was an incredible experience. Keep on touring guys!
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Old 09-22-2003, 07:19 PM   #4
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Honesty REM never really experimented as much as U2 did with their own sound.

Think about how vastly U2's sound changed from the period between 1981 and 1984.. REM were always a rock band always making rock songs. They did however get a little gritty when Monster was released in 1995.. And then REM kind of went back to being a rock band.

I love both bands, but U2 was always way more expiremental.
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Old 09-22-2003, 07:20 PM   #5
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The only thing REM did that U2 didn't, was put out a record a year back in the 80's.
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Old 09-22-2003, 07:36 PM   #6
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I was just going to post the same thing, David - R.E.M. hasn't changed their sound over the years nearly as much as U2 has. I'm not knocking R.E.M. because they are one of my favorite bands, but I think U2 has been far more experimental - and not just in the 1990s. The Unforgettable Fire was a huge departure from War, and The Joshua Tree to some extent was a departure from their previous work as well because they were incorporating American styles of music for the first time (country, blues, folk, etc.)
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Old 09-23-2003, 02:49 PM   #7
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i think REM's a little jelous of how U2 keeps growing and growing in popularity, while REM's popularity has declined steadily since the early 90s. i mean, really, what have they done in the past 10 years? and u2 is more commercial, less experimental? would you ever catch bono singing "shiny happy people" ? hell no.
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Old 09-23-2003, 09:30 PM   #8
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It seems to me that the interviewer was asking a very leading question and trying to get R.E.M. to bash U2, but R.E.M. didn't take the bait. The guys have too much class for that! I don't think R.E.M. are jealous of U2 at all - they just do things differently.

Personally I think REM was doing really good work until 2000 when they released "Reveal." Yikes! I hear their latest single is a big improvement, but I haven't had a chance to hear it yet.
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Old 09-24-2003, 06:42 AM   #9
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U2's a commercial band. They don't do it for the fun of it like a high school garage band would. Even Bono refers to being in U2 as a "job" and is thankful to Larry for giving U2 the job.

The point is, U2 is in the business to sell records - after all that is their day job and that is where they get money to feed their families. So naturally, they write music with the aim of having it accepted by the music buying public so they can reap profits. Now if Bono was some well-educated executive officer with a doctorate degree and a high paying job, then maybe he can write music without a care about sales or commercial success. But Bono writes music to feed his family and make a living - so that is a different story.

Check out the record stores, U2 is in the POP/ROCK section. Check out MTV and listen to the radio - whatever U2 releases comes out there. So it is public knowledge that U2 is a commercial band - but who cares?

Musical integrity is just an illusion. It's really a question of one's honesty. To quote a great band:

"One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity

For the words of the profits were written on the studio wall
Concert hall
And echoes with the sounds of salesmen"

Cheers,

J
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Old 09-24-2003, 08:08 AM   #10
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I like the mutual respect that two of my favourite bands ever have for each other

I'll leave it at that
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Old 09-24-2003, 03:01 PM   #11
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I love both bands dearly, but i agree from punkish/rock with a Christian bent on the early records to atmospheric to country and blues tinged, to playing with dance and techno, to including opera singers, U2 has covered a lot of bases. REM is always pretty much REM. I think the answer given by REM (stipe i suppose) seemed to confuse the term "commercial" with "experimention". U2 has always been a bit more "mainstream" than REM and REM always a bit more "alternative" than U2, but U2 IMO experimented with their sound much more.

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Old 09-24-2003, 06:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by jick
U2's a commercial band. They don't do it for the fun of it like a high school garage band would.
bullshit

Quote:

Check out the record stores, U2 is in the POP/ROCK section. Check out MTV and listen to the radio - whatever U2 releases comes out there. So it is public knowledge that U2 is a commercial band - but who cares?
Jick, what other section does U2 belong in? Last time I checked, they were a rock band..... and basing your knowledge on MTV is insane. Those are probably the same people that got David Gray nominated as "best NEW artist" in 2001....whatever.

You know you're completely misinterpreting Bono's comment about the "job". He says that as a joke because he's one of the few men on earth lucky enough to do exactly what he would want to do and have all the fun on the side, yet still make a profit as one does with a "job". Using that comment to argue that U2's motivation is entirely commercial is rediculous.

Not only do you continuously insult U2 and what they stand for, you insult every fan out there by insisting that we love a band that's only out there for money. I don't understand why you persistantly troll this forum and disrespect the band.

Jick, why would YOU, or anyone, want to be a fan of a band that cared nothing for anyone but themselves? Do you honestly think Bono wrote songs like SBS, Please, and Peace on Earth so that he could cash in on other people's tragedies?
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Old 09-25-2003, 02:52 PM   #13
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I think overall REM probably has a more alternative sound, while U2 has experimented more - I also like how they admire each other.
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