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Old 02-11-2006, 04:20 AM   #1
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Was the failure of Pop the best thing to happen to U2?

Pre Pop - 7 grammys
Post Pop - 15 grammys


Discuss
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:30 AM   #2
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If the goal is to get as much Grammys as you can... yes

ATYCLB and HTDAAB appeal much more to general public I think
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:08 AM   #3
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The failure of Pop just prompted/scared U2 to fall back into line and hence produce relatively safe and easy listening music and hence, yes more Grammy's. Another experimental album was much too risky.
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:38 AM   #4
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"Failure"

In Europe POP did rather well. Admittedly, not all shows were sold out, but the album itself sold well.
In the US it did not do as good, but to call a disappointing sale in the US a "failure" isn't fair.

And well, to call making mainstream albums (HTDAAB) just for the sake of getting more Grammy's a good thing...
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:56 AM   #5
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The relative 'failure' of Pop commercially in my opinion has been one of the worst things to happen to U2 creatively, and it seems to have taken them a good while to get over it. From their own eyes the step forward that they took with Pop and the PopMart show pushed the boundaries to the limits of what was acceptable to the mainstream and they were quite obviously taken aback by what they perceived as their own failure. It probably comes down to the fact that they tend to think a bit too much about the tracks when sometimes they need to let go of them a bit quicker just to get them out their in a less polished and edgier form.

Thus All That You Can't Leave Behind was a safe move to get back into the mainstream and a sign of a band, while I admit pushing things in a different direction than what was current at the time, working well within their own creative boundaries. I'm definitely not trying to start another ATYCLB bashing here, but just posturing my own opinion. For me that album doesn't work past the first four tracks, but then for me War doesn't really reach the heights it might although it contains some great tracks and although it's one of many fans' favourites.

I think there are signs though that they are starting to move beyond their fear of failure again and move back towards a more expansive sound. Crumbs From Your Table is one example. Although it's been polished off in production, the idea that it came from a late-night session and appears to have been delivered pretty much in that form points to a willingness to move in that direction once again. Fast Cars is another example, and the sound of Mercy is an excellent portent for pushing the boundaries out once again and embracing the electronic element a little more again.

That's not to say that U2 have ever been good at letting go of tracks before they're happy they're 'perfected'. But it is great to see them revisit on this tour tracks like Electric Co, An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart, Gloria, and play other tracks like Fast Cars, etc that might not resonate with the casual Grammy-award following fan, but which do resonate with their own creative instincts.

And, finally, I'd just like to add that I loved Bono's quote from the Grammy's - 'If you think this is going to give us a big head.... Too late!' Brilliant!
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Old 02-11-2006, 08:29 AM   #6
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the 'faillure' of Pop is relative... Here in Europe was almost so sucessful as ATYCLB or AB. Not counting Mofo, all the singles entered the top 20.
but that failure only dues IMO to the marketing strategies... It was a very curious tactic but it was wrong for that kind of band relating with them objectives with the album. People took 'Discotheque' and 'Mofo' as all the album and saw it as a dance album.
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Old 02-11-2006, 09:17 AM   #7
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in terms of money ... yes
in terms of making good studio albums ...no
in terms of awards....yes
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Old 02-11-2006, 09:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by WinnieThePoo
in terms of money ... yes
in terms of making good studio albums ...no


Exactly what I wanted to say, without all the blabbing.
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Old 02-11-2006, 09:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by GibsonGirl




Exactly what I wanted to say, without all the blabbing.
let's go to vegas GibsonGirl , get married
even if you're a habs fan
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Old 02-11-2006, 09:33 AM   #10
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Pop was an amazing album.

I think the next album will be more experimental. Thats the feeling I got from Bono during his post-Grammy CNN interview. He said ATYCLB and HTDAAB were a pair of albums. So that makes me think the next album will go in a different direction since they right now they are at the same point that they were in 1987 when Joshua Tree won album of the year. Achtung Baby was so widely accepted partly because they were so hot at the time, but I think people got impatient with Zooropa and Pop. Whatever their next album is, as long as it isn't crap, it will likely get a ton of album sales, so they have the chance to be creative without losing their audience, at least for the next album.
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Old 02-11-2006, 10:35 AM   #11
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fashion wise maybe
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Old 02-11-2006, 11:48 AM   #12
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I POP
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Old 02-11-2006, 11:53 AM   #13
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Anyone who thinks that Pop is a failure in anyway is going to get my foot in their face, and it's not even going to be in a cute "Numb" style.
I'll be wearing my hardest soled shoes, kthnx.

I wish they'd just go back to making another "failure." I could live with failure after failure forever.
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:00 PM   #14
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To get back to the original post, the reason the band has won more Grammys in the new millenium is simple: the band has focused more on the SONGwriting than in the past. Only 2 of U2's first 7 Grammys was for an individual song (Desire, and the video for Streets), and of the subsequent 15 awards, 12 have been for specific tracks! Notice the disparity?

It's clear that on these last two albums, they wanted each individual song to carry a lot of weight, be single-worthy if you will, as opposed to a piece of a larger picture. Consequently, that direction leaves you with what Bono acknowledged in interviews, the sum of the parts being better than the whole.

That's not to say that a more focused album couldn't win awards, but there won't be as much love to spread around to indvidual songs. especially if you aren't aiming for Big Single status.
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by keosulli
The relative 'failure' of Pop commercially in my opinion has been one of the worst things to happen to U2 creatively, and it seems to have taken them a good while to get over it. From their own eyes the step forward that they took with Pop and the PopMart show pushed the boundaries to the limits of what was acceptable to the mainstream and they were quite obviously taken aback by what they perceived as their own failure. It probably comes down to the fact that they tend to think a bit too much about the tracks when sometimes they need to let go of them a bit quicker just to get them out their in a less polished and edgier form.

Thus All That You Can't Leave Behind was a safe move to get back into the mainstream and a sign of a band, while I admit pushing things in a different direction than what was current at the time, working well within their own creative boundaries.
Agree with everything you've said here.

Quote:
Originally posted by keosulli

I think there are signs though that they are starting to move beyond their fear of failure again and move back towards a more expansive sound. Crumbs From Your Table is one example. Although it's been polished off in production, the idea that it came from a late-night session and appears to have been delivered pretty much in that form points to a willingness to move in that direction once again. Fast Cars is another example, and the sound of Mercy is an excellent portent for pushing the boundaries out once again and embracing the electronic element a little more again.

I think that's it's very likely that they will go back to a more experimental sound, now how experimental is still up in the air, but I'm feeling that they'll go away from the ATYCLB/HTDAAB sound.

Was the failure of Pop the best thing to happen to U2?

NO! It scared them into a more safe, commercial sound. That's not always a bad thing, but it's always good to go outside your comfort zone, AB, Zooropa, and Pop gave us some very brilliant songs, both musically and lyrically, arguably some of U2's best.
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:38 PM   #16
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Maybe they just felt they were straying too far away from the sounds that made them U2.

If you ask someone who sings Mofo, and compare it to a song like Pride, most people would not know it's U2.

I love Pop and their '90s work, but to me it seemed like they were letting the style of music and the sounds govern how they wrote music and performed it.

ATYCLB is decent and I enjoy some songs from it, and I love HTDAAB very much. These albums sound to me like it's U2 being U2, not U2 being that crazy experimental band.

What I'd like to see on the next album is a combination of those two, and I'd be a happy camper.
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:53 PM   #17
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my take

its ironic that this post has come up bc i have been thinking about a few "pop" things lately....when pop first came out, i was about 13 or 14 yrs old and i remember buying the album...i dont know why but at the time i was expecting a "joshua tree like" album from them, and hoping as well and when i listened to it i was shocked and let down. the only songs i liked were staring at the sun and discoteque. now as im older and more mature in my song choices i'll tell u it is probably my favorite album, not bc it is the cool thing to do here on interference. But bc disco/do you feel loved/mofo/gone/VELVET DRESS/ god send angels. I NEVER got these songs until i decided to pop the cd in years later. The bass line in mofo sounds incredible, amazing driving song. And the seductiveness of velvet dress is awesome, i couldnt see these things at 13, i guess i was part of the masses.

Now IMO pop would have been u2's biggest success if they just tweaked a few things with the whole "pop" idea.

1. first of all the name of the album doomed it from the begining , "pop". sounds too bubblegum for u2, people didnt know what the hell to expect.

2. Lose the whole "mart" idea, the tour was amazing, the size,scale, lighting, screens, awesome. Just lose "mart"

3. The costumes were rediculous, i think it was cool to have a short haired bono but the whole de la hoya hood during mofo, adam's gas mask, and bono's shirts with the muscle print. people were prolly thinking what on god's green earth are they feeding these people in ireland.

4. and the discoteque video, the village people? come on !!!!

In closing i will say that pop MUSICALLY is on par with JT & AB.
But it didnt have a snowball's chance in hell from the begining bc of the things listed above. IMO
yea it was cool to see such odd stuff from U2, but they crossed that line of being cool and just went straight to WEIRD. gas mask?!?! WTF

Give me the pop album with a different name, same scale stadium tours but without the odd costumes and "mart" slogan. And i think u have the biggest, best album/tour ever thought up.

But then again it wouldnt be pop then would it !
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Old 02-11-2006, 01:07 PM   #18
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Pop may have been a failure from a commercial stance, but as for the depth of the lyrics- it is one of my favorite U2 albums. I wish there was less synth on it though.

I agree with Zooropa83 that the whole concept was too far fetched to catch on with people. It was like trying to top ZOO when they should have just left ZOO "Be" ZOO and tried toning things down a little instead for their next album.

The one good thing of it not being a hit was that it forced them to look back to themselves and their talent to find what makes people love them so much in the first place.

Zoo be zoo be zoo, exchanging glances...
(Sorry, not enough sleep last night)
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Old 02-11-2006, 01:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by LemonMacPhisto
Maybe they just felt they were straying too far away from the sounds that made them U2.

If you ask someone who sings Mofo, and compare it to a song like Pride, most people would not know it's U2.

I love Pop and their '90s work, but to me it seemed like they were letting the style of music and the sounds govern how they wrote music and performed it.

ATYCLB is decent and I enjoy some songs from it, and I love HTDAAB very much. These albums sound to me like it's U2 being U2, not U2 being that crazy experimental band.

What I'd like to see on the next album is a combination of those two, and I'd be a happy camper.
I agree with this 100%.

Also, thinking back on it, would many people really be happy if they kept going with the Pop sound for the past two albums? Honestly, I think there would be more complaints about that than there were for the past two albums as they were. Now, I'm a person that loves (well, at least likes) basically all of U2's different phases. I think Pop is an all right album with moments of brilliance. Overall, I personally like it much more than ATYCLB as a whole (though neither are close to being my favorite U2 album). That being said, I don't think that I could have stood for two more albums of a similar sound to Pop. I like to see U2 trying new things, and no matter what some people might say, the past two albums are unlike anything U2 have ever done before. No, they're not overtly (read: at all) experimental, but I think seeing U2 trying to make Beatles-esque albums full of singles is an interesting phase in their career and will be looked back on as one of their highpoints for sure ( *cough*HTDAAB *cough*). Now I'm all for more experimentation from U2, which we will hopefully get a lot more of on the next album, but if you take the past two albums for what they're worth, they're one of the most important points in U2's career.

Anyway, that's more or less why I would answer yes to the question at hand. U2 is a band that is constantly trying new things and that electro-xperimental phase in the 90's (God, I love Zooropa) was just that - one of their phases. U2 as a whole aren't the wildly experimental semi-electronic band that some people wish that they were. If you're looking for more albums in a similar vein to that, I would recommend Radiohead.

But, and this is something I think most people can agree on, here's to a new sound sprinkled with a bit more experimentation on the next album. Which will hopefully be hitting stores sometime before winter of 2008.

Edit: Whoops, there are two more posts now. Gotta comment quickly. Let me just say that I disagree with what U2 did "wrong" concerning Pop, because some of the things that Zooropa83 listed were some of my favorite things about the Pop era - I just can't help but love the campy satire that defined that period of time. Brilliant.

Oh, and Pop musically on par with JT and AB? No. Lyrically, you could probably make a case. I can see that. But not musically. And if it's your favorite album, that's cool, I'm not going to try to convince anyone otherwise. But universally speaking, Pop was not as good musically as JT and AB. Except maybe for the bass. One of Adam's best albums for sure.
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Old 02-11-2006, 01:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by LemonMacPhisto
Maybe they just felt they were straying too far away from the sounds that made them U2.

If you ask someone who sings Mofo, and compare it to a song like Pride, most people would not know it's U2.

I love Pop and their '90s work, but to me it seemed like they were letting the style of music and the sounds govern how they wrote music and performed it.

ATYCLB is decent and I enjoy some songs from it, and I love HTDAAB very much. These albums sound to me like it's U2 being U2, not U2 being that crazy experimental band.

What I'd like to see on the next album is a combination of those two, and I'd be a happy camper.
LMP posted alot of what I wanted to say.

As a poster who has a "anti-Pop" bias to some, I unfortnately have to feed that image by saying yes I believe Pop is their biggest failure. Thankfully the failure set them on the right track in my humble opinion. It didn't "force them back to writing safe songs" I would argue that it just pushed them into a different route than Pop. It pushed them into the route of ATYCLB/HTDAAB those albums, while more "U2"-ish than Pop, are not Joshua/Achtung Baby Pt.2 I don't see many similarities in a song like Vertigo and Elevation to anything off The Josua Tree. So I don't really think they went back to going "U2"y, I think they went and expirimented with more of a sugary pop and rock sound, and it worked and most fans like it. So i think for all terms
-grammys
-relevance
-sales
-albums
the failure worked to their advantage. Didn't Bono say that with Pop they were trying to make a dance record? So wasn't U2 trying to capitalize off of what was big at the time, the whole dance/house/techno scene? How is that expiremental? That's just using current trends to base your new sound off of. Like LMP said, they were letting the style of music and desire to be expiremental govern them. U2 is trying to make their own sound now with the last 2 albums I think and it put's alot of pressure off them to do something "crazy" when theycan just sit down and write songs with melodies and stuff rather than seeing what weird shit can come out of Edge's guitar. I think most people like that route better, in my opinion. They are adored by critics and fans, they're selling lots of records and Bono is selling lots of causes, and they've made some great albums in my opinion. I would put Pop higher than ATYCLB (yes i actually do like Pop, weirdos ) but I really like this new album even more and hope they make more sounding like it.

In the end that's all this debate goes to. Do you like the new sound and want more of it? You'll think the failure was a success in a way. Do you hate the new sound, or just want them to try something out there, or think theyre playing safe? Then you'll think the failure didn't help them. lol
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