What happened with HTDAAB - A different perspective perhaps? - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Your Blue Room > Everything You Know Is Wrong > Everything You Know Is Wrong Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-27-2006, 09:19 PM   #1
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Zoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: the great beyond
Posts: 36,802
Local Time: 02:04 AM
What happened with HTDAAB - A different perspective perhaps?

This is by no means an HTDAAB bashing thread, just an in-depth (mostly) lyrical analysis!

This is how I see it. After bouncing back from the darkest depths of Wake Up Dead Man with the brilliant Beautiful Day and an overall optimistic and 'sunny' (but often too simplistic) album, U2 had a choice!

1. They could either get back to writing lyrically complex songs, creating great soundscapes and imagery like they did in the past... OR...

2. They could continue trying to reach the widest audience possible by creating beautiful melodies with strong sing-along verses and choruses, albeit sacrificing lyrical complexity!

Option 2 was the ticket to not just staying as the biggest band in the world but leaving no doubt in anybody's mind that they were indeed on par with the Beatles! I'm still not entirely sure which option I prefer personally. After all, I do enjoy that 'high' of being in the midst of not just the whole stadium but the whole world singing along to my favorite band. But then again, I think Option 1 could have really showcased some of Bono's best songwriting, on par with the classics!

I'm including my own descriptions of certain songs to further make my point clear...

OPTION 1 Vs. OPTION 2
Native Son Vs. Vertigo
I think Native Son's lyrics are far superior to most of Vertigo which is good fun but doesn't mean much, to me at least!

On the run... officer put down the gun
Native son... I never wanted to own one
Native son... both of us want to be someone
It's so hard... is it so hard for a native son to be freeeeeeeeeeeee?

That last line in the chorus flows so beautifully, it's awesome! Not to mention, the breathtaking 'Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...' bridge!

Then again, I prefer the more pronounced riff in Vertigo and the instrumental bridge 'without' the claps! And the line 'the girl with crimson nails has Jesus round her neck' sounds cool to sing along to! A serious rock song or a cool sounding, fun EBTTRT-ish number? I don't know.

All Because Of You (alternate) Vs. All Because Of You

Next to it
I was so close to it
I had the universe decoded
Then the atom split

What a great opening verse!!! I like how it starts (musically) without the unnecessarily ear-piercing sound from the album version. I also like how Bono sings all the lines in the chorus the same way instead of going 'Aaaahll because of you' for the second line. The excellent bridge can of course be found on the album as well!

Tough / Sometimes (alt)(?) Vs. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own

I prefer this verse...

When I was a young boy, in the suburb of cedarwood
I wanted to be great
'Cause good would not be good enough
Now that I'm older
I don't see things any clearer
Nearer now, but still a long way off


...to the overly simple...

We fight all the time
You and I... that's alright
We're the same soul


How many times will Bono use the words 'soul' and 'kneel'? I really like the meloncholy strings in this version. I think it suits the subject matter much better than the happy bounce of the opening notes on the album version.

That said, I prefer the album version for how it really builds up towards the end... the SING verse sounds so much stronger and better on the album! Yeah, this one's a toss up!

I don't want to go on comparing the 'what might have been' songs with the 'what we got eventually' ones, but you get the drift! I guess there's good and bad in both versions. The good thing is... since most of us own all these rare songs and outtakes anyway, we can listen to whatever version we like depending on our mood.

But I still feel... nobody can deny the fact that with ATYCLB and HTDAAB, U2 abandoned lyrical complexity and art to more upbeat sing-along material that has a tremendous potential to reach the widest audience! If I had to over-simplify it... it's almost like a choice between great lyrics and great music And as it may be evident from my rambling post, I'm still unsure as to which option I prefer! How about you guys?
__________________

Zoots is offline  
Old 01-27-2006, 09:50 PM   #2
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Zoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: the great beyond
Posts: 36,802
Local Time: 02:04 AM
So, to follow up my original post and try to bring it to a conclusion...

I guess, in this fast-paced, channel-changing, download crazy, I-pod sporting, short attention span world that we live in, where kids apparently latch on to a catchy riff and are content with singing along or dancing to it (judging by the popularity of hip-hop lately)... U2 had to do what they did and abandon artsy lyrical complexity and experimental soundscapes in order to reach not just old fans but a whole world of new teenage fans! Either that... or they could have remained the serious rock band that they were pre-2000... kinda like Pearl Jam, REM or Radiohead still are right now... and never have reached the dizzy heights of super stardom like The Beatles! Sometimes I wish I could go back about 10 years in time when the world of music wasn't this competitive!
__________________

Zoots is offline  
Old 01-27-2006, 11:41 PM   #3
War Child
 
amerrydeath's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Dublin
Posts: 896
Local Time: 07:04 PM


I got the feeling a couple days ago that the next album was going to be out of this world. I just didn't see any other option, basically, they can't and won't return to the "safe" sound of ATYCLB, and I think they'll take new directions to work around Bono's voice not being what it used to (but capable of doing different things!). I got really excited, and then I realized it'd be another two/three years.
amerrydeath is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 12:28 AM   #4
Refugee
 
theu2fly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 2,258
Local Time: 12:04 AM
Levitate was a weird one, it was a jam that went nowhere. I'm glad for Miracle Drug, a true story, I think that Bono just wanted "Freedom has a scent, like a top of a new born baby's head" for a cool line, though I believe, it has no relation to Scott Miller.
theu2fly is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 12:56 AM   #5
ONE
love, blood, life
 
AtomicBono's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Athens, Greece
Posts: 10,486
Local Time: 06:04 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Zootlesque
So, to follow up my original post and try to bring it to a conclusion...

I guess, in this fast-paced, channel-changing, download crazy, I-pod sporting, short attention span world that we live in, where kids apparently latch on to a catchy riff and are content with singing along or dancing to it (judging by the popularity of hip-hop lately)... U2 had to do what they did and abandon artsy lyrical complexity and experimental soundscapes in order to reach not just old fans but a whole world of new teenage fans! Either that... or they could have remained the serious rock band that they were pre-2000... kinda like Pearl Jam, REM or Radiohead still are right now... and never have reached the dizzy heights of super stardom like The Beatles! Sometimes I wish I could go back about 10 years in time when the world of music wasn't this competitive!
I know how you feel. Sometimes I wish I had been a teenager in the 90's instead of a kid. The music world's always been pretty competitive though. I think 10 or morel ike 15 years ago there was overall better music on the radio (though still shitty stuff too), but think about the advantages we have now with the internet. A lot of the bands I like now I wouldn't have gotten into or even known about if not for the internet. It provides a way for smaller bands to reach a bigger audience. Also, I love my iPods

I don't quite agree with your conclusion about U2 having to choose either music or lyrics (though I understand you were over-simplifying, as you said), because that would imply that in the past they had great lyrics but not necessarily great music. Though I guess maybe you're trying to differ between a soundscape and a song (like a pop song). But I think U2 had great songwriting in the 90's at least too - One? Staring at the Sun? Stay? I needn't continue examples because I'm sure you agree My main point is I don't think it has to be an either/or kind of thing. Albums like Achtung Baby and Pop have great music and great lyrics. Or maybe I'm missing the point entirely that you were trying to make??

I do like the fact that you gave a different perspective of HTDAAB that's not really positive or negative. It's somewhere in between.

As for the alternate versions...I love Native Son but Vertigo just has this punch that Native Son doesn't. I don't know if Native Son would have been a hit for U2 like Vertigo was. I definitely prefer the alternate ABOY (better lyrics!) and I'm split on Sometimes. I think overall the album version is better and fits the mood of HTDAAB better, but the alternate Sometimes is really interesting and different.

I agree with amerrydeath that the next album is going to be "out of this world." Actually, we may have one more album in the back-to-basics songwriting phase, but then U2 will change direction for sure. But I think they may be ready now. They've all talked about experimentation. Perhaps the next album will be sort of a bridge with songs like Mercy, which isn't really that experimental for U2 - in fact, it's more "U2" than anything on the last two albums - but showcases Bono's lyrics and slightly more ethereal. I'd like that anyway, but I'm sure I'd like anything U2 puts out
AtomicBono is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 01:29 AM   #6
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Zoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: the great beyond
Posts: 36,802
Local Time: 02:04 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by AtomicBono

Albums like Achtung Baby and Pop have great music and great lyrics. Or maybe I'm missing the point entirely that you were trying to make??
You're right. I was just thinking out aloud and typed it up at the spur of the moment. Don't know what I was smoking! Of course the past records had some outstanding music!

Quote:
Originally posted by AtomicBono

I do like the fact that you gave a different perspective of HTDAAB that's not really positive or negative. It's somewhere in between.
Yes... I think I've come to somewhat accept U2's current position and fight to stay relevant... trying to put myself in their shoes, if you will Nevertheless, their continuing quest for endless popularity at the cost of complete artistic freedom still kinda bugs me sometimes.
Zoots is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 01:34 AM   #7
ONE
love, blood, life
 
MrBrau1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Verplexed in Vermont
Posts: 10,436
Local Time: 07:04 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Zootlesque
Nevertheless, their continuing quest for endless popularity at the cost of complete artistic freedom still kinda bugs me sometimes.
You're thinking about it too much. U2 created their own identity. U2 living and breathing within with that identity is artistic freedom.

They can make whatever record they want to make. They have that much currency.
__________________
"If you needed my autograph, I'd give it to you." Bob Dylan
MrBrau1 is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 02:13 AM   #8
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Zoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: the great beyond
Posts: 36,802
Local Time: 02:04 AM
I think this thread is gonna win the award for the most views and the least number of replies!
Zoots is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 03:13 AM   #9
The Fly
 
Exit thru Wire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 290
Local Time: 01:04 AM
Re: What happened with HTDAAB - A different perspective perhaps?

Quote:
Originally posted by Zootlesque

Native Son Vs. Vertigo
I think Native Son's lyrics are far superior to most of Vertigo

All Because Of You (alternate) Vs. All Because Of You

I like how it starts (musically) without the unnecessarily ear-piercing sound from the album version. I also like how Bono sings all the lines in the chorus the same way instead of going 'Aaaahll because of you' for the second line. The excellent bridge can of course be found on the album as well!

Tough / Sometimes (alt)(?) Vs. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own

Yeah, this one's a toss up!


I know this wasnt your posts point - but thats pretty much how I feel about the alternate songs. Theres good and bad to both versions but given the choice Id take the alternates.

...and Xanax and Wine
Exit thru Wire is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 03:33 AM   #10
Refugee
 
cjboog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington State, USA
Posts: 1,332
Local Time: 05:04 PM
I don't know I think some of the lyrics in the album are very good:

"Freedom has a scent, like the top of a newborn baby's head"

"The more you see the less you know, the less you find out as you go"

"You speak of signs and wonders, but I need something other, I would believe if I was able, but I'm waiting on the Crumbs From Your Table"

"Lay down your guns, all you daughters of zion, all you Abraham's sons"

"I'm round the corner from anthing that's real, I'm across the road from hope, I'm under a bridge and a riptide's taking, everything I call my own."

But then again, you didn't really say that the lyrics were bad, did you? Give me a specific example Zootlesque, of what you mean by artsy lyrical complexity. If you are talking about native son, I consider those lyrics to be really awkward
cjboog is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 01:45 PM   #11
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Zoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: the great beyond
Posts: 36,802
Local Time: 02:04 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by cjboog
Give me a specific example Zootlesque, of what you mean by artsy lyrical complexity. If you are talking about native son, I consider those lyrics to be really awkward
No, not necessarily Native Son but stuff like this...

Stateless
There are no colours in your eyes
There’s no sunshine in your sky
There’s no race, only the prize
There is no tomorrow, only tonight
Stateless
Oh... what’s the difference?
You can cover the world with your thumb
Still so big, so bright, so beautiful


The Unforgettable Fire
Carnival
The wheels fly and the colors spin
Through alcohol
Red wine that punctures the skin
Face to face
In a dry and waterless place


Promenade
Earth sky sea and rain
Is she coming back again
Men of straw, snooker hall
Words that build or destroy
Dirt dry bone sand and stone


Who's Gonna Ride
Oh, the deeper I spin
Oh, the hunter will sin for your ivory skin
Took a drive in the bitter rain
To a place where the wind calls your name
Under the trees the river laughing at you and me
Hallelujah, heavens wide rows
The doors you open
I just can't close


Ultraviolet
There is a silence that comes to our house
Where no one can sleep
I guess it's the price of love
I know it's not cheap


Please
Your catholic blues, your convent shoes
Your stick on tattoos now they're making the news
Your holy war, your northern star
Your sermon on the mount from the boot of your car


Playboy Mansion
Chance is a kind of religion
Where you're damned for plain hard luck
I never did see that movie
I never did read that book
But love, come on down
And let my numbers come around


These lyrics make me go 'Wow, I love these lyrics but what the hell is he talking about here!?' There's very little of this in the last 2 albums. I can pretty much understand what he's talking about in most of the songs! They've sort of lost that talent of being abstract and poetic... artsy, if you will.
Zoots is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 01:54 PM   #12
War Child
 
Layton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Ohio
Posts: 750
Local Time: 08:04 PM
Re: What happened with HTDAAB - A different perspective perhaps?

Quote:
Originally posted by Zootlesque
2. They could continue trying to reach the widest audience possible by creating beautiful melodies with strong sing-along verses and choruses, albeit sacrificing lyrical complexity!
I don't think U2 have ever been lyrically complex. It's never been too complicated to decipher the intent of their words. So, you can't really sacrifice something you've never had.
Layton is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 02:12 PM   #13
ONE
love, blood, life
 
U2Man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: at pavel's
Posts: 11,603
Local Time: 01:04 AM
Great thread, Zootlesque

A few things I wanted to say...

The "alt." (early) version of Sometimes is awful. It's a weak version of a song that is already suffering in quite a few places. If they hadn't come up with the "And it's yoooouuuuu..." chorus, this song should not have made it to the album this time around. This is a great example of how a "catchy hook" can save a song.

On the other hand, I don't get why the rather kick-ass chorus of Xanax and Wine wasn't used. IMO, it's better than anything in Fast Cars.

The alt. version of ABOY is more interesting than the version on the album, yes


About the Beatles reference; isn't it odd that it was while working with Chris Thomas that they made the versions that you imply are less catchy?
U2Man is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 02:12 PM   #14
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Zoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: the great beyond
Posts: 36,802
Local Time: 02:04 AM
Re: Re: What happened with HTDAAB - A different perspective perhaps?

Quote:
Originally posted by Layton

I don't think U2 have ever been lyrically complex. It's never been too complicated to decipher the intent of their words. So, you can't really sacrifice something you've never had.
I disagree. If you see my previous post, I think they used to have that complexity, abstract, poetic, artsy feel..whatever you wanna call it! But songs like Beautiful Day, Stuck In A Moment, Elevation, Walk On, Kite, IALW, Wild Honey, POE, NY, Grace, Vertigo, Sometimes, LAPOE, COBL, ABOY etc. I find are all really direct! There are some exceptions of course like the beautiful When I Look At The World, Miracle Drug, Crumbs, OOTS among a few others.

Looks like they've abandoned poetry for simplicity so that they can reach the widest audience! Makes sense to me.
Zoots is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 02:16 PM   #15
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Zoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: the great beyond
Posts: 36,802
Local Time: 02:04 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by U2Man

About the Beatles reference; isn't it odd that it was while working with Chris Thomas that they made the versions that you imply are less catchy?
I did not know that. So are you saying Chris Thomas did not have much influence on what tracks finally made the album?
Zoots is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 02:18 PM   #16
ONE
love, blood, life
 
U2Man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: at pavel's
Posts: 11,603
Local Time: 01:04 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Zootlesque


I did not know that. So are you saying Chris Thomas did not have much influence on what tracks finally made the album?
Yep. I think they basically trashed his work.
U2Man is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 02:22 PM   #17
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Zoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: the great beyond
Posts: 36,802
Local Time: 02:04 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by U2Man

Yep. I think they basically trashed his work.
Really!? Wow. Do you see what I'm talking about, then? That they've abandoned 'thinking' lyrics to simpler ones that are easy to understand by a wide range of people.
Zoots is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 02:25 PM   #18
BVS
Blue Crack Supplier
 
BVS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: between my head and heart
Posts: 41,217
Local Time: 06:04 PM
Re: Re: Re: What happened with HTDAAB - A different perspective perhaps?

Quote:
Originally posted by Zootlesque

Looks like they've abandoned poetry for simplicity so that they can reach the widest audience! Makes sense to me.
This makes absolutely no sense.

First of all poetry and simplicity aren't exclusive. There are many poets who use the vernacular and throw away the abstract and are considered geniuses.

Secondly how would this make their audience wider? Did they lose audience all those years when writing more abstract?
BVS is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 02:28 PM   #19
ONE
love, blood, life
 
U2Man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: at pavel's
Posts: 11,603
Local Time: 01:04 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Zootlesque


Really!? Wow. Do you see what I'm talking about, then? That they've abandoned 'thinking' lyrics to simpler ones that are easy to understand by a wide range of people.
But it's ironical that they hired a Beatles producer with the purpose of making catchy music like the Beatles (as you said) and then end up firing him, because it didn't get catchy enough!
U2Man is offline  
Old 01-28-2006, 02:30 PM   #20
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Zoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: the great beyond
Posts: 36,802
Local Time: 02:04 AM
Re: Re: Re: Re: What happened with HTDAAB - A different perspective perhaps?

Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar

Secondly how would this make their audience wider? Did they lose audience all those years when writing more abstract?
Well... no but, seems like they now have the widest audience that they've ever had in their career! I could be wrong but.. their music now attracts everyone from old fans to pre-teens! And to achieve that, I suppose you have to lose some complexity from your work!
__________________

Zoots is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:04 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com
×