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Old 08-29-2006, 01:50 AM   #21
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Originally posted by Earnie Shavers
I found it easy with ATYCLB. In my opinion, it's a weak U2 album, but as someone else said, there's a real sunniness to it, and even what I would describe as the very weak tracks (eg Elevation) sound like they had a very organic birth. HTDAAB I just can't buy into. It's not about sound or style, definitely not that. I just find it incredibly weak and forced and lacking everything that makes U2, umm, U2. U2 can swing through virtually all styles of music, all range of songs, even a range of quality and 110% hold my attention because no matter what it is it has a distinct U2 spirit running through it. The Bomb is the first album of theirs where I haven't felt that at all, in any track. They sound like a band mimicking U2 (and not because of any throwback sounds). It's a 10/10 pop rock album, a stunning success for any other band, but to me a stunning failure for U2. The songs are completely and totally empty to me. It can be in any shape, style or sound for all I care, just keep the spirit. Don't even compare HTDAAB to 90s albums or 80s albums, just weight it up honestly against ATYCLB and tell me what you really hear between the two. There is a massive distance between the two albums. Either God is dead, they changed the locks, or tried to create him themselves because he never made it into the room on this one. I've tried HTDAAB from every angle, I've really wanted to like it, but it's simply not there for me.
Fully agree with ya! Although I still do believe that U2 is trying a little too hard to match their 80's public image, it definitely is the spiritual vacancy that you speak of that bothers me the most.
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:03 AM   #22
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I never understood why so many people in here hate it when U2 for the first time in their lives try to sound like U2. Aren't they allowed to do it one time in their career?!

So many top artists make lots of albums that sound like they made it before in a way. Still they are considered strong albums.

For example: Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, Highway 61 Revisited and a lot of other albums are musically a lot the same. The Rolling Stones made in the 60's and 70's many masterpieces that still sounded the same. The Doors also made albums that sounded just like The Doors. Bruce Springsteen made lots of albums that always sound like Bruce Springsteen. Neil Young has made many many albums that have a same old feeling, but still they are very strong. Etcetera etcetera.

So why isn't U2 allowed to do the same one time? Because we're spoiled fans who are never satisfied.
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:09 AM   #23
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So why isn't U2 allowed to do the same one time? Because we're spoiled fans who are never satisfied.
Of course they're allowed to.
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:33 AM   #24
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Originally posted by BANZAI
I never understood why so many people in here hate it when U2 for the first time in their lives try to sound like U2. Aren't they allowed to do it one time in their career?!

So many top artists make lots of albums that sound like they made it before in a way. Still they are considered strong albums.

For example: Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, Highway 61 Revisited and a lot of other albums are musically a lot the same. The Rolling Stones made in the 60's and 70's many masterpieces that still sounded the same. The Doors also made albums that sounded just like The Doors. Bruce Springsteen made lots of albums that always sound like Bruce Springsteen. Neil Young has made many many albums that have a same old feeling, but still they are very strong. Etcetera etcetera.

So why isn't U2 allowed to do the same one time? Because we're spoiled fans who are never satisfied.
I've always been satisfied. It was only with the last album that I was let down. Even thru all their reinventions and return to forms, I've always defended U2 because the songs were always there. To be simplistic about it: The Bomb just has horrible songs, and nothing really new to offer, except for one tune they ommitted from my version of the album..and that is Fast Cars. Bono always stated he didn't want to record crap albums. And I totally believed him at the time, because I couldn't locate a crap album. Even at their most notoriously supposedly bad (October, Rattle and Hum), they still were putting visions in ure head while their melodies and atmospheres seeped into your subconscience. Their albums were locations that you could go to whenever u felt the urge. On The Bomb, there is no location. I don't go anywhere with the music...well maybe somewhere unpleasant. But there is no heartbeat. It's just U2 doing what's expected of them. It's almost like U2 set out to piss off all U2 haters with their most shallow, self-parodic and over-the-top album. Bono may believe on the surface he's still making great albums, but the album is crap. And I don't think he realizes this because at this point in his life, maybe it's just not that important to compose great music. Maybe it's more important just to stay relevant so there's an excuse to play live and stay within the public conscience. When you're on top for so long, maybe it's hard as hell to live any other way. Staying on top all the time can be like an obsession, an addiction. And they'll released anything at this point (not to mention everyone will buy it regardless of quality) just to keep the top spot.
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:58 AM   #25
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Oh yea, one more thing. Every longlasting band has had to released at least one bad album. It just happens. Bands have contracts they need to fufill, and writing classic songs spanning over a long career can be hard as hell. I love The Doors, but I'll be the first to admit they started slipping with their third album. Each passing album had a handfull of great songs with some real crap ones. If Morrison didn't die and they kept recording, we might have seen some real crap albums. The Stones have crap albums, as does Dylan, as does Springsteen, as does U2...or maybe just one for them. Bands have to release shit or else they'll be sued or what-have-you, and that's where the whole medium of music gets thrown into question..is it art or just a job. Is it about bettering your craft or just making money. It's an unfortunate grey area where both needs have to be met, unless a band just totally doesn't care about popularity, and just records for themselves. I have a lot of respect for Billy Joel, who upon releasing his Bridge album announced it as a mediocre affair. If an artist does release something that's of real low quality, he/she usually hypes it up to be a masterpiece, and either they truly believe it or they're just playing the promotion game. If it's all about promotion and not about the passion, that's where I get frustrated. I understand musicians have to make money, but call me oldfashioned..or delusional..because I believe that if you claim your album is your best, then you should be saying that sincerely...and not just to sell. I have more respect for people who tell the truth. And if a band I liked said their latest album was a joy to make but nothing like their best...you know...I'd probably like it that much more. At least I wouldn't feel like I've been punk'd.
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Old 08-29-2006, 10:33 AM   #26
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Wow, big surprise!

The 2000's bashers are back again to tell us their bedtime story again!

I was just waiting for them to appear...
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Old 08-29-2006, 11:58 AM   #27
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No matter what the band does they will please 25? of their fans , 50% will be lukewarm and 25% will hate it.

Why? Because depending on what era touched each fan...all new material will be compared to that era

In short, every long time fan, subconciously or not, IS STUCK IN A MOMENT THAT THEY CAN'T GET OUT OF
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Old 08-29-2006, 11:59 AM   #28
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We U2 fans are nerds of the worst kind. No matter that the band drive straightway out of the arena after gigs.
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Old 08-29-2006, 01:26 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by ozeeko
Every longlasting band has had to released at least one bad album. It just happens.
Except opinions on which of their album(s) is/are bad clearly differ.

I can understand the "rehashing their past" (or is it "I don't like the music they're making now so off with their heads"?) complaint, but I say: considering how much running away they've done from the "U2 sound", why not make a retro album? (though the music is similar, lyrics are way less poetic and messianic. and unlike his 80's screaming which btw helped hurt his voice, he's actually singing the notes now)
Most longlasting band probably do it at some point in their career.

I think it's unrealistic to expect 40+ year olds to be in the same state of mind as they were when they were 30, 20... so yes, they won't be making the same music, make the same lyrics or make the same albums.

Perhaps JT and AB will be their two destined masterpieces. I can live with that.
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:02 PM   #30
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You're missing my point. U2 have always changed things up, trying different styles, sometimes doing subtle throwbacks to their earlier work, and right up until now, I believed in (for the most part) every musical choice they have made. October and Zooropa may be world's apart musically, but to me they are both successful products borned out of U2's creative intergity. Even ATYCLB, which has some vintage U2 moments, and more like The Joshua Tree than anything from their 90's output, sounds to me like a band having a great time and, for a change, writing some straightfoward songs that aren't aiming to be too epic or experimental. With their latest offering, however, I don't feel the integrity. I don't feel the sincerity. It sounds like U2 are blatantly trying to recapture their earnest, bombastic 80's image. Where as ATYCLB was a seamless transition into the 21st century and musical maturity, HTDAAB sounds like a bunch of old guys out of touch with themselves and their music, who wrote some songs that were merely "good enough" for today's musical scene, and shoved them thru the "anthemic, earnest U2 of the 80's" fail-safe filter. Every song has Bono in "Savior mode", pleading desperately to the heavens, except maybe "one step closer"- where they put a boring song thru the Zooropa filter, hoping we won't notice the lameness, and "a man and a woman" where I'll admit they ride an original decent groove, until the chorus decides it wants to be a Julio Iglesias song. Coming from the man who wrote lyrics both twisted and beautiful in "With Or Without You", I just can't buy his lyrics to the chorus in this song. "The mysterious distance between a man and a woman" Sorry, but that line to me seems like a cop-out due to the absence of a better idea. After all, I have by this point in my life been able to pick up on differences between the sexes. It's all news to me. And he had something to say initially: "I could never take the chance of loosing love to find romance"..sorta intriguing..but the line that caps it off about men and woman just seems tacked on and actually irrelevant to what came before it. I just went off on a tangent, but I just wanted to get that off my chest.

In closing, besides the two aforementioned songs, everything else is pretty much run-of-the-mill 80's U2, minus the great songwriting. "Vertigo" strives to be a Boy-era pseudopunk song, but saying "hello, hello, hola" when you're in your forties is a lot more pathetic than when you're in your teens (for example, stories for boys' hello hello). They were barely 20, they didn't know any better! That's why it worked!
"Miracle Drug" tries to morph itself into an October song, but the theme behind this song lacks that album's desperation, and comes off pretty contrived and way too "after school special" like.
"Sometimes" starts out like it could be a One contender, until they attempt to inject their 80's bombast thru it. (People made fun of them in the 80s for being larger than life, but that was their thing and they did it well! A song like Pride, where Bono screams his head off, was about something! "Sometimes You Can't" wants to be about something, but the execution is wrong! There's a lack of drama. Instead it's Bono screaming his head off, because he thinks by doing that it will make the song better. I say no! And I believe my thoughts, because I can tell there was a much rawer and interesting song to come out of this. But in the end, it wants the catharsis of a song like Bad, without using the proper built-up of drama that would ultimately earn it.
"Love And Peace" is a U2 Rattle and Hum outtake. And deservedly so, cuz that past U2 would've scrapped this when they realized they had such a hard time playing it. And they do here, it's clunky, lacks groove, and overall a complete mess.
"City Of Blinding Lights", which I've said in the past, is trying to replace "Where The Streets". Ehhhh, i've had enough. I'll probably get slaughtered for "bomb" bashing. Just remember...it's my opinion.
I respect your opinion, but it does go to show music is quite subjective, as I would say Pop sounds quite flat as well in many places. That spirit of U2 you mention, if not lacking, is certainly blanketed by the seemingly laboured production of Pop....while Zooropa manages to take that spirit and allow it to be just as ecstatic as ever before yet in a brand new production setting, making it a resounding success. As for HTDAAB, I don't really agree that it is trying to be like their 1980s output, more that it is striving to understand where they came from and who they are as people... some of Bono's most personal lyrics are on Bomb)... but I do agree that it doesn't succeed on the same level as ATYCLB, despite it having a higher number of "quality" songs. Here's what I wrote in the Best Album thread...

5. ATYCLB - The first 7 tracks are the longest stretch of pure melody on any U2 album. What ranks this album ahead of Bomb for me is the feeling it gives me....yes, the joy. U2 were hoping to create joy on this album, and that's what they managed to catch like lightening in a bottle. A lot of sunlight, and a really good vibe. That feeling does tail off after 'Wild Honey', but if it hadn't, this would have given Rattle and Hum a run for its money for the 4th position, maybe even for the 3rd.

7. Bomb - The highest number of good songs on one U2 album. But that's just the problem I have with this album. They're all just good songs. None are great. Unlike others, I have no problem with the album's flow. This album has the best flow since Achtung Baby. But it's lacking a song like 'One' or 'Pride', or even a 'Mysterious Ways' - ie, an obvious staple. Some of the songs sound like they're being sung simply because they're meant to be sung, rather than because they had to be sung, if that makes any sense (ie, 'All Because of You', 'A Man and a Woman', 'Yahweh'...). The songs here are all very well composed, put together well in a technical sense, however they lack the magic I feel on earlier U2 records. Even ATYCLB had a certain magic on many of the tracks. It's the feeling I'm missing. And that might be my problem, not U2's. I might be able to relate to this album more when I am older...but I can't help but feel this music is a bit flat in some places. That said, U2 prove they are accomplished musicians on this album, and songs such as 'Vertigo' and 'Original of the Species' shine when played live. And I love 'Crumbs from your Table'.

Anyway, back to this post...

You mention the songs on Bomb don't really seep in. Like my review above states, I wasn't able to relate to many of the songs on that kind of level, however there are a few songs that do seep into my subconscous, and I quite often have 'Sometimes' and 'Mirracle Drug' (never thought it was like October, but an interesting take nonetheless) running through my head and emotional registry. Same with 'Crumbs'.
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Old 08-29-2006, 08:20 PM   #31
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Originally posted by Michael Griffiths

I respect your opinion, but it does go to show music is quite subjective, as I would say Pop sounds quite flat as well in many places. That spirit of U2 you mention, if not lacking, is certainly blanketed by the seemingly laboured production of Pop....while Zooropa manages to take that spirit and allow it to be just as ecstatic as ever before yet in a brand new production setting, making it a resounding success. As for HTDAAB, I don't really agree that it is trying to be like their 1980s output, more that it is striving to understand where they came from and who they are as people... some of Bono's most personal lyrics are on Bomb)... but I do agree that it doesn't succeed on the same level as ATYCLB, despite it having a higher number of "quality" songs. Here's what I wrote in the Best Album thread...

5. ATYCLB - The first 7 tracks are the longest stretch of pure melody on any U2 album. What ranks this album ahead of Bomb for me is the feeling it gives me....yes, the joy. U2 were hoping to create joy on this album, and that's what they managed to catch like lightening in a bottle. A lot of sunlight, and a really good vibe. That feeling does tail off after 'Wild Honey', but if it hadn't, this would have given Rattle and Hum a run for its money for the 4th position, maybe even for the 3rd.

7. Bomb - The highest number of good songs on one U2 album. But that's just the problem I have with this album. They're all just good songs. None are great. Unlike others, I have no problem with the album's flow. This album has the best flow since Achtung Baby. But it's lacking a song like 'One' or 'Pride', or even a 'Mysterious Ways' - ie, an obvious staple. Some of the songs sound like they're being sung simply because they're meant to be sung, rather than because they had to be sung, if that makes any sense (ie, 'All Because of You', 'A Man and a Woman', 'Yahweh'...). The songs here are all very well composed, put together well in a technical sense, however they lack the magic I feel on earlier U2 records. Even ATYCLB had a certain magic on many of the tracks. It's the feeling I'm missing. And that might be my problem, not U2's. I might be able to relate to this album more when I am older...but I can't help but feel this music is a bit flat in some places. That said, U2 prove they are accomplished musicians on this album, and songs such as 'Vertigo' and 'Original of the Species' shine when played live. And I love 'Crumbs from your Table'.

Anyway, back to this post...

You mention the songs on Bomb don't really seep in. Like my review above states, I wasn't able to relate to many of the songs on that kind of level, however there are a few songs that do seep into my subconscous, and I quite often have 'Sometimes' and 'Mirracle Drug' (never thought it was like October, but an interesting take nonetheless) running through my head and emotional registry. Same with 'Crumbs'.
I know what you mean, and I agree with u on ure reviews of both those albums (except I don't think the Bomb has even "good" songs. They're all pretty mediocre to bad). However, maybe...(crossing my fingers)...in the future I will be hit unexpectedly by this album, for whatever reason. I really doubt it, cuz U2 usually never needs THAT much time to grow on me. The only album I needed time to appreciate was POP, and not because I thought it was too simple or "wannabe retro", but because I was just confused by their approach. But even at that time, I had a feeling one day POP would hit me, and it did years later, partly because I just stopped listening to the album quickly after it was released, and stopped listening to U2 all the time until ATYCLB came out. When I finally returned to POP after probably a 5 year period, I realized how creative and daring it was for them, and I fell in love with it. With the bomb, unfortunately, I really don't see myself finding anything new within the songs. I feel like I already know the songs inside-and-out and don't see myself discovering anything unexpectedly good in the future. But you never know.
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Old 08-29-2006, 08:43 PM   #32
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I love u2 even more after listening to many artists, not because u2 are better than them but because u2 appeals more to me.
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Old 08-29-2006, 09:26 PM   #33
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I don't know.

I just don't know anymore what exactly upsets me about U2 in the 00s. It's weird cos when I'm in that mood, I can listen to ATYCLB & HTDAAB forever! But other times, the earlier albums seem clearly superior to me. Maybe it's in the lyrics. Maybe it's not.

Maybe it's partly cos I grew up with the nostalgic 90s stuff and didn't really question it much. And now that I'm older, I'm looking at their music thru a microscopic lens. Maybe not.

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Old 08-29-2006, 09:41 PM   #34
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Maybe it's in the lyrics. Maybe it's not.

Maybe it's partly cos I grew up with the nostalgic 90s stuff and didn't really question it much. And now that I'm older, I'm looking at their music thru a microscopic lens. Maybe not.
I think you're crazy, maybe
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Old 08-29-2006, 09:44 PM   #35
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I think you're crazy, maybe
I'm not here... this isn't happening.




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Old 08-29-2006, 09:48 PM   #36
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I know what you mean, and I agree with u on ure reviews of both those albums (except I don't think the Bomb has even "good" songs. They're all pretty mediocre to bad). However, maybe...(crossing my fingers)...in the future I will be hit unexpectedly by this album, for whatever reason. I really doubt it, cuz U2 usually never needs THAT much time to grow on me. The only album I needed time to appreciate was POP, and not because I thought it was too simple or "wannabe retro", but because I was just confused by their approach. But even at that time, I had a feeling one day POP would hit me, and it did years later, partly because I just stopped listening to the album quickly after it was released, and stopped listening to U2 all the time until ATYCLB came out. When I finally returned to POP after probably a 5 year period, I realized how creative and daring it was for them, and I fell in love with it. With the bomb, unfortunately, I really don't see myself finding anything new within the songs. I feel like I already know the songs inside-and-out and don't see myself discovering anything unexpectedly good in the future. But you never know.
I feel Bomb, from a songwriting standpoint, warrents no complaints. It doesn't have the feeling I'm accustomed to from past U2 efforts, but the musicianship is very "professional" - maybe too much so (for my liking anyway).

As for Pop, I know what you mean. I listen to it when I'm bored with the more "classic" side of U2's catalogue, despite the fact I don't get too much of that ethereal feeling from it. There are moments on Pop that are stellar ('Velvet Dress, 'Please', 'Gone'), but overall I feel this is where U2 began to become more of a professional sounding band, with traditional songwriting. Pop, despite being daring, sonically speaking, doesn't take off musically - ie, seldom do the melodies and hooks just "arrive." If they had, it would have been amazing. To me, Zooropa is the more consistent album ('Stay', 'Zooropa', 'Lemon', 'The First Time', even 'Numb' are all very melodious without sounding like they're trying to be, which is the key....and this is where U2 begins to fail on Pop). But it is a nice album to listen to when needing something fresh from U2 that isn't as comfortable sonically as their recent output. There are many layers to absorb...and a great album to listen to on headphones when hungering for this kind of stimuli. But overall, as I said in the other thread, it's an album that had the right idea, but maybe not the right ideas.

I sometimes wonder what Pop would have sounded like if Bono had still had his complete vocal range and sounded exactly as he did in 1991. I think vocals can have a huge influence on the songwriting process....I sometimes salivate as to how amazing Pop would have sounded with all that ambition, loops and style combined with hooks, melody, and soaring vocals. That would have been something to behold, no doubt. Still, I love the fact U2 put it out for us to have when we need something different.
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Old 08-29-2006, 10:04 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael Griffiths

I sometimes wonder what Pop would have sounded like if Bono had still had his complete vocal range and sounded exactly as he did in 1991. I think vocals can have a huge influence on the songwriting process....I sometimes salivate as to how amazing Pop would have sounded with all that ambition, loops and style combined with hooks, melody, and soaring vocals. That would have been something to behold, no doubt. Still, I love the fact U2 put it out for us to have when we need something different.
Well, I don't that Pop would have been very different. What I think about Pop is that few songs seem that they are already in the demo form and that they were quickly produced to make the tracklist. That nudity and rawness of the songs contrast with the techniques and the sound effects used in studio. You percept that.

But Pop wouldn't be very different from what we know. I think that what we know from the remakes, the single versions and live versions represents where they really wanted to go.
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Old 08-29-2006, 10:18 PM   #38
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I don't know, I can't help but have the feeling that Pop could have gone somewhere much farther....like they were waiting for something great to happen, but it never fully arrived. I don't think that reworking songs would have made any difference. It's as though the songs just weren't born to reach the potential that the idea of Pop seems to instill. It's a bit of a paradox, and what we got is what we got, and we should be happy with that.

And that, I suppose, is the whole point of this thread.
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Old 08-29-2006, 10:30 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael Griffiths
I don't know, I can't help but have the feeling that Pop could have gone somewhere much farther....like they were waiting for something great to happen, but it never fully arrived. I don't think that reworking songs would have made any difference. It's as though the songs just weren't born to reach the potential that the idea of Pop seems to instill. It's a bit of a paradox, and what we got is what we got, and we should be happy with that.

And that, I suppose, is the whole point of this thread.
The 'somewhere much farther' that you speak of, for me, is if the songs on the Pop record sounded like they did on the Popmart tour. That's it. If 'Please' from Popmart was 'Please' on the record, if 'Mofo' from Popmart was 'Mofo on the record, if 'Last Night On Earth' from Popmart was 'Last Night On Earth' on the record, etc etc, the record would have been the single best record they have ever put out, imo. I've always felt that Pop was improved live much more so than any other record in U2's catalog(though Bomb gives it a run for its money in that regard...but whereas with Pop it's because the live performances were so amazing, with Bomb it's because the studio production was so awful). That is my opinion, anyway.
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Old 08-29-2006, 10:45 PM   #40
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Perhaps to some degree, but there again any album is much larger than life when brought to the stage show. But I do agree Pop's songs were improved the most out of all albums, though Achtung Baby and ATYCLB certainly took off live as well, both for different reasons.

I actually like the studio version of 'Mofo' more than the live version, and I really appreciate the starkness of the album version of 'Please'. However, for many of the songs, the arrangements are quite middle of the road, despite the playful instrumentation. Bomb has middle of the road arrangements as well, with one or two exceptions ('Original of the Species'), and this may account for these albums coming off a little flat (at least for me)...whereas ATYCLB seemed relaxed and joyful which made up for it.

Anyway, I still would love to see U2 explore the territory on Pop once again, this time with reckless abandon.
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