There seems to have been increasing levels of criticism of the lyrics at least since Pop, or perhaps that's just an artifact of increasing internet use - as it got easier to publicly comment, etc. The instantaneous bashing of the lyrics on release is incredibly offensive to me and I hope Bono knows enough to ignore it and doesn't take it to heart or feel the undue weight of a need for weighty lyrics (he's more than made quota for a lifetime
). Thirty plus years in and I'm still struck on an almost daily basis by aspects I missed before.
I have no issue with considering lyric ideas from other contributors as long as Bono has final say on what's in, what's out etc. Isn't that in a way what he's doing with some of the allusions - pulling in a choice line or idea? Had to laugh at the recent "favorite lyrics" QOM result as at least three of them aren't Bono's words: "my body's now a begging bowl" - that's Leonard Cohen, "tried to drown my sorrows but my sorrows learned to swin" - that's Frida Kahlo, "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" - purportedly Gloria Steinem, and that ignores the Bible references, and the paraphrases that make up a number of the other choices.
One of my favorite finds over the years is that "Conversation on a Barstool" on the Short Cuts soundtrack is a Bono & Edge composition, while Marianne Faithful has released the Bono only version, so you can see in a single non-dramatic example how they differ.
If they are concerned with reaching a younger demographic (sorry art is business) then common ground between a younger lyricist and himself might be great & fun. Bono is profoundly a hard worker or profoundly talented or some combination thereof, and whatever he feels works for him is fine with me, and I'll live with the words that come out as the final product quite a long time before I'll get negative or conclusory on them.