I've had a dramatic drop off of how much I care about U2, in general. It's a mix of being tired of Bono's nonstop bs about anything he talks about, the two-albums a decade pace, and the feeling like they are only going to get worse from here. There is so much amazing music being made by bands and producers who care, from Spencer Krug (a member of at least 3 or 4 bands, with at least 1 new album a year) to veterans like the Flaming Lips, who are also releasing inspired music at an all time high pace. I'm overwhelmed with new music, and U2's artistry just seems to be dying a slow death.
What keeps you guys interested?
It's the music. I'll pinch a word you exited with as well - their artistry.
I'm really enjoying other acts at the moment as well: Florence & The Machine, The Black Keys, The Doves...And the truth of the matter is, I enjoy them because I can hear the notes, the approach and arrangement, sometimes the passion U2 once had cornered the market with.
I'm "still here" because the same surmounting spirit in their music that's always been there in varying degrees keeps popping up. And whether it's nostalgic melancholy or the perception that their "A-game" is still the best in music, I don't know, but even hiccups like the a few songs on recent albums aren't enough to deter me in the hope that a complete masterpiece is around the corner. While I wait, I'm content with the 80% rate of great music they seem to be quite capable of producing.
On the gripe side, I mean I wish Bono would lose the shades, I wish more mystery was brought back, lol call it a want for the masochistic appearance when happy and U2 couldnt be more mutually exclusive. I wish Bono would stop parroting same soundbites and that when an album is released (on a bi-annual basis) that it stop pandering to urban demographic approval as though if Bono doesn't throw out a gang sign every now and then, that the forever ahead black musical community won't bless the band's offerings. U2 isn't "funky" and never has been nor ever will need to be...I have issues that follow, "If Bono wants relevancy and defines it as will.I am, while progressive acts like Florence and The Machine don't, what musical scene is he following and aspiring to emulate?"
In the meantime, I listen in appreciation to other acts and hear U2's influence and remain satisfied if not arrogantly so that despite a few qualities I wish were different about the band and their sporadic album production, I'm surrounded by evidence that compels me to remain convinced that their likewise sporadic substandard production is still a pretty lofty summit most bands wish they could reach half of.
Ive been recently listening to NLOTH again, and the first four tunes as well as the last three are as good as anything by the band in their history. And to think of the songs passed over, "Mercy", "Winter", etc...NLOTH could have been a record on par with TJT or AB, they were thaaaat
Cause for great optimism I think.