Oh my gosh. I just realized something. Everyone who slags on the last three albums and worships Pop is just as bad as all the old people who only like everything up to Rattle and Hum.
Brilliant post. I edited it only for brevity.
I don't post here often, but the utter nonsense that people were saying in this thread motivated me.
What the heck is "artistic integrity"? That is such an ambiguous subjective term that it should be banned from usage. Furthermore, what is so glorious about "Pop"? It has a few exciting moments, but I don't find it to be this "brilliant" album - in fact, I find it a bit musically boring. There are highlights, of course, with the exploration of techno. But even on a song like "Staring at the Sun", Edge is just doing classic George Harrison. Bono's lyrics were great, but his voice was shot. And I can't stand songs like "If God Will Send His Angels" or "Playboy Mansion". If you say that you love NLOTH, save for GOYB and "Crazy", then doesn't that make it rather equal to "Pop"?
Furthermore, I can challenge the "artistic integrity" of songs in older albums. "Pride" was U2's direct effort at creating a hit song. "With or Without You" was a slow love song - the type that always shoot to the top of the charts. "Desire" is a classic 4/4 rhythm that has been a hit many times before. "Mysterious Ways" is perhaps U2's best pop song ever. "One" is another slow love song. These are all great songs, but one could readily question U2's "integrity" writing material that would definitely appeal to the masses.
Therefore, I'd rather people say, "This doesn't appeal to me" than spew nonsense about how U2 lost their "integrity". That means little.
With regards to the actual topic of this thread, I will say this - I hope U2 do release "something different". Have some fun with the music. They've tried so many styles already - punk, folk, gospel, rock, pop, techno, contemporary, ambient, etc. I'd love to see what they have left that is truly "different" without worrying about whether it's a hit.