Author Topic: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?  (Read 3898 times)

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Offline skelter

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How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« on: November 07, 2012, 11:55:37 PM »
I had a wave of nostalgia about my 1st favorite band, the Backstreet Boys. I was curious as to how U2 coexisted with boybands like the Backstreet Boys & NSync in the 90s? Did U2's album releases not clash with the peak hype of boy bands? I believe there must have been at least some overlap between the boyband fan demographic and U2 audience, especially in the 90s when U2 were unarguably relevant. I wish to hear all inputs, especially those who followed chart hits and popular music in the 90s. (I am curious about album as well as concert sales)

Achtung Baby, 1991: Probably safe, too early for boyband fever
Zooropa, 1993: birth of the baby phase of backstreet boys. U2's Zooropa tour affected?
Pop, 1997: U2's 'low point' (by public opinion). Did the boybands have an edge over U2 at this point?
ATYCLB, 2000: Enjoyed huge commercial success and Beautiful Day had tons of radio play. Backstreet boys released their popular "Black & Blue" album at this point. Who was more poular>



Offline singnomore

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2012, 07:46:31 AM »
Ahem - without wishing to show my age they had the same challenges in th 80's - Duran Duran etc...

Its all about music genres and personal preferences I guess
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 05:29:04 AM by singnomore »

Nanda360

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2012, 02:11:33 PM »
all I can tell you is that when I was a 100% into the boybands (BSB, NSync, 5ive, and another Irish band name that I don't remember), I was only getting started into U2 (1998 I guess) and I could manage both tastes very well. When I was in need of something frivolous, superficial and beautiful I turned to the boybands and when I wanted a more robust content, there was U2 to fill me up inside...

Offline skelter

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2012, 02:51:36 PM »
The Irish boyband being Westlife? Or BoyZone? I was quite into Westlife during that era too  ;D

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2012, 03:01:27 PM »
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The Irish boyband being Westlife? Or BoyZone? I was quite into Westlife during that era too  ;D

yeah, Westlife! They were so cute and they had a handful of songs that I liked at that time. But there was Boyzone as well, great voices and faces together, who participated in Sweetest thing video... total Irish power 8)

Offline skelter

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2012, 03:28:11 PM »
Yep I think Bono has some ties to BoyZone, being from Dublin and all. Remember how in The Unforgettable Fire Rose Bowl version, he shouts out "Steven Gately, beautiful soul!" (Gately was an ex-BoyZone member who died).

My 2 weeks of BSB nostalgia is nearly over. Nick Carter's voice is grating my nerves, especially the way he drools the lyrics. Yuck. Bono's voice will never irritate me, it connects straight to my soul, especially when he belts at the climax. (Think the studio version of Mercy, where he screams "HOW CAN SOMEONE FEEEL NOTHING!" oohoohooh!)

Offline Drummer Boy

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2012, 03:38:18 PM »
By 2001, U2 was being held as the band most responsible for "bringing rock back" (to the charts and the mainstream, I suppose), and ending the reign of boy-bands.

Ironically, they did it by adopting their most boy-band-ish image in a long time (see Elevation video), and releasing an album produced to sound as "pop" as U2 can sound. I think it was Larry, who said to Bono, at the end of the PopMart tour: "Why don't we make an actual pop record, next time?".

And they did.

Offline skelter

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2012, 03:43:48 PM »
good point. Elevation video was full out cheesy, what with matching leather suits and all. I don't think much 'blame' can be assigned to the Lara Croft movie though, because there were only snippets of the movie and it was more fully a U2 music video. (At first I misread your post and though you said Elevation TOUR. On the tour they were so chillin', intimate and unsynchronized (in style, etc. Very un-boyband) The tour was mellow arena rock for sure :D )

ATYLCB being mainstream pop? The devouts and damnators on here would surely say so.

Offline imaginary friend

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2012, 03:57:00 PM »
U2's always coexisted quite comfortably with whatever was dominating the mainstream at the time, whether it was hair metal in the '80s, grunge, alternative and more aggressive kinds of metal in the early '90s, hiphop in the mid '90s, or the boyband/bubblegum crap at the end of that decade.

Offline NeverInTheDaylight

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2012, 04:15:22 PM »
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U2's always coexisted quite comfortably with whatever was dominating the mainstream at the time, whether it was hair metal in the '80s, grunge, alternative and more aggressive kinds of metal in the early '90s, hiphop in the mid '90s, or the boyband/bubblegum crap at the end of that decade.

^This, exactly  8) 

Offline Drummer Boy

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 04:42:25 PM »
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U2's always coexisted quite comfortably with whatever was dominating the mainstream at the time, whether it was hair metal in the '80s, grunge, alternative and more aggressive kinds of metal in the early '90s, hiphop in the mid '90s, or the boyband/bubblegum crap at the end of that decade.

In 1997, kids were listening to the Backstreet Boys, and didn't give a toss about "If God Will Send His Angels" or "Staring At The Sun". I don't think U2 was quite comfortably coexisting with boy bands... more like U2 was having it's butt kicked by boy-bands, as far as relevance goes.

By 2001, kids were listening to "Elevation" and "Beautiful Day", and boy-bands were starting to disappear into oblivion. Even if it took a video like Elevation to do it, I'm very proud of how U2 returned in form and kicking *ss. And with a great album. I don't understand people's contempt for ATYCLB. I think it's brilliant... Mainstream and pop, for sure, as it was designed to be. But brilliant nonetheless.

Offline So Cruel

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 04:54:04 PM »
Boy Bands/Bubblegum pop or whatever you want to call it has been around since the 50's. Tiffany and Debbie Gibson never affected U2 in the 80's 'cause their core audience (young teen girls) were different then U2's core audience (rock fans). Same with in the early 90's New Kids on the Block and Take That, the late 90's with Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, or N Sync, or in the 2000's with Justin Bieber. Bubblegum Pop is going after a totally different audience then a band like U2 is going after. I'm sure U2 and it's management never gave a seconds thought to having to "coexist" with these acts.

Offline So Cruel

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2012, 05:06:50 PM »
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U2's always coexisted quite comfortably with whatever was dominating the mainstream at the time, whether it was hair metal in the '80s, grunge, alternative and more aggressive kinds of metal in the early '90s, hiphop in the mid '90s, or the boyband/bubblegum crap at the end of that decade.

In 1997, kids were listening to the Backstreet Boys, and didn't give a toss about "If God Will Send His Angels" or "Staring At The Sun". I don't think U2 was quite comfortably coexisting with boy bands... more like U2 was having it's butt kicked by boy-bands, as far as relevance goes.

By 2001, kids were listening to "Elevation" and "Beautiful Day", and boy-bands were starting to disappear into oblivion. Even if it took a video like Elevation to do it, I'm very proud of how U2 returned in form and kicking *ss. And with a great album. I don't understand people's contempt for ATYCLB. I think it's brilliant... Mainstream and pop, for sure, as it was designed to be. But brilliant nonetheless.

ATYCLB had nothing to do with the demise of the 90's boy bands. Time is never on the side of any boy band or bubblegum pop act. Their core audience is young girls between the ages of 8 -13. Once these kids get older and into high school they don't like the things they did at the age of 10.  It happens to all those artists, and once one is done their is another act just around the corner.  New Kids popular in early 90's, their audience grows up a bit and they are done; then it's Backstreet Boys and N Syncs turn, then they are done; then it's Miley Cyrus, now shes done; enter Justin Bieber, and his reign is coming to an end.

When my niece was around 10 she loved Justin Bieber. His posters were all over her wall. I remember telling her that in a few years she wouldn't like him anymore and she told me I was crazy. She's 14 and in high school school now and can't stand Justin Bieber.  It happens to all those acts. Hopefully their parents didn't spend all their money.

U2's problem wasn't that kids weren't into If God Will Send His Angels or Staring at the Sun; their problem was that rock fans weren't into them.

Offline Drummer Boy

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2012, 07:48:25 PM »
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ATYCLB had nothing to do with the demise of the 90's boy bands. Time is never on the side of any boy band or bubblegum pop act. Their core audience is young girls between the ages of 8 -13. Once these kids get older and into high school they don't like the things they did at the age of 10.  It happens to all those artists, and once one is done their is another act just around the corner.  New Kids popular in early 90's, their audience grows up a bit and they are done; then it's Backstreet Boys and N Syncs turn, then they are done; then it's Miley Cyrus, now shes done; enter Justin Bieber, and his reign is coming to an end.

When my niece was around 10 she loved Justin Bieber. His posters were all over her wall. I remember telling her that in a few years she wouldn't like him anymore and she told me I was crazy. She's 14 and in high school school now and can't stand Justin Bieber.  It happens to all those acts. Hopefully their parents didn't spend all their money.

U2's problem wasn't that kids weren't into If God Will Send His Angels or Staring at the Sun; their problem was that rock fans weren't into them.

Good points, with the obvious exceptions of Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Michael Jackson. Three bubblegum pop acts which continue to sell records, in spite of one of them being dead (...or is he?).  ;)

But my point was that, at the beginning of each decade ('90s and '00s), U2 managed to attract a new generation of kids (regardless of them being rock or pop fans), which is vital to make a leap forward, and renew their audience. In the case of ATYCLB, I think the hits were strong enough to actually help make kids say: "I'm tired of this pop crap, I want some real band". And of course, the tragedy of 9/11 made a lot of people turn to music with a bit more content, which suited U2 just fine. So I disagree with you on that; ATYCLB played a big part in the demise of boy-bands, in my opinion.

Usually, U2 then releases a more daring record (but still mainstream enough), by mid-decade, as to not completely lose those kids. And by the end of each decade, they release a more arty and experimental album (like Pop and NLOTH), which doesn't appeal much to new kids, but broadens the taste of the ones they won at the start of the decade; while at the same time pleasing older and more experimental fans.

That has been the pattern in the '90s and the '00s. I wonder if they'll repeat the trick on this decade...

I love it when they go mainstream and high profile, while still making good music.

Offline skelter

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Re: How did U2 coexist with the boybands in the '90s?
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2012, 08:17:38 PM »
Another trivial point is that the bubblegum boybands and britney's marketing appeal is based on 'good looks'. (Michael Jackson is an anomaly (he's not bubblegum either), Kylie and Madonna's appeal is also partly based on their hotness). Looks fade. Celebrities fill out, etc. While many ladies on this forum love each of our 4 band members, their (some might argue) unconventional good looks is not even a top 10 selling point for U2.  :-*

For me, in my transitioning from BSB to U2, I've respected so much that U2 controls the entire creative process and output themselves, like a real band should. I see some youtube comments on BSB songs like "Larger than Life" and diehards from yesteryears gush that 'bsb is amazing because they make a song dedicated to thanking their fans', but beb did not write the damn song! Their management and record execs and tptb decided on the theme for their singles! The spirit of the song's genesis and evolution is important, I guess. Like when I think of the story behind White As Snow (soldier dying of a roadside IED and the length of the song being the time it takes him to die), jeepers, being in Bono's head like that really gives the song an added dimension!

I know that U2 and boybands' demographic is not identical, but there MUST be some overlap still. Especially in the '90s. Radio play is radio play, which act was bigger, I'm asking.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 08:23:36 PM by skelter »