Author Topic: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?  (Read 7868 times)

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Offline Bads316

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #150 on: February 18, 2013, 04:12:18 PM »
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And really, what were the two decades between Electric Co. and Electrical Storm but a long, uninterrupted diatribe about electricity?

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Don't forget "loose electricity"
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Ah yes. Therefore U2's entire career is little more than an advertisement for Ben Franklin's discovery. Talk about riding on others' coattails....

This almost-literal interpretation of lyrics is actually a microcosm of the current lyrical state of U2. Maybe the band has noticed a shift in how their older fans (who date back from the Electric Co / Boy period) are digesting and interpreting their newer songs that Bono has to adjust his writing style.

So in the end, it is possible U2 are not entirely literally bankrupt but just catering to the older fans who have grown up and perhaps have lesser time to delve deeper into the songs, that U2 had to tailor-fit their songwriting to them.  These older fans after all have the biggest spending power and are the ones who have kept their careers afloat.

Very interesting revelations here from this string of replies.

Cheers,

J


:)

Offline emalvick

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #151 on: February 19, 2013, 11:12:27 AM »
Repeating a word or phrase in songs isn't a bad thing unless it becomes chronic.  For instance, dream out loud is something that makes U2, U2...  I am not going to knock them for something like that... Now if it becomes more extensive, than their could be issues or if song after song are making use of old ideas.  I do think that is more of a problem than the repetition of any one phrase or idea.  In other words, the repetition of a word or two in multiple songs is not a sign of lyrical bankruptcy.  U2 aren't the only musicians to use love in many places.  It is a common theme of music.  Religion and spirituality can be too.

Rather, it is how the words are put together.  When all the examples of cringe-worthy lyrics come forth, they are the sentences that are cringe-worthy.  It is occasionally words when we look at items such as the tech-speak or specific vs. vague descriptions.

I do find the tech-speak a bit bothersome, but it isn't necessarily new.  They used similar modern/consumer/tech language in Zooropa (the song) as well as other places.  What I hate about tech references is when they aren't really used right or they are talking about something with a limited breadth.  Speaking about items and actions in a Mac OS just sounds silly.  They could have been more vague and said the same thing without sounding silly.  It will sound even worse in 10-20 years when the OS's have changed so much no-one will fully know what they are talking about.

Thinking about the example Jick made about records and CD's... That doesn't bother me.  Records and LP's were a long lasting technology that connect with the music industry.  I suppose cell phones and ATM machines are more broad, but they could have done better; maybe it won't seem that bad in 10 years there.  I think it just ends up in context and use.  I like subtlety in lyrics, which is why I think the technological references in Zooropa and Lemon work for me while the cheesy, cliche use is bothersome in a song like Some Days Are Better Than Others (to keep with the same album for good and bad).  U2 have, in fact, had bad songs even in their best times.

Ultimately, as this thread goes on, I see that lyric writing definitely isn't easy.  And, their lyrics are still not bad with respect to most other bands and musicians out there.  Of course there are better lyricists, but it seems there are fewer and fewer good ones overall.

Offline Pocket Merlin

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #152 on: February 20, 2013, 11:40:19 AM »
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Repeating a word or phrase in songs isn't a bad thing unless it becomes chronic.  For instance, dream out loud is something that makes U2, U2...  I am not going to knock them for something like that... Now if it becomes more extensive, than their could be issues or if song after song are making use of old ideas.  I do think that is more of a problem than the repetition of any one phrase or idea.  In other words, the repetition of a word or two in multiple songs is not a sign of lyrical bankruptcy.  U2 aren't the only musicians to use love in many places.  It is a common theme of music.  Religion and spirituality can be too.

Rather, it is how the words are put together.  When all the examples of cringe-worthy lyrics come forth, they are the sentences that are cringe-worthy.  It is occasionally words when we look at items such as the tech-speak or specific vs. vague descriptions.

I do find the tech-speak a bit bothersome, but it isn't necessarily new.  They used similar modern/consumer/tech language in Zooropa (the song) as well as other places.  What I hate about tech references is when they aren't really used right or they are talking about something with a limited breadth.  Speaking about items and actions in a Mac OS just sounds silly.  They could have been more vague and said the same thing without sounding silly.  It will sound even worse in 10-20 years when the OS's have changed so much no-one will fully know what they are talking about.

Thinking about the example Jick made about records and CD's... That doesn't bother me.  Records and LP's were a long lasting technology that connect with the music industry.  I suppose cell phones and ATM machines are more broad, but they could have done better; maybe it won't seem that bad in 10 years there.  I think it just ends up in context and use.  I like subtlety in lyrics, which is why I think the technological references in Zooropa and Lemon work for me while the cheesy, cliche use is bothersome in a song like Some Days Are Better Than Others (to keep with the same album for good and bad).  U2 have, in fact, had bad songs even in their best times.

Ultimately, as this thread goes on, I see that lyric writing definitely isn't easy.  And, their lyrics are still not bad with respect to most other bands and musicians out there.  Of course there are better lyricists, but it seems there are fewer and fewer good ones overall.

What lyrics from "Some Days Are Better Than Others" are technological? Or do you just mean they were cheesy in general?

I personally LOVE that song and all of its lyrics.

Offline Tumbling Dice

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #153 on: February 20, 2013, 12:47:45 PM »
The rot set in with Zooropa when Bono sang the slogan of German car maker Audi.

They should have retired then and there.  In shame.




Offline jick

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #154 on: February 20, 2013, 04:02:32 PM »
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Repeating a word or phrase in songs isn't a bad thing unless it becomes chronic.  For instance, dream out loud is something that makes U2, U2...  I am not going to knock them for something like that... Now if it becomes more extensive, than their could be issues or if song after song are making use of old ideas.  I do think that is more of a problem than the repetition of any one phrase or idea.  In other words, the repetition of a word or two in multiple songs is not a sign of lyrical bankruptcy.  U2 aren't the only musicians to use love in many places.  It is a common theme of music.  Religion and spirituality can be too.

Rather, it is how the words are put together.  When all the examples of cringe-worthy lyrics come forth, they are the sentences that are cringe-worthy.  It is occasionally words when we look at items such as the tech-speak or specific vs. vague descriptions.

I do find the tech-speak a bit bothersome, but it isn't necessarily new.  They used similar modern/consumer/tech language in Zooropa (the song) as well as other places.  What I hate about tech references is when they aren't really used right or they are talking about something with a limited breadth.  Speaking about items and actions in a Mac OS just sounds silly.  They could have been more vague and said the same thing without sounding silly.  It will sound even worse in 10-20 years when the OS's have changed so much no-one will fully know what they are talking about.

Thinking about the example Jick made about records and CD's... That doesn't bother me.  Records and LP's were a long lasting technology that connect with the music industry.  I suppose cell phones and ATM machines are more broad, but they could have done better; maybe it won't seem that bad in 10 years there.  I think it just ends up in context and use.  I like subtlety in lyrics, which is why I think the technological references in Zooropa and Lemon work for me while the cheesy, cliche use is bothersome in a song like Some Days Are Better Than Others (to keep with the same album for good and bad).  U2 have, in fact, had bad songs even in their best times.

Ultimately, as this thread goes on, I see that lyric writing definitely isn't easy.  And, their lyrics are still not bad with respect to most other bands and musicians out there.  Of course there are better lyricists, but it seems there are fewer and fewer good ones overall.

U2's use of the word "love" has become more predominant over the years.  Doesn't that become tiring and repetitive? 

Also, their songwriting has become formulaic with obligatory album tracks: ear-candy song, spiritual song, and war song.  In the past, they just stumbled into those kinds of songs by where the direction would lead them.  Since POP, it has been mandatory to do a Sunday Bloody Sunday encore (Please, Peace On Earth, Love And Peace, Get On Your Boots or that war correspondent last song) or a "40" Bible-inspired song (Wake Up Dead Man, Grace, Yahweh, Magnificent).  Things are much more formulaic now.

The use of Mac phrases makes me cringe, and partly because I am a Windows guy. The cd's and LP records comment I made was about it being permissible if it is not essential to the song (like it is in Unknown Caller), or if the song is really intended to be a polaroid shot of that exact moment in time with specific references (like Playboy Mansion).  As some have said here, Unknown Caller starts with a strong opening line then goes into garbage.  It becomes even more cringeworthy when U2 tried to let the crowd since to the computer-derived choruses (see Rose Bowl DVD) during 360 shows.  It's like a song that doesn't have an identity - not sure if it wants to be as vague and as universal as One or if it is to be dated and specific like Playboy Mansion.

There seems to be lack of lyrical commitment and direction on U2's part, especially in the recent song albums.  At the end of the day, U2 can't always rely on The Edge's heavenly delay-ridden chimes, or Mullen's unparalleled precise tasteful drumming to save every song.  Lyrics do matter, and the good ones are getting few and far between as of late.

I hope they will make a lyrical comeback and wordy return to form in their next album.

Cheers,

J

Offline jick

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #155 on: December 15, 2013, 09:37:18 AM »
Wow, look what I said almost one year ago.

And read together with the title of U2's latest song...

Perhaps the answer to "Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt" is two words.

Ordinary Love.

Cheers,

J

Offline Borack

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #156 on: December 15, 2013, 10:00:11 AM »
... or perhaps two other words repeated ... "same old, same old".

Be well and thanks for both creating then reviving this thread.

Offline ZooClothes

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #157 on: December 15, 2013, 09:12:55 PM »
No.

Are YOU tough enough for ordinary love? Can extraordinary love exist without ordinary love? How much must we go through before this sea that throws us together turns us into polished stones? After all this time and all the different kinds of love Bono and U2 have dissected, we bring it all the way back to the foundation. After reaching for the stars, Bono lands his feet squarely on the ground and starts from square one. I love it. And looking at NLOTH, songs like the title track, FEZ, Cedars of Lebanon, Breathe (even with the "love you can't defeat" line), Unknown Caller, Crazy Tonight, and GOYB don't really have much to do with love per se.

Offline codeguy

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #158 on: December 15, 2013, 11:51:03 PM »
U2 continues to get better lyrically over the years.

I've been in every black hole at the altar of the dark star.
Yahweh, why the dark before the dawn?
See the world in green and blue, see china right in front of you, see the canyons broken by clouds, see the tuna fleets clearing the sea out....
The roar that lies on the other side of silence, The forest fire that is fear so deny it...
The worst of us are a long drawn out confession, The best of us are geniuses of compression

I know that we don't talk, I'm sick of it all, Can you hear me when I sing??
You're the reason I sing! You're the reason why the opera is in me

I'm in the waiting room, Can't see for the smoke, I think of you and your holy book While the rest of us choke

From the freckled hills to the steel and glass canyons, from the stony fields to hanging steel from sky.

Just a few samples of their lyrical prowess in recent years. Lyrically bankrupt my .......

The 80s was four kids making rock....but time gave us polished stone!

Offline an tha

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #159 on: December 16, 2013, 01:27:14 AM »
Lyrically lazy, often - would be my shout.

'love' has been overused badly down the years even in the bands better songs. What has got worse is the cheesyness of the lyrics as the songs have become 'happier' by and large in the 00s.

Of course every album has dodgy lyrics at times but its the themes that have disappointed me most - bono is a better lyricist when he writes grittier lyrics, he gets very cliched when he is writing happier songs - but also he has lost a lot of the subtlety when writing the more 'angry' songs.

I suppose it gets harder the more you have written, harder to find new themes, harder to not repeat yourself and harder to be inventive.

When he gets it right he is still potent, but the highs have become less high and the lows lower.

Offline jick

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #160 on: December 16, 2013, 03:36:03 AM »
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... or perhaps two other words repeated ... "same old, same old".

Be well and thanks for both creating then reviving this thread.

Just like U2 keep on reviving "love" in their lyrics and song titles.

Cheers,

J

Offline InsiDesOurce3

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #161 on: December 16, 2013, 07:09:04 AM »
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... or perhaps two other words repeated ... "same old, same old".

Be well and thanks for both creating then reviving this thread.

Just like U2 keep on reviving "love" in their lyrics and song titles.

Cheers,

J

Good point. Are there any other "words" they over use?

Cheers,

IS3

Offline neilkap

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #162 on: December 16, 2013, 07:53:22 AM »
What do you mean "finally" ?

Lyrically it's been all downhill after Pop.

And still heading downhill apparently.

Offline Midnight is Where the Day Begins

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #163 on: December 16, 2013, 09:58:08 AM »
Boy... people love to complain.

That's the internet for you.

Offline neilkap

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Re: Has U2 Finally Become Lyrically Bankrupt?
« Reply #164 on: December 16, 2013, 10:09:09 AM »
That's the internet.

People complain.

People complain about people complaining.

Ad infinitum.