I haven't voted yet as I'm really not sure. I'm torn! Back in 1997, when the band released songs like Discotheque and especially Mofo I longed for them to make more songs in that vein. Very Chemical Brothers/Prodigy-esque with those frenetic pounding dance beats. I'm not a huge fan of a lot of dance music but I loved that song. It was dance but gritty, edgy dance. However what passes for dance music today I really can't stand. Well most that I hear anyway. I find it bland, insipid and all sounding the same. I'm really not sure what is classed as EDM but if it's the likes of David Guetta or Calvin Harris then please, noooooooo! I mean, I liked that Rihanna song with Calvin Harris, We Found Love. It was catchy enough. However, it then seemed like a thousand other songs all came out with exactly the same sound and beat and I was totally sick of it! If that's the sort of dance/pop you mean for U2 than definitely no. That album Mark Ronson did several years back, of dance cover versions of various songs (with Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, etc) now I thought that was quite inventive and I liked some of the sounds on that. That I wouldn't mind so much for U2 but not the Harris/Guetta stuff and I couldn't stand it if they did a bland Coldplay style pop/rock album full of bland mid tempo songs, or like OneRepublic (I liked their debut album but very little since, sooo bland!). I love when U2 really "rock out" (maaaaan, lol). I mean, rock with a gritty edge. I like experimental U2. Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop are 3 of my favourite U2 albums and I love some of their songs from their Passengers album, especially Your Blue Room and later songs like Stateless. I love their 80's stuff too, of course, but edgy, adventurous, experimental 90's U2 is by far my favourite.
If only they could get some of that grit, energy and experimentation and basically FIRE back into their music I don't care what style it's in really - they could release an album full of Benedictine Monks chanting away, accompanied by trad Irish folk artists, a Bollywood flavour and throw in some Andean Pipers in for good measure and I'll be happy if the band really sound genuinely into what they're doing! I really want to hear grittier guitar playing from Edge again and Adam and Larry's playing brought to the fore more. I agree that Bono should sing in his lower register more these days. His lower register sounds smooth and sexy. When he starts straining his voice to hit the high notes or sing in a higher key he can sound a bit painful now, it's sad to say.
Anyway, of those two clips, I think The Best Thing is awful. Bland, formulaic, generic dance pop. U2 are better than that. I love the sound in Adam's studio clip a lot more. I know the 90's techno (or whatever you call it) sound of Mofo would be classed as outdated today but I would like some songs with that kind of thumping beat and energy, but also some angry, more aggressive, energetic rock songs would be brilliant too. Just no MOR pop blandness, please! I guess I'll opt for the Mix vote option.
Actually, I know it's highly unlikely but you know the ramshackle, almost amateurish rough & ready rock sound of early Libertines and Arctic Monkeys? I wouldn't mind a couple of songs like that from U2! I guess that's more the sound of the "angry youth" though, so I suppose our boys are a bit too old for that now, lol! Oh well. I just want SOE to sound energised and "punchy", if that's the right term! Oh, just one thing I couldn't bear - bloody "rent-a-rappers"!! If there's thing that sounds so cliched, boring and old hat already it's the obligatory droning guest rapper halfway through a song! Urgh!!!
I agree with every word of this.
There's a big difference between the 'dance' music that inspired Pop and the contemporary dance music we hear in the charts today. Today's contemporary dance fodder is mass produced like McDonalds - it may be the ultimate for people with poor tastes and a limited palette, but for those with sophisticated tastes, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Their experiment with building songs around breakbeats and interesting rhythmic structures was one of the innovative things about Pop - combining alternative rock with this style was unique. Whereas Coldplay make cheap music for the masses, U2's finest was like a meal at the Ritz. Thankfully, they haven't trodden down such a cynical path, and whatever criticisms there are about Songs of Innocence, the album is far far far superior and more artistically relevant (particularly the second half of the album) to Coldplay's recent output, even if the production of the album isn't great as the band admitted themselves.
I'd absolutely love to hear Bono sing in his lower register much more - although I'm probably biased as U2's 90s output was my favourite. It added depth, intrigue and mystery to his performance but it also blended perfectly with the instrumental backing - it seemed more of a holistic approach where Bono didn't dominate the songs so much (none of this melodramatic 'woah woah woahs' ala Unknown Caller) and allowed the band some improvisation.
But if rock and a gritty live feel is the aim for their next album, then fingers crossed because it's fair to say their last couple of albums have seemed lifeless. I don't want You're The Best Thing anywhere near this album - putrid melody, even without the terrible EDM production, so in fear of a terrible state of affairs with something like that, a rock album would do me absolutely fine. When you think of what Raised By Wolves could have sounded like with a much grittier and aggressive sound, then it's an easy option.