Pretty sad to see Clayton's thoughts on what would happen to With or Without You today. The funny thing is, is that even when it was released in 1987 it sounded nothing like anything else that was out at the time. It's always been an unconventional song, and that is part of its beauty. If they wrote it today unfortunately a producer like Ryan Tedder would neuter it to sound like a current pop song and it would lose it's soul, all in the name of relevance.
Yes, that part about what they could do to WOWY in order to make it a hit almost shocked me. I sort of hope, that Adam wasn't serious about it. It is such a beautiful and perfect song just the way it is.
I think this has been taken a little too literally, when it seemed a hypothetical question.
The response Clayton gave in any case was reasonable. The song did sound a little different to everything else at the time, but it does inevitably sound dated 30 years on when comparing to modern day production sounds...
To have a hit you you're not trying to connect with middle aged men jaded by today's youth and main stream pop music... although u2 do try and have their cake and eat it by appealing to existing fans and winning new, and obviously failing on both fronts on the most part.
If they want to throw their hat into the ring and compete for chart places and mainstream recognition they need to move with the times, so in that respect promising to hear clayton talk about modern techniques and show some awareness. They are merely competing in the same arena they always have and when they finally do release something it will sound current, and it will sound like u2.
Obviously if they decide to bastardise wowy, they can suck my balls. But then again,I don't think I have another u2 cringe moment left in me... what was once close to a perfect legacy has slowly been watered down for the last couple of decades, so whatever.. I hope they do release something just out of curiosity to see if they can connect with today's pop culture.
Really? You think With Or Without You sounds 'dated'? Bizarre - I consider myself of the generation that listens to chart music, yet when I first heard With Or Without You, it was unlike anything I'd ever heard.
It had beauty, poise and mystical qualities to its sound, the kind that only ethereal soundscape extraordinaires like The Edge and Eno/Lanois could come up with. It's timeless qualities are seen in the ways that the X Factor karaoke fodder you see every Saturday night try to cover it, or derivative bands of the modern age like Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Kings of Leon try to recreate on their own records, only to fall massively short.
It's a timeless piece of work, it doesn't sound like an 1980s song and you can't pinpoint the exact era of it. Like much of U2's great albums and songs, it transcends time. I can quite positively say that the likes of cheap pop fodder like Ryan Tedder and the crap that Guy Oseary presides over in his other management roles will not be granted timeless status.
And on to your second underlined point
, it is not about making music 'for middle aged men'. Folk of my age (mid 20s) listen to many great bands at the minute who make beautiful music without sounding crusty and middle aged - take Radiohead's new album. War On Drugs, Arcade Fire, Beach House, etc while rejecting bubblegum pop.
This is not about being popular, it is about being good. It is about being artistically mature and grown up, as opposed to U2's current approach, which is the equivalent of the creepy middle aged men who hang outside nightclubs with their jeans pulled half way down their ar**s, 'having epic banter' with younger folk 'trying to get down wiv da kids'. Believe me, I've seen those fuds all over Glasgow's Buchanan Street!
Now that really is embarrassing, and that is the approach U2 are seemingly taking. I want mature, creatively expansive music for the introspective listener. Not Bono and co's embarrassing 'cool dad' schtick.