Author Topic: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?  (Read 3062 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline dwaltman

  • Running to Stand Still
  • **
  • Posts: 1,073
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2017, 09:22:05 PM »
A 5-piece with Edge's brother staying in the band. 

Offline Ultrafly

  • Stateless
  • *
  • Posts: 112
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2017, 03:06:51 AM »
Lots of consensus here that up to 1998 the band didn't really put a foot wrong.

1998 & 2002 were the first obvious and visible signs of a "Crisis In Confidence". (The Cure hit a similar commercial plateau at the same time). All big bands have a golden first run - an 'imperial phase' - that lasts the first few years. In U2's case, this lasted 20 years.

I would change their way of thinking. They're richer than God, completely self-sufficient and masters of their own destiny. Around 2000 they should have changed : they started thinking "We need to write some classic U2 songs." They put themselves in a box called "U2". They should have kept thinking "Lets write the best songs we can", and stopped looking at chart positions and commercial validation. Until 1998 they were *that* band, and then they should have simply said, "Ok, we're probably not going to be as big anymore, lets just follow our muse."

The 1998 and 2002 Best of's were simple ego boost/cash grab/profile boosters designed to keep a relevancy - by the time of the third "Best Of" in 8 years in 2006, it was boring and pointless.

ATYCLB is the first album I've heard of theirs where you can take out a few songs and wouldn't even notice they were missing. Songs like Grace, and so on, are U2-by-numbers. Attempts at writing U2-type songs, not good songs. Every album since then has suffered from the same thing : navel-gazing, overthinking, hesitation. U2 need to think less, feel more, and just do it. If they did that, SOE would be out now, instead of them going in to re-record 5 year old songs to make them sound as fresh as they did the day they were written in 2012. If they did that, we would have more albums, and "Songs Of Ascent" with the several songs they played live would've been out in 2011 with a huge tour behind it. There are probably a few later period finished albums that will only come out when the band have split or died, that we wish they'd just had the smarts to issue at the time.

The world U2 used to live in is dead : they're not a band that will ever have several number 1's in a row, or be on the front of every magazine anymore. Get used to it, guys. They now have an opportunity to be a band that makes records and tours with a built in fanbase, commercially self-sufficient, with no need for hits after 40 years near the top of the world. And yet they still chase the golden fleece of hit singles they won't get anymore.

What would I change? Less overthinking, more shows, more songs.

Offline Smee

  • Party Girl/Boy
  • **
  • Posts: 746
  • Im Eddie and im a Monkey
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2017, 10:04:11 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Just go and delete everything post Pop and you have the greatest band ever in my book....sadly what happened from 2000 onwards is just for me sad...the reasons are complicated and deep but the end result is for me really sad...

I find u2's music post Pop mainly ordinary - very ordinary, could literally be any middling non descript pop rock band knocking it out....and that isn't the u2 I fell in love with - they made extraordinary music that had a unique feel, atmosphere and sound.

I have often said that Edges guitar work, after Pop, could EASILY be replecated by most decent gutarists. Gone is the experimentalism that made his work stand out

Offline 30yearjt

  • Babyface
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2017, 11:46:04 AM »
At the point after Pop when someone in the organization thinks "we need to appeal to the mainstream", send back a terminator to eliminate that person before he/she says a word.

Offline WookieeWarrior10

  • Elevated
  • ***
  • Posts: 3,777
  • Every Artist is a Cannibal, Every Poet is a Thief.
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2017, 12:38:59 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
At the point after Pop when someone in the organization thinks "we need to appeal to the mainstream", send back a terminator to eliminate that person before he/she says a word.
But then we'd never get to hear Bono chant "L-EH-VAY-SHUN".  :(

Online NOLA Fly

  • Staring at the Sun
  • **
  • Posts: 1,336
  • Feel like trash, You make me feel clean...
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2017, 12:55:03 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
At the point after Pop when someone in the organization thinks "we need to appeal to the mainstream", send back a terminator to eliminate that person before he/she says a word.

They were trying to appeal to the mainstream with Pop. And every U2 album before that one. From an interview of Bono in the Chicago Tribune:

Quote
KOT: It sounds like "Pop" didn't work for you because it didn't sell. To my mind, it worked because it was a good, daring album. There's no shame in not selling.

BONO: It didn't communicate the way it was intended to. It was supposed to change the mood of that summer [1997]. An album changes the mood of a summer when you walk out of a pub and you have those songs in your head. And you hear them coming from a car, an open window. It changes the mood of the season. Instead it became a niche record. And I know you're a man who appreciates the niche. And I'm glad you appreciate that one, but that's not what it was intended to be. It's not about sales; we don't need the cash. It's about your ambition for the song. With "Pop," I always think if we'd just had another month, we could have finished it. But we did a really bad thing. We let the manager book the tour, known in this camp as the worst decision U2 ever made, and we had to wrap up the album sooner than we wanted. You don't need an album to communicate for you to enjoy it, you don't need it to be trimmed of fat to enjoy it, because you're enjoying the ideas, the textures. But for me to enjoy it, I need it to do that [communicate on a wider level].


As for their motivation to change directions for ATYCLB....[From the LA Times around the time of ATYCLB]:

Quote
"We spent most of the '90s experimenting and I think we finally realized on the PopMart tour that it was time for us to start stripping back again," says Bono, who recalls a telling moment during the PopMart U.S. tour. We got into Washington, D.C., before all our equipment arrived and rehearsed with just guitar, bass and drums--none of the loops or samples that we had been attaching to the songs. Howie B. came in during the middle of the rehearsal and he said, 'Wow, what a sound. What is this?' We told him it was us, it was what U2 sounds like. I think that's when we realized that it was time for us to get back to the essence of what we do."

Rather than take a lengthy break after the PopMart tour, the band pretty much went straight into the studio in Dublin and began working on the new album.

One of the key steps in the reconnection with the classic U2 sound came the day Edge played the guitar riff that propels "Beautiful Day."

Bono's first instinct was that it was "too U2," but Edge thought it felt right.

"It sounded fresh again," says Edge. "We had been exploring the fringe of what we could be and what rock 'n' roll was all about, and that was essential. I think the group would have died creatively if we hadn't moved into uncharted territory. But eventually we needed to return to the center. I don't know if we've made a great record or not, but it is our record. It's us standing there naked, if you will."

Offline cocamojoe

  • Headache in a Suitcase
  • *
  • Posts: 313
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2017, 01:19:42 AM »
I think that this is a rather tough question to answer. One could argue that they went wrong with Rattle & Hum, though they quickly rebounded with Achtung Baby. The next logical dot on their timeline to consider as their going wrong would be Pop: the tour was booked before the album was finished, resulting, in the band's estimation, in the album being undercooked (I agree to a point, in particular regards to bad production on songs like If God Will Send His Angels and If You Wear That Velvet Dress), which resulted in their not having ample time to rehearse for the tour, which we all know resulted in some rather bumpy early shows. On that same tour, though, they booked some rather odd locations, and then wondered why the stadiums were half empty. Take Clemson, South Carolina as an example. Clemson is emphatically a quintessential college town. Booking a stadium show during non-school season, and then wondering why a 50,000+ stadium barely sells half of the available tickets in a city that has less than 50,000 people in the city proper when students are subtracted, is a rather daft move.

Put yourself in their shoes: for a decade, damn near every show was at capacity; and, those that weren't were easily at 80% or more (i.e., Pittsburgh isn't yet sold out for this show, but, after doing some math on Ticketmaster, I have determined that about 90% of tickets have been sold, sans whatever is available on sites like Stubhub). So imagine walking on stage in a city like Clemson, or Tampa, or the different cities in Germany that sold embarrassingly low, too. Not just for a band of U2's stature, but any band would feel an emphatic need to take a step back after that.

And, that's precisely what All That You Can't Leave Behind seems to be. Rather than feeling the need to constantly be "different", "edgy" and what not, they just wrote an overall collection of damn fine pop songs. To top it off, 9/11 happened in America shortly after the end of the European leg on that tour, with songs like Beautiful Day and Stuck In A Moment and Wakk On taking on new meaning.

The mojo that they felt they lost on PopMart, that had every reason to believe that they had more than reacquired it, as Bono famously quipped at the Grammys about "reapplying for the job" of being the biggest band in the world.

Fast forward a few years, and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb was another soaring success. If I'm not mistaken, it was also released close enough to the Christmas season for that to undoubtedly boost sales. The ensuing tour saw nightly capacity crowds, the same as with the Elevation Tour. This tour ended in Hawaii, the 50th US State, in a stadium. That sold out show gave them the confidence to again try and tour US stadiums, as we saw with their next tour.

But, we have the problem of No Line On The Horizon. It is a fact that the band had a slew of songs recorded with Rick Rubin, which they shelved to again had Eno and Lanois, holing themselves up in a riad in Morocco, in Fez, hoping to channel some of that Achtung Baby era inspiration. Sadly, the band seemingly became addicted to the Beautiful Day/Vertigo template of releasing a bombastic first single, which resulted in the misfire of Get On Your Boots. Also, it is a known fact that the band ditched the bulk of their actual experimental work from Fez to instead try and focus on writing radio hits.

But, the times were changing, as the digital music era, which U2 helped usher in with the Vertigo iPod commercial, meant that people don't consume music in the same fashion. YouTube was already established, as was Pandora; but, Spotify was just beginning to become the cult that it is today. The fact that Spotify can now be used as a verb today should tell you plenty about the status of that app.

So the elusive single was made elusive still more by this new climate. To top it off, NLOTH grossly undersold their previous releases to such a degree that many seem to be shocked by the runaway success of the 360 tour. In truth, NLOTH very likely sold MANY more copies than the 1 or 2 million worldwide figure that is generally touted. As digital sales by way of iTunes and Amazon was still a new thing (remember, both Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails had both done their digital releases just one year before, too), digital sales, at that time, were not counted in sales figures. Today they are, but in 2009 when NLOTH was released, they weren't.

So, in reality, that album like sold quite a bit more than the band realizes. The "sting" from its purported underwhelming sales is what ultimately resulted in the disastrous release of Songs Of Innocence such as they did.

I could keep going on, but I'm confident that I've more than made my point that I believe that U2 "gets it wrong" far more consistently than many may think, or may like to think. All the same, the 360 tour is both the highest attended and grossing tour; also, the Innocence & Experience tour was a rousing success, though obviously on a much smaller scale. These summer shows will likely gross more than that entire tour, despite its being roughly half the amount of shows. Also, I saw the I&E tour in Toronto, NYC, Belfast, and Dublin, and the audience, by and large, knew the new songs, even cheering them on when Bono would announce the song title.

In closing, if I could change the U2 timeline, it would either be with the music of NLOTH (I love some of the songs, but Get On Your Boots and Crazy Tonight are painfully obvious in their being radio ready, as well as Unknown Caller and Stand Up Comedy quite possibly having their worst lyrics ever, UK in particular, which is sad, as it has one of Edge's best ever guitar solos), or with their taking the official album sale count too seriously, or the release methodology of SoI.

But, what do I know? The tours still sold out! It's f****** U2 we're talking about, and people will buy their tickets almost no matter what!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 01:24:43 AM by cocamojoe »

Offline zedg

  • Headache in a Suitcase
  • *
  • Posts: 379
  • *POP*
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2017, 03:09:21 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Just go and delete everything post Pop and you have the greatest band ever in my book....sadly what happened from 2000 onwards is just for me sad...the reasons are complicated and deep but the end result is for me really sad...

I find u2's music post Pop mainly ordinary - very ordinary, could literally be any middling non descript pop rock band knocking it out....and that isn't the u2 I fell in love with - they made extraordinary music that had a unique feel, atmosphere and sound.

This post is perfect, an tha.

Offline mrsamrocks2

  • Numb
  • **
  • Posts: 921
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2017, 07:48:18 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Just go and delete everything post Pop and you have the greatest band ever in my book....sadly what happened from 2000 onwards is just for me sad...the reasons are complicated and deep but the end result is for me really sad...

I find u2's music post Pop mainly ordinary - very ordinary, could literally be any middling non descript pop rock band knocking it out....and that isn't the u2 I fell in love with - they made extraordinary music that had a unique feel, atmosphere and sound.

This post is perfect, an tha.
Sorry but I think there is no way they would have the legacy they have if they did not at least release ATYCLB and even HTDAAB. This period of the band cemented their legacy and proved they could appeal to more than one generation and be relevant over a long period of time.

LightMyWay92

  • Guest
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #39 on: February 27, 2017, 08:01:42 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Just go and delete everything post Pop and you have the greatest band ever in my book....sadly what happened from 2000 onwards is just for me sad...the reasons are complicated and deep but the end result is for me really sad...

I find u2's music post Pop mainly ordinary - very ordinary, could literally be any middling non descript pop rock band knocking it out....and that isn't the u2 I fell in love with - they made extraordinary music that had a unique feel, atmosphere and sound.

This post is perfect, an tha.
Sorry but I think there is no way they would have the legacy they have if they did not at least release ATYCLB and even HTDAAB. This period of the band cemented their legacy and proved they could appeal to more than one generation and be relevant over a long period of time.
This is absolutely correct.

Offline DoYouFeelLoved

  • Refugee
  • *
  • Posts: 238
  • Holy Dunc Space Junk
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #40 on: February 27, 2017, 08:02:17 AM »
There are many things I would change, starting from the period of NLOTH, but if I have to choose only one thing it would be the SOI release method.

If the image of the band was already shaking, the Apple thing shattered it and hit the nail on the coffin.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 08:04:54 AM by DoYouFeelLoved »

Online NOLA Fly

  • Staring at the Sun
  • **
  • Posts: 1,336
  • Feel like trash, You make me feel clean...
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #41 on: February 27, 2017, 08:59:07 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Just go and delete everything post Pop and you have the greatest band ever in my book....sadly what happened from 2000 onwards is just for me sad...the reasons are complicated and deep but the end result is for me really sad...

I find u2's music post Pop mainly ordinary - very ordinary, could literally be any middling non descript pop rock band knocking it out....and that isn't the u2 I fell in love with - they made extraordinary music that had a unique feel, atmosphere and sound.

This post is perfect, an tha.
Sorry but I think there is no way they would have the legacy they have if they did not at least release ATYCLB and even HTDAAB. This period of the band cemented their legacy and proved they could appeal to more than one generation and be relevant over a long period of time.
This is absolutely correct.

Yes. Yes, it is.

Offline Kmama07

  • Running to Stand Still
  • **
  • Posts: 1,036
  • She is everywhere and no place
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #42 on: February 27, 2017, 10:40:59 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Just go and delete everything post Pop and you have the greatest band ever in my book....sadly what happened from 2000 onwards is just for me sad...the reasons are complicated and deep but the end result is for me really sad...

I find u2's music post Pop mainly ordinary - very ordinary, could literally be any middling non descript pop rock band knocking it out....and that isn't the u2 I fell in love with - they made extraordinary music that had a unique feel, atmosphere and sound.

This post is perfect, an tha.
Once again, I agree with An Tha

Offline Blueyedboy

  • Numb
  • **
  • Posts: 998
  • Embrace the challenge
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #43 on: February 27, 2017, 05:17:55 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Just go and delete everything post Pop and you have the greatest band ever in my book....sadly what happened from 2000 onwards is just for me sad...the reasons are complicated and deep but the end result is for me really sad...

I find u2's music post Pop mainly ordinary - very ordinary, could literally be any middling non descript pop rock band knocking it out....and that isn't the u2 I fell in love with - they made extraordinary music that had a unique feel, atmosphere and sound.

This post is perfect, an tha.
Once again, I agree with An Tha

Got to disagree, there  is more than enough evidence on the MDH soundtrack to suggest that the band were still capable of producing great music after POP. The fact that they chose not to is criminal!
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 02:56:49 AM by Blueyedboy »

Offline ZEROpartII

  • Staring at the Sun
  • **
  • Posts: 1,369
Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #44 on: February 27, 2017, 06:09:44 PM »
The producers of Batman Forever never approach U2 for a song.

Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me is the lead single from POP

Makes a great bridge from the Zoo-TV era to the new album.  Popmart doesn't struggle to fill stadiums in the US.  The tour is hailed as a success.  U2 continues a more aggressive-experimental path forward