Author Topic: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?  (Read 2888 times)

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Offline soloyan

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #60 on: March 09, 2017, 05:48:17 AM »
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Listening to the 1990 Salome demos, I honestly think you should just let the band jam for weeks, give the tapes to a perfect editor, and then you'll have a great U2 album. Get Bono to fly in vocals over the top, with a max of one day per lyric, and you can do a record that will - at least - be as good as any of the 2000-2009 ones.

It's funny, I feel the exact opposite about the Salomé tapes. To me, it sounds as if the band struggled big time to find the right direction, until the very last moments of the recording process (see the "baby" demos on the AB reissue). There's very little to save from the Salomé tapes and/or the outtakes that appeared on the AB reissue. Maybe "Blow your house down" but it didn't quite fit on the album. I think the band were very close to making an average album and it's only when they decided to make some radical, bold choices in terms of sounds and production that the album started to make sense.

Offline Ultrafly

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #61 on: March 09, 2017, 05:57:45 AM »
The Salome Tapes are all unformed work in progress : it's all there, really - just needs the fat trimming off. Once the band established the direction they were going on (which they hadn't quite got yet on those tapes) there's plenty of gold there.  Stuff we know of they've worked on - especially played 2010-11 - is all very strong, overall. They spend too long navel gazing.

Offline soloyan

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #62 on: March 09, 2017, 06:08:20 AM »
I'm still unable to point to something U2 did wrong (and don't want to, as I said in an earlier rant for which I apologized). I'm not saying they were perfect and always made perfect choices. They didn't. But, taking into account who they are and what were their options at the time, U2's history makes sense. And it all contributed to what they are now, and I'm a fan of the 2017 U2.

That being said, with all the recent talk about Joshua Tree Vs Pop, I came to rethink about what happened with the latter, from a European point of view.

Achtung baby and Zooropa were acclaimed as a brilliant re-invention of the band. The Zoo TV tour was highly successful and set the bar for all the other shows at the time. Every stadium act started using screens and tried to re-invent the B-stage and the acoustic set.

Then Passengers came out, and it was very well received by the elite, while the masses enjoyed Miss Sarajevo. When Pop came out, it was the first time in France U2 made the covers of both Telerama and Les Inrockuptibles, which are the most kind of élite" magazines for music. They absolutely loved the album.

What changed the perception of the band is the PopMart Tour. Not because it was bad, because by the time it reached Europe, the show was ok, but the artistic choice of 100% all around irony. Edge's hat, Adam's outfit, Bono's muscles shirt... It made sense as a show, but I really think it did not go well with the album. There are some very personal, very dark places on "Pop", and I love that. But that side of the album didn't appear at all on stage. Maybe just during "Please". But then again, you can't have Edge as a 70's italian cowboy and take the song seriously. It really didn't serve the album well.

I don't know if U2 made that choice because they were not confident about the album or because they got carried away with the whole "supermarket roadshow" concept, but I think it didn't work. In fact, in Les Inrockuptibles they went to see PopMart with Oasis in the US and said "between the humble, broken and fragile Bono that made us listen to "Pop" earlier this year in Dublin and the shiny showman entertaining the crowds of PopMart, there is a lie". I think they were right.

I think this and the fact that PopMart could not possibly top Zoo TV (rightly or wrongly) made things look bad.

One other thing that occured is that, while in 1991 U2 were breaking new ground with Achtung Baby, by 1997 it sounded as if they were trying to keep up with the new scene : Radiohead, Björk, RATM, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Massive Attack... When you look at the "Tibetan Freedom" concert that occured in june, U2 seem terribly out of place and unable to lift the crowds.

See, An Tha ? That's my contribution to the conversation ;-)

Offline WookieeWarrior10

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #63 on: March 09, 2017, 11:59:49 AM »
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Listening to the 1990 Salome demos, I honestly think you should just let the band jam for weeks, give the tapes to a perfect editor, and then you'll have a great U2 album. Get Bono to fly in vocals over the top, with a max of one day per lyric, and you can do a record that will - at least - be as good as any of the 2000-2009 ones.

It's funny, I feel the exact opposite about the Salomé tapes. To me, it sounds as if the band struggled big time to find the right direction, until the very last moments of the recording process (see the "baby" demos on the AB reissue). There's very little to save from the Salomé tapes and/or the outtakes that appeared on the AB reissue. Maybe "Blow your house down" but it didn't quite fit on the album. I think the band were very close to making an average album and it's only when they decided to make some radical, bold choices in terms of sounds and production that the album started to make sense.
Very well put. Achtung Baby is kind of a miracle in a way, I guess. I love Salome (the song), Blow Your House Down, Heaven And Hell, etc., but there is no way that those songs could replace anything on Achtung.

Offline Ultrafly

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #64 on: March 09, 2017, 12:14:58 PM »
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Listening to the 1990 Salome demos, I honestly think you should just let the band jam for weeks, give the tapes to a perfect editor, and then you'll have a great U2 album. Get Bono to fly in vocals over the top, with a max of one day per lyric, and you can do a record that will - at least - be as good as any of the 2000-2009 ones.

It's funny, I feel the exact opposite about the Salomé tapes. To me, it sounds as if the band struggled big time to find the right direction, until the very last moments of the recording process (see the "baby" demos on the AB reissue). There's very little to save from the Salomé tapes and/or the outtakes that appeared on the AB reissue. Maybe "Blow your house down" but it didn't quite fit on the album. I think the band were very close to making an average album and it's only when they decided to make some radical, bold choices in terms of sounds and production that the album started to make sense.
Very well put. Achtung Baby is kind of a miracle in a way, I guess. I love Salome (the song), Blow Your House Down, Heaven And Hell, etc., but there is no way that those songs could replace anything on Achtung.

Yeah, but those songs would, with some work, be as good as anything on Passengers.

Online Johnny Feathers

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #65 on: March 09, 2017, 02:03:03 PM »
Yeah, everything I've heard from the Salome tapes sounds like the band was really struggling.  Even the unreleased tracks that were finally put out on the AB deluxe set (Heaven and Hell, Blow Your House Down, etc.) sound nowhere near what AB would become.  It made me realize how stuck U2 was after R&H.  I think there were also some engineering miracles that happened to make AB not sound derivative of R&H's sound.

Offline Vox

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #66 on: March 09, 2017, 02:29:20 PM »
I’ve been refraining from doing this, but before this forum was updated (was that in 2008?) I remember a similar thread.  Even though this is an impossible task, because it would have changed the course of everything that came after, I’ll say today what I said in the late 00’s:  I wish they would have went in a different direction with what became How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.   

I remember when All That You Can’t Leave Behind came out.  I thought it was the first time that U2 didn’t push forward with something different creatively.  Instead, they looked back and incorporated their old sounds (mostly pre-1990s sounds) to craft some good new songs.  In 2000, I had no problems with this.  They’d deserved it.  It was an unusual move for this band at the time.  But why be allergic to “sounding what U2 sounds like,” especially when it sounds so damn good?  And I think that All That You Can’t Leave Behind is a pretty good album.

But then in 2004, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb came out and did pretty much the same thing.  Again, this is a difficult exercise, because without that album we wouldn’t have songs such as “Vertigo,” or “City of Blinding Lights.” 

And after that, there’ve only been two U2 albums.  Songs of Innocence, which again, you could argue, is the sound of U2 looking back.  And No Line on the Horizon, which is a bit more interesting and forward looking.  I know I’m in the minority, but I still adore No Line on the Horizon – it’s a top 4-5 U2 album, and very special for me.   

Anyway, it seems that once U2 began looking back with All That You Can’t Leave Behind, that’s what they’ve continued to do for the past 17+ years.  Once they started to look back, it’s been difficult for them to look forward again.  Maybe that’s just the natural order of things as a band ages .

However, if U2 decided to do another album where they looked back, I’d be interested to see what they would find if they focused somewhere between 1990 and 1999.  But the odd song aside (i.e. “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight,” or “The Crystal Ballroom”), they’ve been reluctant or unable to do so.

But again, all that being said, U2 have earned the right to do whatever they damn well please.  It would just be nice to have more than JUST TWO ALBUMS in a 13-year span, and that started with How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.  Whether it was because of that album or whether it was an inevitability, we will never know.

Just my humble, hand-in-hat, opinion.     

Offline Ultrafly

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #67 on: March 09, 2017, 04:02:50 PM »
2 albums in 13 years is a very, very poor delivery rate. They should aspire to something every 3 years. Especially now they don't have to bother with b-sides.

Offline mc

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #68 on: March 09, 2017, 04:35:09 PM »
the bleep, bleep, bleep at the end of Zooropa should have continued at the start of POP and POP should have been a bit more experimental to take us to an 'outerspace' full U2 album with Passenger influence. Unfortunately they lost the momentum and bottled it and turned out dirge dad folk songs like Wild Honey........and went all the way down the snake

Offline WookieeWarrior10

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #69 on: March 09, 2017, 04:39:43 PM »
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Listening to the 1990 Salome demos, I honestly think you should just let the band jam for weeks, give the tapes to a perfect editor, and then you'll have a great U2 album. Get Bono to fly in vocals over the top, with a max of one day per lyric, and you can do a record that will - at least - be as good as any of the 2000-2009 ones.

It's funny, I feel the exact opposite about the Salomé tapes. To me, it sounds as if the band struggled big time to find the right direction, until the very last moments of the recording process (see the "baby" demos on the AB reissue). There's very little to save from the Salomé tapes and/or the outtakes that appeared on the AB reissue. Maybe "Blow your house down" but it didn't quite fit on the album. I think the band were very close to making an average album and it's only when they decided to make some radical, bold choices in terms of sounds and production that the album started to make sense.
Very well put. Achtung Baby is kind of a miracle in a way, I guess. I love Salome (the song), Blow Your House Down, Heaven And Hell, etc., but there is no way that those songs could replace anything on Achtung.

Yeah, but those songs would, with some work, be as good as anything on Passengers.
I disagree, with OS1 being my fourth favorite U2 album! But yes, those songs could have definitely been something...

Offline PopMart_1997

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #70 on: March 09, 2017, 04:53:00 PM »
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2 albums in 13 years is a very, very poor delivery rate. They should aspire to something every 3 years. Especially now they don't have to bother with b-sides.
Nobody bothers to take into account that for 1.5-2 years after the album release, U2 are busy touring. How can they possibly bother writing or recording during a tour when their mindset during tour time is 100% devoted to each show??? What they did for Zooropa in 1993 was just a fluke.

Offline mofospacejunk

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #71 on: March 09, 2017, 05:59:18 PM »
Easy ... I wish they quit after the Popmart tour. Gone out on a high.

Personally, every single song they've written and recorded ever since would not have been missed if it wasn't.

For that to work, Bono need to have kept the f^&k out of politics too; thus making this site a lot easier for m2 to manage.

Offline Vox

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #72 on: March 09, 2017, 06:20:58 PM »
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2 albums in 13 years is a very, very poor delivery rate. They should aspire to something every 3 years. Especially now they don't have to bother with b-sides.
Nobody bothers to take into account that for 1.5-2 years after the album release, U2 are busy touring. How can they possibly bother writing or recording during a tour when their mindset during tour time is 100% devoted to each show??? What they did for Zooropa in 1993 was just a fluke.

Except for October, War, Unforgettable Fire, Rattle and Hum, yes Zooropa, some could say Passengers.  After that, here we are.  I love them, but if you do something part time, you're going to get part-time results.  If you're going to retire from whatever it is your job is, and pick up some work here and there, you're going to miss out on the edge that shapes your craft. 

Offline PopMart_1997

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #73 on: March 09, 2017, 06:33:14 PM »
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Easy ... I wish they quit after the Popmart tour. Gone out on a high.

Personally, every single song they've written and recorded ever since would not have been missed if it wasn't.

For that to work, Bono need to have kept the f^&k out of politics too; thus making this site a lot easier for m2 to manage.
Now that's a laugh, considering U2 have ALWAYS had a political side to them and only now are people getting all bent out of shape over it 😂

Offline PopMart_1997

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #74 on: March 09, 2017, 06:40:42 PM »
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2 albums in 13 years is a very, very poor delivery rate. They should aspire to something every 3 years. Especially now they don't have to bother with b-sides.
Nobody bothers to take into account that for 1.5-2 years after the album release, U2 are busy touring. How can they possibly bother writing or recording during a tour when their mindset during tour time is 100% devoted to each show??? What they did for Zooropa in 1993 was just a fluke.

Except for October, War, Unforgettable Fire, Rattle and Hum, yes Zooropa, some could say Passengers.  After that, here we are.  I love them, but if you do something part time, you're going to get part-time results.  If you're going to retire from whatever it is your job is, and pick up some work here and there, you're going to miss out on the edge that shapes your craft.
At least with October, there is a legitimate reason for why that album is the way it is. War? Not sure what happened with that one. The Unforgettable Fire? That one was done that way on purpose. And it's still a fine record indeed. Rattle and Hum is just a soundtrack. The Passengers project took place after the ZOO TV tour ended and before the POP recording sessions began. I used Zooropa as an example because it's the one most notorious for what we are discussing. And I believe it ended up the way it is by design as well.