Author Topic: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?  (Read 7547 times)

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Offline Vox

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #90 on: March 13, 2018, 09:21:00 AM »
This is an interesting exercise. 

My first, instinctual reaction on what to change in U2’s history would be that How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb would have been a more experimental album.  Before All That You Can’t Leave Behind, every U2 album had sounded different.  I was fine with All That You Can’t Leave Behind.  There are good tunes on it.  At the time I thought U2 deserved the right to make a “U2 sounding” album, at that point in their careers.  However, to me, How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was a bit of a rehash of All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and everything else that came before.  Still, that album sold well and won a bunch of awards, which fed U2 a basketful of carrots.  I don’t consider it to be a bad album, by the way – I don’t think I’d rate any U2 album as bad

But I’ve seen a Star Trek episode or two and know that if you change something in the past, there’s a trickledown effect.  If U2 hadn’t done How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, then No Line on the Horizon wouldn’t exist.  Or it would exist in a very different form.  I know I’m in the minority, but I love that album just as it is.  A top 4-5 U2 album in my U2antheon.  So…  maybe I’d keep the timeline “intact” through 2009…   

With that being said, what I would change about U2’s history would be that Bono and The Edge wouldn’t work on the Spider-Man musical.  It obviously took a lot of time, and it took the focus off the band itself.  Since that time it doesn’t seem that U2, as a creative and physical unit, have never quite been the same.  Maybe this is just a byproduct of the band’s age, which is unprecedented in the history of rock and roll (same members, 30+ years) and would have happened regardless of history.  Who knows.  But from 2004 to 2014, U2 released only one album.  If you’re going to do anything in a part-time manner, you’re going to get part-time results.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an office worker, a top-tier athlete, or an artist.

But again, I don’t rate any U2 album as bad.  In fact, I’m still quite enjoying Songs of Experience, myself.  And since 2014, I’d say that U2 are once again a “full time” band, with two albums, coming up on three tours, and that’s on top of Bono’s bicycle accident and “brush with death.”  I just think that the Spider-Man musical took away at least one proper U2 album, possibly sowed some seeds of creative doubt and second-guessing (which has always been a part of U2's creative process and is good for them, in moderate doses), and potentially messed with some of the band’s cohesiveness, in my humble opinion, as someone who's not in the studio or on the road with them.   

Offline Argo

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Re: Alternate History: Where would you change the U2 timeline?
« Reply #91 on: March 15, 2018, 03:41:00 AM »
I am probably a bit like Vox on this topic. And the problem is if you change one thing you don't like, you cant assume other things you do like that followed, would still follow. I think ATYCLB is their weakest album of the post 2000 era. It did give us Beautiful Day which I still adore. Bomb is a very safe album but I loved the tour and there are still some really decent songs there. If only they included the original Mercy on it and scrapped Crumbs and A Man and a Woman. And NLOTH gave us an amazing tour with a really inconsistent album that had glimpses of brilliance with Fez, MOS, Winter (how could it be left off). And then comes SOI which is the best of all the post 2000 stuff for me.

But there aren't really any major faults there to re-set. Yes the material isn't as good as AB and Pop etc, but that is a very high bar. I still get something out of every album and every tour. So, I think I want to look at it all slightly differently and change Bono spending time cozying up with politicians. The angry Bono of the 80s seemed to get more emotion into the music. Whilst that is too much to expect from someone in their 50s to be like when they were in their early 20s, I still think if Bono was angry with the politicians rather than befriending them it would have driven stronger material in the music and hopefully take away some of the weaker parts that I went through above.