Author Topic: POP 20 Rolling Stone  (Read 2779 times)

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Offline LToy

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2017, 05:51:55 AM »
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This article sums its brilliance up perfectly.

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This part was spot on:

This insecurity [after Pop] manifested itself as the end of U2’s unconventional phase. After spending much of the ’90s doing everything it could could to run away from the identity the group created in the ’80s, Pop kickstarted a career overcorrection back to the familiar world of anthemic guitar rock and universal platitudes. U2 has stayed in this zone for the last decade, with increasingly diminishing returns—the uplifting comfort food of All That You Can’t Leave Behind deteriorating a decade later into lyrics such as “force quit and move to trash” or “restart and reboot yourself.”

What do you think of the author's last sentence from that same paragraph? Had the album been recorded in an entirely different way (e.g., with none of the electronic trappings), it might have been received far differently—and far more positively.

Offline MattD

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2017, 08:10:41 AM »
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This article sums its brilliance up perfectly.

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

This part was spot on:

This insecurity [after Pop] manifested itself as the end of U2’s unconventional phase. After spending much of the ’90s doing everything it could could to run away from the identity the group created in the ’80s, Pop kickstarted a career overcorrection back to the familiar world of anthemic guitar rock and universal platitudes. U2 has stayed in this zone for the last decade, with increasingly diminishing returns—the uplifting comfort food of All That You Can’t Leave Behind deteriorating a decade later into lyrics such as “force quit and move to trash” or “restart and reboot yourself.”

What do you think of the author's last sentence from that same paragraph? Had the album been recorded in an entirely different way (e.g., with none of the electronic trappings), it might have been received far differently—and far more positively.

I think what the writer is getting at is that the conventional music press would have lapped it up - let's remember they lapped up Atomic Bomb more so than Pop, despite Pop being a far far far greater album. Publications like your Rolling Stones et.al. are not so well versed in the electronic influences that U2 accommodated into their sounds with Pop, and are in a sense, luddites.

U2's influences on Pop were far more underground than they had done previously - similarly Zooropa had very left field influences which is also a reason as to why there was some confusion amongst many. People quite frankly just did not understand, despite the album being magnificent.

Offline Johnny Feathers

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2017, 09:00:24 AM »
I don't think it's really so much that the press "didn't understand" the electronic influences.  There was a perception at the time that U2 were a bunch of old guys trying to ape what "the kids" were doing those days, which was electronica.  (Bring in a bunch of producers and DJs to tweak your sound, and voila!)  David Bowie was accused of the same thing at the time.  I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but some folks would rather bands stick to their traditional sound.  It can otherwise seem like trend-chasing, the same way classic rock bands "chased" disco in the late 70's when it was popular.  It's all eye-of-the-beholder, of course.  But I think it's dismissive to just say that the press or public didn't understand.  I like the album a lot, but I don't know that it was particularly innovative or anything.

Offline MattD

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2017, 09:33:58 AM »
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I don't think it's really so much that the press "didn't understand" the electronic influences.  There was a perception at the time that U2 were a bunch of old guys trying to ape what "the kids" were doing those days, which was electronica.  (Bring in a bunch of producers and DJs to tweak your sound, and voila!)  David Bowie was accused of the same thing at the time.  I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but some folks would rather bands stick to their traditional sound.  It can otherwise seem like trend-chasing, the same way classic rock bands "chased" disco in the late 70's when it was popular.  It's all eye-of-the-beholder, of course.  But I think it's dismissive to just say that the press or public didn't understand.  I like the album a lot, but I don't know that it was particularly innovative or anything.

They were only in their mid 30s, meanwhile premier electronic acts such as Underworld were in their early forties. The idea that they were 'trying to get down with the kids' is nonsense, considering that electronica had a wide appeal that spanned various age groups. The likes of your Underworld, Massive Attack, Howie B, KMFDM were not aimed at the teeny boppers that U2 are attempting to appeal to today.

Offline Johnny Feathers

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2017, 10:28:50 AM »
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I don't think it's really so much that the press "didn't understand" the electronic influences.  There was a perception at the time that U2 were a bunch of old guys trying to ape what "the kids" were doing those days, which was electronica.  (Bring in a bunch of producers and DJs to tweak your sound, and voila!)  David Bowie was accused of the same thing at the time.  I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but some folks would rather bands stick to their traditional sound.  It can otherwise seem like trend-chasing, the same way classic rock bands "chased" disco in the late 70's when it was popular.  It's all eye-of-the-beholder, of course.  But I think it's dismissive to just say that the press or public didn't understand.  I like the album a lot, but I don't know that it was particularly innovative or anything.

They were only in their mid 30s, meanwhile premier electronic acts such as Underworld were in their early forties. The idea that they were 'trying to get down with the kids' is nonsense, considering that electronica had a wide appeal that spanned various age groups. The likes of your Underworld, Massive Attack, Howie B, KMFDM were not aimed at the teeny boppers that U2 are attempting to appeal to today.

I think there is a difference, even just perception-wise, between acts who'd always been doing electronica and a band who had largely made their mark by sticking to rock music.  Among the other problems of the period, the band were certainly perceived to be chasing trends in certain quarters.  Again, I'm not saying that view is valid, but I think it was a somewhat common perception at the time.

Offline The Exile

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2017, 10:47:05 AM »
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The Pop version of Discotheque is far better than the rather stripped back and uninteresting Best Of remix.

Yep. The Best Of mixes indicate what Pop would have sounded like had the band "finished" it (hint: it would have sounded like Atomic Bomb -- Bono screeching way too loud while all the interesting musical bits are removed in favor of rawk).
Yes, totally agree. I even prefer the album version of gone.

Oh it's no contest! The album version has so much going on sonically, whereas the new mix is just Atomic Bombed in my opinion. Plus, Bono's vocal on the crucial line ("No emotional goodnight") is just awful. How they chose that take is beyond me.

Here, I queued it up and everything:

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(Geez, listening to that again just makes me cringe.)

How do you like that part in this version? (13 minutes in - I think it is all queued up):
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I was at this show. It was way harder to tell in the moment how bad Bono was struggling vocally when compared to listening back on a recording. But even this delivery is far better than the New Mix version, I think.

Offline The Exile

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2017, 10:48:51 AM »
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I'm an Atomic Bomb fan (ducks for cover) but I cannot defend the 'New Mix' butchering of both Discotheque and Gone- they aren't completely awful to my ears but they do leave me feeling numb (no pun intended). The original versions of both songs are sonically spectacular with passionately committed vocals from Bono, Edge's wild guitar screeches and fuzzbombs that give me goosebumps upon goosebumps...while the new mixes are just there, plodding along politely, holding back on the 'Boom-Cha's' and castrating Edge's 747 effects and hoping that no one gets hurt...

Aside from the single versions of 'LNOE' and 'Please', i don't think that they improved on the 'unfinished' Pop originals.
I would add If God Will Send His Angels to that list.
I have mixed feelings on the single version- I like the additional lyrics ("And I don't have to know how...") but the editing is too painfully obvious and I much prefer the original outro which has an emphasis on Larry's brilliant hip-hop flavoured beat.

Yeah, while the arrangement may be better on the single mix, I hate that they nixed an entire verse. Album version all the way.

Offline The Exile

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2017, 10:51:27 AM »
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This article sums its brilliance up perfectly.

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

This part was spot on:

This insecurity [after Pop] manifested itself as the end of U2’s unconventional phase. After spending much of the ’90s doing everything it could could to run away from the identity the group created in the ’80s, Pop kickstarted a career overcorrection back to the familiar world of anthemic guitar rock and universal platitudes. U2 has stayed in this zone for the last decade, with increasingly diminishing returns—the uplifting comfort food of All That You Can’t Leave Behind deteriorating a decade later into lyrics such as “force quit and move to trash” or “restart and reboot yourself.”

What do you think of the author's last sentence from that same paragraph? Had the album been recorded in an entirely different way (e.g., with none of the electronic trappings), it might have been received far differently—and far more positively.

By Americans? That's probably true. But in Europe Pop was huge in '97, and I for one was happy they did something to confound Americans for once. They'll never do it again, of course (but I wish they would).

Offline trevgreg

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2017, 11:03:23 AM »
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Actually, this writer has talked before in the Rolling Stone Now podcast about how he considers Pop one of U2's unappreciated albums. But that doesn't mean he has to be blind to some of its lesser songs. I thought it was a fair write-up that provided links to some cool alternative versions to listen to.

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The Pop version of Discotheque is far better than the rather stripped back and uninteresting Best Of remix.

Yep.

Offline Thunder Peel

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2017, 01:13:51 PM »
Maybe it's just me but I really don't think Pop needs reworking or touching up. I love it just as it is.

Offline fresno dave

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2017, 01:42:35 PM »
Many of you have heard these, but it;s worth it if it catches one who hasn't:

These '96 versions are so intriguing.  For all the band apologies about Pop being unfinished, it's yet another reminder that if they released early "unfinished" and raw versions for a whole album, they might have a gem.
Because they never polish up  too long (:   Edge, since i know you're reading this, remind your boss of his own words:  "Don't let it happen again" (:

Enjoy:
'96 Pop -Hong King Mixes.  Island promo
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Offline Saint1322

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #41 on: March 15, 2017, 02:39:17 PM »
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I'm an Atomic Bomb fan (ducks for cover) but I cannot defend the 'New Mix' butchering of both Discotheque and Gone- they aren't completely awful to my ears but they do leave me feeling numb (no pun intended). The original versions of both songs are sonically spectacular with passionately committed vocals from Bono, Edge's wild guitar screeches and fuzzbombs that give me goosebumps upon goosebumps...while the new mixes are just there, plodding along politely, holding back on the 'Boom-Cha's' and castrating Edge's 747 effects and hoping that no one gets hurt...

Aside from the single versions of 'LNOE' and 'Please', i don't think that they improved on the 'unfinished' Pop originals.
I would add If God Will Send His Angels to that list.
I have mixed feelings on the single version- I like the additional lyrics ("And I don't have to know how...") but the editing is too painfully obvious and I much prefer the original outro which has an emphasis on Larry's brilliant hip-hop flavoured beat.

IMO, that's where the song was. The end, the 'And I don't have to know why ...' and then Larry's outro. THAT was the idea they were looking for. Shame it was tacked on to an already cut and paste version of a very mediocre song.

The lyrics on that one have always puzzled me. I love Bono's religious references, but the ones here are kind of nonsensical and silly, IMO. Why is Jesus' Mother dealing in a doorway? What is that supposed to represent? Who is Jesus' sister, and why are her eyes blistered? Sounds like trying too hard, IMO.

Offline mofospacejunk

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #42 on: March 15, 2017, 03:38:40 PM »
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I'm an Atomic Bomb fan (ducks for cover) but I cannot defend the 'New Mix' butchering of both Discotheque and Gone- they aren't completely awful to my ears but they do leave me feeling numb (no pun intended). The original versions of both songs are sonically spectacular with passionately committed vocals from Bono, Edge's wild guitar screeches and fuzzbombs that give me goosebumps upon goosebumps...while the new mixes are just there, plodding along politely, holding back on the 'Boom-Cha's' and castrating Edge's 747 effects and hoping that no one gets hurt...

Aside from the single versions of 'LNOE' and 'Please', i don't think that they improved on the 'unfinished' Pop originals.
I would add If God Will Send His Angels to that list.
I have mixed feelings on the single version- I like the additional lyrics ("And I don't have to know how...") but the editing is too painfully obvious and I much prefer the original outro which has an emphasis on Larry's brilliant hip-hop flavoured beat.

IMO, that's where the song was. The end, the 'And I don't have to know why ...' and then Larry's outro. THAT was the idea they were looking for. Shame it was tacked on to an already cut and paste version of a very mediocre song.

The lyrics on that one have always puzzled me. I love Bono's religious references, but the ones here are kind of nonsensical and silly, IMO. Why is Jesus' Mother dealing in a doorway? What is that supposed to represent? Who is Jesus' sister, and why are her eyes blistered? Sounds like trying too hard, IMO.

Who is Jesus sister?

"Aren’t James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon his brothers? Don’t his sisters still live here in our town?”—Mark 6:3, Contemporary English Version

Why are her eyes blistered?

Mary dealing?

Perhaps Bono is suggesting that Jesus spent all his time and energy trying to save the world, he ignored / neglected his immediate family who needed him.

Similar theme to Gone. Bono is Jesus.


Offline andrewau2

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #43 on: March 15, 2017, 07:40:01 PM »
I highly recommend listening to the first part of this Rolling Stone magazine podcast in which they discuss U2's Pop.

The author of the article that we are discussing on this thread, Andy Greene, is a huge U2 fan and fan of Pop as you'll see from listening to him on this podcast:

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Offline The Exile

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Re: POP 20 Rolling Stone
« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2017, 07:59:44 PM »
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Perhaps Bono is suggesting that Jesus spent all his time and energy trying to save the world, he ignored / neglected his immediate family who needed him.

Similar theme to Gone. Bono is Jesus.

And to WUDM: "Jesus, were you just around the corner? Did you think to try and warn her?"