Author Topic: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees  (Read 29620 times)

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Offline trevgreg

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #555 on: September 23, 2017, 10:24:25 AM »
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So basically, we desperately need for Edge to undergo a musical change with Songs of Experience. Edge is restricting himself by not working outside of a "U2: For Dummies" template, and it is very apparent. Edge is not characterized by a single signature sound... his identity has historically been ever-changing. I miss the beautiful sonic landscapes of songs like Zooropa, and just about the entirety of The Unforgettable Fire. You could identify each of the band's first 10 albums for the unique impression that Edge gave each of them.

For a guy that's already explored just about every area of a guitar that you can go sonically, it's going to be mighty hard to invent or do a "new" style after all this time. I'm not sure how that's possible.

So some songs, naturally, will have similarities to the prior ones. Then for us, it's really just a matter of what particular style you come and then criticizing Edge for not doing it the way you want.

Offline WookieeWarrior10

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #556 on: September 23, 2017, 10:43:44 AM »
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I just don't understand why Edge feels the need to sound similar to what's going on in the current culture.  I just think he over-thinks things at this point in his career.  Isn't one of the song titles "Get Out of Your Own Way"?  Great title, by the way.

Edge has remained complacent with his guitar playing for the better part of 15 years now. While he has certainly expanded upon his capabilities from a production standpoint, Edge has opted for what he believes is a more "traditional U2 sound" in songs like Beautiful Day. Sometimes we see him try to imitate guitarists like Jimmy Page and apply a 70s-era  "rawk" aesthetic to U2 songs, as seen in Stand Up Comedy and Vertigo, which ultimately falls flat.

The only thing holding Edge back is himself. That dull guitar bit featured in the latter half of You're the Best Thing About Me perfectly sums up his post-Pop averageness. Coinciding with U2's last 4 albums, there have undeniably been some encouraging moments. The bridging guitar parts in Sleep Like a Baby Tonight, his incredible solo in The Troubles, and the experimental 6/8 riff with Breathe are very interesting, both sonically and from a theoretical view.

So basically, we desperately need for Edge to undergo a musical change with Songs of Experience. Edge is restricting himself by not working outside of a "U2: For Dummies" template, and it is very apparent. Edge is not characterized by a single signature sound... his identity has historically been ever-changing. I miss the beautiful sonic landscapes of songs like Zooropa, and just about the entirety of The Unforgettable Fire. You could identify each of the band's first 10 albums for the unique impression that Edge gave each of them.

Where can I buy a copy of U2 For Dummies?  :)

I think "complacent" is the wrong word to characterize what you're describing, which appears to be, for you, a lack of standout signature guitar moments for the past 15 years.  It's hard to see how someone could be complacent when they're contributing work to every U2 song.  It also dismisses the fact that all of their songs aren't driven by the guitar and Edge...but it seems like he's there pretty much on every one, and we'd have to go through every song to define how he's present.

That being said, except for The Troubles, when I first listened to Innocence, I felt like Edge was largely absent.  Closer listening revealed some fun stuff on Volcano and a bit of the expected Edge sound on Wolves, but overall he either plays a more nuanced role or channels what sounded to me like what you mention about the sounds of other bands, i.e. This Is Where You Can Find Me Now, which opens with a Rolling Stones sound, and Cedarwood Road, which just sounds like generic crunch guitar I've heard a lot of bands use.

So I sort of agree with the spirit of what you wrote.  At the same time, if the guitar was removed from every song from the last 15 years, I'm not sure what would really be left...

I did concede that Edge has furthered his production knowledge, something that has certainly allowed for U2 to find a more specific sound over the past several albums. I do acknowledge that he's performed many times on the piano as well (as poor as I think Edge's playing is... but that's a rant for another time!). Anyway, the point that I am hopelessly trying to make is that my criticisms are targeted specifically towards his guitar playing.

My main issue with Edge's guitar-work is how pedestrian it is. The guitar tones for Vertigo could easily be replicated, and the riff easily played, by even an amateur musician. Edge used to have his own identity in the 80s and 90s, never to be imitated. Of course, it's easier nowadays with the advent of Digital Audio Workstations and all of the incredible plugins out there, but I digress.

So yes, Edge has contributed to the band in many different ways over the years, but he has remained complacent as a guitarist.

Offline WookieeWarrior10

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #557 on: September 23, 2017, 11:17:16 AM »
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So basically, we desperately need for Edge to undergo a musical change with Songs of Experience. Edge is restricting himself by not working outside of a "U2: For Dummies" template, and it is very apparent. Edge is not characterized by a single signature sound... his identity has historically been ever-changing. I miss the beautiful sonic landscapes of songs like Zooropa, and just about the entirety of The Unforgettable Fire. You could identify each of the band's first 10 albums for the unique impression that Edge gave each of them.

For a guy that's already explored just about every area of a guitar that you can go sonically, it's going to be mighty hard to invent or do a "new" style after all this time. I'm not sure how that's possible.

So some songs, naturally, will have similarities to the prior ones. Then for us, it's really just a matter of what particular style you come and then criticizing Edge for not doing it the way you want.

Pop (I know... drink!) is a melting pot of different guitar styles and effects, so there's plenty to learn from it, still.

You have The Playboy Mansion, with its tremolo-heavy tone and obvious psychedelic influence. Miami includes an intentionally dull and monotonous solo that is met with a glidey, synth-like sound in the following verse. Gone features a dirty and badass chord progression, which sounds inventive and interesting (despite its simplicity) by it being placed in a unique musical context. You get the point...

Variety is the spice of life- as cheesy as that saying is, it gives Pop a varied and interesting sound throughout. SOE would really benefit from Edge taking a similar approach. Plus, lots of ideas from Pop could still be worked with.

Offline WookieeWarrior10

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #558 on: September 23, 2017, 07:22:17 PM »
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I just don't understand why Edge feels the need to sound similar to what's going on in the current culture.  I just think he over-thinks things at this point in his career.  Isn't one of the song titles "Get Out of Your Own Way"?  Great title, by the way.

Edge has remained complacent with his guitar playing for the better part of 15 years now. While he has certainly expanded upon his capabilities from a production standpoint, Edge has opted for what he believes is a more "traditional U2 sound" in songs like Beautiful Day. Sometimes we see him try to imitate guitarists like Jimmy Page and apply a 70s-era  "rawk" aesthetic to U2 songs, as seen in Stand Up Comedy and Vertigo, which ultimately falls flat.

The only thing holding Edge back is himself. That dull guitar bit featured in the latter half of You're the Best Thing About Me perfectly sums up his post-Pop averageness. Coinciding with U2's last 4 albums, there have undeniably been some encouraging moments. The bridging guitar parts in Sleep Like a Baby Tonight, his incredible solo in The Troubles, and the experimental 6/8 riff with Breathe are very interesting, both sonically and from a theoretical view.

So basically, we desperately need for Edge to undergo a musical change with Songs of Experience. Edge is restricting himself by not working outside of a "U2: For Dummies" template, and it is very apparent. Edge is not characterized by a single signature sound... his identity has historically been ever-changing. I miss the beautiful sonic landscapes of songs like Zooropa, and just about the entirety of The Unforgettable Fire. You could identify each of the band's first 10 albums for the unique impression that Edge gave each of them.

Where can I buy a copy of U2 For Dummies?  :)

I think "complacent" is the wrong word to characterize what you're describing, which appears to be, for you, a lack of standout signature guitar moments for the past 15 years.  It's hard to see how someone could be complacent when they're contributing work to every U2 song.  It also dismisses the fact that all of their songs aren't driven by the guitar and Edge...but it seems like he's there pretty much on every one, and we'd have to go through every song to define how he's present.

That being said, except for The Troubles, when I first listened to Innocence, I felt like Edge was largely absent.  Closer listening revealed some fun stuff on Volcano and a bit of the expected Edge sound on Wolves, but overall he either plays a more nuanced role or channels what sounded to me like what you mention about the sounds of other bands, i.e. This Is Where You Can Find Me Now, which opens with a Rolling Stones sound, and Cedarwood Road, which just sounds like generic crunch guitar I've heard a lot of bands use.

So I sort of agree with the spirit of what you wrote.  At the same time, if the guitar was removed from every song from the last 15 years, I'm not sure what would really be left...

I did concede that Edge has furthered his production knowledge, something that has certainly allowed for U2 to find a more specific sound over the past several albums. I do acknowledge that he's performed many times on the piano as well (as poor as I think Edge's playing is... but that's a rant for another time!). Anyway, the point that I am hopelessly trying to make is that my criticisms are targeted specifically towards his guitar playing.

My main issue with Edge's guitar-work is how pedestrian it is. The guitar tones for Vertigo could easily be replicated, and the riff easily played, by even an amateur musician. Edge used to have his own identity in the 80s and 90s, never to be imitated. Of course, it's easier nowadays with the advent of Digital Audio Workstations and all of the incredible plugins out there, but I digress.

So yes, Edge has contributed to the band in many different ways over the years, but he has remained complacent as a guitarist.

I wouldn't mind if he revisited the stripped down echo box sound of Boy and October, which was unique and new at the time those records were released.

Assuming what they say about being hack musicians at first who had to teach themselves how to play as they went along, it seems that their continued learning arc led them to sound like others in some cases when early on they only sounded like themselves.

You bring up a good point. It's hard not to sound unique when you can't play properly!

Offline WookieeWarrior10

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #559 on: September 24, 2017, 11:21:26 AM »
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I just don't understand why Edge feels the need to sound similar to what's going on in the current culture.  I just think he over-thinks things at this point in his career.  Isn't one of the song titles "Get Out of Your Own Way"?  Great title, by the way.

Edge has remained complacent with his guitar playing for the better part of 15 years now. While he has certainly expanded upon his capabilities from a production standpoint, Edge has opted for what he believes is a more "traditional U2 sound" in songs like Beautiful Day. Sometimes we see him try to imitate guitarists like Jimmy Page and apply a 70s-era  "rawk" aesthetic to U2 songs, as seen in Stand Up Comedy and Vertigo, which ultimately falls flat.

The only thing holding Edge back is himself. That dull guitar bit featured in the latter half of You're the Best Thing About Me perfectly sums up his post-Pop averageness. Coinciding with U2's last 4 albums, there have undeniably been some encouraging moments. The bridging guitar parts in Sleep Like a Baby Tonight, his incredible solo in The Troubles, and the experimental 6/8 riff with Breathe are very interesting, both sonically and from a theoretical view.

So basically, we desperately need for Edge to undergo a musical change with Songs of Experience. Edge is restricting himself by not working outside of a "U2: For Dummies" template, and it is very apparent. Edge is not characterized by a single signature sound... his identity has historically been ever-changing. I miss the beautiful sonic landscapes of songs like Zooropa, and just about the entirety of The Unforgettable Fire. You could identify each of the band's first 10 albums for the unique impression that Edge gave each of them.

Where can I buy a copy of U2 For Dummies?  :)

I think "complacent" is the wrong word to characterize what you're describing, which appears to be, for you, a lack of standout signature guitar moments for the past 15 years.  It's hard to see how someone could be complacent when they're contributing work to every U2 song.  It also dismisses the fact that all of their songs aren't driven by the guitar and Edge...but it seems like he's there pretty much on every one, and we'd have to go through every song to define how he's present.

That being said, except for The Troubles, when I first listened to Innocence, I felt like Edge was largely absent.  Closer listening revealed some fun stuff on Volcano and a bit of the expected Edge sound on Wolves, but overall he either plays a more nuanced role or channels what sounded to me like what you mention about the sounds of other bands, i.e. This Is Where You Can Find Me Now, which opens with a Rolling Stones sound, and Cedarwood Road, which just sounds like generic crunch guitar I've heard a lot of bands use.

So I sort of agree with the spirit of what you wrote.  At the same time, if the guitar was removed from every song from the last 15 years, I'm not sure what would really be left...

I did concede that Edge has furthered his production knowledge, something that has certainly allowed for U2 to find a more specific sound over the past several albums. I do acknowledge that he's performed many times on the piano as well (as poor as I think Edge's playing is... but that's a rant for another time!). Anyway, the point that I am hopelessly trying to make is that my criticisms are targeted specifically towards his guitar playing.

My main issue with Edge's guitar-work is how pedestrian it is. The guitar tones for Vertigo could easily be replicated, and the riff easily played, by even an amateur musician. Edge used to have his own identity in the 80s and 90s, never to be imitated. Of course, it's easier nowadays with the advent of Digital Audio Workstations and all of the incredible plugins out there, but I digress.

So yes, Edge has contributed to the band in many different ways over the years, but he has remained complacent as a guitarist.

I wouldn't mind if he revisited the stripped down echo box sound of Boy and October, which was unique and new at the time those records were released.

Assuming what they say about being hack musicians at first who had to teach themselves how to play as they went along, it seems that their continued learning arc led them to sound like others in some cases when early on they only sounded like themselves.

You bring up a good point. It's hard not to sound unique when you can't play properly!

I'd love to see them record all their pre-Boy demos and various early b-sides in the same stripped down fashion they were recorded.  There's at least an album's worth in quantity and doing so might actually lend some credence to Bono's constant use of "punk" as an adjective to describe aspects of their music.

They (or at least Bono) has expressed, in so many words, the desire to fit in, be accepted as musicians and/or rock and roll artists for a long, long time.  Rattle And Hum can be seen in this light, and then there was an interview circa Behind or Bomb in which he said something along the lines that they were intent on learning to create SONGS, a strange thing to read at that point with so many songs behind him, but the nuances of his explanation, if I remember correctly, hinted at learning the mechanics of traditional songwriting that it seems like they perceived themselves unable to do for a long time.

Totally. U2 have just obsessed themselves with the idea of being fundamentally "correct" in their playing, and that no doubt applies to their songwriting as well. I think that How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb is the worst culprit of such formulaic song structure.

Offline Ultrafly

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #560 on: September 29, 2017, 12:18:19 PM »
The Edge isn't a guitar player.

He's a songwriter who happens to use the guitar a lot.

Once you think of him this way, everything changes.

Offline Ultrafly

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #561 on: September 30, 2017, 05:13:03 AM »
Steve Vai and Yngwie Malsteen are guitarists. They let the guitar and their technical ability override the song.

Edge plays to the song. Not the instrument. Sur eEdge could do widdly-woo geetars until the end of time, but that doesn't serve the song.

Offline briscoetheque

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #562 on: September 30, 2017, 06:57:35 AM »
Actually I disagree, I don't think edge can do widdly-woos. The closest he ever came was the 93 era bullet solo.

Guys like vai and malmsteen are incredible technical guitarists, but so so boring.

It reminds me of that brilliant Indiana Jones scene when the crazy guy with the sword is going coco-bananas and Indy just shoots him...

Offline Ultrafly

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #563 on: September 30, 2017, 10:22:49 AM »
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Steve Vai and Yngwie Malsteen are guitarists. They let the guitar and their technical ability override the song.

Edge plays to the song. Not the instrument. Sur eEdge could do widdly-woo geetars until the end of time, but that doesn't serve the song.

You're kind of stating the obvious.  I mean, I agree, but many guitarists play to the songs their band's make, even many solo artists like Billy Bragg or Jonathan Richman.

What's supposed to be revelatory about this observation in a way that changes everything?

Ooooh argumentative.

Earlier on in this thread there's some bitching about how The Edge should be a more inventive/widdly guitarist. That isn't what he does.

Offline WookieeWarrior10

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #564 on: September 30, 2017, 11:04:58 AM »
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Steve Vai and Yngwie Malsteen are guitarists. They let the guitar and their technical ability override the song.

Edge plays to the song. Not the instrument. Sur eEdge could do widdly-woo geetars until the end of time, but that doesn't serve the song.

You're kind of stating the obvious.  I mean, I agree, but many guitarists play to the songs their band's make, even many solo artists like Billy Bragg or Jonathan Richman.

What's supposed to be revelatory about this observation in a way that changes everything?

Ooooh argumentative.

Earlier on in this thread there's some bitching about how The Edge should be a more inventive/widdly guitarist. That isn't what he does.

Edge hasn't been an inventive guitarist?

Offline The Exile

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #565 on: September 30, 2017, 02:42:21 PM »
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Steve Vai and Yngwie Malsteen are guitarists. They let the guitar and their technical ability override the song.

Edge plays to the song. Not the instrument. Sur eEdge could do widdly-woo geetars until the end of time, but that doesn't serve the song.

You're kind of stating the obvious.  I mean, I agree, but many guitarists play to the songs their band's make, even many solo artists like Billy Bragg or Jonathan Richman.

What's supposed to be revelatory about this observation in a way that changes everything?

Ooooh argumentative.

Earlier on in this thread there's some bitching about how The Edge should be a more inventive/widdly guitarist. That isn't what he does.

Edge hasn't been an inventive guitarist?

There was a time (like in the Making of the Joshua Tree documentary) when I appreciated Edge's glee over choosing the simplest option possible for the outro to WOWY. But now he seems so neutered, and I wish he'd just get mad and play the damned thing.

Offline WookieeWarrior10

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #566 on: September 30, 2017, 05:38:37 PM »
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Steve Vai and Yngwie Malsteen are guitarists. They let the guitar and their technical ability override the song.

Edge plays to the song. Not the instrument. Sur eEdge could do widdly-woo geetars until the end of time, but that doesn't serve the song.

You're kind of stating the obvious.  I mean, I agree, but many guitarists play to the songs their band's make, even many solo artists like Billy Bragg or Jonathan Richman.

What's supposed to be revelatory about this observation in a way that changes everything?

Ooooh argumentative.

Earlier on in this thread there's some bitching about how The Edge should be a more inventive/widdly guitarist. That isn't what he does.

Edge hasn't been an inventive guitarist?

There was a time (like in the Making of the Joshua Tree documentary) when I appreciated Edge's glee over choosing the simplest option possible for the outro to WOWY. But now he seems so neutered, and I wish he'd just get mad and play the damned thing.

You and me both, dude. Songs like Vertigo and The Miracle pretend that they possess an aggressive, driving guitar sound, but in actuality feel hollow and weak. It would cool if Edge pursued a "Queens of the Stone Age-like" tone that those tracks crave.

If U2 don't go crazy experimental again, I would happily settle with a true rock record.

Offline The Edges Cat

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #567 on: September 30, 2017, 07:46:56 PM »
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I wish he'd just get mad and play the damned thing.

Wholeheartedly agree. Listening to All I Want Is You, what happened to that Edge, where'd he go?

I think I liked U2 better when they didn't know what they were doing.

Offline WhenIsSOE

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #568 on: October 04, 2017, 10:16:30 AM »
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How does the release of multiple versions of The Best Thing reflect the band's quest for relevancy?  Cover enough different types of music to reach a wider audience (adult rock, pop kids, dance crowd, folk/acoustic fans)?

Or is it just the digital version of an EP?  One of my favorite singles/EPs was Discotheque with its multiple dance remixes and stripped down Holy Joe.  Some of those remixes were so different, i.e. vocals of the Howie B. mix, that I had the impression at the time that maybe they'd been thinking of releasing those versions before settling on the album version.

Maybe it's just because I grew up with hard copies (records, cassettes, CDs), but I have a hard time viewing the multiple releases as an EP and wonder if they're trying to hit different types of Spotify playlist categories (or other streaming and radio categories). 

Or is it as simple as Edge told Rolling Stone, they weren't sure about the mix and went with the one they did at the last minute...  Why then the flurry of versions after?

It would be kind of cool if the band declared it a conscious intent at an experiment or even if they said they wanted to reach different audiences, but it just looks like they weren't fully sure.
Yeah, we really need a second single/tracklist NOW!!

Offline Blueyedboy

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Re: U2, Please: Get Up Off Your Knees
« Reply #569 on: October 04, 2017, 11:24:47 PM »
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How does the release of multiple versions of The Best Thing reflect the band's quest for relevancy?  Cover enough different types of music to reach a wider audience (adult rock, pop kids, dance crowd, folk/acoustic fans)?

Or is it just the digital version of an EP?  One of my favorite singles/EPs was Discotheque with its multiple dance remixes and stripped down Holy Joe.  Some of those remixes were so different, i.e. vocals of the Howie B. mix, that I had the impression at the time that maybe they'd been thinking of releasing those versions before settling on the album version.

Maybe it's just because I grew up with hard copies (records, cassettes, CDs), but I have a hard time viewing the multiple releases as an EP and wonder if they're trying to hit different types of Spotify playlist categories (or other streaming and radio categories). 

Or is it as simple as Edge told Rolling Stone, they weren't sure about the mix and went with the one they did at the last minute...  Why then the flurry of versions after?

It would be kind of cool if the band declared it a conscious intent at an experiment or even if they said they wanted to reach different audiences, but it just looks like they weren't fully sure.

This isn't a new concept for the band, the Fly Video has The Lounge Fly mix intro but the most obvious case is NLOTH which had two versions on the same album in some countries.

Apart from the blatant dance mixes, I find it difficult to like both (or more) versions of the same song, especially when they go acoustic. Is almost as if they're saying that we're not sure whether Adam and Larry actually add anything to the song.