Poll

So folks which is better and why....Let's have a good clean 'Fight' keep those punches above the belt - let's get it on!

Pop
ATYCLB

Voting closes: August 24, 2017, 10:53:30 AM

Author Topic: Pop v ATYCLB  (Read 2059 times)

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Offline U2boy14

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2017, 06:11:37 PM »
I like ATYCLB more as an album because I was going through a divorce at the time and it helped. "Mofo" is among my favorite tunes. So I guess a lot of what ends up being "favorite" has a lot to do with context. "Kite" and "Grace" and "In a Little While" spoke to me. Artistically, though, POP is better. But my favorite of the two is ATYCLB.

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2017, 06:59:28 PM »
I agree with Wookie that Pop's opening three songs merit a 10 inch.  Love the lines "love is coming, pushing and shoving, in the belly of a woman/Heavy rhythm taking over, stick together a man and a woman."  One of my favorite moments in a U2 song ever.

Offline NOLA Fly

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #47 on: August 11, 2017, 11:38:35 PM »
This is a hard one for me. I place Pop and ATYCLB in the same tier of U2 albums, but they are the polar opposites of that tier. It's kind of like having to choose between parading down a bustling, neon-lit street in the big city or taking a morning walk along a beach, soaking up the breeze and the sound of the waves. Both are enjoyable, but for different reasons. It's going to depend on my mood as to which I would prefer at a given moment.

I do think, echoing the sentiments of other posters, that ATYCLB is the better executed/more realized of the two visions. It feels complete in a way that Pop doesn't, for me. But the material on Pop is so good that it almost doesn't matter. It was daring and huge and maybe ahead of its time. I really hate that it gets ignored. More people outside of the hardcore should know this album. It might not be too much of a stretch to say that there is a whole generation of kids/twenty-somethings who wouldn't believe you if you played "Mofo" for them and told them it was U2. I've thought at several points through the years, "Man, if this album were released today, it would be way more successful." Maybe I'm wrong. Either way, the album, on the whole, holds up remarkably well.

But in the end, if I had to pick, I would probably go with ATYCLB. The spirit of it connects with me more and I find myself going back to it more often. Sure, it's not as aggressive and gritty as Pop, but it wasn't meant to be. I don't think that approach would have best suited these songs. And it would be too simple to say that ATYCLB is the light where Pop is darkness, as POE and WILATW are as black and despairing as anything Bono has ever written. But where Pop ended there, ATYCLB landed on "Grace." I love that. That's where I want to land, as well. I also think ATYCLB is the more essential album in the cannon. Like il_capo said previously, I don't hear the MOR this album often gets tagged with. I hear a set of well-crafted, soulful U2 songs, stripped to their essence and speaking to my heart and my gut. This is direct, open hearted U2, not throwing shapes U2. And I completely understand that there are plenty of people who prefer the latter in this pairing. There are days I'd rather walk under the blinding lights with that version of the band, myself.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 12:11:05 AM by NOLA Fly »

Offline DoYouFeelLoved

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #48 on: August 12, 2017, 06:50:27 AM »
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By the way, what about ATYCLB's production is superior to that of Pop's anyway? Pop is a far more creatively and interestingly put together album, especially from a production standpoint (e.g. The muffled engine-like drum pattern in Miami, Bono's distorted vocals on Wake Up Dead Man, practically the entirity of the three opening tracks, etc.).

All That You Can't Leave Behind was even the start of U2 burying the rhythm section in their mixes. Nothing is memorable about that album's production, it's pretty average... not horrible, but not spectacular.
Eno and Lanois have always had the tendency to push Bono's vocals higher above everything else in the mix, TJT and Achtung Baby suffer from the same issue, so it's nothing new.

That and the overall muddy, muffled up sound of the instruments. Many sound engineers share the same opinion.
It's one of the reasons U2 sounds so much better live.

Great producers, average mixers.

Pop sounds fantastic and still stands the test of time, the production was top notch.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 06:58:10 AM by DoYouFeelLoved »

Offline andrewau2

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2017, 07:11:34 AM »
Even though Pop is winning in this poll, keep in mind that it is a poll of more extreme U2 fans.  The fact that we go to an online forum and post messages about U2 probably indicates that we are fans of their deeper cuts compared to the casual fan who makes up most of U2's audience at concerts.  They know the greatest hits and probably not many Pop songs.  They know Grammy award winning Beautiful Day, and Elevation and Stuck and maybe Walk On, maybe they also know Discotheque but feel that's from the dance album that was a swing and a miss. 

If you think about the bands you might see live in concert, I would doubt that you also frequent and post as much on those band's fan websites.  Chances are that you know that band's greatest hits and would want to hear those songs live (and not a night of deep cuts and rarities.)  That is how U2 feels most of their audience is too and probably notice the drop off in singing along and excitement when they do throw us a bone and play an obscure song here or there.

Offline trevgreg

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2017, 10:07:19 AM »
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Even though Pop is winning in this poll, keep in mind that it is a poll of more extreme U2 fans.  The fact that we go to an online forum and post messages about U2 probably indicates that we are fans of their deeper cuts compared to the casual fan who makes up most of U2's audience at concerts.  They know the greatest hits and probably not many Pop songs.  They know Grammy award winning Beautiful Day, and Elevation and Stuck and maybe Walk On, maybe they also know Discotheque but feel that's from the dance album that was a swing and a miss. 

If you think about the bands you might see live in concert, I would doubt that you also frequent and post as much on those band's fan websites.  Chances are that you know that band's greatest hits and would want to hear those songs live (and not a night of deep cuts and rarities.)  That is how U2 feels most of their audience is too and probably notice the drop off in singing along and excitement when they do throw us a bone and play an obscure song here or there.

If you go to other bands' message boards, they discuss literally the exact same things that we do. That's just how it is. There's maybe 3 or so other bands where I almost know literally every song to some extent, so for most of the shows I go to, I am the freaking "casual fan"! As we all are at some shows, I imagine.

On topic, I chose Pop this time around, but will defend ATYCLB as well for the strong songs it does have. Public cred aside and all. Both have their place in the canon and I'd probably rank them somewhere in my top half.

Offline The Exile

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2017, 11:49:28 AM »
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Even though Pop is winning in this poll, keep in mind that it is a poll of more extreme U2 fans. 

Exactly. Which means we are more qualified to opine and that our opinions mean more.  ;)

Offline andrewau2

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #52 on: August 13, 2017, 06:44:41 AM »
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If you go to other bands' message boards, they discuss literally the exact same things that we do. That's just how it is. There's maybe 3 or so other bands where I almost know literally every song to some extent, so for most of the shows I go to, I am the freaking "casual fan"! As we all are at some shows, I imagine.

Good point. We *are* all casual fans of other bands - not U2. 

So the results from this poll about Pop vs. ATYCLB are heavily biased.

Offline andrewau2

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #53 on: August 13, 2017, 06:46:27 AM »
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Even though Pop is winning in this poll, keep in mind that it is a poll of more extreme U2 fans. 

Exactly. Which means we are more qualified to opine and that our opinions mean more.  ;)

True but the results are biased.
Here are results that include non-hardcore fans:
Pop 6 million
ATYCLB 15 million

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Offline sulphur76

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Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2017, 11:45:51 AM »
Pop. ATYCLB is in my top three of worst U2 albums. Besides BD and WILATW, I don't listen to anything from it. On top of that, I think NY, POE, and Grace are some of the worst songs they've ever recorded. The fact that they relegated TGBHF to an after thought at the end of the album just frustrated me more, I think that was their last great song until The Troubles.

Offline The Exile

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #55 on: August 14, 2017, 01:12:34 PM »
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I think NY, POE, and Grace are some of the worst songs they've ever recorded.

Careful. If you're one of Bono's enemies he might tear a tree down and use it on you.

Offline mattryan94

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2017, 02:02:28 PM »
Something that I'll never understand is dismissing U2's post-2000 work because it's accessible Pop Rock. ATYCLB was exactly what the times called for. Pop pushed the ironic image so far that it ceased to be irony. For me, Pop is an overly bombastic album, and most importantly was not even finished. I don't give bands points for being "creative" if they can't finish the dang album. The chorus to Last Night on Earth is a prime example.

U2 has never minced their words about wanting to be the biggest and best band in the world, and to do that it's about making your sound relevant. ATYCLB accomplished that wonderfully. I just think it's unfair to bash an album because it might appeal to a wider audience than something experimental. Based on how some people talk on this forum you'd think Original Soundtracks 1 was their magnum opus. I'm 23 so the 90s are lost on me, but retrospectively listening to Pop it just sounds unfinished. The remixes on the "Best of" make it a lot better, but some of those songs are a real chore for me to get through.

Offline MPare1966

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2017, 05:56:56 PM »
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Something that I'll never understand is dismissing U2's post-2000 work because it's accessible Pop Rock. ATYCLB was exactly what the times called for. Pop pushed the ironic image so far that it ceased to be irony. For me, Pop is an overly bombastic album, and most importantly was not even finished. I don't give bands points for being "creative" if they can't finish the dang album. The chorus to Last Night on Earth is a prime example.

U2 has never minced their words about wanting to be the biggest and best band in the world, and to do that it's about making your sound relevant. ATYCLB accomplished that wonderfully. I just think it's unfair to bash an album because it might appeal to a wider audience than something experimental. Based on how some people talk on this forum you'd think Original Soundtracks 1 was their magnum opus. I'm 23 so the 90s are lost on me, but retrospectively listening to Pop it just sounds unfinished. The remixes on the "Best of" make it a lot better, but some of those songs are a real chore for me to get through.

Thoughtful words from this 23 yo I say! ;-)

Offline u2chamonix

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #58 on: August 15, 2017, 03:15:23 AM »
Voted for Pop, one of my favourite U2 albums. In the top four "great" albums in my book. (TUF, JT, AB, Pop)

However, “All that” is a really good album as well.
The reason I belive people tend do bash it is actually because of the albums that followed, and that perhaps unfair, “All that” get to bear the responsibility for the start of the era of considerably weaker U2 albums. In my opinion Bomb is one of their worst, No Line I appreciate quite a lot, but it has some really bad songs on it, and then Songs of innocence which is a bit bland.

Also, even as much as i loved the U2 90's, and how much i defended them towards all my friends that used to be fans but dropped out especially during Pop, but some of them already on Achtung. As i said, even myself found it quite comforting to see my favourite band return to form, it was definitely the right time to do that at the point. However, i didnt expect the relatively safe, less interesting U2 era that would follow.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 03:20:38 AM by u2chamonix »

Offline DK46

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Re: Pop v ATYCLB
« Reply #59 on: August 15, 2017, 08:36:16 AM »
Pop is in the running for my favorite U2 album (it changes), but I love the 90s as a whole so much.

However, ATYCLB is the album that got me into U2, and I have fond memories of it during the summer of 2002 when I fell in love with the band.  As I got older, my appreciation for it faded a bit, but I still can enjoy listening to it and I think there are some pretty good songs on it.  I think, like some have pointed out, it's the successive albums which have probably soured this album's reputation a bit. 

It was probably an album of the zeitgeist in some ways, especially in a post-9/11 world, with its huge anthems, such as Walk On.  It was seen as a return to form, so I guess that brought back many of the alienated 90s fans (and likely turned off some of the 90s fans too).  The album's first half is stacked with singles, so that doesn't help probably, similar to The Joshua Tree (except IMO, that album has a pretty wonderful side 2). 

The production is lacking a bit, rhythm section buried in the mix, where are the drums???  Unfortunately, U2 became the biggest thing ever again and had to run with that, and so HTDAAB was basically ATYCLB rehash but a bit more rawk.  It's also when Bono seemed to go full messiah and getting very politically active, which probably turned a lot of people off to him, but I think that went to new heights with the following album. '

To sum up, I love more Pop a whole lot more and still listen to it, however I still like ATYCLB and have played songs from it here and there.  That said, I didn't see them on the tour, but from what I've read and seen, even people who hated the music from that era, concede the Elevation Tour was pretty rousing and exciting stuff.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 08:38:39 AM by DK46 »