Author Topic: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?  (Read 13307 times)

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Offline Rasmus

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Re: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?
« Reply #270 on: January 19, 2018, 01:38:07 PM »
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Feeling that Zooropa and *especially* Pop are U2's worst albums is not a controversial thought at all, it's completely mainstream. Certain posters will push back against the idea like it's some sort of heresy, but they are no more than a vocal and (how shall I put this) somewhat obsessed minority.

What do you base this on? Pop received rave reviews in my country (Denmark) when it came out and all the U2 lovers that I know rate it very highly in U2's catalogue. If I should make generalisations based on my own experience its that most people think U2 were great in the 80's and 90's and have steadily declined since then by putting out safe and more or less boring music. I also feel that the album is perceived very differently in EU and the US.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 01:41:38 PM by Rasmus »

Offline Racingfan53

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Re: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?
« Reply #271 on: January 19, 2018, 06:22:46 PM »
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Feeling that Zooropa and *especially* Pop are U2's worst albums is not a controversial thought at all, it's completely mainstream. Certain posters will push back against the idea like it's some sort of heresy, but they are no more than a vocal and (how shall I put this) somewhat obsessed minority.

What do you base this on? Pop received rave reviews in my country (Denmark) when it came out and all the U2 lovers that I know rate it very highly in U2's catalogue. If I should make generalisations based on my own experience its that most people think U2 were great in the 80's and 90's and have steadily declined since then by putting out safe and more or less boring music. I also feel that the album is perceived very differently in EU and the US.

I didn't mean to say that I am in the minority by saying that Zooropa and Pop are bad albums in my opinion.  I think the fact that I've caused some stir in this topic speaks to the fact that this opinion is, indeed, controversial.  Those I know at school who love U2 as I do all dislike Pop and Zooropa (except for a few songs) and though I do like some of the songs from both, I think they're overall quite bad.  I think there are two real camps in the U2 fandom regarding these albums, and both have quite strong opinions.

To each his own.  My aim is not to shame anyone who likes those albums, but they never grew on me and I don't expect them to.

Offline summerholly

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Re: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?
« Reply #272 on: January 19, 2018, 07:08:55 PM »
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Feeling that Zooropa and *especially* Pop are U2's worst albums is not a controversial thought at all, it's completely mainstream. Certain posters will push back against the idea like it's some sort of heresy, but they are no more than a vocal and (how shall I put this) somewhat obsessed minority.

What do you base this on? Pop received rave reviews in my country (Denmark) when it came out and all the U2 lovers that I know rate it very highly in U2's catalogue. If I should make generalisations based on my own experience its that most people think U2 were great in the 80's and 90's and have steadily declined since then by putting out safe and more or less boring music. I also feel that the album is perceived very differently in EU and the US.

I didn't mean to say that I am in the minority by saying that Zooropa and Pop are bad albums in my opinion.  I think the fact that I've caused some stir in this topic speaks to the fact that this opinion is, indeed, controversial.  Those I know at school who love U2 as I do all dislike Pop and Zooropa (except for a few songs) and though I do like some of the songs from both, I think they're overall quite bad.  I think there are two real camps in the U2 fandom regarding these albums, and both have quite strong opinions.

To each his own.  My aim is not to shame anyone who likes those albums, but they never grew on me and I don't expect them to.

I am not so keen on them either apart from a few songs but that is just my taste in U2 just love the early stuff and don't so much get the later stuff. 

Reminds me of my mother who was a big fan of the Bee Gees music in the sixties.  When they reinvented themselves and went all disco in the mid- late seventies she was horrified and hated it lol.  I wasn't keen on disco myself but I actually thought that they put out a couple of OK discoish albums when I was about 15 but she would have no part of it lol. 

Offline Luzita

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Re: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?
« Reply #273 on: January 19, 2018, 10:20:12 PM »
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Feeling that Zooropa and *especially* Pop are U2's worst albums is not a controversial thought at all, it's completely mainstream. Certain posters will push back against the idea like it's some sort of heresy, but they are no more than a vocal and (how shall I put this) somewhat obsessed minority.

What do you base this on? Pop received rave reviews in my country (Denmark) when it came out and all the U2 lovers that I know rate it very highly in U2's catalogue. If I should make generalisations based on my own experience its that most people think U2 were great in the 80's and 90's and have steadily declined since then by putting out safe and more or less boring music. I also feel that the album is perceived very differently in EU and the US.

I base it mainly on sales figures, which are the most objective measure of an album's popularity. Much of what you're saying has been said before on this forum, like a lot. The idea that U2 have steadily declined since 2000. The idea that Pop is well regarded in Europe and it's really only America that disliked it.

So I'm going to repost an old post of mine that looks at your last assertion in light of the sales figures.

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The discussion of Pop popularity in Europe vs. the U.S. is interesting. (Also an interesting question for other U2 albums.) Nerd that I am, I’d like to examine that issue through sales statistics – though let me *emphasize* this can only provide insight on relative popularity of albums, not on relative quality, which is a subjective judgment.  This site You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login breaks down sales figures by country and region.

The site seems to do a really careful analysis, but the trouble is it’s unclear which countries are included in their Europe figure. It includes more than the European countries they list individually. It would be nice to know the total population of their “Europe” because then we could take that into account vs. U.S. population and that would give a better sense of relative popularity. I can’t find the exact countries they’re including, but elsewhere they mention places like Russia and Poland that are at a different income level so it wouldn’t be apples to apples anyway. So I’m just going to show album sales totals for Europe vs. U.S. and that should provide a rough popularity comparison.

Album      Europe      U.S.
Boy      1,460,000   1,600,000
October   1,490,000   1,475,000
War      4,200,000   5,000,000
TUF      3,000,000   3,600,000
Joshua Tree   9,150,000   12,400,000
Achtung Baby   5,730,000   8,700,000
Zooropa   3,060,000   2,700,000
Pop      2,830,000   1,800,000
ATYCLB      4,790,000   4,650,000
HTDAAB   4,190,000   3,500,000
NLOTH      2,010,000   1,400,000

So, people who have been saying Pop was more popular in Europe than the U.S. are right.

However, looking just at Europe, only three U2 albums were less popular than Pop, and two of them are from early in U2’s career when the band was much less well known.

We should also note that Pop was a platinum album in the U.S., almost double platinum, which isn’t shabby except by U2 standards.

The above discussion is mostly about Pop in Europe vs. America, but these sales figures also address your assertion that "most people think U2 were great in the 80's and 90's and have steadily declined since then." Although there is a segment of the fandom that feels that way, it isn't "most people" or ATYCLB and HTDAAB wouldn't have sold so much more than Zooropa and Pop. I would add that though I only listed Europe/U.S. sales above, global sales figures follow the same pattern.

In addition, I know a lot of people who dislike Pop, but I realize that's weak evidence, just like you saying all the U2 lovers you know rate it highly. So I did a little searching online to see if I could find any polls or surveys that would provide a larger sample of opinion than the "people I know" variety. (Though probably none of these is truly representative.)

This article You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login is a 2014 Rolling Stones reader's poll ranking the 10 top U2 albums. It came out just before SOI so there were 12 studio albums. Pop was ranked 9th.

This site You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login is an album ranking aggregator. It includes critic rankings but the great majority of charts come from members so it's mostly music fan opinion. According to their database, Pop ranks 11th out of 14 (and I think SOE is still too new to be properly ranked).

Ranker You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login has Pop at 11th out of 14, based on 768 voters. (Same caveat on SOE.)

Oooo, this is interesting. Didn't realize this site conducts fan surveys. The last one was in 2016. You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
It didn't include an album ranking but did include questions about favorite and least favorite U2 albums. 3.00% listed Pop as their favorite album. 9.08% listed Pop as their least favorite. Fascinating! Even on *this* site, which has a high concentration of Pop lovers, there are more people who rank it lowest than people who rank it highest.

Let me emphasize I didn't go looking for sites that rated Pop low. This is just what I found -- what I was able to search out fairly easily as far as surveys of fan opinion. When considering the rankings, keep in mind we know there is a certain group that ranks Pop near the top. So for it to be ranked low overall means a larger group of people must rank it at or near the bottom.

Let me also REALLY emphasize that there's nothing wrong with having a minority opinion. Music appreciation is subjective. All opinions are valid.

Offline canucklehead

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Re: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?
« Reply #274 on: January 19, 2018, 11:40:29 PM »
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My controversial thought is ....


I'd really love it if U2 played Window in the Skies, Ordinary Love, and Electrical Storm at any show ... very underrated



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So would I , and  may I add who's gonna ride your wild horses and magnificent.

Offline Clarky

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Re: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?
« Reply #275 on: January 20, 2018, 05:18:18 PM »
People are confusing musical preferences with actual controversial opinions.

Not controversial: "I think U2 should include X song in their live setlist"
Controversial: "I think U2's 2014 partnership with Apple was a stroke of genius"

Offline Rasmus

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Re: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?
« Reply #276 on: January 20, 2018, 05:43:09 PM »
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Feeling that Zooropa and *especially* Pop are U2's worst albums is not a controversial thought at all, it's completely mainstream. Certain posters will push back against the idea like it's some sort of heresy, but they are no more than a vocal and (how shall I put this) somewhat obsessed minority.

What do you base this on? Pop received rave reviews in my country (Denmark) when it came out and all the U2 lovers that I know rate it very highly in U2's catalogue. If I should make generalisations based on my own experience its that most people think U2 were great in the 80's and 90's and have steadily declined since then by putting out safe and more or less boring music. I also feel that the album is perceived very differently in EU and the US.

I base it mainly on sales figures, which are the most objective measure of an album's popularity. Much of what you're saying has been said before on this forum, like a lot. The idea that U2 have steadily declined since 2000. The idea that Pop is well regarded in Europe and it's really only America that disliked it.

So I'm going to repost an old post of mine that looks at your last assertion in light of the sales figures.

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
The discussion of Pop popularity in Europe vs. the U.S. is interesting. (Also an interesting question for other U2 albums.) Nerd that I am, I’d like to examine that issue through sales statistics – though let me *emphasize* this can only provide insight on relative popularity of albums, not on relative quality, which is a subjective judgment.  This site You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login breaks down sales figures by country and region.

The site seems to do a really careful analysis, but the trouble is it’s unclear which countries are included in their Europe figure. It includes more than the European countries they list individually. It would be nice to know the total population of their “Europe” because then we could take that into account vs. U.S. population and that would give a better sense of relative popularity. I can’t find the exact countries they’re including, but elsewhere they mention places like Russia and Poland that are at a different income level so it wouldn’t be apples to apples anyway. So I’m just going to show album sales totals for Europe vs. U.S. and that should provide a rough popularity comparison.

Album      Europe      U.S.
Boy      1,460,000   1,600,000
October   1,490,000   1,475,000
War      4,200,000   5,000,000
TUF      3,000,000   3,600,000
Joshua Tree   9,150,000   12,400,000
Achtung Baby   5,730,000   8,700,000
Zooropa   3,060,000   2,700,000
Pop      2,830,000   1,800,000
ATYCLB      4,790,000   4,650,000
HTDAAB   4,190,000   3,500,000
NLOTH      2,010,000   1,400,000

So, people who have been saying Pop was more popular in Europe than the U.S. are right.

However, looking just at Europe, only three U2 albums were less popular than Pop, and two of them are from early in U2’s career when the band was much less well known.

We should also note that Pop was a platinum album in the U.S., almost double platinum, which isn’t shabby except by U2 standards.

The above discussion is mostly about Pop in Europe vs. America, but these sales figures also address your assertion that "most people think U2 were great in the 80's and 90's and have steadily declined since then." Although there is a segment of the fandom that feels that way, it isn't "most people" or ATYCLB and HTDAAB wouldn't have sold so much more than Zooropa and Pop. I would add that though I only listed Europe/U.S. sales above, global sales figures follow the same pattern.

In addition, I know a lot of people who dislike Pop, but I realize that's weak evidence, just like you saying all the U2 lovers you know rate it highly. So I did a little searching online to see if I could find any polls or surveys that would provide a larger sample of opinion than the "people I know" variety. (Though probably none of these is truly representative.)

This article You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login is a 2014 Rolling Stones reader's poll ranking the 10 top U2 albums. It came out just before SOI so there were 12 studio albums. Pop was ranked 9th.

This site You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login is an album ranking aggregator. It includes critic rankings but the great majority of charts come from members so it's mostly music fan opinion. According to their database, Pop ranks 11th out of 14 (and I think SOE is still too new to be properly ranked).

Ranker You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login has Pop at 11th out of 14, based on 768 voters. (Same caveat on SOE.)

Oooo, this is interesting. Didn't realize this site conducts fan surveys. The last one was in 2016. You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
It didn't include an album ranking but did include questions about favorite and least favorite U2 albums. 3.00% listed Pop as their favorite album. 9.08% listed Pop as their least favorite. Fascinating! Even on *this* site, which has a high concentration of Pop lovers, there are more people who rank it lowest than people who rank it highest.

Let me emphasize I didn't go looking for sites that rated Pop low. This is just what I found -- what I was able to search out fairly easily as far as surveys of fan opinion. When considering the rankings, keep in mind we know there is a certain group that ranks Pop near the top. So for it to be ranked low overall means a larger group of people must rank it at or near the bottom.

Let me also REALLY emphasize that there's nothing wrong with having a minority opinion. Music appreciation is subjective. All opinions are valid.

Wow that was an amazing post. I'm kind of floored that you put together a data-based argument like that - thank you. It clearly shows that my own experience is based on a minority groups opinions and not the general perception of the album. Another interesting fact from the ATU2 survey is that Pop wins the "most underrated album" by a huge margin. It truly is the most controversial album in their discography if you ask me!

Offline Luzita

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Re: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?
« Reply #277 on: January 20, 2018, 10:10:04 PM »
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Feeling that Zooropa and *especially* Pop are U2's worst albums is not a controversial thought at all, it's completely mainstream. Certain posters will push back against the idea like it's some sort of heresy, but they are no more than a vocal and (how shall I put this) somewhat obsessed minority.

What do you base this on? Pop received rave reviews in my country (Denmark) when it came out and all the U2 lovers that I know rate it very highly in U2's catalogue. If I should make generalisations based on my own experience its that most people think U2 were great in the 80's and 90's and have steadily declined since then by putting out safe and more or less boring music. I also feel that the album is perceived very differently in EU and the US.

I base it mainly on sales figures, which are the most objective measure of an album's popularity. Much of what you're saying has been said before on this forum, like a lot. The idea that U2 have steadily declined since 2000. The idea that Pop is well regarded in Europe and it's really only America that disliked it.

So I'm going to repost an old post of mine that looks at your last assertion in light of the sales figures.

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
The discussion of Pop popularity in Europe vs. the U.S. is interesting. (Also an interesting question for other U2 albums.) Nerd that I am, I’d like to examine that issue through sales statistics – though let me *emphasize* this can only provide insight on relative popularity of albums, not on relative quality, which is a subjective judgment.  This site You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login breaks down sales figures by country and region.

The site seems to do a really careful analysis, but the trouble is it’s unclear which countries are included in their Europe figure. It includes more than the European countries they list individually. It would be nice to know the total population of their “Europe” because then we could take that into account vs. U.S. population and that would give a better sense of relative popularity. I can’t find the exact countries they’re including, but elsewhere they mention places like Russia and Poland that are at a different income level so it wouldn’t be apples to apples anyway. So I’m just going to show album sales totals for Europe vs. U.S. and that should provide a rough popularity comparison.

AlbumEuropeU.S.
Boy1,460,0001,600,000
October1,490,0001,475,000
War4,200,0005,000,000
TUF3,000,0003,600,000
Joshua Tree9,150,00012,400,000
Achtung Baby5,730,0008,700,000
Zooropa3,060,0002,700,000
Pop2,830,0001,800,000
ATYCLB4,790,0004,650,000
HTDAAB4,190,0003,500,000
NLOTH2,010,0001,400,000

So, people who have been saying Pop was more popular in Europe than the U.S. are right.

However, looking just at Europe, only three U2 albums were less popular than Pop, and two of them are from early in U2’s career when the band was much less well known.

We should also note that Pop was a platinum album in the U.S., almost double platinum, which isn’t shabby except by U2 standards.

The above discussion is mostly about Pop in Europe vs. America, but these sales figures also address your assertion that "most people think U2 were great in the 80's and 90's and have steadily declined since then." Although there is a segment of the fandom that feels that way, it isn't "most people" or ATYCLB and HTDAAB wouldn't have sold so much more than Zooropa and Pop. I would add that though I only listed Europe/U.S. sales above, global sales figures follow the same pattern.

In addition, I know a lot of people who dislike Pop, but I realize that's weak evidence, just like you saying all the U2 lovers you know rate it highly. So I did a little searching online to see if I could find any polls or surveys that would provide a larger sample of opinion than the "people I know" variety. (Though probably none of these is truly representative.)

This article You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login is a 2014 Rolling Stones reader's poll ranking the 10 top U2 albums. It came out just before SOI so there were 12 studio albums. Pop was ranked 9th.

This site You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login is an album ranking aggregator. It includes critic rankings but the great majority of charts come from members so it's mostly music fan opinion. According to their database, Pop ranks 11th out of 14 (and I think SOE is still too new to be properly ranked).

Ranker You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login has Pop at 11th out of 14, based on 768 voters. (Same caveat on SOE.)

Oooo, this is interesting. Didn't realize this site conducts fan surveys. The last one was in 2016. You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
It didn't include an album ranking but did include questions about favorite and least favorite U2 albums. 3.00% listed Pop as their favorite album. 9.08% listed Pop as their least favorite. Fascinating! Even on *this* site, which has a high concentration of Pop lovers, there are more people who rank it lowest than people who rank it highest.

Let me emphasize I didn't go looking for sites that rated Pop low. This is just what I found -- what I was able to search out fairly easily as far as surveys of fan opinion. When considering the rankings, keep in mind we know there is a certain group that ranks Pop near the top. So for it to be ranked low overall means a larger group of people must rank it at or near the bottom.

Let me also REALLY emphasize that there's nothing wrong with having a minority opinion. Music appreciation is subjective. All opinions are valid.

Wow that was an amazing post. I'm kind of floored that you put together a data-based argument like that - thank you. It clearly shows that my own experience is based on a minority groups opinions and not the general perception of the album. Another interesting fact from the ATU2 survey is that Pop wins the "most underrated album" by a huge margin. It truly is the most controversial album in their discography if you ask me!

Thanks for your response. I’ve had bad experiences in the past on this forum when I said that people who love Pop are in the minority. I mean I know we’re probably all a little obsessed when it comes to U2 but jeez. I have some science background so I’m a stickler about the difference between objective and subjective.

You’re probably right that Pop is their most controversial album. It seems to elicit the most polarized reactions.


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Offline toolz2112

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Re: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?
« Reply #278 on: January 20, 2018, 10:31:30 PM »
U2 no longer care about touring the rest of the world. They can/will tour America and Europe until they are blue in the face, but the R.O.W will seldom see them. The EI tour dates confirm this. At best, the R.O.W would see touring later this year, early next year, by which time the album is 1 year old or more. I understand they are getting older and don't want to be away from home for as long, but as someone who lives in Australia, it feels like a complete slap in the face (once again). I would love to be proved wrong, but as the years (yes, it is years) go on, I doubt I will be.

Offline Clarky

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Re: What are your controversial U2 thoughts?
« Reply #279 on: January 21, 2018, 12:28:20 AM »
I live in Australia and I don't take it as a slap in the face. I feel lucky to have the life I have as it is, let alone complaining that my favourite band won't come play in my city every few years. You should not feel entitled about music tours, it should be a privilege. That's the way I treated it when they came for the 360 tour. It was great and I'll be fine if they never come back. And I live and breathe U2, honestly.