Author Topic: Has U2 chosen not to experiment further, or are they just not capable anymore?  (Read 688 times)

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Offline Tortuga

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Nothing else to do except stuff we don’t want. Full on heavy rock or extreme pop with a rap section instead of guitar solos

Like how the patent office closed down in 1899 because there was nothing left to invent?


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Offline shineinthesummernight

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I don't find their current new experiments boring, but I guess that's a case of personal taste.  Take "Book of Your Heart" or "13" for an example.  Slower, more ballad-like numbers, but with a different sound and feel than their earlier ballads such as "One". 

Offline 64ac30

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Nothing else to do except stuff we don’t want. Full on heavy rock or extreme pop with a rap section instead of guitar solos

Like how the patent office closed down in 1899 because there was nothing left to invent?


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You make no sense. What I say is true. The current u2 sound has been around since ATYCLB. there’s nothing else to do except what I said.

Offline Tortuga

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I can think of plenty directions they could go that would be pretty different than anything they’ve done.  They could mix up any number of established styles or be really creative and come up with something new.  I don’t think musicians have used up all the possibilities.


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Online laoghaire

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I can think of plenty directions they could go that would be pretty different than anything they’ve done.  They could mix up any number of established styles or be really creative and come up with something new.  I don’t think musicians have used up all the possibilities.


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^^^^^^

Music will always evolve and experiment. We won't be stuck in 2018 forever musically, lol.

Offline summerholly

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I can think of plenty directions they could go that would be pretty different than anything they’ve done.  They could mix up any number of established styles or be really creative and come up with something new.  I don’t think musicians have used up all the possibilities.


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^^^^^^

Music will always evolve and experiment. We won't be stuck in 2018 forever musically, lol.

I just found their last couple of albums boring, certainly not stayers for me and to be honest I found a lot of current music boring.  Doesn't mean to say its not experimental or that current music is not good I just find that nothing lasts long as interesting for me anymore and I find myself reverting to the music from my past from the greats like Floyd, Bowie, Stones, Santana, McCartney, Clapton, Dylan, Pearl Jam, past U2 and many more.  I never get sick of them whereas today's music flows in one ear and out the other and is gone from my mind very quickly into the mists of time to be completely forgotten.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 08:35:51 PM by summerholly »

Offline World71R

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It can be two things.

I see folks on here talk about how experimental NLOTH was.  And yeah, Fez was pretty different.  But for all of that, I don't think it was very GOOD.  Writing lyrics in the style of computer commands in Unknown Caller might be "experimental" but it's a terrible song.  I think people settle down with age, maybe don't strive to be so "experimental"--they rely on more familiar structures, they maybe hone and refine their craft, and see "experimentation" as being self-indulgent, trying too hard, or something else.

In defense of Unknown Caller, it is a good song but they just went for too many concepts being converged into one. Had Bono gone with the original lyrics that they performed with in the Fez sessions, and not gone for the technology-based lyrics, the song would've been better and stuck to the original idea of getting a phone call, of sorts, from God. Honestly, that concept captures a lot of what NLOTH should've been about, which is rediscovering yourself and finding God through a place you've never been before and breaking from the life you're so used to. How ironic that many of the album's noted flaws were the result of things that they did and added once they got back home :P

Offline Tortuga

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It can be two things.

I see folks on here talk about how experimental NLOTH was.  And yeah, Fez was pretty different.  But for all of that, I don't think it was very GOOD.  Writing lyrics in the style of computer commands in Unknown Caller might be "experimental" but it's a terrible song.  I think people settle down with age, maybe don't strive to be so "experimental"--they rely on more familiar structures, they maybe hone and refine their craft, and see "experimentation" as being self-indulgent, trying too hard, or something else.

In defense of Unknown Caller, it is a good song but they just went for too many concepts being converged into one. Had Bono gone with the original lyrics that they performed with in the Fez sessions, and not gone for the technology-based lyrics, the song would've been better and stuck to the original idea of getting a phone call, of sorts, from God. Honestly, that concept captures a lot of what NLOTH should've been about, which is rediscovering yourself and finding God through a place you've never been before and breaking from the life you're so used to. How ironic that many of the album's noted flaws were the result of things that they did and added once they got back home :P

I would love to hear the first lyrics.  Are they out there anywhere?


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Offline davis

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Every new song is an experiment.  Every good new song is a triumph. 

Online laoghaire

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Every new song is an experiment.  Every good new song is a triumph.

Hey, lost lyrics from The Fly!

Offline Dali

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U2 has not stopped experimenting. However, it feels like the goals for their experimentation have changed: they used to experiment to create something fresh and exciting but now, they just experiment to create something current.

Offline ian ryan

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U2 have clearly communicated that their experimentation time was a detour, not the driving point of their career path. I highly suspect they could keep doing it, probably better than what they did in the '90s. They just aren't as into it.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 03:28:37 PM by ian ryan »

Offline DK46

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As others have pointed out, it depends on what you mean by "experimental."

For me, I'd love U2 to recap the 90s urge for experimentation by veering into other genres and styles. The more sort of, "let's see what happen" approach, i.e. Zooropa. I think that yielded one of their finest albums and it was made under new, exciting and unpredictable circumstances. Also, not a lot of tinkering (they still tinkered of course), but not nearly as much post-2000.

But if I'm looking at it from their angle, I imagine they think they are still experimenting (and to some extent that may be true) perhaps just not in the direction I want them to.

For example, the writing process behind SOI & SOE was a bit different from before. I think this is alluded to by what Rick Rubin told them, the idea of disguising fully realized songs behind guitar effects. I guess Bono took it to heart, because they really focused on songwriting on these two albums and coming in with fully realized songs. Typically, they come in with ideas and then jam/improvise/experiment in the studio.

There are certainly songs on the last two albums that don't sound like things they've done before. For example, This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now, Sleep Like a Baby Tonight, The Troubles, Love Is All We Have Left, The Showman, 13 (There is a Light), Book of Your Heart and The Crystal Ballroom for starters. I also happen to think a number of those are excellent songs.

If anything, they seem to break more ground as a touring act with technological innovation. And their shows are still quite wonderful and something to behold. They're certainly not much like anything else out there (and obviously we've come a long way with technology). I still think Zoo TV (which I didn't see live regrettably as I was a toddler) is something they haven't quite topped yet conceptually (or many bands for that matter). But they still work hard to create something new and exciting each time they play live and work with some of the best in the business of course.

With the Live Nation contract wrapping up in 2020, I'm curious as to what direction U2 will pursue. Will the desire for chasing hits end? It hasn't yet and it's been going on for nearly 20 years, so who knows? They have a number of projects in the vault, so maybe they'll resurrect some of those. They just need to commit to something, i.e. stick with a producer, go into a studio, hit record, and release it. Be unpredictable, be bold, be creative. I think they enjoy playing live too much, but they can't do it forever. If they decided to go full Beatles and become a studio band and just reinvent themselves there, I'd be ecstatic. I'm doubtful, but I'll always look forward to whatever they put out. We've lost a number of great talents in the last few years, so of course, I'm grateful they're still together making new music and touring.

Offline Bundang Dave

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U2 have clearly communicated that their experimentation time was a detour, not the driving point of their career path. I highly suspect they keep doing it, probably better than what they did in the '90s. They just aren't as into it.

This rings true to me. I sort of consider the 90s albums as their mid-life or mid-career crisis.

However, I wonder what type of experimentation might come out of their retirement as a touring band (whenever that happens).

Could we see more Passengers-type tracks? Something more jazzy along the lines of Two Shots of Happy, Never Let Me Go, and Dancing Shoes? Something else entirely?

Offline shineinthesummernight

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I envision them more as taking a direction similar to NLOTH--the more ethereal, murky sound--kind of a latter day Unforgettable Fire.