Author Topic: Overwriting  (Read 787 times)

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Offline robert

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Overwriting
« on: September 17, 2018, 04:34:08 AM »
Hi there,
I had a thought today, and I was going to leave it.
But it's stuck around in my mind so I think  I'll have to bring it up.
It basically is...
Have U2 been guilty of over writing on the last few albums, in their quest for over reaching perfection for the masses, and also
has this been a contributing factor as to why they haven't had commercial success.
Is an idea best at its simplest like the writing on the Joshua Tree?
Humble as that is.
For example, I've noticed, as I guess all you lot have, that the songs in their initial stages are different to the final piece and cut. And for me as well, although this is a different point, they end up over produced.
but a specific example is, "the showman." which was initially "much more better"
Adding the showman into it makes the song a very different song. It also makes it more complex.
Also is this evidence that Bono's belief in God comes into his song writing once again.
Which for me, makes the song more deluded. But that's just me.
I'm sure you can come up with more examples.
But I can't help but thinking that the over writing has made the song worse. Like a Poet going over his ninth draft, when the
third one was the best.

Ok
thanks.





Offline davis

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2018, 06:05:02 AM »
Do you mean just lyrically or musically too? 

U2's early "drafts" have never been that compelling to me.  Think of Achtung Baby--the early demos bear only passing resemblance to the masterpiece they eventually pushed their way to. 

And one could argue that the simplicity of the Joshua Tree is only an apparent simplicity.  Musically, the songs are layered with sounds and texture.  Bono's writing was very compelling on both JT and AB.  I wonder if it's more that he has to work harder to find inspiration these days?  For me, though, both the songs and the lyrics on SOE are better, on the whole, than anything since ATYCLB (at least). 

Offline robert

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2018, 07:00:22 AM »
I meant lyrically, but now I think of it musically as well. perhaps.
With all the effects.
I've never thought this until today but now I think that the Rick Rubin stuff
would have been a great album.
Rather than the awful album that Brain Eno produced that was No Line.
The best song they've written in the 2000s arguably is.. Windows in the Skies.
Although, I do think that Songs of Experience is much better than what they were making on 2009.
But it still seems like their trying to hard.
To please a wider audience, i.e. the whole of leftist america, with a song like Own Way.
For me though, although I bought songs of experience, I am dead bored of it now.
Now I want a different direction, stripped down lyrically and musically.
It might also be relevant to add that Zooropa is my favourite U2 album
Which, I think, consists of simplier ideas and simplier lyrics. With the exception of The Wanderer. Which is complex but again could be a contender for over writing with using archaic words like 'the kingdom'
I.e. Lemon (the recurring theme of mother and son relationship)
Dirty day for and about bukowski.
I also get the feeling that zooropa took them about 6 months to write. I can't bear having to wait four years for the ideas that never came.
All this reaching out to the masses and song writing with a broad audience in mind doesn't make me appreciate bono, but makes me think that he's odd.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 07:05:46 AM by robert »

Offline davis

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2018, 09:22:41 AM »
Interesting thoughts.  I can't go with you on Window in the Skies though.  That may be my least favorite U2 song of all time.  To me, a lot of No Line was interesting, even if it didn't cohere into a compelling album. 

Couldn't it be argued that Songs of Experience is kind of stripped down? 

Offline McSwilly

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2018, 09:54:35 AM »
Over writing, over producing, over thinking.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2018, 10:55:56 AM »
Zooropa is the example of stripped down?

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2018, 06:22:30 PM »
   I'm not sure what Bono's belief in God has to do with his song-writing process in regards to complexity.  Can you give an example--lyrically speaking?
    I think Window in the Skies is a nice song.  However, I have to depart from your logic on NLOTH:  I think it's a very good album, bordering on greatness in some parts.

Offline Chip

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2018, 09:36:29 PM »
It's interesting how we all can differ. I think Bono's most poetic and complex lyricism runs from TJT through Pop, then add in NLOTH. Beginning with ATYCLB, his lyricism mostly (not totally) has been more direct and simple, it appears to me. Zooropa, OS1, and NLOTH are the high points in terms of complexity in my book, with AB not too far behind. I find the two sides to Bono's songwriting interesting in that it really does seem like there are two very different writers at times. He also seems to get most direct after a brush with mortality, as with ATYCLB and SOE.

I also don't think the songs generally are as simple as you make them out to be. I wouldn't call any of TJT's songs simple in the way Bono develops imagery and themes. There are layers and layers to "Lemon" that go far beyond Bono and Iris, and if you just read the lyrics without any background information about the song proper, you might well never think that relationship influenced the song at all (even if you already knew Bono lost Iris at a young age). "Dirty Day" is richly evocative. I guess I'm not sure what qualities make you think one song is simpler than another.

Might Bono be overthinking in his writing process? Sure. The band as a whole seems to be regularly overthinking their albums these days, musically as well as lyrically. I think the main difference with the short timespan it took to create Zooropa is that the band possessed a confidence in themselves at that time that they lack today.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 10:08:08 PM by Chip »

Online Tortuga

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2018, 06:02:19 AM »
I don’t think its over-writing vs not over-writing.  I think its very direct to the point of being cheesy vs more subtle and less direct/ more imagery.

Examples of extremes:

Direct:  HTDAAB

Subtle:  UF

There is another Bono archetype that I think is somewhat Bono at his best.  This is songs that are direct but multi-layered with metaphors wrapped in metaphors.  Its all wrapped up so tightly its almost gimmicky but is so clever that its almost not gimmicky. This started around Pop.  Examples: Playboy Mansion, Kite, EBW, Landlady.

Count me in as puzzled on the Windows in the sky opinion.  IMHO probably their worst song as far as artistic value.  Banal lyrics and melody...and that horrid video to top it off.  “Can’t you see what love has done?” Ugh.


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Offline ShankAsu

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2018, 12:29:08 PM »
They've been guilty of overproducing for decades- sure that includes re-writing.  Probably the only album that they didn't overwrite on was October which is very minimal as far as lyrics go.

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2018, 03:02:04 PM »
I understand that many love the toss-off quality of "Zooropa", but it's not an album I return to often and to me it has a bit of a novelty air to it.  Interesting, not great.

Offline robert

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2018, 11:21:06 AM »
I think we all disagree and agree on certain elements! ahaha
But I think, today, I'll take back the comment of, "windows in the skies" is their best song of the 2000's.
But, I will add this,
It's not about being relevant, it's about not being boring.
and sometimes, not over thinking or writing is the way forward. Add an element of humour.
Humour to the poet is a big thing.

Offline ian ryan

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2018, 10:11:17 PM »
I think the best example of their more quick writing vs. very produced writing is Native Son vs. Vertigo. Overall, Native Son is a better song. Overall, Vertigo is a much, much better single/album lead track. I love them both, but for very different reasons. That's the same way I feel about their basic and very produced tracks. I love them all, but for different reasons.

Offline robert

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2018, 07:43:09 AM »
I regret making this post now!! LMAO jj hahaha
But I didn't mean to call bono deluded about his beliefs.
Because I believe as well, but on the odd day.
I'm a bit cynical.
Still, was a decent thread in an otherwise quiet forum these days!

Online Tortuga

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Re: Overwriting
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2018, 11:58:21 AM »
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I regret making this post now!! LMAO jj hahaha
But I didn't mean to call bono deluded about his beliefs.
Because I believe as well, but on the odd day.
I'm a bit cynical.
Still, was a decent thread in an otherwise quiet forum these days!

This forum as well as most other U2 forums is practically dead.  Nothing like the glory days of 2000 to 2011.  Things have changed alot since NLOTH.


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