Author Topic: A review of U2's Lead Singles  (Read 501 times)

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Offline Argo

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2018, 06:35:59 PM »
Not sure you can call The Fly and Numb as misses. The Fly was an inspired choice for an intro to the new U2 at that point. Was perfect. Numb was a bit WTF for me but I get why they did it and I think it worked. As for Boots, it was an attempt at Vertigo Part 2 but just not good enough song. Should have been brave and gone with Fez or boring and gone with Magnificent. From SOI, it should have been EBW but I think the choice was driven by the Apple launch event where Miracle was an obvious choice as a one off rocker for that event. I actually like Fire also but should have been Gloria. Discotheque was fine but I think just added to the confusion of what Pop was all about. Mofo would have been the more interesting/daring choice.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2018, 06:38:44 PM »
How did Discotheque add to any confusion about Pop?

Offline Tortuga

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2018, 07:21:03 PM »
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Hey, do you have an example of a song from the 50s/60s in the same mold as The Showman? I've been trying to put my finger on the genre but it's eluded me. I don't need it to sound super similar, just trying for an example of the general category of song.
Huey Smith, Don’t You Just Know It
Aretha Franklin, Respect and Chain of Fools
James Brown, Say it Loud
Marvin Gaye, What’s Goin On
O Jays, Love Train (chorus somewhat similar to The Showman)





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Offline summerholly

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2018, 08:03:48 PM »
Was the Fly really a miss?.  I liked the Fly along with Wild Horses.  But I think it was the Fly that I remembered most off that album.

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2018, 06:34:10 AM »
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I agree the Boots does not fit in the flow of NLOTH and should have been a bonus track or something.  BUT, that ha s nothing to do with whether or not its a good song.  I also get the Vertigo similarity but if we were to cull the U2 catalog of one of those because they sound alike I would cull it of Vertigo. 

I like Boots because of the lyrics, because the music is well-paired with the lyrical content, and because of “Let me in the sound”. It manages to walk the line of being about something serious but also just being a fun tune and does both equally well.  Do you know how hard that is to pull off?  As for it being a formulaic rock song...hmm....maybe somewhat, but much less so than Desire or The Showman.  Desire is a straight rip-off of Bo Diddly.  The Showman is built on the 1950s/60s bouncy call & response template.  I don’t think that alone is enough to make a song a miss.

So as someone else said you have to define what is meant by a “miss”.  If you’re talking about a lead single I think the main consideration should be “did drive interest in the new album”?  Whether or not it fits the rest of the album would not be a strong criteria with regard to its status as a single.  As far as mainstream appeal, I think Boots had as much potential as any of the other singles while still exhibiting that multi-layer meaning thing U2 does well.


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A lot of what you wrote seems to be a response to my comment.  It that's the case why didn't you use the Quote function?  I've already said what I'm going to say about Boots.  It was all my opinion, anyways.  I'm not going to debate your rebuking analysis.  Thanks!

Offline Tortuga

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2018, 06:42:10 AM »
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I agree the Boots does not fit in the flow of NLOTH and should have been a bonus track or something.  BUT, that ha s nothing to do with whether or not its a good song.  I also get the Vertigo similarity but if we were to cull the U2 catalog of one of those because they sound alike I would cull it of Vertigo. 

I like Boots because of the lyrics, because the music is well-paired with the lyrical content, and because of “Let me in the sound”. It manages to walk the line of being about something serious but also just being a fun tune and does both equally well.  Do you know how hard that is to pull off?  As for it being a formulaic rock song...hmm....maybe somewhat, but much less so than Desire or The Showman.  Desire is a straight rip-off of Bo Diddly.  The Showman is built on the 1950s/60s bouncy call & response template.  I don’t think that alone is enough to make a song a miss.

So as someone else said you have to define what is meant by a “miss”.  If you’re talking about a lead single I think the main consideration should be “did drive interest in the new album”?  Whether or not it fits the rest of the album would not be a strong criteria with regard to its status as a single.  As far as mainstream appeal, I think Boots had as much potential as any of the other singles while still exhibiting that multi-layer meaning thing U2 does well.


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A lot of what you wrote seems to be a response to my comment.  It that's the case why didn't you use the Quote function?  I've already said what I'm going to say about Boots.  It was all my opinion, anyways.  I'm not going to debate your rebuking analysis.  Thanks!

I am so sorry you felt I was rebuking you.  I thought I was just sharing how I felt about the song.  I also didn’t realize we were supposed to use the quote.  I feel that makes the posts unnecessarily cumbersome to read through.  There is no right or wrong on whether a song is good or not.  Only reasons we each like or dislike, which is entirely personal.  I was really replying to laoghaire, who asked me to share why I like it, not you.

Thanks.


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Offline gottago

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2018, 09:17:25 AM »
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I disagree that The Fly was a miss. Sure, One and Mysterious Ways were the big hits, and Real Thing a bit too, but The Fly was perfect to make us all go WTF? THAT was the sound of the Joshua Tree being chopped down.

That was such a freakin' bold move. I love it. I wish I could have been alive to experience that song being released as the lead single. That must have been so jarring to U2 fans.

It so was! I wanted The Joshua Tree Part2 and when The Fly was revealed, "jarring" is the perfect word!

Offline gottago

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2018, 09:24:25 AM »
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Hey, did anyone notice that the OP, who said The Fly was a miss as a lead single:

1) Has The Fly as their avatar?
2) Has a screen name of "gottago"? (I'm running out of change...)

Not holding your feet to the fire gottago, but was amused by that! Have some faith!

But did you did not note that I said for The Fly, "Though beloved by most fans and myself..."

Me saying it was a miss, is an attempt to objectively look at the singles and say "did they lead the album off well and get fans into it." So, The Fly was not successful in doing that. It was successful in announcing to everyone that this is no longer the U2 of the 80's.

Offline gottago

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2018, 09:26:06 AM »
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In response to the OP, I’m not sure what qualifies as a “win” or a “miss.”  One could look at a song as a “win” if it was a commercial success (“With or Without You”) or set the tone of the forthcoming album (“The Fly”). 

In my reckoning, based on that, “The Fly” is most surely a “win” (set the tone and also had chart success in many countries). 

“Numb” is a “win” [set the tone, maybe didn’t chart, but at the time it was one of U2’s most well-known songs for people in my age group (please no one tell me that didn’t happen and argue it with crazy or ridiculously inane statistics, I’m telling you where I was at it did happen)]. 

Same with “Discotheque” which set the tone, was played at bars I frequented, and as the OP says, charted well.

I’m in the minority of people who like “Get on Your Boots,” but then again, I have a strange fixation with No Line on the Horizon.  However, the song probably wasn’t very representative of the album it came from and also didn’t chart well (still, it was U2’s last Top 40 song in the States, if you don’t count “XXX” with Kendrick Lamar).

I am defining Hit as successfully launcing the album from a commercial standpoint.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2018, 09:51:22 AM »
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In response to the OP, I’m not sure what qualifies as a “win” or a “miss.”  One could look at a song as a “win” if it was a commercial success (“With or Without You”) or set the tone of the forthcoming album (“The Fly”). 

In my reckoning, based on that, “The Fly” is most surely a “win” (set the tone and also had chart success in many countries). 

“Numb” is a “win” [set the tone, maybe didn’t chart, but at the time it was one of U2’s most well-known songs for people in my age group (please no one tell me that didn’t happen and argue it with crazy or ridiculously inane statistics, I’m telling you where I was at it did happen)]. 

Same with “Discotheque” which set the tone, was played at bars I frequented, and as the OP says, charted well.

I’m in the minority of people who like “Get on Your Boots,” but then again, I have a strange fixation with No Line on the Horizon.  However, the song probably wasn’t very representative of the album it came from and also didn’t chart well (still, it was U2’s last Top 40 song in the States, if you don’t count “XXX” with Kendrick Lamar).

I am defining Hit as successfully launcing the album from a commercial standpoint.

By that standard (which seems like a good one for what we’re talking about) Boots was a miss.  Not sure there was a track on NLOTH that would have been a hit though.


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Offline World71R

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2018, 01:11:44 PM »
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In response to the OP, I’m not sure what qualifies as a “win” or a “miss.”  One could look at a song as a “win” if it was a commercial success (“With or Without You”) or set the tone of the forthcoming album (“The Fly”). 

In my reckoning, based on that, “The Fly” is most surely a “win” (set the tone and also had chart success in many countries). 

“Numb” is a “win” [set the tone, maybe didn’t chart, but at the time it was one of U2’s most well-known songs for people in my age group (please no one tell me that didn’t happen and argue it with crazy or ridiculously inane statistics, I’m telling you where I was at it did happen)]. 

Same with “Discotheque” which set the tone, was played at bars I frequented, and as the OP says, charted well.

I’m in the minority of people who like “Get on Your Boots,” but then again, I have a strange fixation with No Line on the Horizon.  However, the song probably wasn’t very representative of the album it came from and also didn’t chart well (still, it was U2’s last Top 40 song in the States, if you don’t count “XXX” with Kendrick Lamar).

I am defining Hit as successfully launcing the album from a commercial standpoint.

By that standard (which seems like a good one for what we’re talking about) Boots was a miss.  Not sure there was a track on NLOTH that would have been a hit though.


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Magnificent definitely had a chance. A edited down Moment of Surrender might've too, likewise with Breathe.

Come to think of it, the band seemed to be in a bit of a lull during this period. There's some very good songs on NLOTH, but the fact that they put I'll Go Crazy, Boots, and SUC on the album, and in sequence with each other, plus the fact that there were only a few other alternates that could've really, truly gone in for it (Winter, Soon, and maybe Mercy) shows that it was time after this record for the band to work with someone new, and they did with Danger Mouse and Ryan Tedder. For better or worse, they did breathe some life into the band's sound.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2018, 01:40:10 PM »
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In response to the OP, I’m not sure what qualifies as a “win” or a “miss.”  One could look at a song as a “win” if it was a commercial success (“With or Without You”) or set the tone of the forthcoming album (“The Fly”). 

In my reckoning, based on that, “The Fly” is most surely a “win” (set the tone and also had chart success in many countries). 

“Numb” is a “win” [set the tone, maybe didn’t chart, but at the time it was one of U2’s most well-known songs for people in my age group (please no one tell me that didn’t happen and argue it with crazy or ridiculously inane statistics, I’m telling you where I was at it did happen)]. 

Same with “Discotheque” which set the tone, was played at bars I frequented, and as the OP says, charted well.

I’m in the minority of people who like “Get on Your Boots,” but then again, I have a strange fixation with No Line on the Horizon.  However, the song probably wasn’t very representative of the album it came from and also didn’t chart well (still, it was U2’s last Top 40 song in the States, if you don’t count “XXX” with Kendrick Lamar).

I am defining Hit as successfully launcing the album from a commercial standpoint.

By that standard (which seems like a good one for what we’re talking about) Boots was a miss.  Not sure there was a track on NLOTH that would have been a hit though.


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Magnificent definitely had a chance. A edited down Moment of Surrender might've too, likewise with Breathe.

Come to think of it, the band seemed to be in a bit of a lull during this period. There's some very good songs on NLOTH, but the fact that they put I'll Go Crazy, Boots, and SUC on the album, and in sequence with each other, plus the fact that there were only a few other alternates that could've really, truly gone in for it (Winter, Soon, and maybe Mercy) shows that it was time after this record for the band to work with someone new, and they did with Danger Mouse and Ryan Tedder. For better or worse, they did breathe some life into the band's sound.

I think that comes down to if you’re a One Republic fan or an Eno/Lanois fan and whichever one you are most a fan of is the version of U2 you will like best.  I am at the Lanois/Eno extreme.  However I agree, as do most people that the Boots/Crazy/SUC songs we’re out of place...but that makes sense because they were the ones Eno & Lanois did not participate in.  U2 added them in to (and this is my opinion) make the album “more relevant”.


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Offline xy

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2018, 01:58:34 PM »
I wouldn't mind the choices if they didn't insist on pi*s poor lead singles lately.

Boots : really ? You've got Magnificent and Breathe staring at you as the obvoius choice yet you go out with a (very, very) poor man's Vertigo instead ? Your own fault.

Miracle : bah. Every breaking wave or Cedarwood Road would have been better choices.  Possibly Troubles or Reach me if they aimed for a more contemporary sound. But once more, they aim for the weakest song on the album.

Best thing : this one isn't so bad, I just feel at this point U2 just won't have a lead single period. This or Blackout, the de facto lead single (it was the first video release on their FB) are both decent and I don't really see an alternative.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2018, 02:38:50 PM »
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I wouldn't mind the choices if they didn't insist on pi*s poor lead singles lately.

Boots : really ? You've got Magnificent and Breathe staring at you as the obvoius choice yet you go out with a (very, very) poor man's Vertigo instead ? Your own fault.

Miracle : bah. Every breaking wave or Cedarwood Road would have been better choices.  Possibly Troubles or Reach me if they aimed for a more contemporary sound. But once more, they aim for the weakest song on the album.

Best thing : this one isn't so bad, I just feel at this point U2 just won't have a lead single period. This or Blackout, the de facto lead single (it was the first video release on their FB) are both decent and I don't really see an alternative.

I think what this analysis is missing is that you are looking at it from a U2 fan’s perspective.  They aren’t trying to hook you.  They already have you.

They’re trying to pick the song they think is catchiest to the middle of the road non-u2 fan.  Magnificent takes 45 seconds just to launch...they’ve already hit the switch station button.  Yeah you can edit for airplay but Magnificent is more an expected typical U2 song.  To mainstream radio listeners they’re bored with that.  Quite frankly, Magnificent was designed to get played by praise & worship bands at churches and to appeal to that part of their core base.  For radio, they’re trying to put something out there that is punchy and immediate.  The decision to use Boots was probably that the guitar riff is catchy and fresh, Vertigo aside, to most non-fans or very casual fans.  Non-fans don’t remember Vertigo like you do because it didn’t get that much airplay.  U2 decided it wasn’t a problem with Vertigo, it was just the timing or some other factor so they doubled down and tried it again.  They didn’t really give up on it until Vertigo 3 (aka Joey Ramone).  I’m not saying it was a good strategy, I’m just saying I think there was logic.  Whether you like them or not, Vertigo and Boots are catchy.  And that’s the most important thing for a single.  I’m not sure they weren’t the best options they had for what you’re trying to accomplish with a single.


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Offline xy

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Re: A review of U2's Lead Singles
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2018, 02:15:29 PM »
I know they already have us, the long time fans. I consider Magnificent, Breathe, EBW, Cedarwood Road the catchiest songs on their respective albums.