Author Topic: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop  (Read 3112 times)

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Offline CrossingGo

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Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« on: December 11, 2010, 02:59:01 PM »
I'm a bass player and a huge U2 fan (obviously).  Adam is my man-crush  ;)  Love to meet him some day.  I think the bass lessons and overall directional shift Adam experienced during the mid-90s totally shifted his approach to bass lines.  Pop had a lot of great classic Adam bass lines, like Please, IGWSHA, and more.  But there were also elements of a very different Adam.  And ever since Pop, it's felt like a whole new ball game.  I remember a quote from him where he talked about in the Old Days, how he always felt pressure to find The Bass Line for every single song.  The perfect riff.  He talked about it like it was a real torment.  In the mid-/late-90s, he shifted away from that struggle.  He wanted to focus on playing the right line for the song and supporting the whole thing.  I felt like he's done that.  But.... I don't like it as much!  :-\  I really miss the Adam of SBS, Stay, One, New Year's Day...well, I could go on forever.

Does anyone else miss his older style of playing?  Does anyone else notice it?  Now, wait....before you list a bunch of newer songs that have great bass lines, I want to make it clear that I'm looking at his overall style in ATYCLB, HTDAAB, and NLOTH (and some of Pop).  His lines go with the flow more now, if you follow my meaning.  He isn't so much a "lead bass player" as the band has talked about him.  His playing is incredible.  I just loved his style and his bass lines previous to Pop.

One wish for the new album is that Adam might veer into that incredible territory again.  Mysterious Ways.  Two Hearts.  40.  (Just kidding.)



Offline birdlover

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2010, 03:07:02 PM »
That's a good point.
I'm a guitar player, so I don't pay as close attention to the bass as you do. I have to say, though, that if the Adam who gave us the intro to New Year's Day would return for a few songs I'd be a very happy camper!

Offline Aqua

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2010, 03:29:11 PM »
i , like birdlover, focus a lot more on the guitar as a guitar player.

However, Adam's 360 live playing is quite different to the rest of his playing. it's far more complicated and frilly.
I see what you're saying though.
a lot of other bands use the bass far more effectively, in the sense that it really impacts the song and helps shape it rather than just supporting it.
RHCP is a good example.

I really Adam's playing at the moment though.
I'm going to get a bass soon so i'll be getting to know adam a lot better! :)

Offline aarong

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2010, 03:57:04 PM »
Adam's bass style was far more aggressive in the early days and became more melodic in later years, which is a good thing but I miss the rough and tumble of his stand outish slap bass early days. His defining chord changes in the likes of Sometimes is amazing,  impacting on the song hugely.

NLOTH has been his best work though, showing major intricit playing that puts some other players (and some of his critics) to shame. Magnificent's bassline alone is, well, magnificent not just on paper but in its style and tonality. NLOTH shows how much of a musician he is and not some root note bass players alot of modern bassists are.

The Peppers bass playing just has one sound - Flea's technically proficient but artitistically he lacks. Like any of the Stone's basslines.

Im a bass player by the way!! lol
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 04:00:17 PM by aarong »

Offline CrossingGo

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2010, 04:27:17 PM »
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However, Adam's 360 live playing is quite different to the rest of his playing. it's far more complicated and frilly.
I see what you're saying though.
a lot of other bands use the bass far more effectively, in the sense that it really impacts the song and helps shape it rather than just supporting it.
RHCP is a good example.

I really Adam's playing at the moment though.
I'm going to get a bass soon so i'll be getting to know adam a lot better! :)

I think that is what I'm saying!  Adam used to focus on writing "simplistic" lead bass lines.  Now, he's focused on a more subtle, technical style.  He's not as much in the forefront, he's supporting.  It's so completely different.  It's not that I don't enjoy his playing now...it's just that for me what made U2 stand out all the way around is that they didn't focus on technicality of playing, they focused on melody and their 4 individual parts.  Now Adam (and I think to a degree, although I don't know drums at all, Larry as well) is more of a support player.

I feel like this evolution has changed U2's sound more than it gets credit.   Edge is still very much Edge, and Bono likewise, but the support structure behind them has altered.

Good luck getting to know his playing!!

Offline aarong

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2010, 04:38:14 PM »
I wouldnt quite say his early material was more symplistic. "I thre a Brick" and "Two Hearts" were far more complex bass lines than say "Sometimes" or "Vertigo" but his style and general musicianship has definitely changed and developed since his early days. I'd be worried if they haven't after all this time! lol

Offline CrossingGo

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2010, 05:36:01 PM »
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I wouldnt quite say his early material was more symplistic. "I thre a Brick" and "Two Hearts" were far more complex bass lines than say "Sometimes" or "Vertigo" but his style and general musicianship has definitely changed and developed since his early days. I'd be worried if they haven't after all this time! lol

Hopefully you noticed I put that term in quotation marks, i.e., "simplistic" for lack of a better term.  I mean simplistic like Edge's style is simplistic.  His lines traditionally were distinctive, melodic, lead, self-contained (for the most part).  Definitely there needs to be growth and evolution.  Improvement in skill for sure.  I just wish Adam's evolution hadn't involved such a dramatic shift.  Maybe he will swing back around to those incredible lines that no other bassist could write.

satellitedog01

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2010, 06:41:21 PM »
Pop was very much a bass centric record, chock full of simple, memorable bass hooks. Discotheque, Please, Wake Up Dead Man, Velvet Dress, Playboy Mansion, Gone, Mofo (not the intro synth-bass, the other bass hook).
I feel Adam has been the most consistent when it comes to delivering the goods. Edge resorted to his jangly-delay-scapes on the last two albums, which is a bit old hat...

Adam's stylistic change came from becoming more musical and a better musician as he grew into his role. Jamerson is one of his heroes, and I guess he got to enjoy the fluidity of Motown records. Sweetest Thing is a nice example for this, maybe even Lemon (IIRC). I love his work on Crazy Tonight (album version) and White As Snow the most off NLOTH.

Plus his sound is just killer.

OTOH, I cannot believe he actually likes that fugly Warwick signature thing... Whoever thought that looked good? Well, it's not him that has to look at it while playing anyway. Give me the EB2/Rivoli or that Gibson RD any day.



Offline Aqua

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2010, 07:24:31 PM »
thanks heaps for that insight Aaron :)
yeah you've got to love the bass on nloth.

point is there's a distinct contrast.
I think it'd be refreshing to see one or two on the next one have that Two Hearts/NYD bass.


Offline StrongGirl

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2010, 07:27:59 PM »
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Adam's bass style was far more aggressive in the early days and became more melodic in later years, which is a good thing but I miss the rough and tumble of his stand outish slap bass early days. His defining chord changes in the likes of Sometimes is amazing,  impacting on the song hugely.

NLOTH has been his best work though, showing major intricit playing that puts some other players (and some of his critics) to shame. Magnificent's bassline alone is, well, magnificent not just on paper but in its style and tonality. NLOTH shows how much of a musician he is and not some root note bass players alot of modern bassists are.

The Peppers bass playing just has one sound - Flea's technically proficient but artitistically he lacks. Like any of the Stone's basslines.

Im a bass player by the way!! lol

aarong , I happen to agree that No Line is his best work as well.

Offline CrossingGo

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2010, 07:45:00 PM »
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aarong , I happen to agree that No Line is his best work as well.

Et tu, StrongGirl?  ;) Lemon, Zoo Station, I Threw a Brick, Twilight.......

Offline eddyjedi

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2010, 07:57:49 PM »
I think Salome, get on your boots, some days are better than others, zoo station, even better than the real thing, mysterious ways, ultraviolet are Adam's best work personally. I think he's brilliant at doing the rocking stuff. This was in my eyes his most prolific period as a bassist, where he really stole the show ( I think Salome and Some days are possibly his best), Magnificent is brilliant work too but that whole 90s period is different league.

Offline CrossingGo

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2010, 09:08:13 PM »
Yeah, I totally neglected Some Days.  That is such a laid back show-stealer. Good call.

Offline ayajedi

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2010, 10:13:16 PM »
Some Days Are Better Than Others has one of my fave basslines by Adam. I agree with most of what you guys have said and Adam has certainly gotten to be a better bass player over the years......BUT I still miss the style and force of his early bass lines. He was the lead more then as opposed to the supporting player with The Edge being the lead guitarist out in the front *does that make sense, I'm not saying it very well*

He has done very well for himself over the years because it cannot be an easy thing to play and to hold your own playing with such a musician as talented as The Edge

If he does something in the calibre of New Years Day anytime soon, I'll be a happy woman

Offline CrossingGo

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Re: Adam's playing style, before & after Pop
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2010, 07:59:15 AM »
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Some Days Are Better Than Others has one of my fave basslines by Adam. I agree with most of what you guys have said and Adam has certainly gotten to be a better bass player over the years......BUT I still miss the style and force of his early bass lines. He was the lead more then as opposed to the supporting player with The Edge being the lead guitarist out in the front *does that make sense, I'm not saying it very well*

He has done very well for himself over the years because it cannot be an easy thing to play and to hold your own playing with such a musician as talented as The Edge

If he does something in the calibre of New Years Day anytime soon, I'll be a happy woman

I know that you said it better than I ever managed to!  I'm sure a lot of people would disagree, but I have to say upon further reflection hearing everyone's comments and thinking more about this subject, I think Adam might be the most technical player in the group these days.  Which would be funny, since by consensus he was the least able player when they started.  (But knew the term "gig" at least!) My biggest worry is that if Adam had played like he does today, I'm sure U2 never would have become U2.  He was as much a part of that distinctive "U2 Sound" as Edge was.

So yeah, I'm with you!  Something NYD-esque peppered into new albums would be great.