Author Topic: “U2 ARE now very close to irrelevance” - Bono to Irish Times, Sept 10, 2011  (Read 35552 times)

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Offline The Exile

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Exactly. I love 'em, but sometimes these guys are so out of touch it's not even funny. They can be very poor self-diagnosticians, too.

I don't think they are as out of touch as you suggest - i think they engineer things to death in the pursuit of perfection. That doesn't make them out of touch - perhaps self obsessive or perfectionist but you don't get to where they are with being out of touch

What I mean is out of touch with their hardcore fan base. As I point out in the link below, never in all my years as a U2 fan have I detected such disappointment among U2 fans about so many different issues.

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Offline singnomore

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Exactly. I love 'em, but sometimes these guys are so out of touch it's not even funny. They can be very poor self-diagnosticians, too.

I don't think they are as out of touch as you suggest - i think they engineer things to death in the pursuit of perfection. That doesn't make them out of touch - perhaps self obsessive or perfectionist but you don't get to where they are with being out of touch

What I mean is out of touch with their hardcore fan base. As I point out in the link below, never in all my years as a U2 fan have I detected such disappointment among U2 fans about so many different issues.

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Even the hardcore fan base I'm not sure. Its so diverse. I suppose we could debate whats hardcore but U2's musical journey is kinda chunked into 80's, 90's and 00s obviously and from that people need and want different things. As we all see on the forum the debate about what should or shouldn't be included on a set list for example.

I get your point about fans being vocal - I've been wondering if its because U2 fans see the ever approaching reality that at some point this will all end - and we all want them to crack it one last time before its all over?

Offline Springbok

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This might be their last decade of making music- in light of this:

1. Do you worry about being relevant, and ending even more popular than ever?
2. or do you just go at it and produce alot of music and don't care about relevance or what people might think?

I'm just wondering what is going through their minds at this stage. They are very quiet and has postponed the new album a few times now. Bono is making it clear that he wants relevance, but does the band as a whole share that sentiment? Does nearing the end of your career dramatically change the way in which you approach what you do, or not? Compared to other bands - how did they approach the last years?

Offline Aaargh_MadMonkey

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This might be their last decade of making music- in light of this:

1. Do you worry about being relevant, and ending even more popular than ever?
2. or do you just go at it and produce alot of music and don't care about relevance or what people might think?

I'm just wondering what is going through their minds at this stage. They are very quiet and has postponed the new album a few times now. Bono is making it clear that he wants relevance, but does the band as a whole share that sentiment? Does nearing the end of your career dramatically change the way in which you approach what you do, or not? Compared to other bands - how did they approach the last years?

"Yes".

"Yes".

"Yes".

"Yes".

I hope I answered your questions.

Offline Springbok

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This might be their last decade of making music- in light of this:

1. Do you worry about being relevant, and ending even more popular than ever?
2. or do you just go at it and produce alot of music and don't care about relevance or what people might think?

I'm just wondering what is going through their minds at this stage. They are very quiet and has postponed the new album a few times now. Bono is making it clear that he wants relevance, but does the band as a whole share that sentiment? Does nearing the end of your career dramatically change the way in which you approach what you do, or not? Compared to other bands - how did they approach the last years?

"Yes".

"Yes".

"Yes".

"Yes".

I hope I answered your questions.

"Yes".

Offline Dali

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The band talking in the press about relevance is boring. They are not "on fire", they are on hiatus. Why not say so? Why not say we don't know what's next, we'll see after the reissue.

The current U2 have got one band whose success they must really be afraid of in today's marketplace and that is the band which recorded the material they release in their reissues, the U2 from the catalogue.

The current U2 must steal their hipness back from the catalogue U2 band.

satellitedog01

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Sounds legit :-)

Offline dirtdrybonesandstone

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Judging by the sound of top 40 radio at the moment, he would have to castrate himself to get a song to chart.

Offline MarsGirl

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Judging by the sound of top 40 radio at the moment, he would have to castrate himself to get a song to chart.

LOL!!

Offline Springbok

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Do you agree with Bono when he says that because they have become good at what they do, they are not great anymore. In the past when they were uncertain as to what they should do and not yet great musicians, they were either Great or bad - but now they have just become good - and that is their greatest enemy / threat? Is that a valid statement, and if so, how do you overcome goodness to become great again?

satellitedog01

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I agree with Bono on that, and was glad to hear him realize this, and it's also the reason I don't listen to their '00s work anymore. Mistakes, when in the middle of the writing process can lead to new ideas (Eno probably helped them get there) and the lack of ability to play what they hear in their heads right away, forces the musicians to try out new things. U2 was about this. When they became good enough players to start writing pop songs, they gave up what made them unique. It was a gradual shift, but with Bono's radio hit obsession it has come full circle.

An antidote would be to go away and create music without specific aims and a strict avoidance of comparison to other, most importantly pop music (they did this many times before). Pop music is 90% playing inside the confines of a set of rules created to achieve commercial success. Music should not be about that. The Unforgettable Fire was not about that.

Music should be self expression, or expression of divine inspiration, as they claimed it to be the case earlier on, when creating music you already have to follow some rules to some extents (you want people to listen, so you can't afford dissonance for long for example, you can't irritate them for no reason, you want harmony and contrasts too).  
Pop music is in direct opposition with what U2 started out as.
Here's a very short and simplified summary of U2's creative evolution:
They went from the frustration of not being able to express or channel the music they heard in their heads but trying all the more vehemently, to being able to channel the inspiration without focus (TUF), to be able to write songs and sometimes channel it, to simply wanting to write great pop songs for radio.
They can write proper songs now, but the craft binds their hands and narrows the range of possible outcome, a bit like you controll the amount of water with the tap.
The greatness in their music came from lack of controll, from not getting in the way of inspiration with methodical work routines.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 04:03:53 AM by satellitedog01 »

Offline AchtungPiano

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I agree completely. so here's the plan if U2 needs to become mainstream again:

1) Have some dubstep sound thrown in.

2) You know the whole Mick Jagger/Steven Tyler revival that's happening? Just wait. 10 years from now, Bono will be the cool elder rock star. but for now, we can build that.

3) MAKE GOOD MUSIC VIDEOS. seriously. get OK Go to give you guys an idea or something...

4) Go for broke. feature Nicki Minaj.

Offline Midnight is Where the Day Begins

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How the band can be relevant in ONE step!

1. Stop trying to be relevant.

Offline mdmomof7

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I agree completely. so here's the plan if U2 needs to become mainstream again:

1) Have some dubstep sound thrown in.

2) You know the whole Mick Jagger/Steven Tyler revival that's happening? Just wait. 10 years from now, Bono will be the cool elder rock star. but for now, we can build that.

3) MAKE GOOD MUSIC VIDEOS. seriously. get OK Go to give you guys an idea or something...

4) Go for broke. feature Nicki Minaj.

Step #4 - I definitely want Bono to STOP talking about again becoming relevant! I would disagree w/ Bono or anyone that says that relevancy = MAINSTREAM. Popular doesn't mean relevant. Relevant is when the peers you respect are talking about what you created. Is Radiohead mainstream? Are they relevant? If so, that's as much relevancy as I want from U2.

And, really, I still can't figure out how Coldplay continues to get airplay and be popular when u2 isn't. Nonsensical! The fact that I don't hear NLOTH, MOS, Fez or Cedars of Lebanon on any stations is inexplicable.

I don't dislike Beautiful Day or HTDAAB like many critics on the U2 fan board. However, I LOVE many of their non hits. To me, the treasure is in their albums. A person might buy an album because they like the radio song and then love the band when they dig into the album it came from.

Does anyone think that doing Spiderman for Broadway music was a try at being relevant? Was it merely to stretch themselves and do something they hadn't done before? Does that qualify as relevancy for Bono? Do you think it scared him that it was so poorly received and that is what has stirred all this talk by Bono?

I'm pretty sure that Bono was also talking about relevancy in the mid 2000s when they were seemingly very relevant if you judge by airplay for their new songs.

satellitedog01

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Popular music is disposable. Pop music is junkfood for the ears. U2 probably shouldn't strive to become that...