Author Topic: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up  (Read 9121 times)

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Offline The Exile

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You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« on: December 16, 2011, 11:50:41 AM »
When Bono was recently asked how long it has been since he watched Rattle and Hum, he said, "I haven't seen it since it was released."

When prepping the Best Of edititions, Bono said that Edge had to force him to listen to the band's early material.

When asked why the line from the album version of Mysterious Ways "She's the wave, she turns the tide" was changed for the Best Of version to say "She wants you, you don't know why" (which follows most live versions), Bono responded that he had no idea there was a discrepancy, and he dismissed it as an oversight.

Adam once remarked that he loved the song Drowning Man, and that it's his favorite track from October.

These examples (and there are many others) demonstrate that, when it comes to U2's released material like their albums and films, we fans are much more familiar with it than U2 is. The way the band works is they release something and either completely forget about it, or play it on tour and let it morph and change with the times (which probably means they only remember how a song sounds by remembering how they played it last time around). Does Bono even know there's a whole verse at the end of New Year's Day that never gets sung? Could he recite the lyrics to Do You Feel Loved? Does Edge remember the chords to Acrobat?

My reason for bringing this up is not because I can't understand how the answers to these question could be "no" (U2 have always been a forward-looking band). But sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be beneficial and even challenging for U2 to take the time to go back and revisit their past epochs and output (Bono admitted as much about re-engaging their Hansa material for the Achtung reissue).

People born colorblind don't know they're colorblind, and likewise, people who only expose themselves to what's current will be forever incapable of discovering their own blindspots. Perhaps, if U2 really want to reinvent themselves and break out of their comfort zone, they should maintain a better connection to the past that got them where they are today.

Well?
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 12:34:12 PM by The Exile »



Offline mdmomof7

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2011, 02:59:54 PM »
Exile, I now appoint you official board philosopher and investigative reporter. Lots of meat to gnaw on here! Well done!

Offline Gavin Tuesday

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 03:47:48 PM »
You're quite the thoughtful poster, Exile, but you have an uncanny knack for always wishing/suggesting the band do things that are completely contrary to their nature...whether it's wanting them to make an album with absolutely no regard to whether it gets played on the radio, to wanting them to "look back", when we all know these are two things that have never, ever been in this band's DNA.

Not a criticism, just an observation, that as a fan you want them to do things that just aren't part of who and what U2 is.  I think, of course, you must realise this.

Offline So Cruel

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2011, 03:51:09 PM »
Ive read a lot of Rock books and Mick Jagger is very similar in this regards to Bono.

When asked about certain songs in some cases he doesn't even remember what album they were on. He said this is because he remembers time periods, not albums. A lot of songs are written at one point, they morph into other songs, and may end up on an album 3 years after the song was written. By the time that song has appeared on an album he is writing new material. Start Me Up was originally written in the early 70's, it morphed a few times and was released in 1980.

Look at Achtung Baby and Zooropa. A lot of those ideas started in 1989 on soundchecks for the Lovetown tour. Some of those left over ideas ended up on Pop in 1996. City of Blinding Lights was released in 2004 but the writing on it started in the mid 90's.

I do agree though that it would be nice for them to look back. There are a lot of songs that haven't been played enough, and I think there are some elements from the past that I believe worked well and would like to see U2 revisit. I love Rattle & Hum and would like to see them put away the Eno keyboards for an album and have a few songs with horns, female backup singers, and a Hammond Organ here or there. I also would like to see them try something like Everybody Loves A Winner again. It's out of their comfort zone but in my mind it worked.

Offline Droo

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2011, 04:39:51 PM »
Let's not forget that Edge claimed to have somehow forgotten how to play When I Look At The World by the time the Elevation Tour rolled around.

...yeah.

Offline The Exile

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2011, 04:54:08 PM »
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You're quite the thoughtful poster, Exile, but you have an uncanny knack for always wishing/suggesting the band do things that are completely contrary to their nature...

I think your diagnosis of me is partially correct, I do have somewhat idealistic/unrealistic desires for this band I have been following for 28 years and counting. And yeah, I do sometimes wish they'd adopt a page or two from that one band Thom Yorke's in.

However, I do think there is some precedent for these wishes of mine. '90s-era U2 was far less obsessed with being universally adored than they have been post-Pop. While they always wanted popularity because they believed so strongly in their art, they were willing to sacrifice those things to take a new direction. I have no doubt that if the whole ZooTV thing flopped, the band would have said, "Oh well, we had to do something. We couldn't just plant new Joshua Trees forever." Contrast that with '00s U2, which seems little more than a decade long apology for Pop.

Offline imaginary friend

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 05:08:06 PM »
when you spend months to years making an album, you've already heard it enough by the time you finish it.

what fans get out of listening to it is never going to be what the artists put into it. that's why artists/bands should never listen to their fans vis a vis musical direction.

Offline The Exile

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 05:10:58 PM »
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when you spend months to years making an album, you've already heard it enough by the time you finish it.

what fans get out of listening to it is never going to be what the artists put into it. that's why artists/bands should never listen to their fans vis a vis musical direction.

Well, this recent "crisis" on Bono's part is due to his revisitation of 20 year-old material, and he has concluded something that some of us have been saying for years.

Offline Droo

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 06:07:53 PM »
This "crisis" is brought on by NLOTH's lower sales (the significance being ascribed to it being an illusion, but I digress...) and the lack of audience reaction to new material on this tour.

Bono needs to be less desperate for approval and more proud of what is their best work in a very long time.

Offline Blue Silken Sky

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 07:01:45 PM »
1. Clever thread title.  Totally dig what you did there.  ;D

2. The modifications, forgotten lyrics, and orphaned verses don't really bother me.  The songs are made to be enjoyed, but they ultimately don't belong to the audience.  It does mean we might miss out on some songs or parts of songs we fell in love with during live performances, but in my opinion, it doesn't kill the entire experience.

3. I won't echo what others have said about U2 being a forward-looking band, but I will add that I don't think reverence of the past is necessary to be innovative and creative in the present (or the future).  Writers often distance themselves from previous projects to branch out into the unknown and uncomfortable, but careful readers will always detect a particular tone or syntactical structure (or whatever) that is that writer's signature.  We know how distancing themselves from past projects has gone for U2 (AB of course, but how about ATYCLB?  I know it doesn't get much love on this forum, but I loved it).  If this is their preferred process, and if having little relevancy crises is what gets Bono's creative juices flowing, I'm totally cool with it.   

4. At the end of the day, I don't care how they get to the next record, as long as they get to it.  If it's a huge let down of course I'll be disappointed, but that's when I'll be past-oriented and take solace in the older stuff.   

Offline U2-obsessed and proud

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 07:57:42 PM »
Why do you make the same thread every 3 months?

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 08:32:18 PM »
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Why do you make the same thread every 3 months?

He forgot his past work?

Offline mdmomof7

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2011, 11:11:49 PM »
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Why do you make the same thread every 3 months?

He forgot his past work?

lol!!

I've only been here about 3 mos... ;)

Offline The Exile

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2011, 12:13:30 AM »
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Why do you make the same thread every 3 months?

omg i know lol. prolly i should try and keap things to less words lol. if you hadnt of tole me that i wouldnt of known that i keep repeating myself roflmao.

Offline The Exile

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Re: You Glorify the Future, While the Past Dries Up
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2011, 12:18:58 AM »
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1. Clever thread title.  Totally dig what you did there.  ;D

2. The modifications, forgotten lyrics, and orphaned verses don't really bother me.  The songs are made to be enjoyed, but they ultimately don't belong to the audience.  It does mean we might miss out on some songs or parts of songs we fell in love with during live performances, but in my opinion, it doesn't kill the entire experience.

3. I won't echo what others have said about U2 being a forward-looking band, but I will add that I don't think reverence of the past is necessary to be innovative and creative in the present (or the future).  Writers often distance themselves from previous projects to branch out into the unknown and uncomfortable, but careful readers will always detect a particular tone or syntactical structure (or whatever) that is that writer's signature.  We know how distancing themselves from past projects has gone for U2 (AB of course, but how about ATYCLB?  I know it doesn't get much love on this forum, but I loved it).  If this is their preferred process, and if having little relevancy crises is what gets Bono's creative juices flowing, I'm totally cool with it.   

4. At the end of the day, I don't care how they get to the next record, as long as they get to it.  If it's a huge let down of course I'll be disappointed, but that's when I'll be past-oriented and take solace in the older stuff.   

1. Thanks!

2. I never said I'm "bothered" my any of those things, I just think they're indicative of the fact that U2 is more likely to forget how innovative and fearless they once were more quickly than their fans are, since they never engage their past. Also, they're more likely to get stuck in a moment by failing to realize their own blind spots and familiar patterns.

3. I agree, I just wish they would have recognized their creative stagnation a little sooner.

4. Word to your mother.