Author Topic: U2's Most Polarising Album.  (Read 5237 times)

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Offline emalvick

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2016, 08:20:34 AM »
As one who has criticized U2's 2000's output in general (but liking many songs from the 2000's), I don't see criticism of that output as criticism of those who do like it.  I actually assume that many people who like the 2000's U2 or who hold post-Pop U2 albums as their favorites are new fans that came on at that time. I can acknowledge that ATYCLB and HTDAAB likely gained U2 many fans.  They are essentially pop albums and would seemingly have a broad appeal in a time when rock music is on the decline.

My own criticism is just that I am not happy with U2 for making such albums, even if they do bring in fans.  My own criticism is also a reflection of my age.  I feel like I've become the cranky old person who doesn't like his kids music.  That's not entirely true because there is plenty of great music out there right now; it's just not in the mainstream very often. 

As for U2, I think it's just a bit frustrating because if you look at what U2 did to start the 90's (just 10 years prior), it was almost the opposite.  And, I am a fan that became a fan when I heard the songs The Fly and Zoo Station for the first time.  I respected a band that could go from The Joshua Tree to AB in a matter of a few years.  And, as a teen in the 90's, I saw what U2 did in the 90's as the real alternative music of the 90's.  I know alternative is a dumb term, but when I look at the evolution U2 had, it makes sense vs. bands that came into their own in the 90's. 

Of course, in retrospect AB now is as U2 as anything, and I suppose that while AB came at a time when alternative was the in thing, Pop was I guess a step too far.  I suspect that if U2 would have made the rawer album that you hear in those Pop teaser/demos, it would have been a bit more successful.  I also suspect that if they would have timed the album a few years later if it would have been more successful.  I really don't think Pop deviates much from what Radiohead did with Kid A.  Albeit, Kid A is perhaps Radiohead's most polarizing album. The advantage they had going forward is that they didn't care whether anyone bought it or not.  Unfortunately, U2 did care, and then the 00's happened.  I only hope the next album at least makes the 10's a bit better.  SOI is a move in a right direction but they still have some ways to get back to the great rock band they were prior to 2000.

Offline emalvick

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2016, 08:22:55 AM »
I wonder how many would have answered AB if we would have asked this question in 1995? 

I remember first being on a U2 forum around then and there were quite vocal opponents of AB vs 1980's U2.  AB lost the band some fans.  I wonder if any of those types of fans are here?  I wonder if any came back because of ATYCLB or HTDAAB? 

iehomecoming

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2016, 08:33:36 AM »
Yeah I was on those early usenet forums too, and AB was a bit of a shock to the system to some, but IIRC it "took" after a while and of course the tours were special.

much more static setlist than now, but such a good setlist that no one seemed to mind and yes people were going to multiple shows and were quite happy with it.

Maybe it was a case of "don't mess with a good thing".

Part of the setlist "problem" is the millenials crowd, the most self-absorbed narcissistic entitled generation of all time.


Offline SlyDanner

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2016, 08:46:30 AM »
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Part of the setlist "problem" is the millenials crowd, the most self-absorbed narcissistic entitled generation of all time.

if there are any Baby Boomers on the forum, they are all thanking you heartily right now.

Offline imaginary friend

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2016, 08:53:20 AM »
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Part of the setlist "problem" is the millenials crowd, the most self-absorbed narcissistic entitled generation of all time.

if there are any Baby Boomers on the forum, they are all thanking you heartily right now.

and avoiding mirrors.

Offline Thunder Peel

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2016, 08:54:26 AM »
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Part of the setlist "problem" is the millenials crowd, the most self-absorbed narcissistic entitled generation of all time.


I'm a Millennial and I think you're right.

Offline il_capo

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2016, 08:56:32 AM »
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As one who has criticized U2's 2000's output in general (but liking many songs from the 2000's), I don't see criticism of that output as criticism of those who do like it.  I actually assume that many people who like the 2000's U2 or who hold post-Pop U2 albums as their favorites are new fans that came on at that time. I can acknowledge that ATYCLB and HTDAAB likely gained U2 many fans.  They are essentially pop albums and would seemingly have a broad appeal in a time when rock music is on the decline.

My own criticism is just that I am not happy with U2 for making such albums, even if they do bring in fans.  My own criticism is also a reflection of my age.  I feel like I've become the cranky old person who doesn't like his kids music.  That's not entirely true because there is plenty of great music out there right now; it's just not in the mainstream very often. 

As for U2, I think it's just a bit frustrating because if you look at what U2 did to start the 90's (just 10 years prior), it was almost the opposite.  And, I am a fan that became a fan when I heard the songs The Fly and Zoo Station for the first time.  I respected a band that could go from The Joshua Tree to AB in a matter of a few years.  And, as a teen in the 90's, I saw what U2 did in the 90's as the real alternative music of the 90's.  I know alternative is a dumb term, but when I look at the evolution U2 had, it makes sense vs. bands that came into their own in the 90's. 

Of course, in retrospect AB now is as U2 as anything, and I suppose that while AB came at a time when alternative was the in thing, Pop was I guess a step too far.  I suspect that if U2 would have made the rawer album that you hear in those Pop teaser/demos, it would have been a bit more successful.  I also suspect that if they would have timed the album a few years later if it would have been more successful.  I really don't think Pop deviates much from what Radiohead did with Kid A.  Albeit, Kid A is perhaps Radiohead's most polarizing album. The advantage they had going forward is that they didn't care whether anyone bought it or not.  Unfortunately, U2 did care, and then the 00's happened.  I only hope the next album at least makes the 10's a bit better.  SOI is a move in a right direction but they still have some ways to get back to the great rock band they were prior to 2000.

Perhaps age has something to do with it, but I’ve been a fan since the early 80s and like many others I regard ATYCLB as a strong album.  Yes, it is undoubtedly an album which plays to their strengths but the production is more interesting than is often allowed for.  Since when has Brian Eno produced banal pop music? 

I really didn’t see AB, Zooropa and Pop as the radical alternative music you seem to have taken it for – and again that might have something to do with age.  At that time I was listening to bands like the Throwing Muses, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, which made U2 seem positively mainstream by comparison.  It’s all relative.  I just think we need to realise that when U2 made these records they were trying to stay relevant after the failure of the Rattle and Hum project.  The records are original in relation to what they’d done before, and no doubt the records are among their best works, but they’re not what I’d call alternative – they derived from the alternative music scene, they did not create alternative music. 

I’m really glad they made these albums because whilst The Joshua Tree sounded fantastic when it came out, the Rattle and Hum project revealed how staid it would’ve gone if they’d carried on working within a rock paradigm. 

I agree with you that Pop would’ve been far more successful if it had been rawer and more positive, as in the teaser video. The final product is the only time in their career that Bono sounds as if he’s lost hope.  If anything has driven U2’s success it is their ability to see positives amidst the emotional maelstrom.  And yes, the pursuit of success has always guided U2.  The only time they seemed genuinely not to be worried about it was the Passengers project.  Also in the early 80s they had a faith their music would break through even though an album like October was so unfashionable at the time.

Offline Starman

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U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2016, 08:57:10 AM »
If we're counting it, easily the Passengers album.

If not, Zooropa or Pop. Though October is a worthy mention.

iehomecoming

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #38 on: April 27, 2016, 08:58:23 AM »
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Part of the setlist "problem" is the millenials crowd, the most self-absorbed narcissistic entitled generation of all time.


I'm a Millennial and I think you're right.

It was a couple of Millenial customers I was taking to lunch a couple of days ago that came up with that description.

Hadn't given it much thought till then.




Offline SlyDanner

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #39 on: April 27, 2016, 09:09:56 AM »
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As one who has criticized U2's 2000's output in general (but liking many songs from the 2000's), I don't see criticism of that output as criticism of those who do like it.  I actually assume that many people who like the 2000's U2 or who hold post-Pop U2 albums as their favorites are new fans that came on at that time. I can acknowledge that ATYCLB and HTDAAB likely gained U2 many fans.  They are essentially pop albums and would seemingly have a broad appeal in a time when rock music is on the decline.

My own criticism is just that I am not happy with U2 for making such albums, even if they do bring in fans.  My own criticism is also a reflection of my age.  I feel like I've become the cranky old person who doesn't like his kids music.  That's not entirely true because there is plenty of great music out there right now; it's just not in the mainstream very often. 

As for U2, I think it's just a bit frustrating because if you look at what U2 did to start the 90's (just 10 years prior), it was almost the opposite.  And, I am a fan that became a fan when I heard the songs The Fly and Zoo Station for the first time.  I respected a band that could go from The Joshua Tree to AB in a matter of a few years.  And, as a teen in the 90's, I saw what U2 did in the 90's as the real alternative music of the 90's.  I know alternative is a dumb term, but when I look at the evolution U2 had, it makes sense vs. bands that came into their own in the 90's. 

Of course, in retrospect AB now is as U2 as anything, and I suppose that while AB came at a time when alternative was the in thing, Pop was I guess a step too far.  I suspect that if U2 would have made the rawer album that you hear in those Pop teaser/demos, it would have been a bit more successful.  I also suspect that if they would have timed the album a few years later if it would have been more successful.  I really don't think Pop deviates much from what Radiohead did with Kid A.  Albeit, Kid A is perhaps Radiohead's most polarizing album. The advantage they had going forward is that they didn't care whether anyone bought it or not.  Unfortunately, U2 did care, and then the 00's happened.  I only hope the next album at least makes the 10's a bit better.  SOI is a move in a right direction but they still have some ways to get back to the great rock band they were prior to 2000.

Perhaps age has something to do with it, but I’ve been a fan since the early 80s and like many others I regard ATYCLB as a strong album.  Yes, it is undoubtedly an album which plays to their strengths but the production is more interesting than is often allowed for.  Since when has Brian Eno produced banal pop music? 

I really didn’t see AB, Zooropa and Pop as the radical alternative music you seem to have taken it for – and again that might have something to do with age.  At that time I was listening to bands like the Throwing Muses, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, which made U2 seem positively mainstream by comparison.  It’s all relative.  I just think we need to realise that when U2 made these records they were trying to stay relevant after the failure of the Rattle and Hum project.  The records are original in relation to what they’d done before, and no doubt the records are among their best works, but they’re not what I’d call alternative – they derived from the alternative music scene, they did not create alternative music. 

I’m really glad they made these albums because whilst The Joshua Tree sounded fantastic when it came out, the Rattle and Hum project revealed how staid it would’ve gone if they’d carried on working within a rock paradigm. 

I agree with you that Pop would’ve been far more successful if it had been rawer and more positive, as in the teaser video. The final product is the only time in their career that Bono sounds as if he’s lost hope.  If anything has driven U2’s success it is their ability to see positives amidst the emotional maelstrom.  And yes, the pursuit of success has always guided U2.  The only time they seemed genuinely not to be worried about it was the Passengers project.  Also in the early 80s they had a faith their music would break through even though an album like October was so unfashionable at the time.

once again I largely agree with you on this topic.  the only thing I see differently is the positivity statement about Pop.  I like and appreciate its darker, angrier themes.  It sets the album apart and is one of the reasons I was so disappointed with how they showcased the music on the tour.  Yeah I get it was supposed to be ironic.  Just was not executed well at all, to put it mildly.

Offline il_capo

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #40 on: April 27, 2016, 09:18:30 AM »
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As one who has criticized U2's 2000's output in general (but liking many songs from the 2000's), I don't see criticism of that output as criticism of those who do like it.  I actually assume that many people who like the 2000's U2 or who hold post-Pop U2 albums as their favorites are new fans that came on at that time. I can acknowledge that ATYCLB and HTDAAB likely gained U2 many fans.  They are essentially pop albums and would seemingly have a broad appeal in a time when rock music is on the decline.

My own criticism is just that I am not happy with U2 for making such albums, even if they do bring in fans.  My own criticism is also a reflection of my age.  I feel like I've become the cranky old person who doesn't like his kids music.  That's not entirely true because there is plenty of great music out there right now; it's just not in the mainstream very often. 

As for U2, I think it's just a bit frustrating because if you look at what U2 did to start the 90's (just 10 years prior), it was almost the opposite.  And, I am a fan that became a fan when I heard the songs The Fly and Zoo Station for the first time.  I respected a band that could go from The Joshua Tree to AB in a matter of a few years.  And, as a teen in the 90's, I saw what U2 did in the 90's as the real alternative music of the 90's.  I know alternative is a dumb term, but when I look at the evolution U2 had, it makes sense vs. bands that came into their own in the 90's. 

Of course, in retrospect AB now is as U2 as anything, and I suppose that while AB came at a time when alternative was the in thing, Pop was I guess a step too far.  I suspect that if U2 would have made the rawer album that you hear in those Pop teaser/demos, it would have been a bit more successful.  I also suspect that if they would have timed the album a few years later if it would have been more successful.  I really don't think Pop deviates much from what Radiohead did with Kid A.  Albeit, Kid A is perhaps Radiohead's most polarizing album. The advantage they had going forward is that they didn't care whether anyone bought it or not.  Unfortunately, U2 did care, and then the 00's happened.  I only hope the next album at least makes the 10's a bit better.  SOI is a move in a right direction but they still have some ways to get back to the great rock band they were prior to 2000.

Perhaps age has something to do with it, but I’ve been a fan since the early 80s and like many others I regard ATYCLB as a strong album.  Yes, it is undoubtedly an album which plays to their strengths but the production is more interesting than is often allowed for.  Since when has Brian Eno produced banal pop music? 

I really didn’t see AB, Zooropa and Pop as the radical alternative music you seem to have taken it for – and again that might have something to do with age.  At that time I was listening to bands like the Throwing Muses, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, which made U2 seem positively mainstream by comparison.  It’s all relative.  I just think we need to realise that when U2 made these records they were trying to stay relevant after the failure of the Rattle and Hum project.  The records are original in relation to what they’d done before, and no doubt the records are among their best works, but they’re not what I’d call alternative – they derived from the alternative music scene, they did not create alternative music. 

I’m really glad they made these albums because whilst The Joshua Tree sounded fantastic when it came out, the Rattle and Hum project revealed how staid it would’ve gone if they’d carried on working within a rock paradigm. 

I agree with you that Pop would’ve been far more successful if it had been rawer and more positive, as in the teaser video. The final product is the only time in their career that Bono sounds as if he’s lost hope.  If anything has driven U2’s success it is their ability to see positives amidst the emotional maelstrom.  And yes, the pursuit of success has always guided U2.  The only time they seemed genuinely not to be worried about it was the Passengers project.  Also in the early 80s they had a faith their music would break through even though an album like October was so unfashionable at the time.

once again I largely agree with you on this topic.  the only thing I see differently is the positivity statement about Pop.  I like and appreciate its darker, angrier themes.  It sets the album apart and is one of the reasons I was so disappointed with how they showcased the music on the tour.  Yeah I get it was supposed to be ironic.  Just was not executed well at all, to put it mildly.

I appreciate darker themes myself but I'm not sure U2 do it as well as bands like Joy Division, The Smiths or Manic Street Preachers.  I feel elated when The Holy Bible by MSP ends with "PCP" but after Pop ends with "Wake Up Dead Man" I feel pretty bleak .  I'm being too hard on Bono, because he was always the figure who saw signs of hope when I didn't.

Offline emalvick

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #41 on: April 27, 2016, 04:21:55 PM »
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As one who has criticized U2's 2000's output in general (but liking many songs from the 2000's), I don't see criticism of that output as criticism of those who do like it.  I actually assume that many people who like the 2000's U2 or who hold post-Pop U2 albums as their favorites are new fans that came on at that time. I can acknowledge that ATYCLB and HTDAAB likely gained U2 many fans.  They are essentially pop albums and would seemingly have a broad appeal in a time when rock music is on the decline.

My own criticism is just that I am not happy with U2 for making such albums, even if they do bring in fans.  My own criticism is also a reflection of my age.  I feel like I've become the cranky old person who doesn't like his kids music.  That's not entirely true because there is plenty of great music out there right now; it's just not in the mainstream very often. 

As for U2, I think it's just a bit frustrating because if you look at what U2 did to start the 90's (just 10 years prior), it was almost the opposite.  And, I am a fan that became a fan when I heard the songs The Fly and Zoo Station for the first time.  I respected a band that could go from The Joshua Tree to AB in a matter of a few years.  And, as a teen in the 90's, I saw what U2 did in the 90's as the real alternative music of the 90's.  I know alternative is a dumb term, but when I look at the evolution U2 had, it makes sense vs. bands that came into their own in the 90's. 

Of course, in retrospect AB now is as U2 as anything, and I suppose that while AB came at a time when alternative was the in thing, Pop was I guess a step too far.  I suspect that if U2 would have made the rawer album that you hear in those Pop teaser/demos, it would have been a bit more successful.  I also suspect that if they would have timed the album a few years later if it would have been more successful.  I really don't think Pop deviates much from what Radiohead did with Kid A.  Albeit, Kid A is perhaps Radiohead's most polarizing album. The advantage they had going forward is that they didn't care whether anyone bought it or not.  Unfortunately, U2 did care, and then the 00's happened.  I only hope the next album at least makes the 10's a bit better.  SOI is a move in a right direction but they still have some ways to get back to the great rock band they were prior to 2000.

Perhaps age has something to do with it, but I’ve been a fan since the early 80s and like many others I regard ATYCLB as a strong album.  Yes, it is undoubtedly an album which plays to their strengths but the production is more interesting than is often allowed for.  Since when has Brian Eno produced banal pop music? 

I really didn’t see AB, Zooropa and Pop as the radical alternative music you seem to have taken it for – and again that might have something to do with age.  At that time I was listening to bands like the Throwing Muses, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, which made U2 seem positively mainstream by comparison.  It’s all relative.  I just think we need to realise that when U2 made these records they were trying to stay relevant after the failure of the Rattle and Hum project.  The records are original in relation to what they’d done before, and no doubt the records are among their best works, but they’re not what I’d call alternative – they derived from the alternative music scene, they did not create alternative music. 

I’m really glad they made these albums because whilst The Joshua Tree sounded fantastic when it came out, the Rattle and Hum project revealed how staid it would’ve gone if they’d carried on working within a rock paradigm. 

I agree with you that Pop would’ve been far more successful if it had been rawer and more positive, as in the teaser video. The final product is the only time in their career that Bono sounds as if he’s lost hope.  If anything has driven U2’s success it is their ability to see positives amidst the emotional maelstrom.  And yes, the pursuit of success has always guided U2.  The only time they seemed genuinely not to be worried about it was the Passengers project.  Also in the early 80s they had a faith their music would break through even though an album like October was so unfashionable at the time.


I never said they created alternative music... but coming from a more pop music background, they were among the first popular musicians to switch over to an alternative influence.  Of course by doing that in combination with bands like you describe and then Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, etc becoming popular, the term alternative lost meaning.

But, I found that the shift from JT and RH to AB was a significant shift if that is what one was a fan of.  I'm not saying it's a bad one either.  For perspective, at the time AB came out, I was 15.  I knew of the JT (all I knew of U2 and perhaps some of RH).  U2 bored me at the time.  I liked popular rock music.  INXS was my favorite band at the time.  I had only just started to discover music like New Order and Joy Division.  But AB was a revelation to me.  I couldn't even recognize it as U2.

But besides that, I also acknowledge that alternative was a dumb term for what really ended up being the mainstream rock of the 90's.  I know that people who liked the real alternative music (i.e. before it became mainstream) would not consider U2 alternative, but they did incorporate that music as an influence (among other things).

Offline redrunningred

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #42 on: April 27, 2016, 06:54:32 PM »
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As one who has criticized U2's 2000's output in general (but liking many songs from the 2000's), I don't see criticism of that output as criticism of those who do like it.  I actually assume that many people who like the 2000's U2 or who hold post-Pop U2 albums as their favorites are new fans that came on at that time. I can acknowledge that ATYCLB and HTDAAB likely gained U2 many fans.  They are essentially pop albums and would seemingly have a broad appeal in a time when rock music is on the decline.

My own criticism is just that I am not happy with U2 for making such albums, even if they do bring in fans.  My own criticism is also a reflection of my age.  I feel like I've become the cranky old person who doesn't like his kids music.  That's not entirely true because there is plenty of great music out there right now; it's just not in the mainstream very often. 

As for U2, I think it's just a bit frustrating because if you look at what U2 did to start the 90's (just 10 years prior), it was almost the opposite.  And, I am a fan that became a fan when I heard the songs The Fly and Zoo Station for the first time.  I respected a band that could go from The Joshua Tree to AB in a matter of a few years.  And, as a teen in the 90's, I saw what U2 did in the 90's as the real alternative music of the 90's.  I know alternative is a dumb term, but when I look at the evolution U2 had, it makes sense vs. bands that came into their own in the 90's. 

Of course, in retrospect AB now is as U2 as anything, and I suppose that while AB came at a time when alternative was the in thing, Pop was I guess a step too far.  I suspect that if U2 would have made the rawer album that you hear in those Pop teaser/demos, it would have been a bit more successful.  I also suspect that if they would have timed the album a few years later if it would have been more successful.  I really don't think Pop deviates much from what Radiohead did with Kid A.  Albeit, Kid A is perhaps Radiohead's most polarizing album. The advantage they had going forward is that they didn't care whether anyone bought it or not.  Unfortunately, U2 did care, and then the 00's happened.  I only hope the next album at least makes the 10's a bit better.  SOI is a move in a right direction but they still have some ways to get back to the great rock band they were prior to 2000.

Perhaps age has something to do with it, but I’ve been a fan since the early 80s and like many others I regard ATYCLB as a strong album.  Yes, it is undoubtedly an album which plays to their strengths but the production is more interesting than is often allowed for.  Since when has Brian Eno produced banal pop music? 

I really didn’t see AB, Zooropa and Pop as the radical alternative music you seem to have taken it for – and again that might have something to do with age.  At that time I was listening to bands like the Throwing Muses, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, which made U2 seem positively mainstream by comparison.  It’s all relative.  I just think we need to realise that when U2 made these records they were trying to stay relevant after the failure of the Rattle and Hum project.  The records are original in relation to what they’d done before, and no doubt the records are among their best works, but they’re not what I’d call alternative – they derived from the alternative music scene, they did not create alternative music. 

I’m really glad they made these albums because whilst The Joshua Tree sounded fantastic when it came out, the Rattle and Hum project revealed how staid it would’ve gone if they’d carried on working within a rock paradigm. 

I agree with you that Pop would’ve been far more successful if it had been rawer and more positive, as in the teaser video. The final product is the only time in their career that Bono sounds as if he’s lost hope.  If anything has driven U2’s success it is their ability to see positives amidst the emotional maelstrom.  And yes, the pursuit of success has always guided U2.  The only time they seemed genuinely not to be worried about it was the Passengers project.  Also in the early 80s they had a faith their music would break through even though an album like October was so unfashionable at the time.


I never said they created alternative music... but coming from a more pop music background, they were among the first popular musicians to switch over to an alternative influence.  Of course by doing that in combination with bands like you describe and then Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, etc becoming popular, the term alternative lost meaning.

But, I found that the shift from JT and RH to AB was a significant shift if that is what one was a fan of.  I'm not saying it's a bad one either.  For perspective, at the time AB came out, I was 15.  I knew of the JT (all I knew of U2 and perhaps some of RH).  U2 bored me at the time.  I liked popular rock music.  INXS was my favorite band at the time.  I had only just started to discover music like New Order and Joy Division.  But AB was a revelation to me.  I couldn't even recognize it as U2.

But besides that, I also acknowledge that alternative was a dumb term for what really ended up being the mainstream rock of the 90's.  I know that people who liked the real alternative music (i.e. before it became mainstream) would not consider U2 alternative, but they did incorporate that music as an influence (among other things).

I think another thing to note about AB baby and why is was so exceptional is how it relates to the band that released it and their circumstances.  The fact that they managed to reinvent their sound so thoroughly is a feat in of itself, but the fact that they managed to use it to successfully keep them relevant in the 1990's being an 1980's power player is incredible.  The 1990's is really when the relevancy of all the legacy bands of the 70's and 80's died out.  1989 was the last time an ex beatle got a top 40 hit, the rolling stones rapidly became irrelevant, grunge killed so many genres.  The fact that U2 managed to incorporate their self into this new world of music is very unique amongst their peers, most of whom died out in the 1990's only to return in the 21st century with 1 remaining founding member to do Vegas residencies. 

Offline DGordon1

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #43 on: April 28, 2016, 02:40:14 AM »
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Part of the setlist "problem" is the millenials crowd, the most self-absorbed narcissistic entitled generation of all time.

if there are any Baby Boomers on the forum, they are all thanking you heartily right now.

We all use twitter 24/7 because the baby-boomer bankers destroyed the world economy and left us without jobs. Now we just take selfies and pretend everything's grand.

#fundourdolewithyourpensionfunds

Offline il_capo

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Re: U2's Most Polarising Album.
« Reply #44 on: April 28, 2016, 01:47:22 PM »
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As one who has criticized U2's 2000's output in general (but liking many songs from the 2000's), I don't see criticism of that output as criticism of those who do like it.  I actually assume that many people who like the 2000's U2 or who hold post-Pop U2 albums as their favorites are new fans that came on at that time. I can acknowledge that ATYCLB and HTDAAB likely gained U2 many fans.  They are essentially pop albums and would seemingly have a broad appeal in a time when rock music is on the decline.

My own criticism is just that I am not happy with U2 for making such albums, even if they do bring in fans.  My own criticism is also a reflection of my age.  I feel like I've become the cranky old person who doesn't like his kids music.  That's not entirely true because there is plenty of great music out there right now; it's just not in the mainstream very often. 

As for U2, I think it's just a bit frustrating because if you look at what U2 did to start the 90's (just 10 years prior), it was almost the opposite.  And, I am a fan that became a fan when I heard the songs The Fly and Zoo Station for the first time.  I respected a band that could go from The Joshua Tree to AB in a matter of a few years.  And, as a teen in the 90's, I saw what U2 did in the 90's as the real alternative music of the 90's.  I know alternative is a dumb term, but when I look at the evolution U2 had, it makes sense vs. bands that came into their own in the 90's. 

Of course, in retrospect AB now is as U2 as anything, and I suppose that while AB came at a time when alternative was the in thing, Pop was I guess a step too far.  I suspect that if U2 would have made the rawer album that you hear in those Pop teaser/demos, it would have been a bit more successful.  I also suspect that if they would have timed the album a few years later if it would have been more successful.  I really don't think Pop deviates much from what Radiohead did with Kid A.  Albeit, Kid A is perhaps Radiohead's most polarizing album. The advantage they had going forward is that they didn't care whether anyone bought it or not.  Unfortunately, U2 did care, and then the 00's happened.  I only hope the next album at least makes the 10's a bit better.  SOI is a move in a right direction but they still have some ways to get back to the great rock band they were prior to 2000.

Perhaps age has something to do with it, but I’ve been a fan since the early 80s and like many others I regard ATYCLB as a strong album.  Yes, it is undoubtedly an album which plays to their strengths but the production is more interesting than is often allowed for.  Since when has Brian Eno produced banal pop music? 

I really didn’t see AB, Zooropa and Pop as the radical alternative music you seem to have taken it for – and again that might have something to do with age.  At that time I was listening to bands like the Throwing Muses, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, which made U2 seem positively mainstream by comparison.  It’s all relative.  I just think we need to realise that when U2 made these records they were trying to stay relevant after the failure of the Rattle and Hum project.  The records are original in relation to what they’d done before, and no doubt the records are among their best works, but they’re not what I’d call alternative – they derived from the alternative music scene, they did not create alternative music. 

I’m really glad they made these albums because whilst The Joshua Tree sounded fantastic when it came out, the Rattle and Hum project revealed how staid it would’ve gone if they’d carried on working within a rock paradigm. 

I agree with you that Pop would’ve been far more successful if it had been rawer and more positive, as in the teaser video. The final product is the only time in their career that Bono sounds as if he’s lost hope.  If anything has driven U2’s success it is their ability to see positives amidst the emotional maelstrom.  And yes, the pursuit of success has always guided U2.  The only time they seemed genuinely not to be worried about it was the Passengers project.  Also in the early 80s they had a faith their music would break through even though an album like October was so unfashionable at the time.


I never said they created alternative music... but coming from a more pop music background, they were among the first popular musicians to switch over to an alternative influence.  Of course by doing that in combination with bands like you describe and then Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, etc becoming popular, the term alternative lost meaning.

But, I found that the shift from JT and RH to AB was a significant shift if that is what one was a fan of.  I'm not saying it's a bad one either.  For perspective, at the time AB came out, I was 15.  I knew of the JT (all I knew of U2 and perhaps some of RH).  U2 bored me at the time.  I liked popular rock music.  INXS was my favorite band at the time.  I had only just started to discover music like New Order and Joy Division.  But AB was a revelation to me.  I couldn't even recognize it as U2.

But besides that, I also acknowledge that alternative was a dumb term for what really ended up being the mainstream rock of the 90's.  I know that people who liked the real alternative music (i.e. before it became mainstream) would not consider U2 alternative, but they did incorporate that music as an influence (among other things).

Thanks for explaining how you came at AB.  Surely it was a huge success in terms of introducing interesting sounds and ideas to the mainstream public.  It came out about the same time as Nevermind by Nirvana, so was on the cusp of that "alternative becomes mainstream" moment. 

You're right it was hard to recognise it as the same band that had made The Joshua Tree.  Just as I couldn't believe it was the same band on The Unforgettable Fire as on the War and Under a Blood Red Sky releases.  In particular, I appreciate that Bono stopped with the cowboy macho look and embraced a more complex persona.  And musically, songs like Until the End of the World, So Cruel and Ultraviolet took the band to places I never thought they'd go.  The fanbase massively diversified with AB and for that we should be grateful.