Author Topic: We're not just being negative: an open letter to ardent defenders of the new U2  (Read 8731 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Catlithco

  • Stateless
  • *
  • Posts: 160
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
The Stones sound the same for the last decades...

I like Best Thing, I like Blackout also and even Little Things. Can't wait to hear SOE in full.
They are still able to create a song that's been played on the radio. BT is been played on the radio here in Germany.
And BT can measure with the other stuff in the radio of young artist, but: they are in their late fifties!

Achtung Baby is my favourite, but I don't compare anything else with it.
I would be pi**** off if someone always would compare what I'm doing now with what I've did in the past.

That comes with the territory. What musicians' newest works aren't judged in that comparative sense?

I don't know because I don't do that anymore. The last time I did it was when they released Achtung Baby. I hated it. I've compared AB with JT, and I've compared AB Bono with JT Bono. That caused a 25year lasting U2 break in my live. Now Achtung Baby is my favorite. So that's why I don't compare anymore.
As long as they are still active as musicians I will accept what they release,  and the new songs don't sound bad at all. Just different than what they did before. But this has been every new release.
I know if I don't like it now I will like it later.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 11:56:18 AM by Catlithco »

Offline Luzita

  • Intellectual Tortoise
  • *
  • Posts: 440
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I think it would be a lot easier to accept U2 aging if they did so more gracefully and organically. My objection to the more recent material is that it doesn't sound like a band growing older and evolving naturally. It sounds like a band desperately trying to stay relevant by attempting to write hit singles (which incidentally, isn't working as they haven't had a hit single since Vertigo). I don't want that from U2. I never did. Go inward. Don't compromise. Stop trying to appeal to the masses. You've made it. You have a fanbase forever...even those of us who are disappointed in the recent material like myself. Challenge yourselves and make an album that truly reflects where you are in life. Sure, they're calling it Songs of Experience...but, YTBTAM sounds like anything but. It sounds like a U2-sound-alike trying to write a hit and coming up with a mediocre, paint-by-numbers, lazy, soulless product that stands no chance of taking the world by storm like their best work. I'd bet everything I have that YTBTAM will not be a massive hit...just like The Miracle of Joey Ramone wasn't, just like Get on Your Boots wasn't.

U2 has always been a band defined both by their artistic integrity and by their desire to reach a big audience. They have always been unreasonably ambitious in both areas. If they give up the ambition to be popular and relevant, does that amount to "aging gracefully?" You say they shouldn't compromise, but wouldn't that be compromising who they are and what they want?

You don't like YTBTAM and that's fine, that is subjective. But you also talk about whether or not their songs have been hits and there are objective measures for that. When a song charts Top 40 across multiple countries, that is a hit single. Window in the Skies and Boots both did that. So your statement that Vertigo was their last hit single is inaccurate. When betting everything you have that YTBTAM will not be a hit you insert the word "massive" -- it won't be a "massive" hit -- whatever that means. Well that's certainly hedging your bets, and quite wisely. When you come down to it, it is only SOI that didn't have hit singles, and given that album's unusual release it isn't possible to gauge the popularity of the songs by normal measures. Tens of millions of people had no reason to buy or stream any SOI singles since they already owned the songs.

I have no idea whether YTBTAM will be a hit, massive or otherwise. For myself, I don't care. I know the song makes me happy and that is enough for me. But if U2 wants a hit, then I am rooting for one. They have given me so much over the years, because of all their ambitions, because of being the remarkable people that they are. Even though, as in Catlithco's case, they lost me for a while due to their artistic integrity, I wouldn't have it any other way. I feel zero desire to try to tell them what they should want, and every desire in the world to support them in what *they* want.

Offline Droppo

  • Babyface
  • *
  • Posts: 18
So you genuinely consider Window in the Skies and Boots to have been hits? You think U2 was happy with Boots' reception, in particular?

Offline Luzita

  • Intellectual Tortoise
  • *
  • Posts: 440
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
So you genuinely consider Window in the Skies and Boots to have been hits? You think U2 was happy with Boots' reception, in particular?

It isn't about whether I consider them hits. Like I said this isn't subjective. They charted Top 40 in multiple countries, therefore they were hits.

Whether U2 were happy about the reception of Boots is a different question.

Offline Droppo

  • Babyface
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Charting in several countries is not what U2 counts as a subjective hit. They constantly talk about relevance. I'm not using "massive" as a slippery caveat....it's obvious that U2 wants Coldplay-level airplay and charting with their new material.

The last song to do that in any sort of meaningful way was Vertigo. Come on, that's not a remotely controversial statement.

Now, all that said - I think it's immaterial and the wrong thing for U2 to be focused on. Love or hate Radiohead, but, one listen to Moon Shaped Pool makes it achingly obvious that they're not trying to write a hit.

Offline Luzita

  • Intellectual Tortoise
  • *
  • Posts: 440
You said:

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
they haven't had a hit single since Vertigo

So you are now clarifying that you didn't really mean that, you really meant "haven't had a hit single as big as Coldplay's biggest" and therefore your statement was not objectively incorrect. Okay I accept that.

Then you repeat your desire for them to want what you want and be more like somebody else, for example Radiohead. You are entitled to your feelings. As I already said, I do not share them.

« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 07:08:04 PM by Luzita »

Offline Droppo

  • Babyface
  • *
  • Posts: 18
No, and you're being a bit precious with your word play.

No one, not even U2's staunchest defenders, would claim that their post-Vertigo singles have had the kind of success the band wanted. The songs have not been big hits. ANYTHING U2 puts out will chart. But, the songs have in no way captured people's imagination in the same way their older material did. Come on.

Offline Luzita

  • Intellectual Tortoise
  • *
  • Posts: 440
I truly am not being precious with my wordplay, I just took you to mean what you actually said. I tried to correct what I perceived as a factually inaccurate statement. When you explained you meant more, I accepted that.

In any case, the definition of a hit is peripheral to the content of both of our original posts. Unless you are saying that if YTBTAM becomes a Coldplay-style smash hit then you would like it? Because that isn't what I understood you to be saying.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 12:26:50 AM by Luzita »

Offline sulphur76

  • Refugee
  • *
  • Posts: 258
You can call any song in the Top 40 a "hit song", but you won't see many legacy artists boasting, "Here's our last single that went to #34 on the charts for one week!"

Offline EdgesExplorer

  • Babyface
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Name me one band whose members are aged 40+, that are 'relevant' in the current musical climate.
I cannot think of any. Well at least none in the definition that (i imagine) Bono alludes to.

U2 can never deny their age no matter how catchy, brilliant or weird the new album is, so relevance or indeed popularity with the teenagers, young adults, is just never going to happen. They (ok a majority) want to go on journeys with the bands they admire, watch them grow, see how they develop and learn their craft. Not hang on to the coat tails of a band that has all of that in the past.

I just want my favourite band to produce music that satisfies themselves first and foremost, trusting in their musical judgement, ability and creativity and seeing that relevance and good music do not go hand in hand.

Offline Luzita

  • Intellectual Tortoise
  • *
  • Posts: 440
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Name me one band whose members are aged 40+, that are 'relevant' in the current musical climate.
I cannot think of any. Well at least none in the definition that (i imagine) Bono alludes to.

U2 can never deny their age no matter how catchy, brilliant or weird the new album is, so relevance or indeed popularity with the teenagers, young adults, is just never going to happen. They (ok a majority) want to go on journeys with the bands they admire, watch them grow, see how they develop and learn their craft. Not hang on to the coat tails of a band that has all of that in the past.

I just want my favourite band to produce music that satisfies themselves first and foremost, trusting in their musical judgement, ability and creativity and seeing that relevance and good music do not go hand in hand.

I'm a little confused by your post. It seems to contain (though not nearly to the same degree) the same contradiction as Droppo's original post.

Are you saying that U2 shouldn't pursue hits because that causes them to create music that isn't "good"? Or are you saying they shouldn't pursue hits because there's no way they can succeed?  Because if the first is true, the second should be irrelevant.