Author Topic: The Benefit of Taking a Breather  (Read 391 times)

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Offline hollywoodswag

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The Benefit of Taking a Breather
« on: April 21, 2018, 10:01:33 AM »
My full-fledged U2 kick hit about this time last year (maybe a little later) when I saw that U2's albums had gone on sale on iTunes leading up to the 30th anniversary re-release of the Joshua Tree. I had purchased the Perfecto Remix of Mysterious Ways and the Fish Out of Water remix of Even Better Than the Real Thing from the deluxe edition of Achtung Baby, and I decided to pay the few extra dollars to complete the album. I owned the original version of it and enjoyed it immensely, but there I was playing through some of the added material and discovered some brand new favorites like Lady With the Spinning Head, Blow Your House Down, and Where Did It All Go Wrong?, stunned that there was finally a deluxe edition of an album with extra songs actually worth purchasing. Fast forward through months of completing the studio album collection and playing U2 pretty much non-stop to December, when Songs of Experience was finally released. It was the first U2 album I was actually anticipating prior to its release instead of discovering later (or at the last minute, as in the case of Songs of Innocence), and I was so excited to play through it as the songs finished downloading...

...only to find myself highly disappointed. Gone was the U2 that I really enjoyed and instead I found myself with a bunch of late-career rock stars sounding like they were desperate to join the ranks of pop stars less than half their age. I gave it multiple additional chances and tried my level best to appreciate it and perhaps come to discover things that didn't grab me on the first listen, but it just wasn't winning me over.

My U2 fixation neared burnout earlier this year, several months after its release, and wanting to avoid growing tired of the songs I once loved, I took a bit of a U2 breather. A few heavy hitters or otherwise newer discoveries from other albums retained spots in various playlists of mine, but for the most part, I was focused on finding some new music to balance things out a bit.

At some of my shifts at work, I had been assuming DJ duties and rather just throwing on Spotify to some Top 40 or 80s channel (why is that decade's music so popular?), I would play through albums in their entirety to try and expose everyone to "new" music, or at the very least songs that the same overplayed hits had overshadowed on their respective records. Today, I decided to add Songs of Experience to the list, and lo and behold, I found myself enjoying the album far more than I ever had. I maintain much of my criticism of the record that I had previously made, but gone was the animosity behind my critique. There was something about approaching the album with an eagerness to listen to U2 again as well as already knowing exactly what to expect that enhanced my appreciation of it. It seemed so refreshing, and that despite following up the quartet of juggernaut albums that preceded it on today's list (Achtung Baby, Full Moon Fever, The Outsiders, and Hotel California).

I apologize for the long-winded nature of this, but I just figured I'd throw it out there for anyone else like me who perhaps gets jaded on an album, or at the very least not won over early. Play it a few times to get a feel for it, but then put it on the physical or digital shelf for a bit and cleanse your palette with some other music before coming back to it a few weeks or months later. You might be surprised what you find.  ;)

Offline laoghaire

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Re: The Benefit of Taking a Breather
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2018, 10:25:34 AM »
I had a similar experience, and posted about it, at least to the degree that it took time - a lot - to "hear" the album.

Interestingly, I had just come back from a 12 year hiatus last fall. How's that for a breather? I actually have a back catalog I haven't made it through, even.

SOE happened for me just when I was ready to give up on it. I literally said to myself, maybe this album sucks, what a bummer. I had almost been making myself listen through the album thus far, how sad is that? But the very next day, I felt an actual, albiet small, urge to listen to GOOYOW again, and suddenly it all exploded for me.

Like you, my original complaints still stand, but the good stuff moved into the foreground and my complaints were no longer scene stealers.

It's the weirdest thing. I've never experienced anything like this before. It's fun :)

Even on this forum of hard core U2 geeks, I feel like there's only a few people in the world who know how good this album is. I know, it's subjective, and maybe I'm wrong and everybody else is right - but I sincerely believe it.

Offline Dali

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Re: The Benefit of Taking a Breather
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2018, 11:05:42 AM »
When songs get overplayed, they need to be put on hold. Radio does not believe in that concept anymore but it works. I've taken what the original poster calls a breather before, mostly with songs that were also played on the radio. And in most cases, I came to appreciate these songs even more after I listened to them again after the break.