Whether you love or hate them, U2 is still around after all this time… I have become more and more indifferent to their music, and I have a tendency to hate Bono, although hate may be a bit strong,… I ignore him rather, as he is just another of these big-egomaniac rock stars, with a god complex and a talent to avoid paying taxes. I have always thought their moniker and nicknames were joky, U2, you too? Bono? The Edge?… But Rolling Stone still think they are relevant, and has published a U2 interview on Thursday…. So what did I learn? Not much, except that The Edge still believe in rock ‘n’ roll! Of course, his five-mansion compound in Malibu depends on it!
‘I think it goes in cycles, honestly, and I think that we’ve just been through a particularly low cycle point for guitar-based music, and electronic dance music has been kind of the focus’, he declared. ‘But I think it’s about doing something fresh and novel, and the problem is that with a lot of guitar-based music, the songwriting has not been great, and it’s not particularly fresh, you know? I think the songwriting has been better in electronic dance music, weirdly enough. So inevitably I think people have drifted that direction. So I don’t fear for guitar-based music long-term, I just think we need some better songs out there. And I like my music to be a little bit more defiant. There’s not a lot of defiance right now. It’s gone very mild and meek. It’s nice to shake things up a little bit. Punk rock was not mild and meek, it was pretty in-your-face defiant.’
We need better songs and more defiant music? What are they waiting for writing these songs? They have just released an album I have heard…
Bono loves ‘Future Islands’! ‘Have you seen them?’ he said, ‘That song, ‘Seasons?’ A miracle, that is.’ Can Bono talk about anything without making a biblical reference? I saw Future Islands at the FYF fest, and they were okay, I would not call that a miracle but Bono may be seeing them in common places… The Edge is equally hip, he goes to Coachella and liked Cage the Elephant, Broken Bells and Skrillex that he saw there (he also appreciated the Pixies, Outkast) but not so much the rest…. ‘Some of the more strange hippie stuff wasn’t that great. Neutral Milk Hotel, you know them? If you were sort of one of the faithful, you could sort of get excited about it. It didn’t really have a universal appeal at all. And that might be its appeal.’ Poor Jeff Mangum…
Bono never loses an occasion to remind us he is from Ireland — although he transferred the band’s publishing royalties from Ireland to the Netherlands to reduce its tax bill! This time it’s about the song ‘Raised by Wolves’ inspired by a car-bombing: ‘I asked myself, ‘Why am I always writing about political violence? What’s that all about?’ OK, I live in Ireland. And then I thought back to 1974, to my near-miss with this car bombing, and the odds of that, and thought, “Is that part of the reason?” Through happenstance, I took my bike to school that day and I wasn’t there. Any other Friday I would have been there. Is that why I’m interested? Maybe. And, you know, people like me should probably spend some time in a psychiatrist’s couch, but I don’t.’ Yes, Bono is a brave individual who escaped his destiny in 1974…
And the rest is very revealing: ‘That’s the hardest thing right now in music, is to get people to notice, ‘said the Edge, talking about the band’s album…. You mean, they were afraid to get unnoticed and this is why they delivered the thing in every iTunes of the planet? ‘I’m just watching all of these albums coming out and realizing, ‘Wow, they just came and went, and no one noticed, he continued…. ‘We’re not maybe as vulnerable as a lot of other artists to that phenomenon, because we do have a big, loyal fan base. But we’re also always interested in finding new fans. And in this era, it just gets more and more difficult to sort of go beyond your fan base, because there’s so many things in competition. When I was 18, music was the clear winner in terms of the kind of youth culture focus. Now you’re competing against the whole world of gaming, technology, social networking. So I think music has to fight for its position and has to fight for attention. And I think this helps us for sure, but I think it also helps keep music in the conversation, on sort of the front page rather than page three, four, five, six, seven of the conversation.’
Let’s admit it, the album sales would have been a disaster in U2 standards, and they got a better deal with Apple, how much are we talking there? About $100 million?
There is some other stuff, a bit boring, a bit redundant and useless, like they had 50 songs for this new album but failed to record some of them: ‘A lot of times, we just couldn’t get them up to the top of the hill. And that was the humbling element. And there’s some humiliation in realizing that your talent is just not up to the task. And then you realize, after that, no one’s talent is. People who are smarter and more creative, more prolific than U2, stopped being able to get songs across after, 20 years, 30 years, and you don’t know why. And I think the muse is a jealous lover, and you really have to serve and wait on her.’
This let’s-blame-the-muse-if-the-songs-suck discourse is quite self-serving, but they also claim the new album to have esoteric themes, and ‘to be accessible to a wider range of music fans’… lastly, Bono is not happy when people say to him he hasn’t changed, ‘What do you mean I haven’t changed? I have changed!’ And I want to continue to change — I want to continue to peel off the layers and if there’s anything in this onion, I want to know what it is.’
Honestly, this interview was pointless, all over the place, going nowhere…. and reading the comments I would say that U2 has become one of the most hated bands in the US. As a matter of fact, all I remember about ‘Songs of Innocence’ is Apple posting this ‘guide on how to remove the album from your library’, this is bad, bad bad… just Google ‘U2 sucks’ and you will find this page, and this page, and this page, and this page… and many others… why are people spending so much energy at hating a band? Well, because may be they really suck, even George Harrison didn’t like them:
‘You know what irritates me about modern music,’ he said in an interview ‘it’s all based on ego. Look at a group like U2. BONO and his band are so egocentric… The more you jump around, the bigger your hat is, the more people listen to your music… The only important thing is to sell, and make money. It’s nothing to do with talent.’
With his fake l-love-everyone attitude, Bono has spent decades to be liked by everyone, but I guess you have really failed when even the gentle Beatle doesn’t like you.
weaving a fairy tale for us to get lost in
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – July 1973 (Volume 5, Number 2)
“I don’t consider David (Bowie) to be even remotely big enough to be any competition.”
an old school New York feel
oedipal vulnerable and blue collar visceral
An emotional song with Miya’s acrobatic and vulnerable vocals
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1973 (Volume 4, Number 12)
From Robert Johnson to the Ramones – what a life!
one of the great top tens of the 2020
will mark their return to the road in early February, 2023 with a string of to-be-announced US arena dates
enjoyable and soulful romp
another full day of music