Classic or Dud: U2

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I do at least rate "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby ..." as something closer to classic than I do any U2 song.

Robin Carmody, Sunday, 1 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Total shite. Only 'Under a Blood Red Sky' is okayish. The rest is well wank of the highest order. Of course it doesn't help when your singer is such a wanker and proud of it. And they're always at least 5 years behind the cool thing. At least Eno got some easy money producing their shit.

Omar, Tuesday, 3 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

yeh but fred, rolling stones are a classic, and u2 are a dud, because rolling stones have got 'shine a light' and 'have you seen your mother...' and 'under my thumb' and 'lets spend the night together' and all of 'their satanic majesties request' (underrated album or what?), whereas u2 have got... um, er, um...

gareth, Tuesday, 3 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

who are you guys kidding? u2 are classic! this thread is kind of pointless, i don't understand why so many people say dud. i can't stand the rockstar posing, especially after the 'returntoform' of the new record that personally i find boring as shite, but they're still u2, and they've been around for about 20 years and they still have hit singles that hold up over time and i can stand sitting through. classic, naturally. you try being as successful as consistently as they have!

michael dieter, Tuesday, 3 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Classic or Dud is no place for objectivity, Michael. I think cutting my fingernails is more consistently and aesthetically 'successful' than anything Bono's done for 14 years.

Tom, Tuesday, 3 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

" you try being as successful as consistently as they have! "

Michael, I don't understand your argument. Is it of '50 000 000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong!' variety? The majority is always right, huh? Not that it even is a majority.

Nick, Tuesday, 3 April 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
This is not a question worth discussing, since obviously, whether you like to admit it or not, U2 is considered to be a classic group. In about 5 years or so, they will definitely be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with the other classic rock groups. I was surprised to see that so many of you reacted negatively to the group, calling them duds. I've never met someone who had such animosity to the group, usually at the worst people think U2 is ok music, but in no way are they a contraversial or disappointing group.

But I won't use the argument that U2 has millions of followers around the world, because so do NSYNC and Britney Spears, and we all know how talented (gag) they are. Instead, think about their 20+ year career history, and the number of hits they've produced. Whether someone likes U2's music or not should not be criteria in considering a group to be a classic. I'm not a Rolling Stones fan, but I have to admit, they are a classic, whether I like their music or not. U2 is in the same category- despite personal musical preference, they supercede personal taste because, in essence, THEY ARE A CLASSIC! You do not need to be a fan of U2's music to realize that they are a classic. Besides, how many are involved with Greenpeace, Amnesty International, etc etc and donate countless hours and money to causes, such as relieving 3rd world debt? Too many other rock groups are too high on coke and are too self-involved to partake.

Many of the previous arguments I've read are hardly convincing and seem petty, "U2 = dud, their music sucks and it's for old people and like, Bono's a twat and egomaniac...blah blah blah" So what if Bono's a drama queen? It's all part of the Rock act and makes it more interesting to the fans and followers (of which, you all know, they have millions). The group isn't just about Bono, come on, it's the entire package. U2 is without a doubt, a classic, and an undeniably great group.

V. MacManus, Monday, 11 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Classic if only for a)not even trying to hide the fact they have the worst bass player in history, and b)the line "Man melts the sand so he can see the world outside."

tarden, Monday, 11 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Whether someone likes U2's music or not should not be criteria in considering a group to be a classic.

Oh, that's a completely rubbish argument. Why is wrong for people to consider things on their own terms, and not accept pronouncements from Rolling Stone, Q et al at face value? I rather like the idea of people actually thinking for themselves instead of blindly accepting what they are told.

Nicole, Monday, 11 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

U2 involved in Greenpeace & Amnesty International...leaving aside that Greenpeace denies the livelihoods of strip-miners and lumberjacks, and Amnesty meddles in the internal security of tin-pot dictatorships who do perfectly well on their own thanks, I think a band's musical achievements should be separated completely from the amount of grandstanding they indulge in.

tarden, Monday, 11 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Which cuts both ways of course, as I like U2's records a lot. I think Zooropa is better than Amnesiac. But Jubilee 2000? C'mon, it's not HIS money that he lent out 30 years ago and didn't get the interest back, was it?

tarden, Monday, 11 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Finally found a page on this thing where I disagree with EVERYONE!

I can't hardly stand early U2 (whiny, monotonous, overblown), but everything from Joshua Tree on I find to be real groovy. Even Rattle & Hum. Achtung Baby is a great classic. The first side of Joshua Tree is flawless. Am I crazy?

brah gruplee, Wednesday, 13 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

First side of Joshua Tree IS flawless, second side irredeemable, especially the godawful harmonica.

tarden, Thursday, 14 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

That _Joshua Tree_ analysis is so on the money that it's taken my breath away. And here I was thinking I was the only one who felt that way...

Early U2 is quite clearly the bomb. The first three albums are glorious in their entirety. After that, they tend to be a mixed affair (the sole exception being _Achtung, Baby_ which is pretty much brilliant except for one song which is so dull that I can no longer recall its name or tune).

Dan Perry, Thursday, 14 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Classic. Some people have been saying things like "boring" "dull" and the rolling stones are better. That is total BS!!! Listening to U2 is like listenening to something that has never been done or never will or should not be done again. This is solid gold. What isn't boring? Some wastoid band like limp bizkit or metallica that are trying so hard to be hardcore that they are just blabbing on and on without a purpose. And the Rolling Stones? One of the biggest sellouts in history. No band on earth bought more into the corperate rock of the seventys. Some of their later stuff sounds like disco CRAP!!! We need U2 not just for the euphoric music but for sincerity.

Luke, Thursday, 21 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

"Listening to U2 is like listenening to something that...should not be done again"

Are you sure you mean this? Though I entirely agree.

Tom, Thursday, 21 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Disco crap, but GOOD Disco Crap, see the misunderstood 'Hot Stuff'.

Omar, Thursday, 21 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
I can't help but agree with V. MacManus.

Look guys, U2 is a powerful band. They inspire extreme hatred in some people, but they inspire extreme love in far more. Regardless of how much Bono offends you (I'm still unclear as to how that can happen... he's quite harmless) the facts still stand: U2 is one of most artistically and commercially successful bands of all time.

Many of you mantain that they were good in the 80's but sold out in the 90's. I suggest looking up the word "irony" in the dictionary. During their ZooTV and PopMart stadium tours they flat out refused corporate sponsorship (unlike the Rolling $tones) and lost money as a result. Just as you wouldn't assume that a battered old book is of poor literary quality based on its cover, you shouldn't attribute shallowness to a band just because they have video screens and flashy lights.

And if U2 were a dud band, why would they go out of their way time after time after time to change their musical style, often against what is currently popular. 'War' was a big success, so why go do 'The Unforgettable'? If 'The Joshua Tree' made them the most popular thing to come out of Ireland since the potato, why do something like 'Rattle and Hum'? And if their earnest, save-the-whales style of the 80's worked so well, why in God's name would you go off with something like 'Achtung Baby' and ZooTV? And why then change into 'Pop'? Why?

Because they've got balls. U2 just keeps changing and growing, usually with success (UF, JT, Achtung) but sometimes getting burned (Rattle and Hum, Pop). Instead of choosing the quick and easy path by just repeating a familiar sound over and over, U2 never let the critics, the media, or any of you punks drag them down.

Because like the Beatles and the other established classic bands, U2's twenty-year career has been a continuous growth process. U2 just keeps evolving, so they ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING NEW AND INTERESTING TO SAY.

And THAT is the critical component in seperating the wheat from the chaff. THAT is what makes U2 a classic, and THAT is what makes the Rolling $tones a dud.

Amen.

Sam Cunningham, Sunday, 29 July 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

both

classic in the sense that they came out with a few good pop songs and records

dud in the fact that they are absolute crap now, are absoulute hypocrites and sellouts (the abc documentry sponsored by McDonalds, ticket prices only the rich can afford, bono dissing the "violence" by anti-capitolist protestors in Genoa whilst he was on a luxury yacht with tony blair without one mention of that protestor who was shot twice in the head, etc), were influenced by punk and yet at the same time sneered at the genre, along with the fact that bono's ego is larger than the size of the american continent and believes that the world revolves around him

i also think they ripped off depeche mode-badly-when they came out with achtung baby, only a few good songs on that record, and pop was much, much worse

i no longer buy u2 albums anymore, not even used

the walrus, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

What is this bizarre and much-cherished idea among U2 fans that U2 records sound radically different from one another?

Tom, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

They do! Good and Bad sound extremely different to the discriminating listener!

Sterling Clover, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

You listen to Bono's obnoxious falsetto on Lemon and then listen to Sunday Bloody Sunday and tell me that their style never changed, Tom.

Ally, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, _Zooropa_ doesn't sound AT ALL like it came from the same group that produced _Boy_.

Dan Perry, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
That's it - the falsetto. That's why I hate them now. I guess when a guy has no singing talent, i would rather hear him scream than try to sing. (Although Axl Rose screamed a lot, and he just plain sucks.)

Dave, Tuesday, 2 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

actually, the falsetto is the Edge

chameleon, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
I confess I can absolutely not be objective about that subject since I'm a big U2 fan. However I admit that U2's musical lifestyle has had lows (lots in the latest album) and highs (almost all the rest), that Bono sometimes gets to sing out of tune (only on stage, but who doesn't ?!) and that his ego's really as large as America. But U2 emit so much strength, (good-)will, energy, faith and pure love that they're able to kidnap my heart and steal my mind. And when I get them back I do feel great. They're able to influence some people's mood, maybe even to open some other's mind. Is it what you find so dud about them ? That they're able come up with something more spiritual than "I can't get no satisfaction" ? (I'm not criticising the Stones, I love that song). Anyway they're classic !

Emeline Brunet, Friday, 21 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

They're able to influence some people's mood, maybe even to open some other's mind. Is it what you find so dud about them ?

Uh, no. They just *bore* me. Is that so hard to understand?

Ned Raggett, Friday, 21 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Bono had a mullet at one point, no? And Adam Clayton a rattail?

If so, dud.

If not so -- liked them well enough when I was a teenager. Thought Rattle and Hum (a/k/a Boring and Dumb) was the aural equivalent of a clump of pubic hair in the shower. Originally hated "The Fly," and thought Bono's Fly-schtick was stupid, but came to like Achtung Baby well enough. Stopped caring not soon thereafter. Like the fact that Bono speaks up for Jubilee and Amnesty International, but since when does being a do-gooder necessarily = being a good music-maker?

Verdict: classic, but barely.

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Saturday, 22 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Wow, I can't believe I never posted on this thread. U2 roolz! Really, I don't think they've come close to the Achtung, Baby level with anything since. But each of Zooropa, Pop, and All That . . . has two or three really nice little rock ditties. And I think they are by far the most bearable rock band that gets major radio play in the US.

bnw, Saturday, 22 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

And I think they are by far the most bearable rock band that gets major radio play in the US.

A very good way of putting it.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 22 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
truly classic.... the beat, the passion, the raw sound... it helped me come back to life in the late 80's

kevin moore, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I knew Bono was somehow involved with evil magic...

adam, Saturday, 26 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

it helped me come back to life in the late 80's

Your name is not Lestat.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 26 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'm on the lookout for a used copy of Zooropa. I like that record.

Mark, Saturday, 26 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
"I suppose they make a great band for somebody who buys one album a year."

Well I guess you buy more than one album a year since "_Achtung Baby_ deserves death", U2 just bore you and "This _Rattle and Hum_ album is pretty shit, one or two tracks aside". Just curious, I wonder what kind of music has your favour and what albums you didn't drown in your acid remarks this year.

Emeline Brunet.

Emeline Brunet, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I have never owned a U2 record. Am I just wrong?

tav, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I wonder what kind of music has your favour and what albums you didn't drown in your acid remarks this year.

Last year? Lateralus, Exciter, Group Sounds, The Blueprint, Ended Up a Stranger, Amnesiac, How I Loved You (and the Michael Gira solo) for starters, I could go on if you wanted me to. Point is, I love *that* and find U2 objectionable -- and I really don't care what you think. If you're a U2 fan in turn, you shouldn't be caring what I think. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ned, you will give in to "The Fly". That's probably the best single U2 ever released. Of course, nowadays I'd like to punch Bono into next week, but that song is the real, yo.

Dan Perry, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I. HATE. U2. I want to cut up their leather clad bodies and feed them to all their slack jawed guinness drinking tractor driving Irish fans.

I also love that guy at the top who said they experimented with electronica on 3 of their albums. you can't buy comedy that good. Don't you love when bands don't actually "experiment with electronica" but they say that they did and then all their fans are like "HEY THIS E-L-E-CTRONICA STUFF IS VERY GOOD".

Ronan, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ned, you will give in to "The Fly".

I was so not a fan of that song when it came out. It's been years since I've heard it, so maybe time has dulled the pain -- though I suspect not.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"The Fly" has one of the greatest choruses that U2 ever wrote, ranking up there with "I Will Follow", "New Year's Day", "Pride", and "With Or Without You".

Dan Perry, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"The Fly" has one of the greatest choruses that U2 ever wrote

love the backhanded compliment Dan! i mean, thats hardly saying much is it;)

gareth, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Oh, come on. Back in their prime, the thing that made U2's singles so great was how the chorus was absolutely perfect for the song. "I Will Follow" is particularly great in this regard, as are "With Or Without You" and "The Fly". (And, now that I think about it, "Beautiful Day" and "Stuck In A Moment That You Can't Get Out Of".)

Dan Perry, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"Stuck in a VH1 Video You Wish You Could Turn Off," more like. Bring on the hate! Icky album.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"The Fly" not only has a fantastic chorus, the song's basically all chorus - the verses are pretty awkward and to me, tossed off. Actually, I suppose the solo is pretty as well, but really it's the chorus that does it for me. Sometimes I wish that's all the song was.

Vinnie, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"Stuck in a Moment"? You can plead a better chorus case than that, Dan. :) Try "Pride", for starters.

Vinnie, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Actually, it occurred to me that taking my supposition from the previous year that bands can be held accountable for the crimes of their followers (the Clash deserve smacking around for the likes of Rancid, even my adored Smiths need some hate for the pestilence that is Gene, etc.), U2 need to be collectively strung up for inspiring Creed. That Stapp twit said something a while back about how The Joshua Tree was his first rock album he ever got, and given how he was raised in an anti-music household or something it blew him away and has resulted in him dribbling out pseudo-spiritual hogwash since. Thanks for nothing!

Ned Raggett, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Totally agree with you there, Ned. U2 has produced some dang annoying offspring with Creed being at the forefront of those.

Vinnie, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

But Vinnie, "Pride" was one of the songs I mentioned in my original list!

I will gladly weather any ridicule people want to toss my way for liking "Stuck In A Moment..." because it's a great song (even if the video is somewhat trance-inducing in a bad way).

Dan Perry, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

even if the video is somewhat trance-inducing in a bad way

MY POINT.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 22 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

also Rush literally afaik has never jammed or improv'ed ever in concert

Joan Digimon (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 31 December 2017 18:31 (nine months ago) Permalink

GUYS the distinction is "admired by chops-hungry muso types" / "reviled by chops-hungry muso types."

You can quibble all you like about who is included/excluded from each bucket, but it is a recognizable distinction.

sympathy for the tasmanian devil (Ye Mad Puffin), Sunday, 31 December 2017 18:54 (nine months ago) Permalink

Edge can't play

But hes read all the manuals of the post-playing equipment

This is not even up for argument tbh. He couldn't even figure out the chords for the weight ffs

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Monday, 1 January 2018 00:56 (nine months ago) Permalink

Quick note here that Bono, in his introduction to Tom Doyle's Billy Mackenzie biography The Glamour Chase, specifically admitted that they tried to rip off the Associates (and that he knew there was no way for him to rip off Billy's singing, a wise assessment). And as Doyle himself says in the book, I think you can pretty clearly hear it on the band's 1980 song "Paperhouse," from their debut The Affectionate Punch -- definitely a proto-Edge guitar break in there:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U3xiazgtmA

Ned Raggett, Monday, 1 January 2018 03:41 (nine months ago) Permalink

(Should add of course that said guitar is played by the other core member of the original band, Alan Rankine.)

Ned Raggett, Monday, 1 January 2018 03:41 (nine months ago) Permalink

so as ILM's likely most loyal U2 fan i feel the need to add my 2 cents about the new album. don't read if you hate them, or me i guess.

like all U2 albums, if you're a U2 fan you're probably going to enjoy it but it feels like only half their work, there are a lot of songs on here that sound very much unlike them. more generic. This one too often feels like the work of other parties in places (recognizing that U2 has worked with other parties before of course but it felt a lot more collaborative in those instances.) though in a few cases on this album it works, the song w/Haim and a couple of the tracks with Andy Barlow from Lamb are nice.

But this is down there with Rattle and Hum and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb but where the former fell flat on its face sometimes bc of miscalculation and the latter was U2 settling into a very by-the-numbers groove, at least in R&H there were some genuinely outstanding songs and in HTDAAB they nailed a classic U2 sound and there are a couple of genuinely rousing tracks.

(also: after sitting with it for awhile i think Songs of Innocence is the better album and actually winds up in the middle of their discography quality-wise for me. upthread i complained about it but i think it's actually very good and sounds like a very heartfelt U2 album -- similar to No Line on the Horizon, albeit not nearly as great.)

my updated, subjective album rankings:

Achtung Baby
The Joshua Tree
Zooropa
War
Unforgettable
Passengers
Pop
Boy
No Line on the Horizon
Songs of Innocence
All That You Can’t Leave Behind
October
Rattle and Hum/How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb/Songs of Experience

omar little, Friday, 5 January 2018 17:35 (nine months ago) Permalink

Probably wouldn't quibble with that ranking, even if I might shift a couple of the top ones around. Haven't even bothered with the new one.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 5 January 2018 17:57 (nine months ago) Permalink

clicked this What's Going On cover expecting it to be disastrous, to my surprise it is not horrible https://open.spotify.com/track/5CPWcXuqQ2QSXJmc1sT19u

niels, Friday, 5 January 2018 20:29 (nine months ago) Permalink

War
The Joshua Tree
Unforgettable
Achtung Baby
No Line on the Horizon
Rattle and Hum
Passengers
Boy
Zooropa
October
Pop
Songs of Experience
Songs of Innocence
All That You Can’t Leave Behind
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

reggie (qualmsley), Friday, 5 January 2018 22:08 (nine months ago) Permalink

Just look at these two

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Sunday, 7 January 2018 20:31 (nine months ago) Permalink

Putt on your boots

failsun ra (Ye Mad Puffin), Sunday, 7 January 2018 20:35 (nine months ago) Permalink

Just-For-Men-Gel of Harlem

attention vampire (MatthewK), Sunday, 7 January 2018 21:12 (nine months ago) Permalink

where the geeks have no shame

pee-wee and the power men (bizarro gazzara), Sunday, 7 January 2018 21:14 (nine months ago) Permalink

i still haven't found what i'm looking for, which is my golf ball, so i'll have to take a two stroke penalty

omar little, Sunday, 7 January 2018 21:19 (nine months ago) Permalink

how long, how long must we play this hole

failsun ra (Ye Mad Puffin), Sunday, 7 January 2018 22:08 (nine months ago) Permalink

Before and after hairplugs.

MaresNest, Sunday, 7 January 2018 22:38 (nine months ago) Permalink

Stuck in a sandtrap you can't get out of.

Whiney Houston (Tom D.), Sunday, 7 January 2018 22:45 (nine months ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

“You’re the best thing about me” is worse than “I’m my own best friend” and bono should just go crawl under a rock somewhere and not bother anybody

calstars, Saturday, 13 October 2018 22:53 (five days ago) Permalink


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