Thursday, August 11, 2005

U2 - Beyond pompous or just a bad case of vertigo?

Early full disclosure: The last U2 disc I bought was "Unforgettable Fire" and the last song I liked was 'Until the End of the World' from the Wim Wenders soundtrack. I've never seen them live, but I enjoyed the 'Sgt. Peppers' cover with Sir Paul at Live 8, as well as Live Aid and Red Rocks.

But, I feel this band is beyond pompous and ready for the inevitable Hall of Fame induction (when do the Sex Pistols get to join?!) and retirement (finally) -
Two recent proof points:

A subplot on HBO's "Entourage" of getting nice tickets at the Staples Center (Johnny Drama and Ari are hilarious this season) turned into endless filler of concert footage with Bono actually acknowledging cutie Vince and friends in good seats by bowing down to him (did I really see that?! did he really wish Johnny Drama a Happy Birthday?!).

You know you have jumped the shark when NASA thinks it is being cool by playing your song as wake up tune on the Space Shuttle:

Spaced Out!

or from circulated news reports:
Irish rockers U2 performed a song in space on Thursday - after astronauts on space shuttle Discovery requested the band's hit "Vertigo" as the first song they heard in the morning.

Each day, the crew on the Discovery is woken up by a different track, and Thursday Pilot James Kelly asked for the popular anthem from U2's album 'How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb'.

Kelly explains, "My son is a huge fan of U2."

That's just friggin' adorable - buy your son Bloc Party or at least the White Stripes!

As final proof point (and related to a Topaz client's technology), didn't cool lights show go out around the time of the "Dark Side of the Moon" tour?
U2's City of Blinding Lights

Hey YouToo - Please go fix the world or just go away!


At 7:06 PM, Blogger Tom F said...

Fun post to read, and after all this is Pop Culture Gems where a good rant is always welcome. And before I go on, as Adam made clear in his post, I'll have to make full disclosure for the opposite view. I've been a U2 fan since Boy came out.

Like any band that has been making music for more than twenty years, U2 has certainly had its low points creatively, but the band has also made some great albums - Boy, The Joshua Tree, Zooropa, and All That You Can't Leave Behind - to name a few, and on most of the other albums you can find some excellent tracks.

Of course it all comes down to personal taste, so there's really no sense in getting into a shouting match -- "U2 is awesome!" "No, they suck!" As Yukon Cornelius says to Hermie the Elf in Rudoloph the Red Nosed Reindeer, "You eat what you like, and I'll eat what I like." (Or something along those lines.) You don't get any deeper than that.

Still, to take a parting shot at U2 haters, it's alright to hate the music, but to hate the band for being successful is like being a Red Sox fan who hates the Yankees. Yes, the Yankees suck! But they suck because they're so damn good, which is why we (Red Sox Nation) love to hate them.

And about U2 being pompous? Of course they're pompous. Isn't that part of being a popular musician or a member of a rock and roll band? Isn't pompousness the juice of creativity? Artistic creation of any kind is all about the ego. And it takes some measure of egomania to be a successful artist in any medium, especially if you're determined to stay successful for a long time. Name one artist who isn't pompous on some level. That will be a challenge.

And the Sex Pistols? A great band that played a major role in ushering in a new era of popular music, but you can't get any more pompous than "God Save the Queen." Yes it's subversive and anti-authoritarian and "cool," but there's no denying the bombasity and pompousness of the Sex Pistols' swagger, which is what made them so good.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger DougH said...

A little while ago, I decided to accept a band's pomposity after seeing Pete Townshend's attitude toward the proliferation of Who songs being used as TV themes-- basically he would crack a few obscenities and assert his right to do whatever he wants-- if you want to listen to his music, great, otherwise, #$^@#%!

As far as being taken into space, U2 now ranks up there with our beloved Peanuts comic strip, I guess. I don't know how else to take that.

Finally: I eagerly await Adam's rant on how the White Stripes have become pompus and are no longer worthy of our worship (should come in an album or two).


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