What makes U2 a polarizing band?

mtmartin71

Silver Supporting Member
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4,825
Bono and Clayton are 60. The Edge and Mullen are 59/58. They are a lot younger than you'd think, for a band whose first music was released in 1978/79!
I figured they were around that age. My point was just that the arc of pretty much every classic band that's been able to keep playing is that they eventually run out of interesting ideas and become more of a tribute act...playing their classic catalog. Nothing wrong with that. I'm just highly impressed about their longevity and relevance where they ruled the charts in 3 different decades...where they were relevant with their old fans and newer younger fans.
 

Gevalt

Member
Messages
1,867
I think they front-loaded Joshua Tree and left some real snoozers on Side 2, begging for the label "overrated".
Singles band.
 

lendryesky

Member
Messages
2,424
I'd like to multi-quote all the people that said they didn't know U2 was polarizing, then multiquote the rest of the thread. I personally am not a fan (not saying they aren't talented though), but I don't think about them that much to be honest. I don't sit around and think about each band I dislike.
 
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blong

Supporting Member
Messages
2,196
I understand why some see Bono as polarizing. I get it. Same with many politically motivated or outspoken bands/band members. I don't care. I listen to their music and let them babble about their beliefs. They have the right to an opinion, and I understand using your celebrity to bring attention to issues you find are important. I would prefer they do their music at the gig, and do their other stuff on the side. Same with sports. I got to these things as an escape from all the bs being spewed in the 24hr news cycle. I listen to music or watch movies, comedians, and sports for escape. That's mostly gone.

I don't listen to musicians/actors/athletes/entertainers for my political choices, and I don't look to politicians for my musical/movie/sports/entertainment choices. I still listen to Ted Nugent and then the Chicks right after. They can believe what they want and say what they want, I take a pass on that part and just enjoy the art. Sometimes it becomes so overbearing I have to tune out for a bit.

I do know some musicians who knock U2 for "lack of musicianship." Ok, I disagree. I like U2's musical simplicity and fantastic songs as much as I like Yngwie or Allan Holdsworth. I like a good song, and appreciate great technique. I love Rush as much as I like U2 (actually, I love Rush, all-time favorite band). I still love U2 up to The Joshua Tree album. After that, eh, it's ok, but not earth shattering like they used to be. Just my thoughts on it.

Bob
 
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12,329
I didn't mind their very early stuff and saw them on the tour for War, but by the late 80's I was sick and tired of hearing them and find most of their output since boring.
I think if someone listens to an immense variety if music maybe they don't expect individual acts to not bore them by doing what they do.

I didn't even listen to classic rick for many years as I was so busy listening to music from around the world. As a result I'm not aware if any classic rock that bores me. I still love it all.

I don't listen to a U2 song and expect something other than what they do. Same with other classics.

I feel like my broad musical tastes keep me from hating on the music that gets hated on here. I feel like it must have to do with some kind of expectations.

As a rule, most classic rock sounds as fresh to me as it ever did.

But I often hear people here say they will scream and/or puke if they ever hear such and such a band or song ever again. It's as if there is some kind of crime or travesty being committed.

I think people need to get out more and listen to more stuff, so it won't be on all the classic acts to fill their ongoing needs. Oen maybe they could let prople and genres be who and what they are easier.
 
Messages
12,329
I'd like to multi-quote all the people that said they didn't know U2 was polarizing, then multiquote the rest of the thread. I personally am not a fan (not saying they aren't talented though), but I don't think about them that much to be honest. I don't sit around and think about each band I dislike.
Me neither. It not a thing.
 

Jimbo99

Member
Messages
164
Some fan bases are fickle like that, they build their heroes up and then tear them down. When they've been around as long as they have been, the generation thing also kicks in. U2 is a "Boomers" rock band, so the next generations are less likely to follow or gravitate towards their Mom & Dad's music.
 

BADHAK

Member
Messages
8,676
I think if someone listens to an immense variety if music maybe they don't expect individual acts to not bore them by doing what they do.

I didn't even listen to classic rick for many years as I was so busy listening to music from around the world. As a result I'm not aware if any classic rock that bores me. I still love it all.

I don't listen to a U2 song and expect something other than what they do. Same with other classics.

I feel like my broad musical tastes keep me from hating on the music that gets hated on here. I feel like it must have to do with some kind of expectations.

As a rule, most classic rock sounds as fresh to me as it ever did.

But I often hear people here say they will scream and/or puke if they ever hear such and such a band or song ever again. It's as if there is some kind of crime or travesty being committed.

I think people need to get out more and listen to more stuff, so it won't be on all the classic acts to fill their ongoing needs. Oen maybe they could let prople and genres be who and what they are easier.
How privileged you must be to not live in a society where you aren't constantly exposed to the same few dozen biggest acts over and over. Compared to the average music fan, my music tastes are quiet varied, but at some point, even the love for my fave bands can be dulled by overexposure. And also, I find it hard to believe that anyone can like all artists/bands as if you've never heard a melody or riff/chord progression and thought it was boring/pedestrian/hackneyed/generic. Even my fave alltime bands have been guilty of substandard product at some point.
 

BADHAK

Member
Messages
8,676
I understand why some see Bono as polarizing. I get it. Same with many politically motivated or outspoken bands/band members. I don't care. I listen to their music and let them babble about their beliefs. They have the right to an opinion, and I understand using your celebrity to bring attention to issues you find are important. I would prefer they do their music at the gig, and do their other stuff on the side. Same with sports. I got to these things as an escape from all the bs being spewed in the 24hr news cycle. I listen to music or watch movies, comedians, and sports for escape. That's mostly gone.

I don't listen to musicians/actors/athletes/entertainers for my political choices, and I don't look to politicians for my musical/movie/sports/entertainment choices. I still listen to Ted Nugent and then the Chicks right after. They can believe what they want and say what they want, I take a pass on that part and just enjoy the art. Sometimes it becomes so overbearing I have to tune out for a bit.

I do know some musicians who knock U2 for "lack of musicianship." Ok, I disagree. I like U2's musical simplicity and fantastic songs as much as I like Yngwie or Allan Holdsworth. I like a good song, and appreciate great technique. I love Rush as much as I like U2 (actually, I love Rush, all-time favorite band). I still love U2 up to The Joshua Tree album. After that, eh, it's ok, but not earth shattering like they used to be. Just my thoughts on it.

Bob
I'm very political and my dislike for U2 since the mid 80's has nothing to do with politics. It's because their music since then does nothing for me. Same with Nugent. I've got nothing but awe for his output in the mid 70's, but at some point in the late 70's he just started milking the same riff over and over and the schtik got cheesier and cheesier.
I couldn't care less about their politics if I enjoy/dislike the music
 
Messages
12,329
How privileged you must be to not live in a society where you aren't constantly exposed to the same few dozen biggest acts over and over. Compared to the average music fan, my music tastes are quiet varied, but at some point, even the love for my fave bands can be dulled by overexposure. And also, I find it hard to believe that anyone can like all artists/bands as if you've never heard a melody or riff/chord progression and thought it was boring/pedestrian/hackneyed/generic. Even my fave alltime bands have been guilty of substandard product at some point.
Where would I have heard these things? The grocery? Somebody's Ipod? My bartenders played a lot of Buddy Guy, ACDC, Dead Can Dance and QOTSA, but that made me like them all more.

Only recently I discovered 'classic rock radio' again, and admit they play the same 100 songs over and over, I only check for atypical songs now. The station is disappointing, as it's got no selection. But I went 35 years never hearing classic rock radio. If I hear Journey in a bar I sing along.

But other than that I haven't had a chance to get sick of anything. I do explore classics on you tube and love it. For many years it was various ethnic music from other places, various songwriters, classical, etc. For two years I listened only to Paco and Vicente Amigo. Bach and classical another year. Celtic several years. Balkan. Tango, Bossa, Old Time Appalacian. Cohen, Cash, Croce, Cat among songwriters. Earlier 60's gems...

Can't remember the last time I heard something like Love Comes to Town -- the 80's I guess. I recall the tune well and would enjoy hearing it again.

I am very fortunate and thankful to have lived in a good music city.
 
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biffoz

Member
Messages
1,833
I think if someone listens to an immense variety if music maybe they don't expect individual acts to not bore them by doing what they do.

I didn't even listen to classic rick for many years as I was so busy listening to music from around the world. As a result I'm not aware if any classic rock that bores me. I still love it all.

I don't listen to a U2 song and expect something other than what they do. Same with other classics.

I feel like my broad musical tastes keep me from hating on the music that gets hated on here. I feel like it must have to do with some kind of expectations.

As a rule, most classic rock sounds as fresh to me as it ever did.

But I often hear people here say they will scream and/or puke if they ever hear such and such a band or song ever again. It's as if there is some kind of crime or travesty being committed.

I think people need to get out more and listen to more stuff, so it won't be on all the classic acts to fill their ongoing needs. Oen maybe they could let prople and genres be who and what they are easier.
Same boat: I have a broad enough taste and curiosity that I simply don't develop a distaste for many overplayed genres. I also turn it all off regularly and listen to my inner muse.

And I also find the attitude of dismissal entirely selfish among those so willing to push negative reactions to that which they could ignore. Walk a mile in any long-term writer/player/performer's shoes to understand that the real heroes are those who simply remain curious, creating, living, learning, regardless.
 

biffoz

Member
Messages
1,833
Agreed, and didn’t mean to be derogatory about Vai, just thought of the shred stuff that he’s typically known for as an example of what not to put in a U2 tune.
I didn't feel you were derogatory and completely agree; I was just adding that Vai can play in any context and not force his "shred" on things that don't need it. I've almost always preferred Vai with others, rather than his solo releases, for that reason alone.
 

fatztreeboy

Member
Messages
61
For me: lack of interesting guitar work.

Some of the grooves (Bullet the Blue Sky) move me... but, at the end of the day, their guitar work sounds like a kid at Guitar Center who discovered a delay pedal for the first time.
...funny :) my first delay pedel was like that....... i was washing the walls w/ the spooky :)
 

ben777

Member
Messages
220
I think if someone listens to an immense variety if music maybe they don't expect individual acts to not bore them by doing what they do.

I didn't even listen to classic rick for many years as I was so busy listening to music from around the world. As a result I'm not aware if any classic rock that bores me. I still love it all.

I don't listen to a U2 song and expect something other than what they do. Same with other classics.

I feel like my broad musical tastes keep me from hating on the music that gets hated on here. I feel like it must have to do with some kind of expectations.

As a rule, most classic rock sounds as fresh to me as it ever did.

But I often hear people here say they will scream and/or puke if they ever hear such and such a band or song ever again. It's as if there is some kind of crime or travesty being committed.

I think people need to get out more and listen to more stuff, so it won't be on all the classic acts to fill their ongoing needs. Oen maybe they could let prople and genres be who and what they are easier.
This is a great post.

To be honest I pretty much stopped listening to a lot of rock/alternative/metal in the early 2000s and listened to tons of electronic stuff for at least 10 years.

Rock was ridiculously stale and electronic was doing a lot of new/fresh stuff perhaps because the equipment exploded in capability and accessibility. I listened to lots of classical for a few years too.

Interesting U2 explored more of that stuff than a lot of other bands AFAICT.

Of course now electronic stuff (and hip-hop IMO) has gotten incredibly stale and I'm back to listening to way more guitar based music.

I think if you just move on when needed and listen to tons of different stuff it's way harder to get sick of anything.

I am waiting for cookie monster vocals to die in metal so I can listen to that more again. Cookie is so damn hard for me to get past.
 

meofcourse

Member
Messages
103
I really like their early three albums and got into them around 'Under A Blood Red Sky'. I bought 'The Unforgettable Fire' when it came out but it was patchy next to the earlier material for me. I played 'The Joshua Tree' to death when I got it but they lost me with 'Rattle and Hum'. Then they pulled me back in with 'Achtung Baby' and 'Zooropa'. I like 'Passengers' even though the concept was pretentious nonsense. They started to lose me again with 'Pop' but that tour was bonkers. I thought they were done but then I really enjoyed 'All You Can't Leave Behind'. 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb' was their swansong for me. I've heard nothing since that has grabbed me. For me they were very strong for most of the 80s.

The egos, the preachy aspects of their concerts, the overtly Christian rock of 'October' which they toned down after and 'Super Bono''s campaigning which again has been toned down greatly in the last few years. I can forgive all that for all the great songs and inspiration of The Edge's fantastic and creative playing.

I'd rather they were around than not and I'd still rather listen to one of their albums than an album of relentless guitar wankery of someone like Steve Vai. Don't get me wrong, I like that stuff too sometimes, but I'd rather listen to good songs.

A band that sticks together for 40 years with no lineup changes says a lot about the people, their friendship, their understanding of their place in the music business, their ability to compromise and keep each other in check.

I completely understand how Bono's personality can 'drive the hate' though. All the hate that those of you feel for U2 I feel for 'Coldplay'. But art isn't supposed to embrace everyone, it just speaks to some people more than others and that's good.
 




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