What makes U2 a polarizing band?

OM Flyer

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Go listen to your ITunes U2 songs that were so good, they were free, then. ;)
I know it’s asking a lot to expect you to keep track of these things, but I’m the one who said they should’ve quit after their fourth album.

Don’t let your desperate efforts to save face make you lose even more. :oops:
 

ndtealmusic

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Maybe it's Bono's lenses that are...polarized? :rimshot

Musically, I think U2 and I think "ear fatigue." I say that as someone who was *covertly* influenced by U2 in my own writing well before I realized it. Well before I deliberately listened to a U2 song. Basically, the incessant high notes with mild drive grate on me over time. I love it while it lasts though. I never cared enough to track their politics or social perspectives.
 

Daniel Travis

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I know it’s asking a lot to expect you to keep track of these things, but I’m the one who said they should’ve quit after their fourth album.

Don’t let your desperate efforts to save face make you lose even more. :oops:

That's the joke. Apparently you missed what I was going for :)
 

Funkee

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Ironically, you ascribed a "false dilemma" or "all-or-nothing" fallacy where it wasn't remotely appropriate, by misunderstanding the argument.
I understand the argument; I just don't think you did a very good job of making your case. But I digress.

Look man, if you don't like the guy because you think he's arrogant, pretentious, a pompous ass... or just don't enjoy their music... I get it, and you're entitled to your opinion.

But calling someone a hypocrite, because their sincere attempt to try and make a positive difference in the world is occasionally marred by what appears to be them tripping over their own ego (or at least their public persona), in itself comes off as self-righteous.

We all have flaws that can be perceived by others as incongruencies in our character, and those flaws are often magnified in public.

I happen to like some of their music, and I appreciate their efforts (however imperfect) at raising awareness and trying to inspire positive change in a world that is generally indifferent, or just plain ignorant, to the very real plight of those less fortunate than ourselves.
 

motokev

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What makes U2 a polarizing band? (haters vs lovers)

My friend loves U2. I never understood why.
They have a few good songs while most are subpar.
Hmmm, why I'm not a fan ?

To be honest, Bono's voice wears on my ears.
 

babbyb

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They were a really great rock band for 10-12 years, then got weird (with declining quality), then bland. The early stuff holds up great, but if you're under 30 you only ever knew them as by-the-numbers dad rock.
 

Whittlez

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2,847
Yep - he’s the Voice of the Common People, and it’s a complex voice. But when he is looking to energize folks, he isn’t trying to get them to Rawk!! and Par-TAY!!! He’s inspiring them to escape and look to tomorrow and find themselves.
I like Springsteen but voice of the common people is a bit much. i know he may see himself that way and god knows many of his fans do. i dont
 

mildew

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Over their career they have been an "alternative" band (back when that was a thing), then the biggest corporate dadrock band in the world, then embraced edm and a more "conceptual" approach, but managed to have hits with the occasional dadrock anthem right up to the '10's.
Over such a long, varied, and successful career they must have pissed off at least a few fans.
I think the fly sunnies look cool and are the best shape for sunglasses :)
 

Daniel Travis

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I understand the argument; I just don't think you did a very good job of making your case. But I digress.

Look man, if you don't like the guy because you think he's arrogant, pretentious, a pompous ass... or just don't enjoy their music... I get it, and you're entitled to your opinion.

But calling someone a hypocrite, because their sincere attempt to try and make a positive difference in the world is occasionally marred by what appears to be them tripping over their own ego (or at least their public persona), in itself comes off as self-righteous.

We all have flaws that can be perceived by others as incongruencies in our character, and those flaws are often magnified in public.

I happen to like some of their music, and I appreciate their efforts (however imperfect) at raising awareness and trying to inspire positive change in a world that is generally indifferent, or just plain ignorant, to the very real plight of those less fortunate than ourselves.


I actually LOVE the 80's U2 albums. But Bono's particular brand of preachy "incongruencies" (as you say) - drive me up the wall.

I know for a FACT, that I am not alone in feeling this way about him - there are literal comedy bits, from famous comedians about him. As well as Family Guy skits, etc.

It is not, in any way, out of bounds to criticize him in this way. And getting so defensive about it makes it seem like you have an ulterior motive.

The problem with Bono is in the amount of his messiah-preaching, in relation to the amount he does for those less fortunate.
 

COYS

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I mean, I disagree, but I can see how you would feel that way.


edit: What I mean specifically is the ethereal "vibe" and note choice - he already was doing the delay, yes. But I don't think he was fully formed in how he used it.
It's popular for guitar players to say "oh he's nothing without his effects", but he's playing the instrument in a way that most people can't do. Try to get the sound of some of the tracks from their middle period right yourself, and do it with equipment from the early/mid 80s...

I guess people of a certain vintage on TGP and elsewhere think the pinnacle was already reached by blues rockers in terms of the best that the guitar can be played before Joshua Tree and the rest. If you think there's nothing beyond SRV and Hendrix then it probably won't appeal to you, but playing the whole rig is a really unique and great guitar thing. Doing new things is a really great musical thing. Having a sound that is identified by your name means you have DONE something.

I don't get the critcism of the band as a whole either, they have great lyrics, they have a great singer, Clayton's playing is really good and innovative, its just...

I don't know why guitar players object to U2 but maybe it's because playing that style is not especially accessible to people who want to just plug straight in and play. But it's not like he isn't composing things that are great.
 

Gallus

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I don’t get the Bono hate. He’s a giant rock star who could just be sitting back doing hookers and blow. Instead he tries to make the world a better place. The horror!
Nothing wrong with trying to make the world a better place. I think it's the sanctimonious, moralising tone he adopted that's a bit hard to take..

Besides, it all came with an air of self-promotion/aggrandizement that made the motive seem a little suspicious..

A bit like when a big corporation donates a million bucks to a cause.... then spends 5 million telling everyone all about it.. all the while making full use of corporate tax havens etc...
 

Riffmaster227

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I love early u2 particularly the War album Sunday Bloody Sunday, new years Day etc... however much like Springsteen I don’t agree/ support with Bono’s politics and I think the edge relies too much on effects
 

GerryJ

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I didn't realize they were "polarizing".
Me neither. Bono's just playing the role of flamboyant Lead Singer for Arena anthem rock mega-show.

And they've been an oldies band for many years now. The current arena anthem rock band imo is Coldplay (who I long mistook for U2, thinking 'they really sound good these days!', lol).
Incidentally, Coldplay donates a fair amount to charities, but I only found that out in Wikipedia.

Bono and Springsteen are mega rich entertainers who make the world a better place just like Frank Sinatra did - by singing. Moral leadership or example? Sure....just like Frank ;).
 
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John Quinn

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The record company brought in Brian Eno to refine their very raw material
That's not what happened. They asked for and got Steve Lillywhite to produce them in the beginning - and Lillywhite has been one part or another of most every album U2 has released since. They were talking about creating something different for the 4th album and Eno's name (Via Bono and the Edge based on his work for Talking heads) came up as a producer - which Eno didn't think he was right for. But after a bit he took the meeting with U2 and brought Daniel Lanois'. The two of them produced Unforgettable Fire - but depending on who you ask and how much they had to drink - Lillywhite was asked to come in and fix the mixes - uncredited. Their biggest selling album 'Joshua Tree' was also fixed in the mix uncredited by Steve Lillywhite - while Lanois and Eno got the producer credit.

I was once in a discussion about U2 and praise and worship and blurted out, "But what if i don't like U2?" You would have thought I had mouthed an unforgivable heresy for the looks of horror and disgust the other members of the discussion gave me.
That is a weird point about P&W - there is definitely a Pre and Post U2 style. I wouldn't say that the music annoys me - but the music annoys me.
 

fenderjapan

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I think in the general music fan community, they are pretty well loved, but Bono's activism can be a little intense for people who are "just there to listen to the music"... doesn't bother me, personally. He's a big personality.
Within the guitar community, you have a guitar player in The Edge who is an incredible innovator but not in the ways that other players of his era were... it was more about how he used his equipment to make soundscapes and rhythms than shredding or virtuosity and I think that can be a little bit polarizing. I find him brilliant.
They have had a remarkably long period of relevance in the popular music world. Not even as a nostalgia act... All That You Can't Leave Behind and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb were released in the 2000's and were massively popular, the former being, in my opinion, probably their second or third greatest album.
 




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