Monday, December 5, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I had a post called "Dear Bono: Shut up." I was kind of bummed about a quote of his cited to UK publication The Sun where, in an interview about  the 20th anniversary of U2's Achtung Baby, he said, "We've been on the verge of irrelevance for the last 20 years, dodged, ducked, dived, made some great work, I hope, along the way – and the occasional faux pas."

 I had a problem with that statement, as U2's music from the past twenty years means a lot to me, up to and especially including "Moment Of Surrender" from their latest album, No Line On The Horizon.

But in a cover story with British magazine Q, Bono had a similar quote (maybe The Sun nicked it?). The rest of the quote says "Lots of people have U2 albums -- why they would want another one is a reasonable question.  I don't know if it's possible for us to make something current that is meaningful, not just to our audience but to the times we live in. But that's kind of the job for me and I'm not ready to give it up.  I think it's unlikely that we'll pull it off, but then, so has the last 20 years been unlikely."

For some reason, I feel a little less annoyed by seeing his quote in this context.  I can understand wanting to transcend the fanbase to do something that resonates with everyone.  On the other hand, if Bruce Springsteen retired because he'll (probably) never match the reach of Born In The U.S.A., we would never have gotten The Rising, We Shall Overcome or Magic.  Or look at Bob Dylan: he doesn't care at all what the larger culture likes or doesn't.  If he did, and retired because he didn't have any more songs like "Blowin' In The Wind" or "Like A Rolling Stone" or "The Times They Are A' Changin'" or "Hurricane" or "Subterranean Homesick Blues" in him, we would never have gotten Time Out Of Mind or "Love and Theft" or Modern Times or "Things Have Changed" or Together Through Life. What a shame that would have been.

In the Q feature, the band touch on the different albums they are working on, and I really look forward to hearing what they do with Danger Mouse. Based on the stuff that he has done with The Black Keys, I think he has to potential to craft a great, funky album around some cool songs.  Of course, U2 has to come with the songs.  Hopefully DM will be able to tell them to return to the drawing board if the songs don't measure up.  I have faith that they've got at least another great album in them.  And what is U2 about, if not faith?

P.S. Q put together a great Achtung tribute, Ahk-toong Bay-Bi.  It was available with the magazine in Europe, and is available to buy on iTunes. With artists like Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, Depeche Mode, Patti Smith, Damien Rice and Jack White, it's really worth a listen.

No comments: