Sunday, 23 October 2011

Another U2 Crisis?

Below is a thought provoking quote from an article by Brian Boyd in the Irish Times.  My feeling  (and that of many other long-time U2 fans,)  that U2 are at another major crossroads in their career once more, seems to be confirmed in this article.  Over 20 years after their pre-Achtung Baby crisis can they weather this storm and come out with another classic album?  I'm not sure they can, but they often do their best work when under pressure, so they may just give us something special. Just don't be so obsessed with the "mainstream" Bono......
The article is from an interview in Toronto and also reviews From the Sky Down.  You can read the whole article here.
Back to the future: 'The app format brings you back to that world of gatefold sleeves' 
Looking back at the trauma of getting Achtung Baby on its legs and having to forge a new sound and identity, Bono says, “It’s actually worse for us now than it was when we went to Berlin.”
He shrugs off the fact that the band have just recorded the biggest-grossing live tour in the history of popular music and wonders whether U2 can still be relevant. “We can play the big music in big places. But whether we can play the small music, meaning for the small speakers of the radio or clubs, where people are living, remains to be seen,” he says. “I think we have to go to that place again if we’re to survive.
“There are so many U2 albums out there. We need a reason for another one. The whole point of being in U2 is that we’re not here to be an art-house band. Our job, as we see it, is to bring the art house to the mainstream; our job is to puncture the mainstream.”
Earlier, he was using an iPad with the Achtung Baby songs and videos on it. “That’s probably what our new album will look like,” he says. “I’ve been talking about this for the past four years.
“Our last album was the first album to be made available as an app with BlackBerry devices, but it didn’t work: the functionality was not what it could have been. New formats are going to happen. I’m always banging on about this. The app format brings you back to that world of gatefold sleeves, of being able to read lyrics – and [now of] being able to play the album at home on your plasma TV.”
Bono at the One foundation, in Paris, this week.
Photographs: Fred Dufour/AFP/ Getty Images


  1. I don't know - all of this doesn't sound very promising. Wo needs U2 in the mainstream? What's wrong with being an art-house band - in other words: a band of adults making thoughtful, well-crafted, artistically relevant music without giving a f-ck about sales figures? As I've been saying for years now: Bono, grow up!

  2. We can see that being in the mainstream is not necessary for U2 to be creative and relevant, but it seems the band can't.

  3. That article is very much tied to this one:

    It's shameful there's so much creative material being recorded that won't see the light of day. The nature of the music business in 2011 is truly horrific. U2 needs to look more at acts like Pearl Jam & Radiohead & Bjork - those artists are doing things U2 need to emulate. That could be re-negotiating the terms of their contract with Universal Music, which, judging by the city of people U2 employs internally & with every tour, seems unlikely... but also necessary. Glad they recognize a change is in order. I hope that change is done in the spirit of artistry, not popularity.

  4. Very well said Catherine, let's hope they realise the need to make that radical a change.