the only topic more controversial than politics

U2 far surpasses the Rolling Stones as the greatest band ever, in my mind. I once said that they are better than the Beatles too, but that's like saying Abraham Lincoln was an "okay" president, so I'm going to stay away from that one. I think the two things that make them great are simplicity and sincerity. But then how do you explain the amazing Achtung, Baby? There's an album full of complexity and irony--a swaggering sort of self-obsession counter to the whole ethos of U2. Yet on that album there are songs like "Until the End of the World" (my third fav U2 song) and "Acrobat" that belie the true, sub-ironic, still terribly unmasked and sincere part of Bono. The Bono behind the shades, so to speak. How many other bands have that? It seems like everyone else dotes solely on their image--even if, as certain bands like the Flaming Lips (who I also enjoy) insist they have no image or that their image is one of a "regular guy." "I think that (1) you do have an 'act' and, (2) that not having an 'act' is your act." --Linda (Kyra Sedgewick), Singles (1992)


Blogger Joshua said...

this is utter madness. of course u2 have an image, cemented since achzoopop-- "the best band in the world." the shades, the muttonchops, adams hair, larry's relative visual sanity? that they happen to write honest, heartfelt songs does not neutralize their image-consciousness. you have seen the video for 'beautiful day,' right?

5/21/2004 3:08 PM  
Blogger e said...

whaaahhahaahha! you are hooked :-)
but seriously, you are right--they have an image. but to me their image seems less cemented as an image in-and-of itself and more as a byproduct of the music and the men and in that sense seems forthright ... relatively speaking...

versus having a marketable image that leads the music around by the nose, lest you lose your fan base or your niche or your contract.

and i'm not saying that U2 is the only band like this. and pavement listeners being "elitist" is something that you said unprompted, i think. maybe that is a telling admission, however.

it's okay. you can admit it.

i feel elitist because of my hair :-)

5/21/2004 3:52 PM  
Blogger Joshua said...

the elitist thing was prompted by dfox's comment on my blog. when i think of bands that have to maintain their image in order not to alienate their fanbase, i think more along the lines of mass-market pop, nsync, you know?

5/22/2004 11:34 AM  

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