Re: Dissenting Opinion on Pop and Bono's Voice

John J. Hlavaty ([email protected])
Tue, 21 Jul 1998 00:30:11 -0400

J wrote:
>I disagree with those who say that the TV screens hinder the bands
>spontaneity. The band doesn't play to the TV screen but it is the TV
>screen that plays to the band.

I think the point here is that the directors/producers
had videos cued during both the ZOO TV and POPMart
shows and as such, it was more difficult for U2
to suddenly switch the order of songs to create that
"spontaneity" that some fans desire so.

However, working with the notion that most
fans see the show ONCE, the similarity of the shows
is a moot point for each audience is theoretically
different. It's only when us crazed U2 fans start
seeing show after show that the repitition becomes
a "problem". :-D

>But I have yet to see the dissenter of my opinion about Bono's mature
>voice praise his falsetto. When I refer to his refined and
>well-controlled falsetto, the dissenter simply shrugs it and goes back
>to referring to his "fixation" on the Rock's Hottest Ticket version of
>Streets, Bad and UF.

I have this boot. And I would say that the versions of
"Streets" and "Bad" sounded better during the ZOO years!
Yep, you read correctly. By that time, Bono had truly
learned how to sing, so he was able to combine all facets
of his wonderful range, from his falsetto, normal singing
voice, "soft spoken" voice and "screaming" voice.

To me, it seems this "dissenter" (as you euphemistically
have called him :-D) needs to expand his repertoire beyond
this one boot! ;oP

>(not to mention his "horny" mode and his "lounge" mode which was
>non-existent in the 80s)

U2 was accused of lacking "sexuality" back in the 80's.
Considering that rock & roll and sensuality/sexuality
are heavily connected, the recent "lounge" mode additions
Bono had added is quite a benefit. It has allowed for U2
to test whole other areas of themes and sounds. During
the JT era, U2 were "trapped" within this "holy rollers
of the rock world" view. Their songs always had to be deep and
if not spiritual then political. The music was sometimes a bit
expressing. While U2 lyircs have remained quite
poignant, the music is often far more upbeat. Plus, the lyrics
don't always have to be about saving the world, but
rather about saving one's self or about love or a place and time.
Bono's altered vocal stylings are very much the reason
for the 90's version of U2.

>The dissenter keeps on making references to "Sweet Fire Of Love"
>(whatever that is). Well, that song never made it in any album
>(meaning it was just a cover or a b-side) so what's the point in
>arguing for that song when even U2 fail to put it in their own albums
>(and come to think of it, this was their "prime" in 83 to 87)

This song is on an album and I recommend you get it.
However, it is not an U2 album, but rather the self-titled
Robbie Robertson album released back in '86/'87 right
before JT came out. U2 appeared on two tracks. The
"dissenter" likes "Sweet Fire of Love" so much because
Bono screams his way through the song much as he
did on UF and JT. Screaming lyrics may make a song
seem more emotional, but it does not necessarily mean that
this is true nor does it always make for a better vocal performance.
Case in point, Axl Rose screamed his vocals - do you think
he was a "great vocalist"? His singing suited Guns'n'Roses'
heavy metal sound, but I'd hardly call Rose an exceptional singer.

>Well, this is the same dissenter who disagrees with the entire Wire
>that Zoo Europa is not among the best boots because it only got an 8.5
>rating on some magazine which he probably regards as his Bible. That
>guy hasn't even heard the damn bootleg himself but jumps into false
>conclusions about its quality while the rest of Wire agree that this
>is the best boot, bar none.

If the "dissenter" has never actually heard the boot,
then his views are meaningless. Would you accept a movie
review from a person that had not seen the movie but only
read that someone else gave it 3 stars? "Zoo Europa"
is indeed one of, if not the, best U2 boots ever and is
certainly the best ZOO era boot.

>Simply put, this guy is fixated in the JT era and I guess most of you
>who disagreed with him about his dissent about Pop and his being
>fixated in the so-called glory days of U2 made your point to him.

What I hate about any one who calls U2's JT era their
"glory days" is that this comment ignores all that U2
have accomplished since then. AB sold 8 million copies
in the U.S. JT has sold 10 million. Given that JT was released
4.5 years BEFORE AB, I would say that AB appears to
actually be the more successful album (if not as successful).
"POP" may not have sold a ton of copies, but "POPMart"
was one of the most successful tours of all time and
certainly U2's biggest. With 4.5 million tickets sold,
a single concert attendance record breaking performance (in Italy)
and grosses of $360 million, even those naysayers
in the press who declared the tour as "FLOPMart" last year are
now calling U2's tours "cash cows". Some are even saying
U2's album sales no longer matter - they, much like the
Stones, can go on having huge, successful tours forever.

These are just some of the accolades U2 have received
since 1987 (their "hey day"). They also won three Grammy
awards this decade and been nominated for several more.
U2 won several MTV awards, including "Best Group"
and "Best Live Act". They had a GOLD single in the U.S.
(the 1987 U2 failed to have a GOLD single in the U.S.).
They have dominated readers' polls awards (when given
the chance). Two one song side projects made especially for films,
namely "Hold Me...Kill Me" and "Mission: Impossible",
produced two more hits, the former going to #1 on
the Alternative Rock Charts and MTV's Music Video
charts for 4 consecutive weeks and the latter going GOLD
in the U.S. Another side project, Bono's collaboration
with Gavin Friday and Sinead O'Connor for the "In the
Name of the Father" soundtrack produced two Golden Globe

Let's take a better look at this "hey day". Yes, JT went
to #1 remaining there for 11 weeks. But this was before
SoundScan. In today's world, rarely does an album stay
#1 for this long meaning it's highly unlikely JT would remain
#1 for this long (it can happen though as shown by
the huge success of the "Titanic" soundtrack).
To prove this, recall what I wrote above: AB has sold
8 million copies in the U.S. yet spent only one week at #1
on the U.S. charts. JT spent 11 weeks at #1, but has
only sold 2 million more copies in an extra 4.5 years. Hmmm...

U2 did have 2 #1 songs that year, but the other two
JT singles released in the U.S. failed to make the top
10, one failing to even make the top 40! The singles
from their follow-up album did even worse. "Desire"
hit #3 (going GOLD) but no other single (4 total) reached the
top 10 and two failed to even make the top 60!
In contrast, of the 5 AB singles released, 4 reached
the top 40 and 2 reached the top 10. Of the 4 "POP"
singles released (I'm not including the "If God Will Send..."
single as that was released more in association with the
"City of Angels" soundtrack than for the promotion of the album),
three reached the top 30 (!) with two reaching
the top 10 on their respective charts ("Please"
went to #9 on the maxi-single charts). So, what's
all this about a "hey day"??

>After all, this is what makes Wire interesting whenever U2 is not
>touring. It is the arguments and the rise of a new "Anti-U2 Pro-JT"
>guy. This is the oldest but still the most exciting debate in the book.

JT is indeed a beautiful album and one of my favorites from
the 80's. However, when I compare it to U2's overall
work, I find it subpar. I find all of U2's recent work
far more interesting on so many levels.

There are times when I miss the '87 version of U2, but
there are also times I miss the '83 version or '92 version.
It's difficult to say what U2 will bring out next, but
I'm sure there will be plenty of fans who love it and plenty
who hate it. And this will bring about people discussing
the "glories" of the ZOO or POP era U2. But as long as U2
are happy and progress has been made, that's all that really matters.



This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b2 on Mon Jul 20 1998 - 21:33:36 PDT