creativity in the 90s (was: re re comments to J)

Reno Dael van ([email protected])
Wed, 12 Aug 1998 10:37:08 +0200

First RobO said:

>I gave credit to 90's U2 but not across the
>board, I'd just like to see them take more
>creative risks and not play it safe

to which J replied by saying:

>Don't you think U2 is taking more creative risks
>now than ever as evidenced by Pop?

I disagree with both. In my opinion, U2 are far more risky what creativity is
concerned in the 90s in contrast to the 80s. But from all four albums
released in the 90s - I included OS1 - I think with Pop, U2 played it safe as
never before.

With Achtung Baby, U2 changed its course 180 degrees, uncertain about their
fans` and the media's reaction. Releasing The Fly as first single, together
with presenting their new glittery rock star image was a full negative print
of their 80s world-savers image.

One shouldn't be oblivious to the fact that U2 did lose a lot of fans since
Achtung Baby. There's nothing wrong with that as they gained a lot of new
fans, so it wasn't obvious. The press however seemed to positive about U2's
change, as U2 seemingly got rid of their pretentious attitude. (Not that they
did, but it's less obvious - they didn't seem to wear their hearts on their
sleeves no more)

Zooropa can be considered as a Polaroid.. a picture of U2 at one momentous
moment in time. I find Zooropa a big creative success, and they took risks by
taken it even further than Achtung Baby.

The extremest creative risk was OS1. U2 realised this and was kind of forced
to change their name. U2 wanted to experiment, so that's what they did. Many
don't see OS1 as a U2-album because of Eno's involvement, which is fair to
say to some extend.

Next up was Pop. It has the safest title of all, in the first place. Sure,
there's songs that seem risky as there's influences from other music styles,
but that has been the case ever since JT and R&H. Nothing new there. If you
look closer into the songs on Pop, most of them have the usual U2 concept of
a song.. same structure, taken a bit further, but still very U2-ish. It's
just a new sound, a new coat over the same body.
U2 could have taken Pop much further, as they intended to do when they
started recording it.. half way through realising they didn't wanna do it and
thus they'd to reverse their work.

Pop's for the masses.. the songs cover a lot of musical directions, so
everyone will like at least a few songs on it. But to say Pop is a creatively
risky album, I'd argument you should look deeper into the songs, than rather
just base your opinion on the sound diversity on an album.


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