Monday, September 29, 2014

The U2 list

Well, now that U2's new album Songs of Innocence has been out for a bit and I have listened to it several times, and I am finally ready to share my thoughts.
Anyone who knows me and reads my blog, probably knows that I have been a huge U2 fan for a very long time (1987 cough, cough).
I went to my first U2 concert (Joshua Tree tour) in 1988. I've seen them play in several cities here in the states and Dublin, Ireland.
(Croke Park - Dublin Ireland)
When the new album showed up for free on itunes a lot of friends and family were calling, texting and emailing me to let me know. I knew, but I appreciated that people know how much I love this band and they didn't want me to miss out.
I thought it was interesting that several people also told me "well, of course you love their new album. You love U2."
Well, not necessarily. Yes, I love U2, but I am not blind to their faults. And I don't just love all their music because they are my favorite band in the world. In fact, there is at least one song on each album I skip on a regular basis.
That said, I do love the new album although it took me several listens to get on board.
Like I said in this post Here, I was a little underwhelmed at first. But my standards and expectations for U2 are a little high. Higher than most. Although, I am finding that this may be true of all bands I currently love and eagerly await new music. Alt-J's new album took a couple of listens for me to fall in love as well.

As for U2, the concept behind the new album is brilliant in my opinion. The songs basically cover their youth and how they came to be. And what better way for an album to open then with a tribute to the Ramones (another favorite band of mine) who really inspired U2 to become what they are today.
Here is a list on some of my thoughts about the release and U2 in general right now:

1. The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) - I really do like this song. I think it's a great opener as far as a timeline for the album. Does it have the punch of other opening songs like No Line on the Horizon, Beautiful Day, Vertigo or Zoo Station. No not really. But it's good enough.

2. My two favorite songs on the album are absolutely "Every Breaking Wave" and "This is Where You Can Reach Me Now". The latter being Erin's favorite song. My daughter who has always been very vocal about her "non-love" of all things U2 now has a favorite U2 song. And when it comes on, she runs from wherever she is and starts dancing! Well, played U2. You finally won her over. ;)

3. There is some amazing guitar work done on this album by The Edge. Some of my favorite ever.

4. Iris (Hold Me Close) has the ability to make me tear up. It's a song written about Bono's mom who died when he was only 14. At the end he sings about some of the few memories he has of her. Memories that make me think of my relationship with my son. Yeah, it's a good one.

5. A lot of people were aggravated that the album appeared on their itunes account for free. I can understand it. I do. But seriously, it was free. And just delete it.

6. Not everyone likes U2. In fact, I have met quite a few people who are vehement about their hate for U2 and like to share that with me. That's ok as well. It doesn't change the fact that this band has meant a lot to me. I've connected with people over our mutual love of U2. Mike and I danced to a U2 song at our wedding. I had the courage to get on a plane, fly over the ocean, leaving my kids for a week (all not easy) to see them live in concert in Ireland. That was a huge, wonderful experience for me, and I am glad Mike and I went despite the obstacles. It's a memory we will never, ever forget.

7. Bono and I don't always see eye to eye on his lyrics. In fact, there are a few songs where I have thought, wth is he talking about. Songs on the new album where this occurs... "Sleep Like a Baby Tonight" and "Raised by Wolves". But there are parts of the songs I really like despite the less than stellar lyrics. Another song that I felt this way about was "Get On Your Boots" from No Line on the Horizon.

8. This is a band that is constantly changing. Each album is a complete surprise and that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. I know there are fans that complain about how much they miss the "old" U2. And while I am the first to admit that change is not always something I am psyched about, I don't mind it in my music. This band has been around for over 35 years. Of course there is going to be change. Sorry, but Bono just would not be able to pull off his Achtung Baby days or even the War days on a live stage. People change and grow and mature. Priorities change. Stories they want to share change. It is true of musicians as it is true of any artist. Even scrapbookers. :)

9. And last but not least, the tour cannot come soon enough for me! I hope they come to St. Louis, but if not I know we will go see them anywhere they are close by. And maybe one other not so close location :)
Evan is just as excited as us about the tour, so he will definitely be joining us for at least one show.
Loved having him with us in St. Louis for that show back in 2011. I always tell him he is so absolutely spoiled when it comes to U2. I was 40 years old...
before I was able to be this close to the band for most of the show.
and this picture of The Edge where he was looking right at Evan and smiling at him is priceless to me!
Yep, Evan is a pretty lucky kid :)
And I feel pretty lucky and blessed to share my love of this band with my husband and son. To have been places I might never have visited to see them play. And to have been inspired by their lyrics to create scrapbook layouts.
As long as they keep the music coming (and yes, there is a rumored second release coming soon...Songs of Experience), I am happy!


21 comments:

  1. I will have to check out this new album. I haven't downloaded any new music in a long time. I'm so with you on not always loving what a favorite band puts out. I all but abandoned Duran Duran in the late 90's. Just wasn't feeling the newest stuff that put out. And another of my favorite bands put out an album last fall that I didn't even buy (glup). I just downloaded my favorite tracks. Still adore them though. :) Hope you get your wish and U2 tours close by soon.

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    1. iTunes makes it so easy now to just get the songs you like without having to buy the whole album. I will say I loved Duran Duran's latest album.

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  2. i have loved u2 since junior high school (wow 34 years ago)! but i have to say not a fan of this album. loved reading your take on it.

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    1. Thanks, MP. I think like Lisa said for a lot of people it's an acquired taste. Lol
      We have friends who are die hard U2 fans and they really did not like the last album.

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  3. I was a little underwhelmed at first too. For some reason, this one is an acquired taste. LOL!

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    1. I say it all the time. They are not a commercial type band really. Most of their fans are obsessed. Lol

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  4. I {heart} this post!!! :) :) Music has always been SOOO very important to me, and certain artists in particular seem to grab me, like U2 has for you. And as I grow, and they grow, we may grow in different directions ... and just as you described (and Tammy commented above), I almost have a guilty feeling if I don't love or even like something new. Isn't it crazy how attached we are to things that mean so much to us? I believe that sounds, like smells or sights, become part of who we are. I can't remember what I had for lunch two days ago, but I can sing every lyric to an 80s song I haven't heard in years, or what grade I was in or what dance it was played at, or what dance steps were in the video. I loved reading your take on this album, although I haven't heard it. I haven't ever been a huge U2 fan, but I've loved many songs - With or Without You is one of my all time faves - but don't own a single one. I haven't logged into iTunes in awhile either, so I'll have to get on and check it out. More inspiration from you, Mary Jo - you are just amazing!! :)

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    1. With or Without You is the first song I ever officially heard by U2. I guess you could say it's the song that started it all! :)

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    2. I remember when MTV first started, and I would stay up late watching it during 6th grade. Sunday Bloody Sunday was AMAZING! So powerful and I just knew that one day I'd get to go to a concert, and it would be THAT cool! :) All these years, and I still haven't been to a concert at Red Rocks, LOL! :)

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  5. I haven't had a chance to listen to the entire album yet, but I enjoyed reading your thoughts, Mary Jo. I still get goosebumps when I hear the intro to City of Blinding Lights from when my sister and I drove to Madison Square Garden to see them and Angel of Harlem is still my all time favorite. :)

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    1. Oh my goodness, Elise, me too! That was a great opening song for that tour.

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  6. Loved reading your thoughts on this album ... of course my all time fave of theirs will forever and ever Rattle and Hum ... and of course that might be bias since I was a roadie for that tour ... lol! :)

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    1. Cannot even begin to imagine what a cool experience that must have been!

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  7. I love U2 too but haven't heard nay of their new music in many years. Good to hear about how you feel about eh new album because I was very curious. I will have to listen to a few of your favs that you mention in this post.
    Love the picture of you and Mike!!
    TFS!!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! Hope you are all feeling better!

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  8. Great thoughts...and fabulous photos! I am a fan in my own way, but have yet to get through the whole album. I love the beginning, but get bored half way through. ADD maybe? Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the album notes about the songs and how they drew inspiration from people and places of their youth. Maybe I'll get to see them in concert one day. Meanwhile, I'll have to give the album another listen.

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    1. Yeah the middle is not as strong for me.

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  9. This is how my Mike feels about Pearl Jam. Haha :)

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    1. I LOVE Pearl Jam! They were huge for me in college but I still love them. :)

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  10. I love your passion for this band. I too love U2, you have me beat, lol.
    I have never seen them in concert, and probably never will.
    I have been a fan as long as you have, but not as hard core as you :)
    I had to smile hearing that they have finally won over your daughter with one of their songs ;)

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  11. Those are some great photos : ) I keep hearing about this free album appearing and yet I can't find it in our iTunes or on my phone. Haha. I guess I need to do some focused searching!

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