I find it mad, bordering ignorant, when people say U2 are “crap”. Granted their output since 2001 has been straddling between terrible & awful, but everything before then was some of the greatest music this world has seen.
U2 are a band. A real band. A band that started out in high school and learnt their craft as real musicians. A band whose personalities were perfectly aligned to support each other in their own right, which I can tell you, is the SINGLE hardest thing to achieve in a group. And more importantly, a band with something to say, and a new way of saying it.
From The Edge’s delayed guitar tones, to Bono’s excruciatingly perfect words, they created such masterpieces as ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’, ‘Stay', ‘Acrobat’, ‘Please’, ‘In A Little While’; and everything inbetween. How can you listen to the ‘War’ album and not be completely flawed? How can you listen to ‘Joshua Tree’ and not realise you’re in the realms of greatness? How can you put on ‘Achtung Baby’ and not leave with your jaw on the floor? To anyone who dares insult these albums, the only person that loses out is yourself, you’re missing out on some of the greatest music of our lifetime.
I also want to give separate props to a man who I feel is one of the greatest contemporary drummers in music; Larry Mullen Jr. Without Larry, ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ would be nothing. There would be no power, no pain and no impact of those gunshots without those piercing drums. His rhythms are so tasteful and so ‘lyrical’, you rarely hear that in drummers. As soon as you become aware of this, you start hearing their music in a completely different light; much love to you Larry.
There’s 2 songs I have to pick for U2 that for me were equally life-affirming to my own songwriting:
1) Running to Stand Still – Many a fans favourite, this is just a masterclass in subtlety, poetry, and a longing to see what’s over those “7 towers”. A story of addiction, so perfectly told.
2) Love is Blindness (live) – I love the build-up from the outset, I can almost feel the cold of the outdoor stadium, it really sends me to that other place. And that guitar solo speaks a universal language we all understand.