Monday, April 28, 2008

Why U2 Sucks

As will appear in tomorrow's issue of the New School Free Press



Last week, Daniel Lanois, producer-extraordinaire, told a Canadian radio station that U2 is working on a new album that'll be out for the fall, with production credit going to him and Brian Eno.

Is it wrong that I'm more excited about Lanois and Eno together than about the actual album they're producing?

Well, no, because U2 is, simply put, the most overrated band of all-time.

There are certain artists and bands that get way too much credit, critically or commercially (I'm looking at you, Elton John). But to be overrated, both of those criteria must be met, meaning critics need to rave about them and they've also got to sell millions of albums.

U2's songs revolve around Bono's howling and his emphasizing every word he sings, Adam Clayton's boring bass lines, Larry Mullen, Jr.'s non-descript drumming, and The Edge's chiming guitar work that sounds good in a arena, but has very little substance or emotion.

In 2004, Rolling Stone called them the 22nd greatest band of all-time (ahead of bands like the Band), and they've sold over 170 million albums worldwide, resulting in higher sales than Bob Dylan by well over 50 million.

But that doesn't mean they don't suck.

Where does this near-universal success come from? I'll admit that I like War but that's because it’s easy to digest. Tracks like "Elevation" and "One" don't require much thought, and sound catchy on the radio. Those songs, and many others in their catalogue, are horribly derivative and haven't introduced any new ideas to rock.

Universal messages of love, peace, and freedom help U2's overrated cause. There are very few instances where something Bono writes makes you stop and think because most of his lyrics are like this: "I threw the dice when they pierced his side/But I've seen love conquer the great divide." Bono is, of course, referring to Jesus, a common theme in his lyrics.

U2 also lucked out and formed at exactly the right time. Their first album, Boy, was released in 1980, a time when good rock 'n' roll was becoming increasingly hard to find on the radio. But just because they filled a void doesn't mean they should be listened to nearly three decades later.

A band also should be measured by whom they’ve inspired, and the bands they’ve inspired include the Killers and Coldplay, who are essentially U2, Part Deux. And terrible.

The next time you hear someone call U2 the "most important and influential band of the post-punk era," as MSNBC.com did, punch them in the face. Or just say to them, as Stan Marsh tells Bono on South Park, "At some point, can't you just kinda…fuck off?"

37 comments:

mirrorballman said...

uhhh does the fact that they're ranked 22nd all time mean they're overrated? not really. and I mean if you look at the bands ahead of them, how many of them were self glorifying money grabbing egomaniacs? now I'm not gonna be ignorant and say that U2 gives all their money to charity and the poor because they certainly don't. but they've been very good at finding a balance between rock stars and humanitarians. even if you don't like the band you have to respect that.

Bono said...

The fact that you think U2 sucks or is overrated makes you sound very ignorant. I don't have the hours it would take to defend their music.

babymorris said...
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John Garratt said...

This blog entry is great. Stumbled on it accidentally. U2 are just too much. Too much of everything. Fucking off would be great on their part. But they won't fuck off until people stop paying attention. And people continue to slobber on U2, no matter what they do.

Rebeca said...

I totally agree with you

steve said...

I totally agree. my GF is one of those U2 worshipers that you can't convince otherwise. I bought her the new cd and when i listened to it not only was i bored but i could pin point the exact songs they were duplicating from their previous cd's! the same lyrical format, the same drum beats, the same guitar ....wow. and my GF says U2 is better than pearl jam..lol.pearl jams worse song is better than anything from U2

Taylor said...

I don't agree I think that people like U2 not only for their music, but for the meaning behind the lyrics, and what they stand for as humanitarians.

BonoSucks said...
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BonoSucks said...

Let me break it down "Bert and Ernie style" for all you Bono knob-polishers out there....

The concept is called "Group Think" and it means you agree with the masses, no matter what they say, with no independent thought whatsoever. This is what U2 fans are infected with.

The concept is simple, if the music is something you have heard (or might hear) in an elevator, or while on hold with one of those annoying automated phone systems...ITS NOT ROCK!!!! U2 sucks, plain and simple. To even say "U2" and "ROCK" in the same sentence is blasphemous, and a fan of REAL ROCK would know that and be very ashamed!!!

BonoSucks said...
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BonoSucks said...
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londonafter said...

"most important and influential band of the post-punk era," WHAT THE FUCK!??? i swear i wanted to cry when i read that...

Troy Tempest said...

I don't mind U2. They're better than a lot of bands, but not as good as a LOT of other bands.

I look at the parts. Bono? The guy has pipes. He might be the biggest douchebag this side of Arthur Kade, but he has a really remarkable instrument. He's "that loud irish singer"... Impressive voice. Not as impressive as say, Peter Hammill or David Bowie, but pretty damn good.

Edge: A VERY good guitar player. He doesn't play stuff that's terribly difficult, but he plays it very well, and he knows how to take 3 chords and voice them in an interesting way. He is Very Good. he is not Robert Fripp. He is nt John McLaughlin. He isn't even Peter Townsend. But he IS very good.

Mullin: He's really... average. He can keep time, but he has a habit of rushing his beats - he's always just a little bit ahead. This gives his drumming that "urgentness" so key to the U2 sound. But after a while you wonder if he'll ever be on time. He's an OK drummer. Not great, barely "good". Reminds me of Ringo, if ringo did crank.

Then there's Clayton.

Clayton SUCKS. He is everything I detest in contemporary bass playing. He had a few moments of not-suckage on "War" but otherwise, he is simply unlistenable and unbearable. he will never read this, but I will post as if he is:

Clayton: (caps for emphasis, yes, I am shouting)

EIGHTH NOTES ON THE ROOT SUCK ASS. WOULD YOU KINDLY LEARN TO DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN EIGHTH NOTES ON THE ROOT.

I swear to freaking Jesus on a pogostick, that's all this clown knows how to do, and he gets paid MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to play rock's most suck ass bass lines. Yo: Clayton: YOU SUCK. I played better bass when I was in high school. Had I known then I could make an easy career of suck ass bass playing like you, I never would have gone into more meaningful life choices.

you blow and suck at the same time.

So, you have an A singer, an A- guitarist, a C level drummer, and a failure as a bass player. That averages out to 2.875, or, a C+.

And I think that is exactly fair. U@ is, in actuality, a C+ band. Better than mediocre, but not a lot.

partyoffour said...

Woo Hoo U2 is ...adequate. You're absolutely right...they make great filler and are nice as background music. They'l be on Muzak for anither 30 years but what kind of a tool says, lets listen to a an entire U2 album, it's great music.

mihai said...

U2 totally sucks. Their music is overrated, their lyrics are complete crap, etc.
But I still don't understand how they got the nerve to use the name "ONE" for their stupid song.
The only song who deserves to be named "ONE" is written by Metallica, for the "...And Justice For All" album, 1989.

Jeff Gack said...

Wow, I thought I was the only one who feels this way. We had a Cub Scout band that banged pie plates together and tapped water bottles filled to various levels. We were bad, of course, but much better than U2. Clang clang..

gas dynamics said...

u2 are not over rated.... if you are a weak hearted, conservative, spirit seeking procrastinator who fears the new and likes white bread.

if you have a hint of decency, subtlety and justice, you'd dig a little deeper to find some good music.
go repay your mortgage at your crappy job.

U2 fans are all catholic pedophiles. i hope you all die in a war between your imaginary gay monster in the sky and the other bloke's.

MHarman said...

its so refreshing to google "U2 Sucks" and get almost a million hits.

D said...

Thanks so much for starting this blog! Now I can prove to my husband that not everyone enjoys listening to insipid, uninspiring lyrics being screamed repeatedly to the same tune over and over and over... I swear it's the same song made over every time. Who could tell anyway? I can't understand a word Bono says.

Isidro said...

hell yeah¡

Reality Bytes said...

U2 is the most successful ELAVATOR music of ALL TIME.

And, if I EVER hear; "what a great guitarist The Edge is",
I'll THROW UP!

EDGE SUCKS as a guitarist!

Add to that; one overblown, boring and egotistical BONER of a frontman, and the WORST BASS & PERCUSSION in Rock,
and you end up with one sad and overated band.

In Fact, U2 is the PERFECT EXAMPLE of an OVERATED musical group, they meet ALL the criteria!

Alan said...

100% true, i definitely agree, U2 is adequate.

emily said...

You wanna know what? I happen to know Bono over digital media and he happens to be funny, nice, smart, and his music ROX your god butt SOX off. You can say crap all you want but U2 is the best awesome rock band ever. And I feel bad for you. You spend all your time dwelling on how bad U2 is. Why not open your 2 eyes that God gave you and close that 1 mouth that nobody wants to hear any way. So stop dwelling on stuff you hate. Make something about the Beatles. Leave U2 alone.

John Garratt said...

"his music ROX your god butt SOX off"

"but U2 is the best awesome rock band ever"

"Make something about the Beatles."

Bruce said...

so true. The whole band sucks cock big time. That rat singing shit and the hat dude playing more shit

AngelaFlangela said...

I absolutely agree. U2 are terrible, overrated and incredibly boring. Bono thinks he is Jesus reincarnated. I know for a fact that Bono is not Jesus because I saw Jesus at a drag show last weekend with my own eyes.

AbbeyRoadkill said...

U2 are the new Beatles. Anyone who doesn't understand this is an idgit. The end.

Josh said...

You know. You got the group think thing right but the group it's used most on wrong. It's so easy to hate on U2, everyone does it, they are the cliche band to hate. It's actually groupthink to slam U2. Nowadays it's harder to defend the band then hate on them

Mediocrity said...

What Bonosucks said is spot on. U2 is not rock. Its a pop band as the majority of their songs are pop songs. U2 is 'rock' for people who would otherwise be listening to Neil Diamond. Playing instruments and being white does not automatically equal rock. I cringe every time I hear U2 referred to as a rock band. I've been to see them live (Im not a fan but my bf is) and I've listened to a lot of their songs. Its pop. If I think of them as pop, then they are much more tolerable. If I think of them as rock they are bland, boring, and with abysmal song writing. U2 is a boy band plain and simple.

Isus said...

I wish to Bono long and painful sickness!!!

Steve g. said...

I always thought that these guys are way overrated. I just don't get it. I used to be a professional drummer and teach music, and the level of idolatry amazes me. I've seen Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Who,Future Islands, Janis Joplin , Zappa and Pink Floyd as well as MANY others They are decent players obviously,I just don't have interest in them. P.S. Sting is a better singer. Steve

Steve g. said...

I always thought that these guys are way overrated. I just don't get it. I used to be a professional drummer and teach music, and the level of idolatry amazes me. I've seen Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Who,Future Islands, Janis Joplin , Zappa and Pink Floyd as well as MANY others They are decent players obviously,I just don't have interest in them. P.S. Sting is a better singer. Steve

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Chet Nicholas said...

It's very easy. If a band makes music and you find some comfort in their music, or feel happy listening to it it's fine. They bring out emotions for a lot of people and that's a good thing. If you don't like the music, okay. Don't listen to it. But for a lot of people their music means a great deal. So let it be.

Mike M. said...

Just because you failed, in whatever life long pursuit you ever had, doesn't mean something else sucks. Just because Josh Krupp, oh wait, Kurp ...., you see? I couldn't even remember that name after one Internet page flip. Where was I? Oh yes, just because Josh Kurp, who doesn't mean anything to no one. except MAYBE his parents and siblings, doesn't like the musical stylings of U2 doesn't mean U2 sucks. What it means is that Josh Kurp has a different taste in music. There is music I do not enjoy but I realize it brings a sense of being to others. It doesn't mean it sucks. The posting of Josh Kurp was done awhile ago. He might be dead now, I don't know. The reason I don't know is because Josh Kurp is just a clay puppet. Nobody has ever heard of him because nobody ever really cared about him, except his mum and pop. His siblings would be pleased because they would be getting a bigger piece of the pie when the parents pass on.

Unknown said...

Once upon a time, in the 1980s, I was an awkward, kind of geeky teenager and sometimes girls would ask me what kind of music I was into. I wasn't into music, so I would have nothing to say and come of looking like a total dork, so I quickly realized that I needed to be able to say I liked something, and it had to be acceptable as 'cool', but well known enough that when I name-drop it, people will know what I'm referring to. So U2 wound up being the natural choice. I bought all their albums, on cassette, and later a few on CD. I would listen to it, as I had to in case anyone who I told I like them actually started asking me what songs I liked, etc. Even though I found the music hard to enjoy, I soon convinced myself that I really liked it. But then I had this room-mate who worked at a record store and stole a lot of CDs, and I was exposed to all kinds of much better music so I quickly lost interest in U2, and of course I realize now that they're terrible. The point of my story is that I think this is how a lot of people get into U2 and other terrible bands like Coldplay, or Radiohead. They get into these bands to 'fit in' socially, and fitting in means being bland and embracing the lowest common denominator. I was lucky to be exposed to much better music, and get away from U2, but these days anyone can access everything thanks to mp3 and streaming, so there really is no excuse to stick with these terrible bands for long periods in one's life. Once you're out of that awkward need-to-fit-in stage of life, ditching bland tuneless bands should be a relatively simple exercise. Then again, perhaps a lot of people never grow out of that stage...

angstytimelord said...

Just stumbled on this, and I have to agree with you. U2 is vastly overrated -- and they aren't even very good musicians. These guys are all style and no substance. Their live shows are big screens, lights and special effects, and very little playing. The Edge even admits that his guitar sound is mainly achieved by lots of pedals and effects, and that he isn't a very good musician. I used to be a fan back in the 80s, but once they decided to sell their souls to corporate sponsorship and become a spectacle rather than a band, I jumped off the bandwagon very quickly.

To me, the real measure of a good band isn't the spectacle that their live shows are, or even the albums they release. If a band are truly good musicians, they should be able to take the stage without any special effects, lighting, big screens, or any of that crap -- just the band and their instruments, playing their songs. They should be able to get the heart and soul of their songs across without needing those songs to be overshadowed with how they're presented. U2 is completely incapable of doing that. They present a huge overblown spectacle that has no substance to it whatsoever.

And don't even get me started on the fact that this summer, they're desperately trying to convince the world that a 30-year-old album, one that sounded dated 10 years after its initial release, much less 30, is somehow still "musically relevant." Give me a fucking break. U2 hasn't been relevant to music in any way since the mid-90s, and even that's pushing it, considering that they've spent the last 25 years searching for a "new sound" and being followers rather than innovators. Their last gasp of being "relevant," or even a good band, was "Achtung Baby." After that, they just went down the rabbit hole is irrelevance, and they keep digging themselves ever deeper into that hole.

One last thing: If Bono loves preaching so much, he should go stand behind a pulpit and pontificate, not on a stage boring people who seemingly, given the price of their concert tickets, have much more money than they do either sense or good taste.