Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own

A significant portion of the next week is going to spent either working on an upcoming essay and studying for my Christmas exam in Old Icelandic. Combined with my efforts to remain more frugal as Christmas approaches, in order to be able to actually buy gifts for people, this is going to have an effect of essentially isolating me from most activities and people until next Monday. Fortunately I have U2 to keep me company.

I've probably listened to How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb about 10-15 times now, so I think I'm ready to make some kind of comment on it. I like it a lot. It will probably end up somewhere just behind Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree as one of their best. I agree with most of the critical consensus on it, however one thing that bugs me is that all the critics (from Rolling Stone to allmusic.com) keep putting down Pop and U2's 90s work as being a failure, for perhaps being too experimental and vastly different from their 80s work, but then in the next breath saying that the problem with HTDAAB is that it's not experimental enough and that they have just retreated to their 80s style "big rock band sound" that made them a success to begin with. Personally I respect the fact that U2 is still a relevant band after more than 25 years as a group. The Beatles may be the best, but they broke up after less than a decade; The Rolling Stones faded out into self-parody; The Who essentially disintegrated and became irrelevant after Who's Next. I think it's astounding that U2 are perhaps still in their prime as a band well after 20 years. Whether you like them or not, I think that's an accomplishment that few other groups have been able to. I hope that when I'm into my 40s I'm still able to do what Bono and the boys are doing today.

--

I watched The Godfather last night with my dad, who had never seen it. He wasn't convinced that it could be as good as me and Anton raved, but he was sold on it and watching it again reminded me of how great a film it is. It's not just the craft, but the characters and the themes in it that come through so strongly. It deserves it's spot in my top 10 films.

"Fredo, you're my older brother and I love you, but don't ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever." - Michael Corleone

4 Comments:

At 6:26 PM, Blogger Ewan said...

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At 12:44 AM, Blogger Ewan said...

I always felt that the Beatles breaking up helped them to achieve their legendary status. They went out at the top of their game. The same can be said for Nirvana. I'd be willing to bet that if Kurt Cobain hadn't committed suicide, and they kept the band together and were still making music now, they wouldn't have the status they have achieved with his death.
One other thing, i believe that rock n roll at its best is done by young people. The spirit is definitely youthful and thus should be performed by youthful performers. So i agree with your assessment of the Stones, who are kind of lame now, Mick still strutting around and all. It seems like artists have a window for their peak creativity and then they tail off, ceasing to create music that is exciting: Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Sting.

Having said all this, i'd really like to hear what U2 are doing on this album.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger cait said...

I totally agree with you, EWOR (if the acronym's okay); I call it the "Jim Morrison Syndrome." I've often heard people say, "what would Janis Joplin sound like now?" or "how would Jimi Hendrix be playing today?" When you look at their contemporaries who didn't self-destruct entirely, you get a pretty clear indication of what they would be doing: not much. Now, I'm not saying that what they did wasn't good. I mean, Jimi Hendrix revolutionized guitar as an electric instrument, but what these people who died young did is made greater by the collective imagination: what would they have gone on to do?

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger cait said...

Oh, but I do have to take exception to the "Who's Next" comment; while "the Who By Numbers" is not in the same vein as most of their work, it has what I would consider to be Entwistle's best: "Success Story," and "However Much I Booze" is an interesting snapshot of Pete Townshend's downspiral during the mid-70s. But, I will concede, that "Who Are You" is mostly crap, and anything after Moonie's death does not warrant listening to.

 

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