Sunday, November 27, 2005

One of the greatest bands of all time, U2, recently performed here in Ottawa. I didn't go to their concert because I have difficulty planning that far ahead and I do not want to do any of those ridiculous things radio stations try to make you to do to win tickets.

Last year, I lived with a number of rabid U2 fans. I attempted to affect a demeanor of U2 antipathy to try to create some controversy. This is difficult to do because U2 fans will generally join in when you start telling Bono jokes and, well, U2 has such infectious tunes that it is difficult to pretend to hate them while the Joshua Tree is blaring from your speakers.

I'm not a huge U2 fan. I only have two of their albums and I tend to laugh at some of Bono's earnest pretension. Nevertheless, the volume knob of my car stereo is inevitably turned upwards whenever the soulful strains of a U2 song are played.

Also, I may not be as big a U2 fan as some, but at least I know what they're singing about most of the time. What am I talking about? Well, just listen to what one U2 fan wrote in the Ottawa Citizen about their supposed favourite U2 song: "My favourite is Sunday Bloody Sunday because the words speak to me. I know what U2 means about Bloody Sunday . . ." I'll interrupt the quote here, for a moment, to prepare you for the monumental superficiality of this fan's understanding of this song. As anyone whose favourite song is Sunday Bloody Sunday should know, Bloody Sunday refers to the killing, in Ireland, of 13 peaceful civilian demonstrators on January 30, 1972. Ahem, the quote continues, "I also hate Sundays. Sundays remind me of homework, school, long week ahead, and dreaded Mondays."

You would think that the line "bodies strewn across a dead end street" would hint at a different interpretation for this song than a simple complaint against the tedium of Sundays. I do not mean to feed my massively obese superiority complex more egotism by putting this peon down, but I think he should be relegated to listening to the unsubtle lyricism of Celine Dion or Mandy Moore.

I don't really believe that, but it's a shame that Bono's lyrics were wasted on this poor soul. Ah well, it is better to have him playing Sunday Bloody Sunday to depress himself further over the terrible day he is having than it is to have him pumping anything by Fitty, Ashlee, or any of pop music's other dry and talentless offerings.


John den Boer said...

This post is dedicated to Daryl, the biggest U2 fan I know.

Evghenis said...

I also like when people talk about how romantic "I StillHaven't Found What I'm Looking For" is, believing it's about Bono's search for a bride.

daryl said... about misinterpreting a song. I'd have to agree with you on times about Bono's pretensiousness, but what a powerful message they often pack in their songs. At the concert this past year, their last two songs were "Yahweh" and "40" (which is based on Psalm 40) It was incredibly moving, especially with Yahweh to have 20,000 fans singing along to that song. However, I wonder how many of these fans actually know who Yahweh is. Too bad their music is wasted on these people, but at least U2 fans also include some of us educated folk

John den Boer said...

Yeah, I'd rather have Bono's occasional pretension then the bad habits of a lot of singers. I really love how he uses his fame for the benefit of the world.

Man, I have to go to a U2 concert before they're gone. They always sound so great.

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