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Post By
Nose Norton

Location: Plainville
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,626
In Reply To
America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,139
Subj: Re: New banner! Do you think U2 sold out?
Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 at 01:04:40 am EDT (Viewed 462 times)
Reply Subj: New banner! Do you think U2 sold out?
Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 at 11:34:05 am EDT (Viewed 632 times)

Previous Post

I always used to hear people say that. "U2 sold out." I used to hear that about another band too, and I think I'll make that the subject of our next banner. Meanwhile - Did U2 sell out? What does that even mean?

I think it has to do with making music that's more commercial. Did they? And if they did - is that some sort of betrayal of someone or something? Doesn't "commercial" just mean more likely to have broad appeal? Is having broad appeal bad? Does it maybe mean they stopped being their true artistic selves?

Along those lines - Did you like their older stuff best, or their newer stuff? Or maybe their in-between stuff?

As the others have said, I don't think "sold out" is the right term. U2 was really on top of the world after The Joshua Tree(1987). Rattle And Hum(1988) wasn't the masterpiece The Joshua Tree was, but Desire, Angel Of Harlem and When Love Comes To Town were all big hits.

And then they changed and created another masterpiece with Achtung, Baby(1991), which they described as "Four men chopping down the Joshua Tree". After that, however, they delved deeper into electronica and some self-depreciation which rubbed some fans the wrong way, especially when Grunge came in and made electronic dance music seem even more vapid. You don't sell out, however, when you're already on top and go in a creatively different direction.

But, I can see why people feel this way. They went from a stripped down r&b band playing stadiums to a progressive band with elaborate stage shows and themes about consumerism and commercialism. I know Bono's Mr. MacPhisto character and Zoo TV rubbed many fans the wrong way. Growing up in an Irish Catholic Boston neighborhood, as close to U2 country as you get outside of Ireland, I heard several people in the 90s start to say that they liked U2's early stuff better.

If you go by the definition of selling out, you could argue that they sold out with All That You Can't Leave Behind(2000) and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb(2004) when they ditched electronica for a more "back to the basics" sound. Since 2004, they seem to be creatively stifled but I still love their stuff.

It was pretty much around Pop(1997) with Discotheque when I think fans became disappointed with them. That's also around the time they started to flood the market with Greatest Hits and other collections, so in that respect you could argue they sold out.

For the record, I think Pop is a great album but look at the difference in the band's image from The Joshua Tree to Discotheque in the images below.

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