By all accounts the U2 shows this week at the Point Depot have gone down well and resonated especially with those brought up in Dublin in the 70’s. It’s never been easy to get a dispassionate view on U2 from Irish music journalists for obvious reasons, so I found this archived episode of Sound Opinions very interesting.
Like Greg Kot and Jim De Rogatis, I found U2 to be at their most compelling when they were at their most experimental in the 90’s with works like Achtung Baby, Zooropa, Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1 and Pop. I also have a soft spot for both October and The Unforgettable Fire – the title track of the latter moves me more than any other U2 song. They lost me when they moved into the naughties and seemed to make albums by focus group in order to try and please everybody. Their work in this period sounds like a reheat of their early phase albums. For instance the song Vertigo of 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is a dead ringer for the excellent Two Hearts Beat as One – a song they recorded 21 years previously. Maybe they need to return to the edges and go back to pleasing themselves. Just a thought.