Thursday, February 6, 2014

On Listening to U2 Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree is acclaimed as one of the greatest rock albums. It's ranked #27 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. I have to admit that a part of me likes U2, but my affinity for U2 has a limit. I blame Bono. The aspect I like about U2 is their rock romantic grandeur. In this respect, U2 is a lot like Bruce Springsteen, who I love, at least the Springsteen before Born in the USA. However, unlike Springsteen, U2's grandeur has a profoundly impersonal stamp to it. As I listen to Joshua Tree, I'm impressed by how abstract it is. Even when Bono uses "I", it comes across as an abstract "I". Bono keeps his distance from the listener. He's the observer sharing his observations. Even when he's singing passionately, he's not emoting from within; it's about external circumstances. You can compare this perspective with Springsteen post Born in the USA. As superstardom distances the singer from the experiences of the common man, he latches on to external causes to stir his passions. Springsteen isn't able to sing about feeling love riding the Tilt-a-Whirl any more; he has to sing about Tom Joad now. It's apparent Bono was like this from the start. It seems only logical that he's become the ever-sunglass-wearing rock star championing humanitarian cause.

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