Monday, August 09, 2004

IF YOU WEREN'T BONO, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN: Oh, good Lord. We try to be fair to Bono, we really do - we bit our tongue when that 'thank you' to Gordon and Tony advert appeared in the press last week, even although we wanted to point out that it seemed to be more aimed at saying "I'm Bono, these are my friends and we're making a difference" rather than actually thanking the PM and the PM in waiting for their work in helping ease the burden of debt just a smidgen for poor countries. But then he doesn't make it easy. Now, Bono has announced that if he hadn't been a Major Pop Icon, he'd have become a speechwriter for "causes he believes in." Oh, yeah? Since people tend to allow you to get away with half-baked leaps of faith and overly-simplistic summations on the grounds that you're a pop star who wears stupid sunglasses, what makes you think that you'd have been able to make a living from writing speeches without the rock career as a rather large entry point? Isn't it an example of the poor quality of Bono's intellect that, challenged as to what he'd do if he hadn't made millions from being Bono, he doesn't think "well, there'd be no mansion, and I probably wouldn't have broadband, and I'd have to be working sweeping up a baker's to be able to eat...", but instead decides that it'd be "great, not having to tour would leave me time to sit in my mansion writing speeches while eating pickled larks tongues on toast."

Meanwhile, he's not sure about some of the earlier U2 stuff in terms of quality:

When I look at our first 10 years, I just hear unfinished work, lyrics we never finished because we ran out of studio time. I hear Bad and see what's not there. I just see a list of failures."
But, Bono says the band manage to capture a "spirit" rather than aim for craftsmanship in their songwriting.
"Feelings are stronger than ideas or words in a song. You can have 1,000 ideas, but unless you capture an emotion, it's an essay."

And, if you do something like ordering pizzas for Yugoslavia in the middle of a rock concert, that's not a political statement, it's a stunt.

What puzzles us is why he thinks that the first ten years of U2 are failures - does this imply that he thinks the tocking-ticking of more recent U2 stuff is perfect? Is the Annie-Lennox-does-the-crossword style of Stuck In A Minute or the so-sweepingly-banal-it-was-used-by-ITV-as-a-football-theme-tune of Beautiful Day are the sorts of songs he wasn't skilled enough to write in the 80s? Rather than the sort of songs the young Bono would have been ashamed to have written? We've always cut Bono some slack on the basis that he might have another Wide Awake In America or a Sunday Bloody Sunday in him - now, it turns out, he think's he's better than them.

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