not a member? click here to sign up


"U2 make me think", it's been said. That criterion is used a lot these days, because as rock'n'roll gets older, its priorities and values change. It spreads itself out and becomes more adjustable, like a toy.

Declan Lynch, 11 Oct 1980

"U2 make me think", it's been said. That criterion is used a lot these days, because as rock'n'roll gets older, its priorities and values change. It spreads itself out and becomes more adjustable, like a toy.

It couldn't really be said of Gene Vincent or Jerry Lee Lewis that they made you think. They hardly even had to stand at the cross roads and decide which road to take, because through naturally innocence and naivete, they were relieved of that burden. They made you know.

Now it seems like we've come such a long way without really going anywhere at all. U2 seem anxious to draw the brakes, so they mention 'innocence' and they use the world 'spiritual' a great deal. (Come, come boys, let's be reasonable, you're not selling us that old dummy, surely?) (Bono is nodding his head, I think he means it.)

Easier said than done of course, factors such as background, education, time, and place being the salient ones. The days of liberation through primitivism are gone, and the psychological dance goes round and round, the dancers think, the thinkers dance.

We're walking a kind of plank. The record shows that rock'n'roll went sour when it became a vehicle for 'self awareness', and when people started seeing God in guitar solos. There's a different kind of hippy dippyism on the prowl at the moment, with groups wallowing in their own so-abject misery, even bragging about it.

U2 could beat the snare. Their music is so positive, so optimistic, it can make you think straight as distinct from the Rolling Stones, who took the Devil's music and dressed it up in white man's clothes, and white man's drugs, and whose fans knew that the Stones knew what they were up to, U2's aim is to forget everything they ever knew and start all over again. (Impossible).

Certainly in terms of the great, glorious tradition of Irish rock, they stand out. Lynott was at times capable of honesty, but mostly hid his inadequacy behind the myth of Lizzy. He played along with everything, he was cute, he kept the wrong company and at heart he was the Darling of Dingwalls.

Geldof's road to freedom was through his ego, and while we all knew it was a front and that behind the mask there lay a wonderful, cuddly human, we decided that a joke is just a joke.

In comparison, U2 have so far led a sheltered musical life, and the milder rock climate that has been apparent of late, has allowed them to grow naturally. They are not at all warped by the myths of rock'n'roll and in terms of male involvement with rock, they are idealistic and less prone to the hedonistic practices of others.

I think they stand for something, and I think that's quite important.

This album echoes with sounds and sentiments which are unfamiliar. There is a romanticism there, a dream-like quality, and this is offset by a new aggression, a new directness. No one track is radically different to another in construction or in texture. This is an exposition of the emerging sound of U2, the cards are now on the table, and the only direction to take is straight ahead.

For their already large fan club, Boy will be practically a retrospective album. 'Out of Control', 'Twilight' and 'Stories For Boys" have been re-recorded. 'A Day Without Me' is here also. 'Shadows In Trees' and 'Another Time, Another Place' have been taken out of mothballs.

I find it almost impossible to react negatively to U2's music. It rushes your senses, it's so sharp, every song seems like it's been lying under the tree all year, and at Christmas it's taken out of its box and shown to everybody, open-mouthed.

I wouldn't worry about U2 selling out because I know they will. 'Out', after all is the only way to sell and once you show an interest in the shifting of units, there's no point feeling guilty about the extent. It will be interesting to see if they cop better than others, but as regards railing against the music business, I've lost interest. If you're mixing with pigs, you're bound to get dirty, self-admonishment notwithstanding.

There is potential both positive and negative, in U2's music. The guitar style of Dave Edge gives the sound such width, that further experimentation could prove ponderous and indulgent. This should be watched.

For now, U2 are full of bluster, almost keeling over with the weight of energy on board. They have given birth to their own kind of cool, and they are as important or as trivial as you want to make them.

Make them sweat.

Artist Related Content

Latest Related Articles For This Artist

U2 concert film director Hamish Hamilton on bringing the band's Paris shows to screens

In the new issue of Hot Press, Olaf Tyaransen chats with the award-winning filmmaker about the extraordinary events leading up to U2's triumphant gigs in Paris, now immortalised on iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE: Live In Paris

News: 11 Jul 2016

U2 announce iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE live DVD

The band's unforgettable Paris visit to be released next month

News: 13 May 2016

U2 Pay Their Respects To Prince

I never met Mozart, I never met Duke Ellington or Charlie Parker I never met Elvis But I met Prince - Bono

News: 22 Apr 2016

U2 & Michael Flatley Make Top 10 Music Rich List

Bono, Adam, Larry and the Edge are sitting pretty at Number 3.

News: 21 Apr 2016

The Edge Confirms That U2’s New Album is Underway

The follow-up to Songs of Innocence will be called Songs of Experience

News: 30 Mar 2016

best of ireland

Contact Us

Hot Press,
13 Trinity Street,
Dublin 2.
Rep. Of Ireland
Tel: +353 (1) 241 1500

Click here for more contact information.

Click here to find out more about Hot Press

Hot Press always welcomes feed back so if you've got something to tell us click here.

Advertise With Us

For more detail on how to advertise with Hot Press click here or call us on +353 (1) 241 1540