Has U2 really descended into self-parody, as critics have been bitching for the last 17 years? Or is it a situation in which U2 knows what U2 does best and they’re satisfied with that? Experimentation is all good, but it’s not for everyone. And despite there being a signature “U2 sound” now, I’m quite impressed with the fact that they’ve been recording with the same four members for nearly forty years and only have one true turd in their catalog (No Line On The Horizon) IMO.
*Side thought: why does saying “in my opinion” as a qualifier annoy so many people? I had an argument last night in which I told someone I thought they were pretentious. “Why did you say I was pretentious?” “Well, I didn’t say you were pretentious. I said I thought you were pretentious.” Objectivity is a real thing, y’all!!*
Back to U2: “Beautiful Day” is a perfect example of U2 doing that U2 thing to perfection. It’s anthemic and soars in the way that U2 songs are expected to be anthemic and soar, sure. But the adherence to formula is certainly not at the expense of passion or sincerity. If Bono is, indeed, a snake oil salesman, he’s pulled off the acting job better than anyone else in music (again, IMO).
“Beautiful Day” and the entire All That You Can’t Leave Behind album will inextricably be tied to 9/11 for me (and I’d imagine many others), but I’ll save my own thoughts about that day for another post.