Trust the Gene Genie

Friday, August 04, 2006

News you can use

Well, so far, no one's getting any Whatchamacallits. And Becky and I are no closer to naming the baby. Get cracking, people!

Believe it or not, I do have some intriguing news from the U2 front. The band, which spent all last year touring, have been off the road for most of this year. And lately they've been at their digs in the south of France, apparently recording new material. But that's not the real news. The real news is some very enterprising fans, standing outside the band's house, managed to get close enough to get some recordings of the rehearsals. Don't get me wrong, it's not high quality stuff. It sounds like it was recorded by someone standing outside a house holding a taperecorder. But, it's pretty clear, all things considered, and you get a pretty good sense of what the band's doing.

It's also another blow for what was once my favorite U2 fansite, (now just a hollow shell of itself). Neither u2log nor the embarassingly earnest posts the news of the recording on their sites. Sanctamonious jerks.

There's also rumors that, with the band's release of the Zoo TV concert DVD and their new band history "U2 By U2" in Septmeber, there'll also be a new single released. That would be pretty cool. Maybe. A little while ago I found a review online of the band's last album, "Atomic Bomb," that for me, summed up perfectly what was wrong with the disc:

"'How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,' like 'All That You Can't Leave Behind' before it, is so classy and classic-sounding that it's utterly boring. Bono and his childhood pals still make competent, sturdy records, and they still sell in bundles. But these albums are also oddly neutered, so polished and vaguely rousing that they don't challenge you in the least. The idea of U2 as adventurous, searching, sometimes pretentious souls trying to take over the world? Well, they've done that already, I suppose. And now they want the peak to last as long as it can. Which means you won't ever ever hear another 'Pop' again -- or even a 'Zooropa.'"

The critic has a couple great points:

"Mortality has replaced lost love and spiritual hunger as U2's reason for being."

"Beyond "Vertigo," precious little else on HTDAAB rocks or rolls or breaks much of a sweat. Instead, we again find ourselves elbow-deep in stately mid-tempo songs, blithely pretty but missing the indelible moment that great U2 ballads always possess ... By comparison, U2's last two records are probably their most sonically conservative, recycling the same solid riffs and melodies we've come to expect from them. Maintain the brand, maintain the brand."

Then he closes with this, which I thought was great:

"Don't call the album awful or terrible or anything so harsh. Be objective and say that HTDAAB is a solid if unsurprising U2 record, another of their late-period attempts at consensus and craftsmanship. But if this is a throwback to 'classic' U2, which '80s record of theirs does this sound like? 'War' was more violent, 'The Joshua Tree' more bracing, 'Rattle and Hum' more weary, 'Boy' more yearning. No, HTDAAB longs for a past U2 has long since outgrown. It's all right: Their fans have too, and if the band won't say anything, they won't either. At a time when Radiohead are too 'weird' and the White Stripes too 'loud,' U2 are getting dangerously close to Sting territory -- comfort music at a high level of sophistication. And, hey, who doesn't love the idea of Sting?"

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