Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Falling into Fall

Ever notice how the theme of falling dominates the lyrics on the highly spiritual and kinetically charged October album?

How does this theme of falling connect with Fall? With letting go of attachments in life to let the light of redemption take hold? Bono's lyrical progression returns to this place on the opening and closing of the current disc.

Both "Vertigo" and "Yahweh" deal with the extremes of falling, spinning, mind-tingling surrender. On the opener, it's a hedonistic hyperreality that recalls the postmodern theology of Pop and Zooropa. In closing, Bono returns to some of his most explicit and exquisite psalmistry, recalling "Tomorrow," "40," "Rejoice," and other rock n roll prayers of his early works.

From "Lord, loosen my lips" to "Your love is just a drop in the ocean," these tunes are electric tributes to the Great Spirit, the Force, God, just name your higher power. Bono sure does.

Monday, October 24, 2005

On the cover of Rolling Stone

With considerable effort, I picked up the new Rolling Stone today. After a long detour and a delayed arrival at work, I have it to study and examine. The first store I visited still had the Paul McCartney cover. They had a different magazine called Ode with Bono on the cover, but the interview was only an excerpt from the Michka Assayas In Conversation book.

Although I've only begun to read, chewing on a section like a sweet I want to linger, Bono has soothed some of my political cynicism, showing his heart where I'd hoped it would be, streetwise and sensitive and sensibly self-aware.

And the Bono I feared had begun an inside associate of BushCo. seems missing when the Bono I thought I knew begins to speak: "But some people don't want America World Police. By the way, it might be cheaper to make friends out of potential enemies than to defend against them later."

I just ripped out the obnoxious car centerfold, and now Bono has the centerfold. Bono is "sick of Bono." Bono doesn't travel with security. Bono has Ali, and they both have my heart with the picture on page 67.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Battling the Anti-Bono Within

For a moment, this might appear to be more of an anti-U2 blog. Perhaps it will transform itself into part fan site, part watchdog of Bono's blunders. My objection is neither spiritual nor musical but rather political.

Lately, it's been like . . . Bono's Politics: How to suck-up to the Right and expect the Left to get over it. After receiving one of his many awards, Bono remarked: "We should start with the projectile vomit factor and how to prevent it. Is that possible? I expect that cynicism to be thrown at me. I'm always available for mud pies, rocks and small assault weapons."

I found the quote in a much longer interview, and I was relived: he at leasts welcomes the feedback.

He was anwering the question: "Are you concerned about the cynics who cast a jaded eye at superstar do-gooders?"

Expect me to keep it real--yet balance the critique with some of the more enamored reflecting and reviewing I've been doing for the past 11 months, some of the most veriginously intense months of my 22 years of U2 fandom.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Government Approved Rock and Roll

Is this what U2 has become?

With the loserly likes of John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Jesse Helms, Rick Santorum, Condy Rice, and Bill Frist in the U2 fan club, I am confronted with the frightening fact that I am in love with a band that is what my prophet Bill Hicks warned against.

Is it possible to overturn the money-changers' tables when your rock and roll temple has been soiled by a Rick Santorum fundraiser?

God, please give me back the ranting ballsy Bono of the 80s and 90s over this pious priestlike person doing penance for his past pomposity!!!

The great comedian Bill Hicks suggested that there is really nothing worse than government-approved rock. It is akin, to, well, in his words, sucking off Satan.

So please, to save Bono's soul from Satan, read on and pray that he will renounce his evil ways. Instead of sucking up to senators, why not a PsyOp with vigorous versions of the Rattle and Hum-era Bullet the Blue Sky piping through the halls of Congress!

Here is a commentary about Bill Hicks from Will Kaufman in a scholarly book on comedy :

(with more available here)

Hicks found it easy to segue from the War on Drugs into a critique of artistic prostitution and dishonesty. After invoking Hendrix, the Beatles, Keith Richards, Janis Joplin, and other musicians for whom drug experimentation proved a litmus test for the creative pursuit of an alternative viewpoint -- an "altered state" -- he would "extend the theory to our generation now, so it's more applicable" (RC). His conclusion was merciless: "These other musicians today who don't do drugs, and in fact speak out against them: boy, do they suck. What a coincidence. Ball-less, soul-less, spiritless, corporate little bitches, suckers of Satan's cock, each and every one of them." Signing up to the War on Drugs was tantamount to masquerading as a rock star: "'We're Rock Stars Against Drugs because that's what the President wants!' Aw, suck Satan's cock. That's what we want, isn't it? Government-approved rock and roll" (REV). The same rock stars fighting the War on Drugs were just as likely to be selling Pepsi-Cola and Taco Bell products: there was a connection. Certainly, a review of the eighties' and nineties' most prominent rock stars suggests an advertising chumminess inconceivable in the sixties and seventies, when the music was synonymous with nonconformity: Michael Jackson pushing Pepsi; Phil Collins and Eric Clapton pushing Michelob; George Michael pushing Diet Coke ("Diet Coke? Even Madonna fuckin' hawked real Coke"); M.C. Hammer pushing Kentucky Fried Chicken; Barry Manilow pushing McDonald's; Genesis pushing Volkswagens; Pink Floyd pushing Volkswagens. (Heaven alone knows how Hicks would have handled the news that, less than two years after his death, even Keith Richards would be pushing Volkswagens.) "Everyone is hawking products. That's the highest thing you can achieve now, isn't it -- become some barker?... I'm waiting to see, 'It's Jesus, for Miller! I was crucified, dead for three days, resurrected, and I've waited two thousand years to return to Earth -- it's Miller Time!'" (D).

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dangerous little devices

Bono has a love hate relationship with the cell phone. On the one hand, it's the dangerous little device that can end global poverty. On the other hand, if you appear to be calling a friend at a U2 concert on one, Bono might publicly humiliate you! Read more about that controversy!

I know the thing about a Blog is that it's meant to be "blogged" on. This being the one month of the year that my beloved band devoted an entire album to, this being the heart of the third leg of the Vertigo tour, I am going to try to post more often!Meanwhile, what do you think a real U2 blog might look like? Go here and there.

Personally, while I am not a "Christian" in the sense that I think Bono and Beth Maynard are, it's the kind of in-depth articles--pepperred with theological, political, and philosophical discussions--that she links to on her blog that in part motivated me to create this one.

But the setlist blogs are kind of special, too, in archive-geek kind of fashion. I have followed the Vertigo Tour like a dedicated fan might follow a sports team. I check the setlists like the boxscore. When I finally see them again, I will know what to expect, but I want that sense of what the ritual will taste like to the soul of my ears when the pop shaman shouts his hymns of hope and praise, a kind of sacred hedonism few can muster.

(According to Bono at a recent weekday show in Boston, the concert would become a combination of "Saturday night" and "Sunday morning.")