Before I go on with this letter, I want to tell you how much I respect you. You have deep convictions on what you feel is right – and you don’t back down from those convictions. Once more, you use your position as someone in the limelight to further your positions on social justice. You don’t even take political sides. Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal…it doesn’t seem to matter to you. You just want to get things done. Again, I respect you – immensely.
Having said all that – I’m a bit frustrated as a fan. I have been listening to U2 for seventeen years now – longer than I’ve been listening to any other band. I started when I was in the seventh grade with “The Joshua Tree” and have bought everything u2 has released since – as well as many albums before that. I have only seen you perform once – but my 97 dollar ticket was more than I’ve ever paid to see any other band. I still carry the ticket stub in my wallet – and that was four years ago. So needless to say, I am a fan.
This is where it gets a little hairy. As a fan I feel a loyalty to you – to like everything that U2 ever puts out. It’s been almost a year since “How to dismantle an atomic bomb” was released. I tried to like it – even convinced myself that I liked it for a while – but the truth is – I believe that it’s one of u2’s weakest albums. There are a few songs on HTDAAB that I love – a few riffs that are classic u2, but overall, well – let’s just say I think you can do a lot better.
A band that has been around for as long as U2 is entitled to one or two sub-standard albums, but I fear that this is becoming almost a pattern. Like U2 has lost their musical fire. It all started when Zooropa was released. Honestly, I have listened to that album less than any other U2 albums. It just didn’t do it for me. Granted, it followed up arguably the best U2 albums (Achtung Baby), but still…you could have done better.
After Zooropa, U2 released Pop. The concepts in that album were great! Using the Playboy mansion as a metaphor for heaven! Pure genius! But the album on a whole was, well, boring. That was two less than average albums in a row!
Over the next few years, something wonderful happened. U2 not only released a couple best of / B sides albums, but also one hell of a great album – All that you can’t leave behind (I am listening to that album right now). I rejoiced when ATYCLB was released. It showed that U2 had not lost it’s fire – that you were just as good as ever! So, when HTDAAB was released, I rushed out to buy it.
Seriously, while U2 had one great album in the last ten years, the majority of the albums have been pretty dull. So, I guess this is where I ask you – is it time that U2 retires? You’ve made a lot of money, so you don’t need to make any more albums in a fiscal sense. And if you stop making albums and touring, that will leave more time to your social justice causes. If you do decide to make more albums, I will still buy them. I’m a loyal fan and also an optimist. Maybe this letter (if you actually see this letter) will inspire you to do better on the next album, I don’t know. I just know that – as it stands now – I believe you’ve lost your fire.
An open letter to Bono…