so, U2 release a new album. by surprise. and for free. to 500 million people, whether they want it or not. and people are finding something to complain about. a lot of it is idiotic, with one person suggesting that anyone who accepts this from the band free is "not a real fan". a lot of it is somewhat valid, with there being many U2 fans who want nothing (wisely) to do with Apple and thus are denied this gift by legal means.
and then there is the press. there are many articles like this one which are just an outright attack on the band and what they did with this record. ten things to do with a U2 record you don't want? and not one of them is "delete it"? i see. well, then, let's have a look at ten reasons why the press might be reacting like this.
because they didn't know this was coming
with few exceptions (Bowie last year being one) the press don't like only finding stuff like this out at the same time as everyone else. the press see it as their right to get this stuff in advance and be the ones to break the news to the world.
no one saw this coming. a lot of people after the fact have of course said "i knew that was going to happen" or suggested it was an "open secret". erm, no. no one was posting stories or comments anywhere about this.
because they didn't get freebies or advance copies
pick up any music magazine you like. note which albums get full marks or one short of full marks. go through the rest of the magazine. you will note the albums with generous reviews have extensive advertising in the magazine, or otherwise there is an interview with the artists. that's how reviews work.
no advance copy? no freebies? no goodie bag? we don't like you, say the press.
because they didn't get an interview
U2, or rather Bono, gave one interview about this, to Rolling Stone in the States. no exclusive comments, content or soundbites from the band? then we don't like you.
go back in time, back to 1994. the press were salivating and all excited about the return of The Stone Roses. then they returned, and gave their only interview to Big Issue magazine. result? the press did not like The Stone Roses very much at all anymore.
go back further, to 1984. NME had an exclusive interview with David Bowie, a thing as rare then as it is now. result? Tonight, one of the worst albums ever recorded in history, was awarded "instant classic" status by them.
seeing a pattern?
because Bono "doesn't pay tax"
one of the funniest things in 21st Century life is that everyone seems to know of, and has a "valid opinion" about, the tax affairs of U2. it's a big issue, apparently, that Bono's financial team locate his funds in parts of the world where he pays less tax.
and, yeah? first off, no one knows if this is true or not. secondly, so what? he and his band have worked hard, earned the money. they are legally managing it so they keep as much as they can. so? if someone gave you - as in you didn't even have to earn it - $100million or so, just how keen would you be to hand as much as possible over in taxes, if there was a way that legally you could hand over less in taxes?
like this is anything new. for years and years all sorts of actors and musicians were, for tax purposes, "domicile" in Ireland, for there was a time when if you were domiciled there and listed "artist" as your profession you paid next to no tax. and yet none of those more "righteous" artists were ever taken to task.
because U2 bashing is exceptionally trendy
a consequence of the above is that to attack U2 is an accepted part of day to day life. they are big, successfi; and rich, so must be hated.
the last time i can remember anyone saying anything positive about U2 was 2011, when at the reunion press conference Mani of The Stone Roses described Bono as a "mate".
carry on, then. hate away, as the press says.
because they can't review albums anymore
there was a time when we got, on average 2 - 3 pretty decent albums released every month. over the last 15 or so years, we have been lucky if 2 -3 decent albums get released in a year.
a consequence is that we have journalists - paid to write - that have no idea at all how to listen to an actual, proper album and review it. none of the slamming or slating of it, for example, has picked up on even the most obvious points - that the second track, for instance, blatantly rips off the music of one of their more well known songs, With Or Without You. they have also taken the line that the lyrics are what the band say, which is "reflective of the past". this is not always the case, with some very relevant and on the pulse of the world today.
one song features lyrics along the lines of "two girls in a room, face in the pillow of shame. they have a needle and try to spell my name. my body isn't a canvas, it's a toilet wall". utter genius, and on the button too, about this bizarre trend some seem to have about having names tattooed on their necks.
is the album any good? yes. 3 or 4 brilliant tracks, 5 - 6 decent ones, rest filler. way better than the dismal No Line On The Horizon effort from 5 or so years ago. it's very popular amongst the press to describe every album released as being "their best work since Scary Monsters", whether they recorded an album of that name, or similar or better, or not. not the case here, but a very good album indeed.
oh how the press would love to knife these three.
Kate does concerts for the first time in 30 years, doesn't play her earlier, bigger hits, instead opting for some arty-farty wankfest. but the people love her, and they would upset readers if they said that.
Monty Python deliver embarrassingly bad performances of 40 - 50 year old jokes on-stage to earn an awful lot of money to fund current and future divorces. the performances are not funny. but you can't go around attacking 70+ year old people who basically invented modern British humour.
Derek Bowie is the holy grail of modern interview wishes. Derek has not granted an interview for years. the press have been engaged in furious masturbation over David Bowie since January 2013, all trying to outwank each other over his genius in the hope of pleasing him enough to give them a few words. his announcement of releasing one new song as part of yet another greatest hits compilation should prompt calls of cashing in. but they dare not.
what to do with all that hate? direct it at U2. who cares? no one likes them, and they give you interviews anyway, no matter what you write about them.
because U2 are an age they cannot understand
if U2 were ten or twenty years younger, they would be allowed to "reinvent" themselves, be credited for "staying relevant" and praised for doing so, like a Brett Anderson, a Manic Street Preachers, a Jack White or, f*** it, even like a Bez. if they were ten or twenty years older, they would get praised as being "legends" and credited for "carrying on", like the Rolling $tone$, Bowie, what survives of The Who and of course McCartney.
alas, they are at an age where musicians are expected to be inactive, sitting around counting royalties, getting fat and playing tennis, waiting a few years before a reunion / comeback show. the press, thus, do not know what to do with them.
the idea of a band plodding along, making an album every 4 or so years and not getting involved in any arguments of consequence, any drug problems, any sex scandals or anything at all, scares them. we must, in the world of the press, hate that which scares us.
because music is supposed to be dead
downloads, lest we forget, are killing music. just how home taping conclusively and comprehensively killed music in the 1970s and then again in the 1980s. the music industry is killing music, of course, with its farcical ways of just giving up instead of trying to find new ways to sell.
U2 clocked the industry has given up. U2 clocked a way to release an album, get it heard and make an awful lot of money. that's a bit too clever a thing for musicians to have been doing. let us hate them.
because journalism is killing itself
the internet will kill conventional, traditional press long before it kills music. and the funny part is that the newspapers and magazines will do it, believing they have to follow trends, moods and ideas of the internet in order to be relevant.
if the best the press can do is attack U2, be "clever" with inane lists of what to do with an album that you might not want and not review it properly, then we are probably better off without that press.
dismissing and rubbishing U2 was a lazy, easy way of dealing with a news story that took them all by surprise. no effort to review the actual album, good or bad. basically, they ran slagging off stories that they could have done whether an album existed or not. what a waste of writing, then.
it's fine not to like U2. it's exceptionally fine to consider Bono a complete dick. it's worrying when that is the only things that can be commented on when any newsworthy matter featuring them comes up.
i shall continue enjoying the album, thanks.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!