INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Select DECEMBER 2000 - by Toby Manning
U2: ALL THAT YOU CAN'T LEAVE BEHIND
Two tracks in, Stuck In A Moment couldn't be a more apt summation of U2's career. That moment is, essentially, Live Aid 1984, the point when rock stars officially ceased to be drug-and-sex dustbins, and became Concerned Human Beings.
Even when U2 discovered irony in the '90s, they still sounded earnest, nowhere more so than on 1997's disco album Pop. Consequently, Bono & Co seem to have given up trying to reinvent themselves and decided to stick to being U2, the band, remember, which is unafraid of titles like Peace On Earth.
They've even gone back to their 1984 production team. As Bono himself says on the aforementioned (and rather charming) Stuck In A Moment, "There's nothing you can throw at me I haven't already heard" and, compared to natural successors Radiohead's righteous cynicism, U2's earnestness sounds increasingly inoffensive, stripped of both early bombast and mid-period irony.
Bar one disastrous Song 2-style venture Elevation and the absurd New York, the album mostly wafts by in a pleasant '80s-flavoured nostalgic haze, particularly the single Beautiful Day and the (inevitably) soaring Kite. Which isn't to suggest for a moment they should start organising Live Aid II