Oh, Lord: Loosen My Lips
Michael Ubaldi, December 16, 2011.
Writes John J. Miller:
So the professors have discovered U2. A new book, Exploring U2, looks like the very sort of thing that academics should not produce, with its entries titled “The Authentic Self in Paul Ricoeur and U2″ and “Vocal Layering as Deconstruction and Reinvention in U2.” Yet one of the pieces is by Stephen Catanzarite, a pop-culture writer who is not a professor (but is an NRO reader). It’s called “All That We Can’t Leave Behind: U2′s Conservative Voice.” . . . In his chapter, Stephen quotes Russell Kirk and stuff like that. It’s mind candy for conservatives who turn up the volume when “Where the Streets Have No Name” comes on the radio.
Wrote I (cross-posted):
October, of course, was written when the quartet was in a very different—a pseudo-monastic—stage of living and thinking.
But even Pop, reviled as U2's deviant mistake, is almost back-to-front chary and sober. "Discotheque," self-aware in its frivolity; "Do You Feel Loved?", reciting a plausibly monogamous encomium; "Mofo," likely autobiographical in its search for maternal approval; "If God Will Send His Angels," a then-trite-now-endearing commentary on the decade of cable television; "Last Night on Earth," a Faustian narrative; "Gone," another hard look at a showman's identity; "Miami," surface-deep but harmlessly plebeian; "The Playboy Mansion," a second, buzzword-strewn contemporary admonishment; "Velvet Dress," sultry but restrained. "Please" and "Wake Up, Dead Man" are orphans from Zooropa sessions, so their respective contempt and coarseness make for reasonable exceptions.
I will say, though: I don't enjoy U2's work as much these days, with its twelve-word songs that straddle secular rock-stars' idea of contemporary worship. Bono was better off tipsily stumbling into virtue.
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