The Cure vs. U2

Started by revolt, September 10, 2008, 11:04:35

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AdamClayton

Revolt;

I think you make some really valid points and I would like to add some comments on a few of them.

You say that they both started out as 'alternative' bands and later achieved mainstream success. This is offcourse correct, however I believe that a lot of people think that Cure stayed an alternative band and U2 became a mainstream band around Live Aid in the mid 80's. I always disagreed with this as I believe U2 never been a mainstream band despite achieving mainstream success. I mean look at the Boy/October/War releases. This was the period of new wave....were these records typical of this era? Not at all IMHO...they were limited musicians at that time and played the only way they could, but it sure didn't sound like anything else in this period.

Then in the mid/late 80's the typical mainstream popscene was Pat Sharp, Sam Fox, Bros etc....cheesy pop (some of which I love though, Pet Shop Boys is by far the best popgroup ever:). Then U2 released Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum which was again different from late 80's mainstream, I mean...just look at the sleeves, were was the screaming colours and pink sweaters....you won't find any more depressing images than that!

Then its the 90's and popular culture changed quite a lot. You got MTV Unplugged, roots music....people started looking back to find inspiration, the grunge scene was about something 'real' as opposed to the superficial 80. U2 had already done this with Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum, the latter slated at the time its was released. So we got Achtung Baby which sounded different than most mainstream music in the beginning of the 90'....ready for the laughing gas and all that.

So in my in my opinion U2 and Cure are also similar in that they've always been independent and alternative throughout their career as they done exactly what they want despite (or maybe because?) of their mainstream success. There are so many people that don't think these things can exists together; having mainstream success and being alternative/independent but I think both Cure and U2 are very similar in that respect and prove that this is indeed possible.

Another point you bring up is the inability to play coversongs. Man, I've heard some proper crap coversongs by U2...and they managed to release possibly the worst of them all on Rattle and Hum, 'All Along The Watchtower'. However, as a curiosity, check out some of the boots from the Lovetown Tour of 89 and you find that they improved immensely and those versions really should have been released instead of that crap Rattle and Hum version. 

revolt

Quote from: AdamClayton on October 11, 2008, 11:38:58


Another point you bring up is the inability to play coversongs. Man, I've heard some proper crap coversongs by U2...and they managed to release possibly the worst of them all on Rattle and Hum, 'All Along The Watchtower'. However, as a curiosity, check out some of the boots from the Lovetown Tour of 89 and you find that they improved immensely and those versions really should have been released instead of that crap Rattle and Hum version. 

Actually, after I posted that message it came to my mind that I know ONE particular cover by U2 that is not merely good, but wonderful. It's "Springhill Mining Disaster", a song originally sung by Luke Kelly (with the Dubliners).


Here is the You Tube link:

http://mx.youtube.com/watch?v=mWzYSJ3-Cjw#18

japanesebaby

Quote from: AdamClayton on October 11, 2008, 11:38:58
I believe that a lot of people think that Cure stayed an alternative band and U2 became a mainstream band around Live Aid in the mid 80's. I always disagreed with this as I believe U2 never been a mainstream band despite achieving mainstream success.
Quote from: AdamClayton on October 11, 2008, 11:38:58
So in my in my opinion U2 and Cure are also similar in that they've always been independent and alternative throughout their career as they done exactly what they want despite (or maybe because?) of their mainstream success. There are so many people that don't think these things can exists together; having mainstream success and being alternative/independent but I think both Cure and U2 are very similar in that respect and prove that this is indeed possible.


i agree with this quite a bit. i've always thought that U2 didn't go mainstream but the mainstream came to them (talking about the mountain coming to muhammed hehe now isn't that quite approriate? :P)
for instance, if i'm completely honest, i was pretty much expecting the mainstream to finally turn its back on them when 'achtung baby' and especially  'zooropa' were released... but no! so it's always kind of baffled me, how they've managed to make all kinds of non-mainstream albums (and actually several different types of them, like AdamClayton pointed out) but still stayed in mainstream spotlight. and how at the same time the cure always needed to stay out of the spotlight, in a way.

i also think that when some people say the cure and u2 are exact opposites of each other, so very different: they mostly base that opinion on looking at their public appearances, judging them for being a mainstream band (which they really even aren't, like just said).
it's the same thing what i was talking about a bit earlier, how some people always need to slag off u2 because of bono's ego, because of their appearances - that does not mean their music was bad - or even non-alternative. but sometimes that mainstream spotlight blinds one's eye and we can't really see the thing itself, all we see is that spotlight. and then it's easy to say "i don't see anything interesting". but that's necessarily not the band's/music's fault.




and coversongs - indeed! U2 used to be shamefully bad, just embarrassingly bad... as did the cure...

what comes to u2 i would have also mentioned one exception, the very same 'springhill mining disaster' that already got mentioned. that one is really really good, always liked it a lot.
but take something - anything - else, for instance some of the stuff they did on the '86 'a conspiracy of hope' tour. 'come on everybody' or 'help' etc. - that's just quite terrible.  :oops:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine

revolt

Quote from: japanesebaby on October 15, 2008, 20:06:38
what comes to u2 i would have also mentioned one exception, the very same 'springhill mining disaster' that already got mentioned. that one is really really good, always liked it a lot.

Glad to see we agree on that! :)

Quote from: japanesebaby on October 15, 2008, 20:06:38
but take something - anything - else, for instance some of the stuff they did on the '86 'a conspiracy of hope' tour. 'come on everybody' or 'help' etc. - that's just quite terrible.  :oops:


You know, I just happened to remember another cover by them which I also find really good, Cole Porter's "Night and Day":

http://mx.youtube.com/watch?v=orSBHem9e3s#18

japanesebaby

'night and day' isn't too bad. actually i think they can make ok covers just as long as they don't try "to play rock'n'roll". they are a terrific band when they do things their own way but they are a terrible rock'n'roll band, always were. some other bands were really good at playing other people's songs before starting to make their own songs, but like already pointed out above u2 sstarted to make their own songs because their abilities to play "existing music" were too limited.
so they never learned to "play rock'n'roll", so to speak.  they can do a cole porter song (which is a musical song in a style of old jazz standard) and they can do a folk song and come up with something good and original. but the moment they try to play "come on everybody" and they take an instant nosedive.

(i suppose someone could argue that 'all along the watchtower' should also qualify as a folk and therefore they shouldn't have stumbled with that one. but i think they tried to make a rock'n'roll song out of it instead of doing it in their own way/in a folk'sih way and that's why it pretty much sucks. or at least will remain quite uninteresting and unnecessary.)
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine

revolt

Quote from: japanesebaby on October 16, 2008, 12:58:11
'night and day' isn't too bad. actually i think they can make ok covers just as long as they don't try "to play rock'n'roll". they are a terrific band when they do things their own way but they are a terrible rock'n'roll band, always were. some other bands were really good at playing other people's songs before starting to make their own songs, but like already pointed out above u2 sstarted to make their own songs because their abilities to play "existing music" were too limited.
so they never learned to "play rock'n'roll", so to speak.  they can do a cole porter song (which is a musical song in a style of old jazz standard) and they can do a folk song and come up with something good and original. but the moment they try to play "come on everybody" and they take an instant nosedive.

(i suppose someone could argue that 'all along the watchtower' should also qualify as a folk and therefore they shouldn't have stumbled with that one. but i think they tried to make a rock'n'roll song out of it instead of doing it in their own way/in a folk'sih way and that's why it pretty much sucks. or at least will remain quite uninteresting and unnecessary.)

Well, but 'All along the watchtower", as Dylan played it, was more of a rock song than folk (it's from 1968's "John Wesley Harding", when Dylan was already past his folk phase for some time). And the definitive version of it (even Dylan agrees) is by Jimi Hendrix - I think it was with Hendrix in mind that U2 gave it a try. It was bound to be a failure, of course.

I have to agree that U2 can't rock out in the old rock & roll way. It's just not made for them- But at their best, when they decide to rock out in the U2-way, no one can beat them. :)

japanesebaby

Quote from: revolt on October 16, 2008, 13:21:59
Well, but 'All along the watchtower", as Dylan played it, was more of a rock song than folk (it's from 1968's "John Wesley Harding", when Dylan was already past his folk phase for some time). And the definitive version of it (even Dylan agrees) is by Jimi Hendrix - I think it was with Hendrix in mind that U2 gave it a try. It was bound to be a failure, of course.

ok you've got a point there. but still i'd say dylan is different than trying to cover eddie cochran or the beatles or elvis or etc..
talking about hendrix, surprisingly the cure managed covering 'purple haze' quite well, imo. then again, 'hello i love you' by the doors was not their thing at all - the psychedelic mix is a million times better than the version included on rubaiyat.
i've always thought that one can actually directly hear which artist motivated robert more. everyone knows he's a hendrix fan yet never really was too much into the doors. i think he said somehting on the join the dots sleeve notes about choosing 'hello i love you' because it's a nice kinks rip-off or something like it.

Quote from: revolt on October 16, 2008, 13:21:59
But at their best, when they decide to rock out in the U2-way, no one can beat them. :)

very true. i'd even dare to say it's hard to argue that even if one didn't really like their music.
people have tried topping 'where the streets...' for years but i never saw anyone coming even close.
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine

revolt

Quote from: japanesebaby on October 16, 2008, 14:04:29

talking about hendrix, surprisingly the cure managed covering 'purple haze' quite well, imo. then again, 'hello i love you' by the doors was not their thing at all - the psychedelic mix is a million times better than the version included on rubaiyat.
i've always thought that one can actually directly hear which artist motivated robert more. everyone knows he's a hendrix fan yet never really was too much into the doors. i think he said somehting on the join the dots sleeve notes about choosing 'hello i love you' because it's a nice kinks rip-off or something like it.



The Kinks song ripped-off on that one is "All day and all of the night"(http://mx.youtube.com/watch?v=F4DV-5d6a5g#18)... A mid 60's classic, in my opinion. But the Doors song is already too poppy for them and that Cure cover was not a good idea at all.


PS: I suppose I'll have to listen to the psychedelic mix of "Purple Haze" again, I don't recall it exactly now. I suppose it's one of those included in "Join the Dots"...


japanesebaby

Quote from: revolt on October 16, 2008, 14:46:44
the psychedelic mix of "Purple Haze"

the psychedelic mix is a mix of 'hello i love you', not 'purple haze'.
although the version of 'purple haze' cover included on 'stone free:...' compilation could just as well be called a psychedelic one, i suppose.
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine

revolt

Quote from: japanesebaby on October 16, 2008, 15:16:17
Quote from: revolt on October 16, 2008, 14:46:44
the psychedelic mix of "Purple Haze"

the psychedelic mix is a mix of 'hello i love you', not 'purple haze'.
although the version of 'purple haze' cover included on 'stone free:...' compilation could just as well be called a psychedelic one, i suppose.

Of course, my bad there... I was in a hurry and didn't bother to check.

AdamClayton

Check this out, at least they improved on that horrible Rattle and Hum version of Watchtower :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3lv5gbMSSY

Another cover that I appreciate is Paint It Black from one of the Whos Gonna Ride Horses singles. As Japanesebaby pointed out, U2 arn't too bad when they play them their own way, not as 'rock n roll' which this proves imho.

This is also in interesting recording as it done in late 1989 and released in 1992. Even at that point you can feel that change that came later with Achtung Baby....its sort of a mix between God pt 2 and Acrobat, a feeling I also believe is present in that Night and Day cover.

revolt

Quote from: AdamClayton on October 16, 2008, 21:13:18
Check this out, at least they improved on that horrible Rattle and Hum version of Watchtower :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3lv5gbMSSY

Another cover that I appreciate is Paint It Black from one of the Whos Gonna Ride Horses singles. As Japanesebaby pointed out, U2 arn't too bad when they play them their own way, not as 'rock n roll' which this proves imho.

This is also in interesting recording as it done in late 1989 and released in 1992. Even at that point you can feel that change that came later with Achtung Baby....its sort of a mix between God pt 2 and Acrobat, a feeling I also believe is present in that Night and Day cover.

I have to agree that the version you post here improves on the Rattle & Hum one. It's more fiery and dynamic (and it's curious to hear BONO go all-Robert-Plant for a moment there). I took the chance to re-listen to the R&H version, by the way, and to be completely fair I cannot call it really BAD. It's just sort of useless, because U2 don't add anything to the song. They play it competently but just about any competent rock band could do much the same.

japanesebaby

Quote from: AdamClayton on October 11, 2008, 11:38:58
and they managed to release possibly the worst of them all on Rattle and Hum, 'All Along The Watchtower'. However, as a curiosity, check out some of the boots from the Lovetown Tour of 89 and you find that they improved immensely and those versions really should have been released instead of that crap Rattle and Hum version. 

i suppose it's quite obvious that the version they chose on 'rattle & hum' was chosen because it makes sense in the movie (it's the famous "rock'n'roll stops the traffic" version from the free ex tempore live show that the band played in san francisco - not even having with they own gear but they were borrowing grateful dead's gear if i recall correctly). so, it makes sense in the movie even if the performance is not (nearly) the best they pulled. but it becomes somewhat useless when one listens to the album alone, they just sound annoyingly sloppy there then.

i always thought 'rattle & hum' was really "just" a soundtrack album, not a "real" u2 album.
i was never really fond of that lovetown stuff, neither as studio versions or live. to me 'heartland' is the best bit of 'rattle & hum', i've always been really fond of that track. it's u2 being u2 and not trying to be a (mediocre) blues band or something.
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine

revolt

Quote from: japanesebaby on October 17, 2008, 14:40:13
[. to me 'heartland' is the best bit of 'rattle & hum', i've always been really fond of that track. it's u2 being u2 and not trying to be a (mediocre) blues band or something.

"Heartland" is kind of beautiful, I agree. But I even prefer "All I Want is You", which is not only a beautiful melody but with all those strings it becomes something different from all other U2 ballads until then. I also like "Van Diemen's Land" (a sort of folksy ballad and the only time I've ever liked hearing The Edge sing) and "Hawkmoon 269", which has the kind of crescendo that completely pulls me in. Come to think of it, all these are ballads... Coincidence?

edit: I'd just like to add this: "When Love Comes to Town" is the worst U2 song from the pre-2000's days. Only the quality of a few of the words there save it from being a 100% bummer.

DroidAKov

When Love Comes To Town is indeed atrocious, i cringe whenever i hear that indulgent piece of not niceness. Its comparable to when i hear Wrong Number....but thats another debate. All I Want Is You and Heartland are the only tracks on Rattle & Hum I have any time for, who would have thought Achtung Baby was next!