U2 DOES NOT SUCK
My apologies – I had to get that off my chest. In the past few years it has become en vogue to hate on the world’s most famous Irish lads. Somehow it seems you get hipster cred by trashing them. I’m not sure where this came from exactly. Certainly, people must have their reasons beyond the fact that they are massively successful (though oftentimes that’s enough to get you hated in today’s celebrity landscape). However, for me, any band that inspired a gospel choir to cover one of their songs most definitely does NOT suck.
This week I’ve been considering the bands and music that had a huge and lasting impact on me in my formative years in the 1980’s. I would be a dirty rotten lying liar if I did not include U2 in that list. For me, the albums they made in the mid to late ’80’s are a crucial part of my personal soundtrack. As is often noted about that time period, there was a lot of vacuous pop music on the radio as well as banal and uninspiring rock n roll. Many of us turned to music from other eras (particularly the ’60’s) to find something of substance. U2 was an ’80’s band unafraid to venture into those 60’s-era waters of non-ironic, life-affirming, justice-seeking, peace-love-and-rattle-and-hum musical territory. And I, for one, loved them for that.
Sure, Bono can be annoying. He also comes across as a decent human being in an environment full of a hell of a lot of indecency. Maybe it’s time to cut him some slack. And the band as a whole? They’ve been together for about 40 years – FORTY! Don’t you think there must be something real there that keeps them together doing what they do for so long?
Haters gonna hate, but U2 ain’t going nowhere.
In the late 1980’s I was a twenty-something guy who believed in big things, in ideals, in a God who loves people and wants justice to win the day. In U2 I found a band that echoed my inner life and lived it out on radio stations everywhere. Around that time I also had one of the greatest musical experiences of my life: I was part of a Gospel choir. It was like tasting a slice of heaven to be involved in that kind of powerful joining of voices, singing alongside men and women of so many different ethnic backgrounds, swept along in song in praise to Someone all about the big things, the high ideals, love, justice, mercy, forgiveness, grace. Imagine, then, how it hit me to hear a Gospel choir cover the U2 song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For”? Well, for me, almost 30 years after hearing it for the first time on their album Rattle and Hum, the chills continue and will likely continue for the rest of my life.
Here is that live performance that was included on the album. The video quality is poor but the song itself is about as perfect as you can get this side of heaven. Enjoy.