U2 have been making the rounds lately, promoting their newest album Songs of Innocence. On the Graham Norton Show, Bono explained why he wears sunglasses all the time. It’s already been said years before that it’s because he’s sensitive to light, but on the show he added that he has glaucoma. Whoa, Bono. Don’t go scaring me by using words like glaucoma! Don’t get old! He did say that he’s all right, and not sick, and that there’s no need to call him “poor old blind Bono”. But still, DON’T GET OLD!
The band also did a Facebook chat to answer fans’ questions. One “fan” rather politely – she did say “please“ – asked that they never give away any of their music on iTunes for free again because it’s rude, thank you. And Bono may have been sincerely apologetic when he replied.
“Can you please never release an album on iTunes that automatically downloads to people’s playlists ever again? It’s really rude.
“Oops … I’m sorry about that, I had this beautiful idea. Might have gotten carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that thing. A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion, and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years might not be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess, we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”
To which I say, NO, NO, NO, NO. Please Bono, please don’t ever apologize for giving away Songs of Innocence for free. Ever. It was a gift, a beautiful gift. I try to imagine how I would feel if this was done by another musician, and it would really have to be someone I really really really actively hate. Note the use of “actively”, because a rational person who doesn’t like someone’s music just chooses to ignore it, right? They don’t make the effort to hate or troll or look for that music just so they can hate on it. So I try to imagine if Taylor Swift were to give away her music for free on iTunes. Well, it would never download automatically on my playlist because I am not a complete dolt. So that’s the end of that.
(Can I just digress here for a bit and say, that Facebook chat with the band was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. I was laughing so hard that tears came out. Edge saying that it will be hard to shut Bono up, Larry pronouncing the fan’s name as “Joan” instead of “Juan” and “Benedict Cucumber”, Bono photobombing The Edge, and Adam with his very detailed discussion of sandalwood, Tom Ford Musk and bergamot. They killed.)
I cried for real a little bit when Bono was replying to that question because they never need to apologize for that. However, the fact that they even chose to include it in the video shows the band’s sense of humor. Adam was snorting and everyone else was laughing when he read it out to Bono. And somewhere in Bono’s reply, and in the guys’ chuckles, I could detect a hint of a “Fck this we’re awesome we can do whatever we want” vibe. So I guess in a way, acknowledging and responding to the troll proved how cool the band really is.
I was pretty flippant in my previous post about U2 when I said that I get how people can hate them. But all this backlash against the free album is not even funny anymore. I love them, I missed them, and this album is their best since How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Heck, it may even be better than Bomb.
Thank you, U2. Thank you for my gift. And I cannot wait to buy the album – yes, pay for it – as soon as I decide which version I want. We in this together, boys!
This is a great post! I think the criticism U2 got was, frankly, mean. Who tells someone they are bad because they give you their heart?
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Thank you! At first I was still laughing about the haters’ reactions, but after a while everything just became, as you said, mean-spirited. I can’t believe people would choose to spend their energy on hate. I’m also glad to find a kindred spirit! 🙂
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