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U2 Bono: Why do people love and hate him?
Love or Hate
Some words associated with Bono: love, hate, Africa, aids, ego, poverty, superstar oh and music.
I have this on going argument with my friend about U2. We both love music. We both enjoy Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and our respective first record purchases was the same REM single. So why can’t we agree that U2 are an important and quality band? Why are there many people, similar to my friend, who just can’t bring themselves to like Bono and the band.
Firstly I’m informed that Bono is simply a massive ego. They highlight “the fly” glasses and “superstar” outfits. But that was the band's reaction to the criticism of Rattle and Hum. The band were stung by the media’s obsession with tour ticket and album sales. Their response was to reinvent themselves as an ironic superstars. The ego therefore is part of the art.
Then there are people who say Bono can’t sing. People also accuse them of bad craftmanshift. If that were true why did the likes of BB King, Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan perform with them? Surely if they were that bad fellow artists would not jeopardise their own reputations; the doubters then reply that they would do it for the money. I just don’t believe that BB king, Frank Sinatra etc need the cash that badly. I can listen to Achtung Baby and Joshua Tree over and over and I always feel that both albums are strong pieces of work. I’m not suggesting their work is always up to Bob Dylan's or Neil Young's standard but neither would I dismiss it as poor.
Another accusation is that they are too political and that their songs can be full of trite metaphoric messages. But then Bob Dylan was also very political and he is the most credible Lyricists there is. If you don’t like a person because they speak out about AIDS in Africa. Or Poverty. Or raise awareness about the environment. Or they openly support Aung San Suu Kyi. Then it is not a great reflection of the critic. I’d like to think Bono’s work is noble and that he makes a difference. If someone told me they felt charity was uncool then I’d be forgiven for thinking those words were the uttering of a horrible human being.
My friend also points out that he doesn’t like the music. That’s fine as everyone has their own tastes but we share a fondness for so many similar things. I, as a passionate music fan, can’t imagine how songs such as One or With or Without you would be bad music.
Then what of the use of religious connotation and the passionate statements on social equality? Yet again I can’t even fathom why it would be perceived as negative to praise Martin Luther King. A man who believed in social justice and achieving that through peaceful means. People state that they don’t appreciate Bono preaching at them but who grows weary of wanting the world to be a fairing, more tolerant, place. Some people have mentioned his associations with people such as George W Bush but do you think for an instant that an AIDS infected hungry African really cares about how the medicine/food was solicited. It would undoubtedly make Bono a lesser man if he was to put his reputation before the good causes he works with.
In response to people who hate the man, I say do some research into what he has achieved for charity. If you don’t like the music then go and listen to the early albums and really hear the punk influence. If you think they have become too commercial then make sure you hold many other artists, whose tickets cost a lot more, to a similar standard. As a human being and a music fan it is everyone’s right to pick and chose who you like or dislike. Having said that don’t base your opinions on what is a fad and always make informed decisions.