First, the good bells!
"It's in your voice. Has me ringing like a bell."
"The church bells in town, they're ringing a song. What a happy sound."
Wedding bells! It always seemed like Adam Clayton would be an eternal bachelor, but on Sept. 4 he married Brazilian Mariana Teixeira de Carvalho in Dublin. Congratulations to our favorite bassist, and we hope they have many long and happy years together.
And now, the bad bells.
"And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom."
"Let the bells ring out. Is there nothing left?"
"There's an old church bell no longer ringing."
The bells of doom are sounding for the chance of a new U2 album this year. I was holding out hope that we'd get word of a new single in September, but it is looking less and less likely. Now Bono is saying, "I'd like to think that next year, there'll be a U2 release."
We go through this every time new album buzz starts, and I always end up frustrated waiting for a release, but it really sounded like they had their stuff together this time. Steve Lillywhite tweeted about how he was not working on the new album. Since he's usually their clean-up guy when they want to polish all the details on a new creation, I took it as a very positive sign.
Then Rolling Stone magazine's Andy Greene made a very insightful point on his Twitter feed: "U2 are smart to push their album to 2014. Hard to compete with Arcade Fire, Eminem, Gaga, Katy Perry, Miley, Timberlake and Pearl Jam." I wasn't buying it at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Perhaps U2 just don't want the competition for album sales and attention.
I'll be happy when U2 release a new album. I always am, and I've yet to find one that came within lightyears of letting me down. However, I also look at the release dates for what U2 consider their successes and failures. Their most popular albums of the past 20 or so years all came out late in the year. Achtung Baby was in November, All That You Can't Leave Behind came out in October and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb was a November release. Conversely, Zooropa came out in July, Pop in March and No Line On The Horizon in February. If they release the new album early next year after this year's holiday rush, are we going to get more existential concern from Bono about the band's reason to exist and more news about how disappointing everything to do with the new album is? Or will they push it back until late next year to try and get into their more "successful" formula? For good or for ill, U2 seem to be an autumn/winter band, not the summer band they wish they were. They'll sell boffo numbers of tickets on their tour, of course, but they do seem to take album sales and public reception very personally.
Patience is something every U2 fan has to learn.
In the absence of new music from my favorite band, I'm at least getting new music from other rock bands I love.
The new album from Arctic Monkeys is coming out on Sept. 9 or 10, depending on where you live. They've developed into an incredibly smooth, dark band, and their new album AM sounds just gorgeous. Their lead singer, Alex Turner, has always had a very devilish, witty way with words and rhymes, and he hasn't lost any of that on the new album. He's clever, a true poet and he has this intriguing way of messing with pronunciations of words to get them to fit perfectly within the context of the song. "Fireside" is possibly my favorite song off the new album. Give it a listen.
(c) @U2, 2013.