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"For me, that term 'pop' is like a candy bar. You buy it because you like it, you eat it, and then you throw it away."

-- Edge

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Column: off the record..., vol. 13-594

@U2, November 24, 2013
By: Tassoula E. Kokkoris


off the record, from @U2

When I hear the words "U2" and "Super Bowl" together, my subconscious transports me back to the brilliance that was Feb. 2, 2002. That time the band transformed a football field into a fellowship of awesome and performed (in my opinion) the best halftime show in history.

So, when it was reported in Billboard that the band might participate in some sort of Super Bowl commercial to promote their new album, I'll admit I was kind of surprised.

Surprised, but not necessarily outraged.

I love my fellow U2 fans, I really do, but folks: there are worse things to get worked up about in this world.

After that article was published, I began getting direct messages on Twitter, emails, etc. that were filled with fright: "How can they do this?" "Talk about SELLING OUT." I didn't respond to any of them.

Quite frankly, I got a little tingle when I thought of seeing them on that wonderful day of advertising (sorry, I'm not a sports fan). In fact, I think it's kind of genius, and if they do it, they'll get a lot of bang for their buck.

At the end of the day, they're a mainstream band hoping to reach the masses. I'm okay with their tactics.

Of course, the Super Bowl commercial rumor was the smaller piece of news to hit the U2 stratosphere, and many more were shaken by the revelation that Guy Oseary was ultimately replacing (or had already sort of replaced) Paul McGuinness as U2's manager.

Though I'll admit to having a bit of a freakout initially, the more I learned about Mr. Oseary, the more I warmed up to the idea. He's got several positives on his side, in my book:

  • His age. At 41, he falls into the middle demographic of U2's core base. He's younger than the band, but not so young he doesn't remember them in their prime. Sure, McGuinness had history with the band, but he had baggage, too. Oseary can start fresh.
  • His participation in social media. I've said it in prior columns: U2 really need to evolve into the digitial world and hire someone to Tweet the real stuff. To stay relevant, to interact with fans, to read the pulse of their base. Looking at their activity on social media vs. someone like Lady Gaga makes me embarrassed for them. Oseary is active on multiple platforms, and that's a good sign.
  • His understanding of the fan experience. After reading my colleague Aaron’s post about his exposure to Oseary from the perspective of a Madonna fan, I'm feeling good about the future.

Would it be too cheesy for me to say, "I'm ready for what's next?"

Getting back to the music, a delightful surprise arrived for paid subscribers of last week in the form of a new U2 video.

The song the band wrote, "Ordinary Love," for the new Mandela movie, now also has a gorgeous visual piece to go with it, created by Irish illustrator Oliver Jeffers and American animator and collagist Mac Premo.

Though I wish it featured more of the band, I do like it, and the song is very U2-familiar (in a good way).

It will arrive just in time for the holidays as a 10-inch vinyl release on Black Friday. Click here to see where it will be available for purchase.

Speaking of holidays ... The annual U2 Fan Christmas/Holiday Card Exchange is back!

If you'd like to join in the fun, read this post and follow the instructions within. The deadline for submitting your information is Dec. 7.

In the meantime, to my fellow Americans, Happy Thanksgiving.

© @U2/Kokkoris, 2013.

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