#12 Hits Today

I fought off U2 in the 80s. And it wasn’t easy. As I was discovering music, it seemed like the easy way out. The cliche. Here’s a rock band who’s also a Christian group! The boarding school I went to in 10th grade (and got kicked out of, but that’s another story) “allowed” students to listen to U2. That was the kind of school it was. So there were all these U2 fans roaming around campus listening to their albums like Boy and War without guilt. 

As for me, living in North Carolina in the age of Madonna and Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen, I took another road. One that led to Depeche Mode (still rocking and relevant) and The Smiths and The Cure. Depressing, yes, but for me it was unchartered territory. Nobody else I knew in the small corner of North Carolina where I lived even knew who those groups were. 
U2 kept calling my name, however. And when I moved up to the Chicago area and started going to Timothy Christian High School, I discovered that U2 had literally taken over the entire high school. While I was listening to The Smiths’ Strangeways Here We Come or Depeche’s Music for the Masses, the rest of the country was enthralled by The Joshua Tree. Next came Rattle and Hum and Bono looking like Jesus. I still fought them. I liked the music but everything else just felt–I don’t know. It wasn’t me. U2 felt like some righteous, political movement more than a rock band. 
Then came college, and with it came Achtung Baby. I remember when MTV premiered the first video off that album–“The Fly.” Bono wore big sunglasses and the rest of the band looked like wild men and the music ROCKED and yet also sounded very current. I love my electronics and this song brought it. 
Soon after, I heard the rest of the album and I converted. I became a lifelong fan. U2 suddenly became IRONIC and they changed their image in an amazing way. The Zooropa tour is still some of the best shows I’ve ever gone to. But U2 still knew how to construct a simple, beautiful song. “One” proved this. 
I loved Zooropa and Pop and have appreciated and followed U2 ever since. I’ve even become a huge fan of their earlier albums (now that some moronic classmate isn’t preaching U2 at me!).  
I already gave my two cents on their new album. But it really is a special one. It’s classic and it’s progressive. Whatever you might think of Bono and the rest of the group, you have to admit that they can make great music. And those guys are still just so cool (watch Letterman to see this). 
So as their 12th album hits today, I celebrate the amazing foursome called U2. I hope they continue to make music that matters for a long time.