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Black Sky Thinking

Songs Of Innocence: On U2, Tax & Hypocrisy
John Doran , September 10th, 2014 07:27

John Doran is singularly unimpressed by U2's invocation of William Blake's Songs Of Innocence. Shouldn't they stop cosying up to morally bankrupt corporations, banks, philosophers, religious leaders and politicians instead?

Without much fanfare the Irish stadium rock band U2 released an album yesterday (09/09/14) to well over half a billion people (iTunes customers and U2.com subscribers) for free. The eleven track album Songs Of Innocence will get a physical release on October 13 as well via Island.

U2 have released so many bad albums now that the idea of yet another one doesn't really cause me much concern. (I will listen to it with an open mind at some point soon by the way - I'm not going to judge it without hearing it at least twice but the titles - 'The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)', 'Every Breaking Wave', 'California (There Is No End To Love)', 'Song For Someone', 'Iris (Hold Me Close)', 'Volcano', 'Raised By Wolves', 'Cedarwood Road', 'Sleep Like A Baby Tonight', 'This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now', 'The Troubles' - really don't inspire much in the way of confidence. What is with this embarrassment of brackets? And didn't they already do a song called 'Sleep Like A Baby Tonight'? And 'The Troubles'... really?)

However before I even get to that questionable delight, I already have a deep and abiding problem with the album. By taking on the title of English mystic poet, painter and illustrator William Blake's Songs Of Innocence, U2 are indulging in laughable subterfuge. They are aligning themselves with pre-lapsarian mankind; those yet to be tainted by forbidden knowledge and yet to be banished from the Garden Of Eden. They are claiming to be naked and carefree in John Milton's Paradise, before original sin brings about The Fall.

To Blake, childhood was a state of protected innocence which would sometimes be interrupted - often violently and unfairly - by an action of experience, usually down to the corruption of the state, the church or other, more amorphous, institutional body such as the ruling classes. But Bono, more than any other current rock star I can think of, has loaned his not inconsiderable weight to making such figures as George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Theresa Of Calcutta, Pope John Paul II seem more human. And he will often provide this service to those that can afford it at the drop of a - wide-brimmed and ridiculous - hat.

To put it another way, William Blake - a fierce believer in the Bible but hater of what the church had become - would have despised what U2 stand for. For all their protestations, the band are the money lenders in the temple, NOT Christ, turning over their tables.

There's no need for us to get too bogged down in what a terrible company Apple is - and mea culpa, like most people reading this, I have used their products in the past but then again, I'm not going into multi-million pound business with them either. But in short, Greenpeace have, in recent years, called them the least environmentally friendly tech group there is and their history in using child labour in dangerous factories is shameful. And this week, it has transpired that the premier of their latest gewgaw, the iPhone 6, has had shade thrown on it by revelations that Apple's already appalling record of factory conditions for foreign workers, is getting even worse not better - despite all of their protestations that they are on the case.

(LATE EDIT: Greenpeace have since commended Apple on cleaning up its game over the last two years but the picture is far from satisfactory. China Labor Watch and Green America released a report last week which slammed the tech giant on the grounds of environmental issues and labour issues. The CLW report listed revealed forced overtime, fire and safety risks, poor compensation and exposure to toxic chemicals at a factory in Suqian, China, operated by Apple supplier Catcher Technology. The labour group had approached Apple with their concerns 16 months ago and the tech firm promised they were on the case. But as the report this week reveals: things have actually gotten much worse.)

Bono and co. want us to believe that they are motivated by a religious purity and are apparently giving this album away. But this isn't really the truth at all. It may be motivated by religious impulses but their faith is one of money and free market capitalism. (It is no coincidence, I'd say, that Bono told TIME magazine: "We were paid [by Apple]... I don't believe in free music. Music is a sacrament." The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church describes the sacraments - usually dispensed in the form of blessed wine and the eucharist, representing Christ's blood and body, not an overproduced rock album - thus: "[The sacraments are an] efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us". And Bono feels that this is not something that should be given for free: that there should be a hefty price tag attached to it.)

No doubt, all of this will be too tenuous for some. There will be the usual, woeful cries of, 'It's only rock & roll… just shut up and enjoy it.' But you really don't have to look far at all to see further evidence of Bono's malign cant and hypocrisy.

A few months ago I was invited by Steve Lamacq to be a guest on the Round Table segment of his BBC 6Music show along with Amy Lame and Ghost Poet. I had a good time in good company and I heard some music I really enjoyed. However, there was one point in the show that made me so angry that I developed a migraine which I found hard to shake off. Not the fault of anyone in the studio I hasten to add. The source of the stress was having to listen to the new U2 single.

The band had launched the song 'Invisible' in partnership with Bono's charity RED and the Bank Of America during the Super Bowl and for the first hour of release it was available as a free download. What was even better was that for every free download of the M4a, the bank pledged to donate $1 to the RED charity. They shifted a colossal one million downloads in the first hour and by midnight [US time] (the end of the free-to-download window) the enterprise had raised $3million for the charity which will be spent on fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. And this was only the start, as all proceeds from the standard $1.29 DL went to RED's Global Fund as well. So let's be absolutely clear about this - lives will have been saved by this initiative and the lives of many more besides will have been improved. Which I guess should have made everyone - bar the most bitter and removed from reality - very happy. Except I wasn't; I was spitting blood.

The anger wasn't caused by how appalling the song was, although the terrible quality didn't help. I should say, for the record, when I was in school, prior to discovering the Jesus And Mary Chain, I really liked U2 a lot. A lot of their early post-punkish and mid-period post modern rock is intrinsically great - even if it becomes harder and harder to like it with every passing year because of their narrow shouldered, shivering cretin of a singer.

The band claimed 'Invisible' was like a mix of Kraftwerk and Ramones but really it was just more of the same, hedge-betting, song-writing by focus group they had been employing for the last 15 years, which rendered it more like a mix of Coldplay and MGMT. It achieved the double-whammy of being utterly contemptible while playing and then utterly forgettable immediately after it finished. It featured the nauseating line: "There is no Hell, there is only us." (Apologies if it's not this - it doesn't really change the thrust of what I'm saying.)

This song was stunningly inane even by their own standards and it's not like they set the bar particularly high over the last twenty years. "There is no them, there is only us." This is the kind of fucking horseshit that only an obscenely wealthy rock star with half-witted pretentions towards socialism could come out with. But of course Bono isn't any kind of socialist that I recognise - he's more like Smaug the Dragon with a mullet and two grand wrap around shades sitting on a giant mountain of gold, dressed like Che Guevara, talking about "us" and making peace signs any time someone gets out a camera.

But what is the 'us' that he's singing about? There is no 'us' when it comes to you and me and the rest of the plebs and Bono. Like anyone reading this who makes some or all of their money by freelance work, a few months ago I completed my taxes. Even though the figure I owed was hardly astronomical, I still felt sick to the pit of my stomach when thinking about how I would cover this debt and make my mortgage payments for the following few months. And now that it's paid, I have to start saving up for next year's bill.

This is one particular boat that Bono is not in though. And I don't mean, 'He's rich so it doesn't matter how big his tax bill is LOL.' What I mean is, he's rich enough to avoid paying an astronomical amount of tax to the Irish government despite being based in and operating out of the country. For 20 years the band used 1960s tax exemption laws for bands but when this was capped at quarter of a million, the band 'offshored' its main money making business - the publishing arm of the U2 empire - to a "special financial unit" in the Netherlands in 2006. The upshot of this, according to Irish Financial News, is that Bono does not pay tax on about 95% of his not inconsiderable income. As it stands now Bono - who is worth something in the region of £600million* - won't need to remortgage any of his very big houses or sell the Renoir or the yacht just yet.

(*This is a very conservative figure. In all likelihood, Bono is now a billionaire because of sales of shares in Facebook, and is routinely described as the world's richest rock star.)

As has been pointed out these handy little tax avoidance schemes - such as the Dutch venture that Bono is part of - have been used to deprive developing nations, in continents such as Africa, of tax revenue approximately worth £100billion per year. Yes, that Bono. The one who has been campaigning for African debt relief for the last thirty years.

Of course this kind of cant and hypocrisy is utterly standard and par for the course for a neo-liberal, which is essentially what Bono has become. He has picked up a lot of flak over the years for lending legitimacy to such figures as Pope John Paul II and George W. Bush but less attention is paid to the man that he refers to as "my professor". Jeffrey Sachs is a free trade economist and neo-liberal who helped the transference of several countries rapidly into full blown free market capitalism - with disastrous consequences for millions of people - especially in Poland in the late 80s and Russia in the early 90s. No one is claiming that Sachs did this on his own or did this on purpose but because of the 'shock tactic' methods used to transition the countries into Western capitalist economies but in Russia alone, 3.5 million children became homeless, the suicide rate doubled and violent crime quadrupled and the country's valuable assets were sold off for a fraction of their value to a small group of oligarchs while tens of millions became unemployed and fell below the breadline.

For a neo-liberal, Sachs is actually a nice guy - he believes firmly in big aid packages to offset the damage done by the rapid transition to capitalism. However many people believe that despite his good intentions, Sachs has genuinely made the world a much, much worse place. In The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs And The Quest To End Poverty the author Nina Munk claims that despite being well intentioned his schemes have left people much worse off than they would have been otherwise. And there are plenty of others who support this idea.

How has it come to this. A rock star supporting the cause of neo-liberalism? Instead of trying to raise money for AIDS charities shouldn't Bono simply attack the neo-cons such as Donald Rumsfeld who patent AIDS medicine and aggressively prevent cheaper versions being made available in the very place where they are needed the most: Africa?

It made me angry because this kind of effort - which was nothing more than a promotional stunt (for both band and bank), amounted to little more than a band aid on a gaping wound administered by the kind of people and the kind of financial institution who have the power to apply complete, effective and lasting medical care.

There is no them - there is only us. It's a Utopian ideal and one that will never happen while people like Bono and institutions like the Bank Of America stand in the way.

Here's some Utopian thinking for you. How about every multi-millionaire such as Bono pay a flat rate of 50% tax on their income in the country that they are domiciled in. How about every financial institution such as the Bank Of America be nationalised and run as a not for profit organisation for the benefit of the people. How about bands the size of U2 point to the whole scale wreckage of civilisations that the pursuit of free market capitalism by any means necessary have caused instead of lending this philosophy a patina of acceptability. Then the need for any charity - now and for the rest of time - would disappear completely. There genuinely would be no them, there genuinely would just be us. And until that day U2 will remain, in my eyes at least, guilty.

ad hominem
Sep 10, 2014 11:59am

wow.

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egon
Sep 10, 2014 12:01pm

I really don't care if their new album is shite or not and will be avoiding the inevitable slew of articles by journalists queuing up to give them a kicking. There are already enough acts releasing shite music for me not to care about another one. I also don't care how they represent/misrepresent religion. It's nothing new that religion is the refuge of scoundrels. But what genuinely does grate is Bono's insistence on avoiding tax while promoting charity, which is effectively to be comfortable addressing inequality on his terms and on the condition he gets public thanks for it. It is to choose condescension over justice and for that he is an iCunt.

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belly
Sep 10, 2014 12:06pm

John Doran is actually literally completely a 15 year old goth

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Rory Gibb
Sep 10, 2014 12:09pm

In reply to belly:

And since you're devoting your clearly valuable time to comment on one of his articles, what does that make you?

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G
Sep 10, 2014 12:10pm

Great piece, John. Even of you didn't actually know the background to U2 and their bullshit ethics, it's genuinely terrible music that has one vaguely interesting song with a cool synth thing going on but it get's ruined once Bono opens his gob. It's just bad. You'll be saving yourself a lot of rage by not listening to this album.

I used to have a particular affection for some their early 80s stuff and some of their 90s stuff (Zooropa is an album I still rate quite highly) but like you say, it becomes harder to listen to knowing what shitty things they've been doing of late. Bono in particular.

But perhaps it's apt that the morally dubious things they've been doing in real life are reflected in how fucking awful their output has been the past 15-20 years.

I just hope Lykke Li comes out of this ok.

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Sep 10, 2014 12:16pm

Is Bono a Catholic? I thought he was a member of the Church of Ireland/Protestant?

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Forensic
Sep 10, 2014 12:19pm

Bravo John - a great rant. I was listening to this only this morning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqse3vYcnaU

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Sep 10, 2014 12:19pm

would love to give Bozo a fat poesklap

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John Doran
Sep 10, 2014 12:22pm

I wish I was still a 15-yr-old goth. That was when my power was strongest and my hair was highest. Before LSD, Special Brew and The Butthole Surfers ruined everything.

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Karl
Sep 10, 2014 12:23pm

In reply to John Doran:

But now you've been all over, and it's been all over you.

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JAMIE
Sep 10, 2014 12:28pm

In reply to John Doran:

We all wish we were still 15 yr old Goths..........'Nocturne' anyone?

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Phil
Sep 10, 2014 12:28pm

If Bono was making hefty private donations to African aid rather than doing it via his taxes (which are a lot higher than you think, btw), would that make you feel any better? After all, only a tiny percentage of tax goes to foreign aid, so it would actually be much more efficient to avoid paying the tax and donating directly, if that's what you're worried about. I'm not saying he's necessarily doing that but you can't say for sure that he isn't.

U2 the company pays tax in Holland but Bono the person pays income tax in Ireland as he still lives there...so the idea that he only pays tax on 5% of his income is craxy. If Bono REALLY wanted to pay no tax he could relocate to the Cayman Islands or somewhere.

Just curious...if your accountant said he could cut your tax bill in half, let's say, would you do it?

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Will
Sep 10, 2014 12:33pm

One point of information, Bono isn't a member of the catholic church, rather he and 2 other members of U2 joined an evangelical Christian sect in their early years - you can look it up, I forget the name

Also I'm pretty sure the band still pay personal income tax to the Irish treasury, it's U2 Ltd, the asset management company that run U2's affairs that dodge tax in the Netherlands

If you want to write and article about Irish tax dodgers there's a lot could be written about Ryanair, Quinn insurance, Apple, and (until a recent change in tax law) David Bowie and Michael Jackson

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tristantzara
Sep 10, 2014 12:38pm

Bono ain't a Catholic. Catholics have got enough shame heaped upon them at the moment -- show them a little mercy, John. Let them go free of the taint of Bono.

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J.Temperance
Sep 10, 2014 12:48pm

Well said.

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Wraithlet
Sep 10, 2014 1:27pm

It would be Utopian enough if U2 simply stopped making music.

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Loki
Sep 10, 2014 1:29pm

I always thought Bono was a bit of a c*nt but never knew the exact details. Thanks for clarifying.

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John Doran
Sep 10, 2014 1:31pm

Have amended piece to reflect Bono's non RCC status, thanks. And to the poster above - I'll leave the what-if daydreaming to other writers thanks. I'm dealing here with what's actually happening. The, 'Ah, but what if you were Bono' line is nonsensical. I'm not Bono. The end.

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Sep 10, 2014 1:37pm

This album just appeared on my Ipod when I updated...I didn't notice at the time, but saw it was there on the bus this morning. My reaction was kinda similar to noticing I had shit on my shoe....frantically trying to get rid of it as soon as possible

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Aron
Sep 10, 2014 1:37pm

Wow, talk about the Eternal Sophomore! You sure are "edgy", Doran.

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Aron
Sep 10, 2014 1:47pm

In reply to John Doran:

"But in short, Greenpeace have, in recent years, called them the least environmentally friendly tech group there is"

However, in MORE recent years, Greenpeace have listed Apple right at the top. Talk about shoddy "journalism".

http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/02/17/why-apple-greenpeaces-newest-hero

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John Doran
Sep 10, 2014 2:18pm

In reply to Aron:

Way to avoid talking about the main crux of the feature Aron.

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Jake
Sep 10, 2014 2:18pm

On the money article.

LSD, brew and the Buttholes def caused an upswing for me though.

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Daveid P
Sep 10, 2014 2:33pm

and they have the shittest rhythm section in rock music...

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Forensic
Sep 10, 2014 2:35pm

Here's what George Monbiot had to say on the man last year http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/17/bono-africans-stealing-voice-poor

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G.ETHERINGTON
Sep 10, 2014 2:46pm

Ace article. Anyone attacking the end should note it's qualified as 'utopian thinking', y'know, the sort artists should be reaching for.

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Sep 10, 2014 2:54pm

top stuff.

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J M
Sep 10, 2014 3:01pm

A spot on and important article. I just went to see if itunes had automatically downloaded the new album for me. It has. FFS. Is Bono tapping my phone now too?

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Scott
Sep 10, 2014 3:03pm

Simple fact is Bono can get more done working with the existing system than he could by trying to change the entire system. By getting in bed with some of this scum he's created awareness and focus, and no doubt saved lives.

If he'd railed against corporations and governments he'd have changed nothing. But he'd look cooler doing it.

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Chris
Sep 10, 2014 3:37pm

In reply to Scott:

Simple fact is Bono has changed nothing.

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Ian
Sep 10, 2014 3:38pm

In reply to Scott:

This is the same sort of logic which caused another planetary saviour with a latent God complex to hitch his wagon to other extreme rightwing neoliberals and help facilitate the now recognised as illegal invasion of Iraq.
These people don't get turned. They do the turning and the corrupting. Doran's piece is very good.

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Ian
Sep 10, 2014 3:41pm

Your starting by singling out his facile and superficial use of Blakean tropes was a great start to the article. When I saw what he had called the work I cringed. It tells us a lot about how deluded and divorced from reality this guy actually is.

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egon
Sep 10, 2014 3:44pm

Apparently the iPhone 6 costs an extra £50 if you don't want the U2 album preloaded.

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Charlene
Sep 10, 2014 3:58pm

In reply to Scott:

Is he really that clever Scott ...he's a double-agent? Brilliant! You deluded Bono-apologist

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cato
Sep 10, 2014 4:01pm

''To put it another way, William Blake - a fierce believer in the Bible but hater of what the church had become - would have despised what U2 stand for. For all their protestations, the band are the money lenders in the temple, NOT Christ, turning over their tables.'' One of the most explicit instances of intentional fallacy, i have ever read. Looking forward your album review. I am sure i will find plenty of same instances.

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Scott
Sep 10, 2014 4:33pm

In reply to Chris:

The article plainly states the result of one instance of activism:

"They shifted a colossal one million downloads in the first hour and by midnight [US time] (the end of the free-to-download window) the enterprise had raised $3million for the charity which will be spent on fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. And this was only the start, as all proceeds from the standard $1.29 DL went to RED's Global Fund as well. So let's be absolutely clear about this - lives will have been saved by this initiative and the lives of many more besides will have been improved."

Far more than any artist railing against "the system" would have done.

Please, provide a list of artists who've railed against the global financial system and changed it.

I'll wait

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Paul Harrison
Sep 10, 2014 5:02pm

For those of a tl;dr disposition:

I haven't heard the album yet but this is why I don't like U2.

Looking forward to an actual review.

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Sep 10, 2014 5:38pm

John Doran busting a move-- excellent work. It's easy to ignore these simps because they such loathsome scum from Bono on down but I'm chuffed you had the fortitude to blast 'em anyway. Bravo!

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permafrosting
Sep 10, 2014 6:24pm

Lyrics..... beyond insipid

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gmobey
Sep 10, 2014 7:09pm

How much good does he do / has he done. How much will he leave to charity when he dies? Does he still avoid tax cos this was revealed years ago? When you're perfect and have all the answers you can get off your high horse. Nearly everything you buy has some horrible backstory but I bet you still give money to these companies

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alphaloser
Sep 10, 2014 7:13pm

**** bono, **** ****** *** ****** ** ********. *******. ****! **** *** *** ****** taxes. **** *****, *** ****** ****** *********. ******* double standards. ** *** **** *** ******* *** ******* **** ********** ****, really.

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Apop
Sep 10, 2014 7:46pm

I remember seeing this snippet of Invisible some time ago in a telly advert and it made me angry. This, for much more superficial reasons, the song is utterly awful. And so was that train-wreck of a song they wrote for Mandela last year. The least you can do, to honor someone, is to write a half way decent song.

A u2 album now sounds like a tribute album - as if they collected all the shite, head scratchingly successful, shockingly uninteresting bands of the last 15 years (Maroon 5, The Fray, Nickelback, the Killers, etc), and had them try to sound like u2.

I'm certainly not gonna defend Mr. Hewson, but i have more confidence in what i can do with my $$ than what my government can do with my $$. No one, regardless of income, should have to pony up 50% of what they make.

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Sep 10, 2014 8:19pm

In reply to Phil:

Well said, I never met any 15 year old goths in economic school . John should stick to what he knows best and leave the business, politics and religion to those who specialise in the detail.

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echorich
Sep 10, 2014 8:49pm

In reply to :

I thought Bono was a Born Again Christian, at least in the early days of the band.

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TheFatGit
Sep 10, 2014 9:16pm

This all smacks of the mid-to-late 70s when Yacht-Rock was in full pomp. People turned away from Yacht-Rock when they began to write songs about their petty First World problems, you know: somebody keyed the Daytona and I'm so angry I'm going to write a whiny concept album to get over it. The situation with Bono and U2 is 10 to the power of Yacht-Rock x infinity. The numbers are obscene. I don't give a shit about U2 any more. They stopped being relevant well before the turn of the millennium. What I do give a shit about is neo-libs using their system to fuck us all over and then blame us all for being poor. Bono is part of that.

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Eric N
Sep 10, 2014 9:22pm

In reply to John Doran:

Get the facts wrong because of lazy research and Aron is missing the point!

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Kathryn
Sep 10, 2014 9:40pm

Can't bear music snobs. Is it the music you despise? The ethics (or lack of them), or the tax avoidance? If it's all three, get over yourself and lighten up.

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Matt Dawson
Sep 10, 2014 10:10pm

Oh god sake, another hipster attention seeking article.

Whether its U2 or whatever, I'm almost determined to big up this new album I haven't heard because I hate the likes of scruffy 'right on' hipsters like John Doran. Anyway Doran, U2 have made classic albums, haven't heard their latest ones but Achtung Baby and Unforgettable Fire are monsters - far more contribution to this world than Doran.

As for the self righteous moral superior tool Doran, pretty sure there was articles condemning Noel Gallagher to hell written by John Doran years back, only for the sycophantic prick to go and interview him and fawn all over him.

So the world is full of double standards, whether you're Doran or Bono.

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Sep 10, 2014 11:13pm

In reply to John Doran:

Good job, John. The greedy, pious prick deserves it. And Bono is just as bad.
More of this, please.

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Fielding Melish
Sep 10, 2014 11:17pm

In reply to Matt Dawson:

Please don't write things like 'hipster'. It makes you look thick

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Simone
Sep 10, 2014 11:38pm

Not bad although I'm pretty certain you also compared Thom Yorke to Smaug not so long ago. Time for some new material?

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Al
Sep 11, 2014 1:01am

Hard to take this seriously because the author clearly has a taste in music that is certainly not U2 - and that is fine, but how on earth is this relevant to your argument? Unless it's a populist (very Bonoesque!) ploy to get some of the readers to side with you on this rant?

Quite simply, savvy businessmen (like Bono) are realising that it is becoming increasingly difficult to rely on governments (taxes) to aid developing third-world nations. Remember Live8 10 years or so ago? Not a worthwhile venture these days. The corporate world is key. They have more money to invest and are more likely to guarantee some sort of commitment (see Bank of America exercise in February 2014). Governments (and policies) chop and change with such regularity that they cannot be relied upon for consistent foreign aid. So squeeze it out of the corporates. Yes, cynically it's all a CSR exercise for the corporates, but aid is aid.

And for the author to take the moral high ground regarding taxes is a bit silly? I'd happily pay taxes if i had some meaningful say in how the money is distributed, but in these current kinds of democracies that we live in, we don't have that. If you don't have an active say where your taxes go (and quadrennial elections is not a "say"), why not cop out if you can? It is your money after all. Don't be so compliant and stick it to the men (which they mostly still are) in parliament. It's what U2 are doing. You're more of a sheep than they are.

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Me
Sep 11, 2014 8:10am

A subjective rant about that devious smug cunt Bono always gets my backing.

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Video Buddha
Sep 11, 2014 8:50am

Actually if there's a problem with this article, it's that John Doran isn't critical enough. 50% tax rate sounds pretty tame, why not the 75% rate proposed by Francois Hollande, who himself is barely left of lib dem? As Thomas Pikkety points out in his tome "Capital in the 21st century", the top rate is meant to be confiscatory. It isn't meant to be about the government having more pounds/dollars to burgeon the state coffers, it's about tackling inequality, by imposing a level above which there is little incentive to earning a greater wage. And why should that be so important? Well because wealth accumulated in the pockets of one or two people, who by the dint of their ability to write a catchy song, or a genetic pre-disposition to kicking a football better than someone else now earn amounts of money greater than some European countries entire incomings. This might still be arguable, if you believed we have a meritocracy, where those who "pulled themselves up by the bootstraps" could rise to the top, but truth is if you were born in a Calcutta or Lima slum, with the brain of Stephen Hawking, you would never leave that slum along with millions of others. I see laughably some applaud the corporate linkups, saying that's the only way to change the world. Well that's one step away from saying, why bother voting for dunces like Cameron, Milliband and Clegg, why not vote for Amazon, Facebook, Tesco or HSBC as they have the real power and money. We are not far from some sort of corporatocracy, which Bono is implicitly endorsing. And while I may hate those politicians, at least in name they, in theory, are serving their party and the people who vote for the party. Imagine if Apple was the governing party and we all had to do a 24 hour shift in their factory for free? And those who think that's totally unreal - well consider that many people's pensions have been eroded so much, they are now having to work in supermarkets beyond the age of retirement to make ends meet. And consider workfare, with it's forced labour at Poundland. Now start tying the two together.

Second why not lay into the "lack of consent" more? So a few free songs that are automatically in my itunes folder. Ok, in theory, no problem, but what happens if they were naked pictures of myself, or political tracts decreeing the culling of every first born son? Pretty soon people would be getting quite angry about it. A lack of consent, is a lack of consent and it sets an important precedent. Why not just a button saying, click here if you want to download the new U2 album?

Third - Bono's messiah complex is really offensive. The man evidently thinks he is above criticism and that he knows best and what he thinks is best is also best for us. And his money allows him to do as he pleases.

Funny thing is I don't even hate U2, and I don't aim for some sort of socialistic utopia, but what I do hate is the open flaunting of wealth as though this is being done for altruistic reasons and if there are no other alternatives. The music itself, bad, good, indifferent is completely secondary. This is a political act.

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Mark
Sep 11, 2014 9:18am

In reply to Video Buddha:

The actual music is aggressively bland.

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John Doran
Sep 11, 2014 9:21am

In reply to Video Buddha:

Well said Video Buddha. Piketty's Capital is squatting on my shelf like a toad. I wonder if I'll ever get time to read it…

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underlander
Sep 11, 2014 9:25am

Good piece of writing it is. But then I came across 'How about every financial institution such as the Bank Of America be nationalised and run as a not for profit organisation for the benefit of the people.' part and I went "Wow, is this Guardian?"
Nevermind, though.

One more thing: I couldn't care less what church does Bono go to religion is for bigots. Faith is not though but can one talk about faith here, I mean really?

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dubstatik
Sep 11, 2014 10:05am

About 14 years ago, U2 played Barcelona. My girlfriend who worked for the local branch of Amnesty International got permission to distribute AI info and products in the venue.

After setting up a stall and positioning people around the venue ready to hand out flyers and leaflets, we were told by U2's people to take down the AI stall because we were selling T-Shirts, and this would be in direct competition with their own merchandising stalls.

So yeah, they talk a good fight, but never let it be in any doubt - they're a money making machine.

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Kevin Shields Legend
Sep 11, 2014 11:35am

Woo hoo! Like Apple, U2 is just another shit corporation. But you say it all brilliantly, especially Bono's deceitful schtick, his offensive "there is only us" bullshit and greasy worshipping of the capitalism deity. Bono's charities are notorious for spending most of their donations on three things: advertising Bono, "administration" and "salaries". The ONE foundation raised ten mil and gave away 1%. That is in no way usual, as every watchdog pointed out.

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Thierry Ennui
Sep 11, 2014 12:23pm

In reply to Phil:

"Just curious...if your accountant said he could cut your tax bill in half, let's say, would you do it?"

No.

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John Doran
Sep 11, 2014 12:25pm

In reply to underlander:

If you think that the Guardian supports nationalisation of the banks then you're tripping.

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Sep 11, 2014 1:57pm

Man, you really don't understand what the song Invisible is about. If you're going to write a rant as an attempt to generate visits to the site at least know what you're talking about. That was where I stopped reading, and this is where my visits to the Quietus end.

"How about bands the size of U2 point to the whole scale wreckage of civilisations that the pursuit of free market capitalism by any means necessary have caused instead of lending this philosophy a patina of acceptability."

How about you let artists be artists and not demand that they fight the socialist fight for you? U2 are not communist freedom fighters, they're a band with a singer who tries to do good in the world and often succeeds (ie. convincing governments to donate AIDS drugs).

U2 aren't avoiding taxes - that's a crime. The corporation of U2 is taking advantage of a legal framework that allows them to pay less taxes, a situation that I'm sure you'd take advantage of if you could. Your bitterness shows a bit too much for this article to be taken seriously. The individual members of U2 surely pay taxes in Ireland or wherever their primary homes are. But anyway, what business is it of yours where they pay taxes? Is this part of a new feature where you examine the corporate sponsorship and how much taxes artists pay? If so, I can't wait to read you ripping the Bunnymen and Cult apart for being in ads, and Bowie (a billionaire) for paying taxes in Switzerland.

BTW, nice attempt at linking Bono to African governments being deprived of $100 billion annually! Good for you if you want to talk about financial criminals, but are U2 really the worst there is? I hope this has generated more web traffic for you, I'm sure the Quietus could use a bit more ad revenue.

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Sarah Scott
Sep 11, 2014 2:30pm

John, I have always been very interested in what you had to say and enjoyed your work to date. This article is petty, uninformed and aggressive - you have let yourself down. Going on about your mortgage payments in an article about a rock group is an interesting angle! U2 have never been loved in Britain, by media or entertainment circles especially but they are still the biggest band in the world, no question. You don't have to die at 27, broke, a wasted opportunity to be in a rock band. You can be ahead of the curve in all aspects of their music, and they are. And by the way, while others were playing apartheid South Africa, U2 were campaigning for Nelson Mandela's release. They refused South Africa's fascist Dollar. Listen up kids, that's Rock and Roll.

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Sarah Scott
Sep 11, 2014 2:32pm

John, I have always been very interested in what you had to say and enjoyed your work to date. This article is petty, uninformed and aggressive - you have let yourself down. Going on about your mortgage payments in an article about a rock group is an interesting angle! U2 have never been loved in Britain, by media or entertainment circles especially but they are still the biggest band in the world, no question. You don't have to die at 27, broke, a wasted opportunity to be in a rock band. You can be ahead of the curve in all aspects of their music, and they are. And by the way, while others were playing apartheid South Africa, U2 were campaigning for Nelson Mandela's release. They refused South Africa's fascist Dollar. Listen up kids, that's Rock and Roll.

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Michael Furey
Sep 11, 2014 3:06pm

This article deigns to tell us what William Blake would think; comments on the use of parentheses in song titles, whilst having them twice in the opening paragraph; moans about paying a tax bill (oh dear, someone earns more than you)whilst reflecting on what others do to avoid tax; affords that the lead singer of a band offers legitimacy to world leaders actions; attempts to attribute some proxy responsibility to him for the harsh changeover of communist countries to free-trade economies (actually it was their own governments that wanted this); complains about €3m earned for AIDS charities because he doesn't like a songs lyrics; doesn't mention the €5m U2 have given to the Music Generation Project in Ireland.
There is no correlation between their new album being given away free to the public and this fact being 'motivated by religious purity'.
This article expounds the usual legitimate issues that surround U2's and any organisations business dealings, but the consistent noting of the activities and beliefs of other people peripherally connected with Bono and the band - see paragraphs on Jeffrey Sachs (ironically, a nice guy, according to the writer) creates an impression that U2 and Bono are in part responsible for these activities. The writer should focus alone on the tax avoidance issue but perhaps look at how other musicians and countries work and operate tax systems in this regard. It's not acceptable that an op-ed piece should lose clarity because it's so mean-spirited (calling someone 'a narrow shouldered cretin'). It means that it loses legitimacy - something that that seems to be the authors overarching point about u2.

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G
Sep 11, 2014 3:32pm

Quietus, you look so silly after this article. Look how Rolling Stone are embarrassing you!

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/u2-songs-of-innocence-20140911

5 stars! Eat that Doran.

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Chico
Sep 11, 2014 3:48pm

In reply to :

All these people saying "hey John Doran, if you were as rich as Bono YOU'D make sure you didn't pay any tax either!" What a fucking wretchedly miserable universe they must live in.

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Tim
Sep 11, 2014 3:54pm

In reply to Michael Furey:

Yes... I'm not a fan of U2, in fact I largely I find Bono to be unbearable and there are legitimate questions these days about the tax arrangements of large businessess, but this is a poor, unfocused, ill-researched piece of vitriol from a writer who is usually very entertaining and compelling. Perhaps the article was published before it could be properly re-drafted, because sadly the Quietus doesn't come off too well here.

I'm fairly confident the album will be pants though.

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Tony Dinabo
Sep 11, 2014 3:59pm

Bobo can avoid paying taxes because he's cool. John Doran, is that your real name?, you aren't cool enough so pay the price.

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Mattmo
Sep 11, 2014 4:15pm

Right now I'm more concerned with purging all my Apple products than I have any concern for the new U2 album. How many folks reading this own a piece of Apple hardware or use iTunes? Raise your filthy hands! I'm guilty (embarrassed) and raising then with you. But in the end, while this article raises some interesting points, I would argue that the world would be a better place if all the negative bitching and whining were to stop and each of us focus on how to make things better. Words are cheap and work is hard. In the end that's the only way anything will get better. We don't need rockstars, priests or politicians to make or break us. There are more of us than there is of them.

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Matt D
Sep 11, 2014 4:45pm

In reply to belly:

Coming back to the comments section and the hipsters everywhere!

I know I know, hipsters 'can't be defined' you all say, because that's categorising them all and thus far too mainstream.

But your ironic humour sucks, your image sucks, your hypocritical politics of castigating globalisation yet lapping up your latest iphone and drinking your starbucks totally sucks, and your music blows full of pseudo intellectual bullshit. And take a bath once in a while for fucks sake - especially you Doran.

Never has there been a more pathetic subculture than you lot - I thought emo was bad, but this takes the biscuit. We already have a world full of self righteous morons like Bono, so why in gods name we need more is beyond me. I'd rather slit my wrists listening to Bono preach about Africa than spend one second in the company of you utter cunts.

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Manic Inventor
Sep 11, 2014 4:58pm

At Clarke Robinson:

I see a lot of misguided naivety in your comments. Not only has U2 not made a record worth that name in more than 20 years, but it should be clear to anyone with at least one functioning brain cell that U2 are part of the problems they are claiming to try to solve. And everyone who honestly believes that making donations in Rwanda will make a difference is pretty far removed from understanding how this world works. So are people who believe the newspeak of Apple and Bank of America, and Greenpeace, for that matter.

And for closers: In this world being far removed from reality is steadily becoming a badge of pride, instead of a shame.

Carry on, John, we need you.

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Lemon (Pledge)
Sep 11, 2014 6:57pm

All the details of this U2 stunt are background noise to the fact that what they've done looks desperate and destroys the infinitesimal sliver of artistic credibility they had left. The sound of 800 million people trying to delete U2's music from their iTunes accounts drowns out everything else.

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Paul
Sep 11, 2014 7:14pm

Is the article about U2, the band, in the context of the album they have released, given that's where it starts out?
Or is it about Bono, the lead singer of U2, and the company he keeps, his actions, given that's where it goes for large of the middle and the end?
Because that seems to make an assumption that Bono and U2 are the same thing, which I'm pretty sure the rest of the band would strongly disagree with.

As for filling in your tax return, the key was in the paragraph where you mention "save". It's not like a tax bill demands money you've never seen before.

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Len
Sep 11, 2014 7:39pm

Bono just one more corporate lackey. Ireland is full of them and the people are paying the price.
Keep in mind that we live in a world where a ball kicker can earn £300,000 a week.

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Bob
Sep 11, 2014 8:36pm

In reply to Len:

Ireland itself is housing plenty of non-Irish businesses who they attracted there with low corporate taxation.
Just like U2 moving to Holland.

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Mark Eglinton
Sep 11, 2014 10:00pm

The record isn't worth what I didn't pay for it.

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Len
Sep 12, 2014 12:47am

In reply to Bob:

Yes I agree. The Pharmaceutical Industry in particular has a stranglehold here we pay some of the highest costs for generic and patent drugs in Europe.

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Mark
Sep 12, 2014 5:16am

Yet another person who actually thinks we have a moral duty to pay as much tax as we legally can. A truly incomprehensible point of view.

I have absolutely no issue at all with legal tax avoidance and no understanding at all of the idea its somehow immoral.

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Chris
Sep 12, 2014 11:10am

In reply to Mark:

Perhaps is more to do with the fact that Bono is a contemptible self righteous prick.

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Sep 12, 2014 11:56am

Bono is utter scum and the latest shit with the iphones-- that he and other simps (who are so goddamn dull they're let off the hook too easily; they have more $$$ than can be reasonably spent in four lifetimes (well, maybe if they paid TAXES)-- is the nadir/apogee of a life spent causing MISERY.

Tim Cook's just a bean counting fool but Bono is worse than Ebola and Margaret Thatcher bristly snatch combined.

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Tim
Sep 12, 2014 12:41pm

In reply to Len:

Hi Len,

The issue is more about the greed of the ultra-wealthy. Those same tax loopholes they exploit are not open to the poor. The lowest earning in our society actually pay a higher percentage of their income as tax than the wealthiest. Surely you can see how this is unjust and destabilising for society? There are many more issues and problems caused by this, it is not simply about people dodging the nasty tax man,

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Phil
Sep 12, 2014 2:23pm

One of the best 2 pieces I've seen on the U2 album (the worst was that neil Mccormick bloke in the Torygraph) the other great piece is by John Robb on Louder Than War- http://shar.es/11TuBc

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Len
Sep 12, 2014 2:39pm

In reply to Tim:

Hello Tim,

I totally agree. Ireland has sold its soul to corporate vultures.
The political and professional classes are now reaping the rewards.
No hike in corporate tax rates just more taxes on the people who can least afford them.
We will never see a storming of the Bastille here.
The air of indifference and apathy is stifling.

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Chris
Sep 12, 2014 5:07pm

Even the BBC agree, it's shit

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/29157217

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Andy Strong
Sep 12, 2014 6:09pm

Guy Oseary says "It’s an amazing opportunity, even at this stage in U2’s career, to make new friends"

An aggressive and petty attack on an Irish musician from an English hack? We've all heard that one before.. You remain bitter about your mortgage Jon ..

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Bernie The Bolt
Sep 12, 2014 7:10pm

Malign cant? Oh yes he is!

I loved them until I heard JAMC, also. Thanks for reminding me. I'm gonna go and play 'Snakedriver' now just to get any lingering Zooropa outta my head.

Bono gets the flak and quite rightly so, but what about his cohorts? It'd be great if they grew a set and sacked the bleeder off. Then they could do an INXS and become their very own tribute act.

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Dave
Sep 12, 2014 8:04pm

U2 have followed the exact same taxation precedent that has been used by The Rolling Stones, 30 years before them.

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Al
Sep 12, 2014 11:44pm

In reply to Chris:

Which is just a mindlessly-predictable opinion of another of the anti-U2 brigade. I can make ignorant generalisations too!

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Blake David
Sep 13, 2014 12:01am

Man, have I got a Tea Party you guys should join!
You don't agree with how Bono goes about achieving goals you find worthy, so he is the enemy for not holding his breath until Rummy dies. Seriously?
You wonder why the banks win. They win because people formed to evict the Romans from power instead choose to fight the real enemy. The People's Front for Judea. I bet you guys also think there's no difference between Obama and Palin.
Bono got Jesse Helms to OK money for black people with AIDS. Do you have any idea how impossible that seemed? The most racist, puritanical elected politician in the U.S. in the last quarter century did that in large part because of Bono.
I'm not vouching for his character, I don't know the man -- nor do I pretend to know him. I'm willing to bet that after 30 years of being told how wonderful he is, some to a lot has sunk in over the years. I'm not willing to call him the enemy because he's rich, successful and famous. Nor am I willing to discount U2's album for the same reasons. Pretend it was done by the Dublin Cabbage Patch -- an indy band who has yet to sell out and get a facebook page -- then judge it. As a U2 fan, eh. Not their best, not their worst. The Edge sounds cool but Bono relies too much on lyrical crutches.
However, John, you are commended for that giant heading above the column telling Mac users they're not welcome to read your blog. And I'm sure as a mortgage holder who wants fraternity and equality, you are putting up at least four homeless folks in your house. Good for you. At least YOU are not a hypocrite.

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Blake David
Sep 13, 2014 12:04am

By the way, Blake is my first name and David is my actual middle name. There is no Biblical invocation going on here where will.i.am. meets the king of the Jews. My mother the hippie named me after William Blake back when.

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John Doran
Sep 13, 2014 10:40am

In reply to Blake David:

Try and concentrate on what I'm actually saying for more than three seconds: if Bono paid 50% tax on his obscenely large fortune in Ireland where he lives - there would be no homeless people. They would have their own houses and not need his hypocritical charity.

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Sep 13, 2014 11:25am

Excuse me but British artists have been hiding out in Ireland to revel in the tax breaks for decades but when an Irish band (who have made oodles of wealth for Island - A British company) find their own loophole everyone cries foul.
There was supposed to be an anti-U2 protest in reference to their tax avoidance at Glastonbury a few years back. As it turned out their Friday night performance merely got a lukewarm reception. Hit of the weekend was Beyonce shill-for-McDonalds-Calvin Klein-the Gadaffi family Knowles. Now that sir, is hypocrisy not to mention topsy turvy morals but still the 'Glasto' spirit etc etc

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Zoey Dish
Sep 13, 2014 12:52pm

Another lecture from and English critic on Irish domestic taxation affairs. Jon, you know NOTHING about the way the Irish taxation system works. CJ Haughey brought in a cap on a very low artists tax in the late 60s to encourage Irish traditional musicians, poets etc to function in what was essentially a third world economy. Many Brits took advantage of the Irish system for decades (take a look at the Live Aid line up and take your pick) - until it was pulled. Today, low corporate Irish taxation is about JOBS NOT REVENUE. It's a very different set up to the U.K. You wouldn't know it in the U.K but U2 are highly regarded in Ireland amongst musicians and donate millions regularly to Music Generation : http://www.musicgeneration.ie/about/ .. Also, homelessness in Ireland is not Bono's fault! .. It's a much more complex cocktail of rampant Heroin use in Dublin City Centre, Anti Abortion Laws, Lack of sex education in schools, complex divorce issues and successive governments ability to tackle working class educational issues. Jon, please, with a name like Doran I am suspecting your family moved over over to the U.K for a myriad of reasons at one point. Are you really going to pin this on U2?

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Sep 13, 2014 1:01pm

In reply to John Doran:

John- the Quietus should do a comprehensive article on the tax affairs of a number of bands, rap stars, actors etc. - then there could be some overarching basis for your assessment of one group's activities. Your article as is stands is based on a prejudice against U2 and their singer, and bolstered by a series of 'guilt by association' claims.

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kym
Sep 13, 2014 3:22pm

The author really needs a new job. What Bono should do is nothing. After all, his efforts have not done anything for the betterment of humanity.

For every gripe you have with Sachs, I will give you evidence that Sachs efforts have benefited African nations. And what about the well documented statistic that the Bush administration did the most for African nations? And what celebrity has had the gall to put his entire ethos on the line by negotiating with some bad people? You expect perfection and exemplary behavior in all the efforts of Bono, but what have you done? Rest behind the screen of a keyboard and give criticism after criticism? Have you campaigned for the above mentioned causes? I campaign for these causes, and let me tell you, it is people like you that slow shit down. Get on the road. Campaign for what you believe in. Knock door to door, like I do, trying to raise awareness to African issues. Have you been in contact with actual Aids patients in Africa? I have. You demonstrate amazing name dropping ability and analytical prowess, but go to Africa. Campaign for something. Understand the pain involved in one government official after another saying no to you, even when millions of lives are at stake.

But do not shoot down the efforts of Bono when you have not done a fucking thing yourself.

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Josh Valentine
Sep 13, 2014 3:49pm

In reply to kym:

Excellent, Kym. Just excellent. Keep up the important work. Just like Bono.

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Archie_ Loaf
Sep 14, 2014 3:51pm

i hate it when people assume a writer has done nothing over an issue in which they point out a certain persons hypocrisy. How do they know ? They know nothing about what he or she has or hasn't done and make wild assumptions . Bono on the other hand we know is a cock-ring of some distinction. Pay your taxes you pious vertically challenged arse

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Sep 14, 2014 4:03pm

In reply to Archie_ Loaf:

Let John Doran tell us what he does activism-wise then.
He did an interview with Stephen Morris of new order recently and there was no discussion of their taxes, no suggestion that they pay 50 per cent of their income to support the homeless in Manchester as he has suggested Bono do.
He should do a wide-ranging article on the tax arrangements of artists, musicians and writers and how they arrange their affairs. This would give this article some context.

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Dan
Sep 14, 2014 5:29pm

In reply to John Doran:

"if Bono paid 50% tax on his obscenely large fortune in Ireland where he lives - there would be no homeless people."

not quite sure that's how things work.

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Johnny Waite
Sep 14, 2014 6:11pm

Just another Bono bashing piece. Yawn. Like shooting fish in a barrel. Too easy.

Overlooks completely the millions and millions and millions that U2 have contributed to the Irish tax coffers.

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Matt
Sep 14, 2014 6:27pm

I've met Bono and he came across as a gentle, kind and thoughtful man. I'm not a huge fan though beyond the obvious good tracks. I deleted the album as the titles just didn't wash with me and the free aspect of the new album was beyond ludicrous as it's quite clear that they made a lot of money from that release. I listened briefly and nothing quite frankly resonated as it was with their last album.

That said this article is just not fair play. To judge anyone never brings about anything constructive and or positive. Judge not for if the specter of innocence is not upon you. It never helps to criticize especially in a public forum. Which leads to more angry and back biting comments.

The world as with this article is all about stabbing back at the supposed failings and injustices of inequality. It's mostly about the blame game which never searches for the heart of all imagined and or real problems of this world. Although U2's tactics with the release of this album do not resonate with me I just stand apart from it rather than gathering up the evidence to attack that which one does not agree with.

If the Quietus was capable of making a billion dollars what would become of you and how would you be judged for it by others.

I find it unhealthy for the have nots to underscore how the rich are so isolated and illicit in their intentions and in their actions and it's incredulous to speak out about it. The more negative the argument the more damning the inquest and it simply becomes that of a mental battlefield.

One doesn't have to like an artist to be respectful. It is the man who can keep his mouth quiet that doesn't end up looking the fool. Being quiet does not have to mean being disengaged from our differing states of belief it merely means staying focused without being blinded by fears and the like thereof.

I read this whole outburst as that of a negative reaction and it just stinks of bad feelings which tends to do more harm than it's worth. Whatever you send out that is negative out in the work generally comes back upon you in some form or another. Let's stay positive rather than reactionary and focus all of our energies on gathering and developing solutions to the worlds so called problems by engendering positive means rather than focusing on the negatives and the isolated dimensions of our thinking powers.

Matt

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Sep 14, 2014 6:31pm

You can always reply on the pretentious Quietus author base. Completely ridiculous drivel of an article but it somehow made me chuckle. I had to stop reading four paragraphs in though. One can only hope the author feels less pain now that he's opened up. Maybe get a life?

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Matt
Sep 14, 2014 6:43pm

In reply to :

Another example of negative back biting. These kinds of rankings just lead to an equal embodiment of 'attack'.

People look at the wars and the quarrels and the conflicts around this planet. This is what contributes to them. Narrow thinking and reactionary-isms.

Matt

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Matt
Sep 14, 2014 6:46pm

In reply to Matt:

Meant to say 'Rantings'

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ME
Sep 14, 2014 7:21pm

Probably the only thing worse that hipster music critics who reflexively criticize great bands who become successful are hipster music critics who couch their juvenile nonsense in the self-defeating language of socialist, holier than thou preaching. In all of this article, there's almost nothing to suggest the writer has any capacity for musical analysis or any grasp of the musical reasons he considers U2's more recent output (in which they have consistency reinvented their sound, continually drawing in new influences and styles, without neglecting their roots) inferior to their earlier work. There's just socio- political bile.

Given this, it's nice to reflect that millions will be listening to this album decades from now, while these criticisms will be forgotten.

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Wendy Aquilante
Sep 14, 2014 11:22pm

Hola The quietus!!!!Nunca te metas con un hijo de Dios!!recurdaloooo
Wendy Aquilante soy de Argentina..shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh silenceee

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Sep 14, 2014 11:45pm

In reply to John Doran:

what a load of nonsense, John Doran.

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Robert Davidson
Sep 15, 2014 8:15am

A great example of an insecure person taking it out on genuine artists instead of doing something about their own talent

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Somebody
Sep 16, 2014 3:38am

Nothing against you, but why would you make a review without listening to the album?? What you said about Blake's Songs of Innocence fits extremely well with the theme of this record, good or bad, so there's nothing to complain here. And when you badmouth Bono is like people that say we shouldn't play Wagner because of his antisemitism.

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Mattia Lumini
Sep 16, 2014 7:16pm

Pathetic...
READ THE LYRICS, LISTEN TO THE MUSIC poor human being

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Matt Morgan
Sep 22, 2014 5:39pm

I'm fascinated by those who love to hate. Not sure what good it adds to the world but I'm pretty sure it's just "NOT GOOD". Mr. Doran (and other articles) does an excellent job of pointing out all the negative about Bono and Co. to the extent he quantifies the details. Since he's done such stellar research on how much money the band makes and all their conniving, perhaps he could expend a commensurate amount of energy showing us the other side of the argument. For example how much the band has donated directly (which they don't disclose so I don't know how one would get that info), how much money Bono and U2 have raised directly as a band for charities, how much they have collectively raised indirectly, how many people have become contributing members of Amnesty International and Greenpeace since they began contributing to those efforts in 1987, how much money is raised by RED, how much debt was forgiven during the Jubilee 2000 campaign, how much awareness has been put upon poverty and AIDS due to their efforts (difficult to quantify but it belongs in the conversation)?

Here's the thing, I know for a fact that there are literally hundreds of individuals in the Napa Valley and Portola Valley in California alone that are wealthier than even Bono. I can't tell you the names of one of them that contributes in any way to humanity or raising awareness to anything meaningful. Instead they sit on their piles of gold, build more 10,000 sq ft homes and buy yachts. I'll take Bono or an army of Bono's over these assholes any day.

Lastly, whom among any of these readers, the author or myself for that matter has done anything remotely productive to help a total stranger in a meaningful way in the last year alone? Not me. But I did buy myself some really cool stuff. It's easy to be a critic. It's easy to be a hater. I like making money. I'll bet you like making it too (or at least receiving it). Is Bono (and U2) an asshole for making money? I say no. Do they try to contribute something positive? Absolutely! You want to get mad at someone go hunt down the very long list of people who are vastly wealthier than Bono or U2 and ask them why the hell they aren't doing more for this world? Or better still, stop bitching and go out and help someone other than yourself. You don't have to be rich to do it.

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Larry Nickel
Sep 27, 2014 12:00am

I found the album positive and life affirming. watch this interview. U2 might be rich - deservedly so - but they've progressed beyond the hubris and arrogance of most bands on the scene today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSUAZGq0YI4#t=301

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Sep 28, 2014 6:57pm

Greatness is always hated by those with small minds

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gala alexander
Oct 12, 2014 2:30am

Innit

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Baggieboy
Oct 14, 2014 2:27pm

In reply to ME:

Bonio and co haven't made a good album since Joshua Tree. Trouble is nobody mentions their music much anymore. It's all about Mr Hewson and his money making charidee escapades, so a review of the cd, bad as it may well be is immaterial. Lose the sunglasses as well mate. You just don't look cool anymore...

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Bernie The Bolt
Oct 16, 2014 7:42pm

Here's an idea for all those savy with social media and wotnot: start a campaign against U2 invoking the name of Joey Ramone by encouraging all who can afford to do so to purchase Motorhead's 'R.A.M.O.N.E.S'. That, Hewson, is how you rock. If this has already been suggested anywhere else... my apologies, and I'll get me coat.

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Joe ferrin
Oct 18, 2014 11:40am

First of all, just because Bono is successful it does not mean he needs to give his money away. Wake up people. The point is he does not sit on his ass and drink Dom and Martinis,however he is all over helping the world with it's problems. Time is worth lots of money. Bono has more brains in his ass then most people in their heads. Jealousy is a horrible thing. And songs on innocence. Powerful record with great words and great music. Better then anything that is being released today. Keep up the good work Bono.

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joj
Nov 10, 2014 11:38am

The danger of writing a very subjective review based on very little epistemology or fact finding is that it loses its credibility. But in this case it can be forgiven because U2 are an easy target and we already know this to be self evident. Next time don't even waste your time on discussing their music but develop more on those final paragraphs because they were a lot more interesting and relevant I thought and I'd happily read that.

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Dec 9, 2014 11:01pm

I was a huge fan but like many I have grown tired of saint bono trumpeting his horn. Let's all bow to the king. What an arse.

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Ian
Mar 10, 2015 11:45am

Not sure how I feel about this. I mean, music is definitely a subjective experience, but I find it harder and harder to discover a music critic who is capable of separating what the author of the music did or still does, from the actual music. Maybe it's hard for to see it that way since I'm a casual fan. I liked the album, it was nothing spectacular but it was alright. I used it to prep myself for the oncoming tour. Got myself a ticket on rocktotick.com and all I have to do is wait now.

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