Introducing U2 to a New Generation

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When my oldest was nine we had CBC on while Bono was being interviewed as we drove to a soccer match.  It was a fairly silent drive and I listened to Bono talk about the state of the world and I assumed my son was playing a game on his DS or something.  When we arrived at the pitch, a few minutes after the interview had ended, my son said, “That man talked in poetry.”  I had no idea he had been listening. It’s been a story I have shared for years, and one I proudly and shamelessly share here again. That Bono guy does talk in poetry, particularly when he sings.

The Drive Back

I explained who Bono was and how much I loved Joshua Tree and other albums and then my son played soccer on a cold October day. When he was back in the van he asked to hear something by U2 on our trip home. Ah.... I found All That You Can’t Leave Behind in the CD case and hesitantly put it on, explaining that if I had a choice I would have put on Joshua Tree or Wide Awake in America—still one of my favourite songs by the crew, but we listened to All That You Can’t Leave Behind and I am not sure he has ever been a fan of U2.  He does like Bono as a figure in the world for change and as a voice for poetry’s place in life, but he has never embraced U2 as a band.

I doubt, though, he has heard the great screams of “Wide Awake” or the results of the  Joshua Tree in the desert.  He didn’t care much for All That You Can’t Leave Behind and asked to skip “Elevation.”  

Can’t learn much from a day at a soccer match when you only have one CD from a group that has put out...well...a mere handful, given the time elapsed from their start. What they have put out has been pretty amazing though—perhaps excepting All That You Can’t Leave Behind, though it does have some good tunes.  If I had been better prepared for that day, I would have put on Joshua Tree or one of the albums I initially hated and grew to love, like 1993’s Zooropa.

He loved “Kite” and he asked to hear “In a Little While” over again.   Then we talked over much of the rest. As it stands now in 2014, my eldest son thinks he has to listen to U2 someday and hear why his old man thinks that’s a good idea. Hopefully there’s Yeats in the result. He plans to start with Songs of Innocence—and that sounds like a brilliant place to start.


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