Hey, U2, Get Off My Cloud!

U2 gave me a free record last week.
Except it wasn’t a record, it was a bunch of files that landed on my cloud.
I downloaded them because I used to love U2 and I wanted to see if they could get me there just one more time.
Sadly, I was disappointed.
Like I said, it was a bunch of files, not an album.
NOT the same thing.

My Mother also gave me a free album, back in 1979.
It was an actual album, something you could hold in your hand.
It was “Let It Be” by the Beatles.
I was on a steady diet of Kiss and didn’t really want the record.
The four guys on the cover looked like smelly hippies to me.
Still it was a free record, why pass up a free record?

I dropped the needle on the album and by the time they got to the "You and I have memories" part, I had forgotten all about Kiss.

I was there.
I was there when U2 became U2.
You were probably there too.
I remember the mullet.
The white flag. 
I was the proper age, an impressionable 17 year old.
I had mixed feelings about them before, but seeing the video of them performing at Red Rocks in the mist and the rain and hearing Sunday Bloody Sunday on the radio next to big 80's hair metal and Phil Collins made quite an impression on me.
That martial drumbeat....that guitar... and Bono wasn’t singing about girls.
Nobody else sounded like them. 
I was sold.
It was music for the heart and the head.
As a friend of mine used to say, “context is everything” and in that context U2 really mattered.
I believed in them.

They got bigger and bigger. They started wearing hats,
started dressing like they were gambling on a riverboat.
I stuck with them all the way up until they made that awful movie.
U2 discovered the Blues.
I lived in Austin, I had already discovered the Blues.
I was going to Antone’s all the time and seeing people like Albert Collins and Buddy Guy and James Cotton.
Now they were gonna show me the Blues?
How presumptuous.

I stayed with them as long as I could.
At some point I stopped caring.
Was it them or was it me?
Hard to say.
Sometimes, they’d release something brilliant like “Beautiful Day” and I would try to fall in love with them again.

The Beatles just reissued most the Mono versions of their studio albums.
I already own all this stuff in various formats and it costs a fortune -$375 on Amazon.
I keep thinking about it.
I can’t download it, I can't stream it.
If I want it, I have to go to a record store and buy it.
And I do want it.
I want it. I want it. I waaaant it.
I already own it all their music.
Ah, but not this version of it.
It’s a fetish thing.
That big beautiful white box.
The book that goes with it.
All the album artwork of the Fabs. 
You take the package off and pull out the vinyl.
You undress it.
Isn’t that why we buy stuff?
The best kind of shopping is tension/release.
Desire and then fulfillment of said desire.
With an mp3 there is no tension/release.
You just download it.
It’s there in a second.
Like a bad lover.
Where’s the fun in that?

I don't wait for new U2 records anymore, not like I did when I was younger.
I gave up on them for good after “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb”.
Nevertheless they had put the record on my I-tunes whether I wanted it or not.
How presumptuous.

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