1. You know how people try to use the criticism, “This would’ve been better as a single album,” on every possible double album, even on the ones that wouldn’t work any other way? Well, this one would have been better as a single album.
2. Choir renditions of well-known songs ought to be reserved for high school choirs (talking about “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”).
3. Robert Christgau’s statement in his review of the album, “the (remake) of […] “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” [is] improved by practice and negligence” is probably why so many people hate him.
4. Question: are half-live/half-studio albums ever a good idea? Previous failures in John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Some Time in New York City and the Kinks’ Everybody’s in Showbiz suggest no. No, they are not.
5. Forget that they’re butchering “Helter Skelter” and “All Along the Watchtower,” because at least the original songwriters are getting the credit. I will not allow people to strip apart the Stooges’ “1969” and try to pass it off as their own (talking about “Desire”).
6. Forget that Bono commands the Edge to play the blues that leads to the Edge playing anything but the blues. The infinitely dumber line is the opening line of the album, “This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles…We’re stealin’ it back!” Anthony Decurtis, of Rolling Stone, describes it as “portentous.” I prefer “pretentious.”
7. Forget that Bono says “Well, the God I believe in isn’t short ‘o cash, mister!” “God Part II,” a continuation of John Lennon’s “God,” features a whole wikiquotes page of infinitely dumber lines. John Lennon’s “God” was his ode against religion and the Beatles. Now, Bono isn’t an atheist. He was brought up under an Anglican-Catholic household, and raised as the latter and influenced by both. And while he might have certain beliefs against religion, he most certainly is notatheist. So he can’t make the same statements that John Lennon made like “I don’t believe in Bible” or “I don’t believe in Jesus.” So he turns his attention elsewhere, “Don’t believe in forced entry / Don’t believe in rape / But everytime she passes by / Wild thoughts escape.”Well, I’m glad you don’t believe in rape but you think about it constantly.
Moreover, he can’t say “I don’t believe in Beatles” because he was not a part of them as John Lennon was, so instead, he offers: “Don’t believe in the 60’s / The golden age of pop.” Well, how better to demonstrate how he doesn’t believe in that decade than to cover some of its most well-known songs and to somehow drag Bob Dylan into your album as well?
8. Oddly, the best part of “God Part II” is Adam Clayton, who you wouldn’t even have known existed otherwise.
9. No one, and I mean no one should include “The Star Spangled Banner” into your album. Especially if you’re not American.
10. The song isn’t even theirs, though! It’s an excerpt of Jimi Hendrix’s live performance in the 60’s!
11. Other interlude “Freedom for My People” also isn’t even theirs! It’s an excerpt of Satan and Adam’s street performance!
12. Were this a single album, the Edge-sung “Van Diemen’s Land” would’ve found its way as a b-side, the same as Adam Clayton-sung “Endless Deep” circa War.
13. ”All I Want Is You” is basically “One” without any of the things that made “One” great (the guitarwork here is half as interesting, and the lone hook doesn’t even compare) with a string arrangement to close it. This song is 6 minutes long.
14. Another tidbit from Anthony Decurtis’s Rolling Stone review, “If amid the rather studied chaos here, you feel moved to draw comparisons with masterpieces of excess like the Beatles’ White Album or the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, you can be sure that Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. won’t mind a bit.” Well, no fucking shit, the members of U2 wouldn’t mind this thing being compared to two of the greatest double albums of all time. I’m sure the members of the Beatles and Rolling Stones certainly would, though.
15. I can only imagine the conversation that went down between U2 and Brian Eno, who had produced their proceeding albums:
U2: Hey Brian, do you want to produce our upcoming album?
Brian Eno: Yeah, man, of course. Do you have any idea about what the album is going to sound like?
U2: Well, we want to make it a concept album about how much we love America.
Brian Eno: Umm—but aren’t you Irish? Won’t Irish people be offended by—
U2: Also, it’s going to be a double album.
Brian Eno: Are you sure that’s a good idea? A lot of double albums are better off as single albums—
U2: But we don’t have enough material, so we’re going to make it half-live/half-studio.
Brian Eno: Are you sure that’s a good idea? I personally think live albums should be live albums and studio albums should be studio albums—
U2: But to make it seem like there’s a lot of new material to be found, we’re going to cover a lot of well-known songs by the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.
Brian Eno: Oh, shit, man. I just realized I have an appointment to get my hair cut.
U2 (to the side): What the fuck? He doesn’t even have hair.
Brian Eno (to the side): Thank God, I got out of that one. That album’s going to be a disaster.