'Somewhere between being true to yourself and repeating yourself is a world of questions,' says Bono, in an interview for the April edition of Spin Magazine.
'I can't bear the idea of repeating myself, but allowing Edge to be true to himself as a guitar player has given the album a sense of the way it used to be. It sounds like a classic U2 album, and I have to accept that.'
'This is no time to be arty, at the beginning of the 21st century,' he
proclaims. 'We had to find the center.'
Bono is interviewed, along with Moby and P J Harvey - all pictured left - as U2 are one of the acts Spin have nominated as 'the most important artists in the game right now - our fantasy Top 40 playlist, a heavy rotation we could actually listen to all day.'
The Spin feature continues, 'They're off to a good start. What's impressive about All That You Can't Leave Behind is that U2 have regained their anthemic push - but without the overbearing earnestness that culminated in The Joshua Tree. 'I've been insufferable before, and I will be again!' Bono jokes. 'There's no finer specimen. But this is no time for polemics, either.'
U2 should be proud. They're the first rock band in history to release an album that ranks with their very greatest 20 years after their debut. Bono is aware of all the land mines. If you're a romantic, he says, 'you burn out. People want you to die on the cross when you're 33 - or they ask for their money back. If you're too sober, you may wind up a boring asshole. I have occasionally wanted to shoot some of them myself.'
Bono harbors few illusions at this point. 'U2 are a corporation,' he says. 'We're a gang of four and a corporation of five [counting manager Paul McGuiness]. The thing that separated us from temporary, sophomoric, white-bread fucking art students is the thing that puts us in with hip-hop: Taking care of business, as Elvis Presley described it, is the thing that marks how much artists care about what they do. When rock stops trying to communicate on the level of mass media, it becomes progressive rock; it becomes solipsistic.'
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