Know Your Bonoisms, Part 11 – Bono’s Letter to Fans

Because you’re tapped out on Songs of Innocence reviews, I’ll spare you and just fire out a few quick opinions:

  • “Every Breaking Wave” – It seems like it’s the current fan favorite, but it reminds me of an assortment of non-U2 80s acts. Nothing wrong with that, though.
  • Iris – Best lyrics on the whole album. Heartbreaking, for obvious reasons.
  • My favorites right now are “Song for Someone and “Cedarwood Road” – flawless!

Okay, that’s it for now. Until it grows on me, I’m withholding my opinion on “Ba-ba-barbara” – I mean, “California (There is No End to Love).”

This column is called “Know Your Bonoisms” for a reason, so I’ll get right to it. Everyone’s talking about Bono’s letter to fans on U2.com, so that’s what we’re going to be analyzing today. Let’s take it one chunk at a time:

Hello, bonjour, ciao, hola, hallo, zdravo, dobar dan, Dia duit, hæ, hej,hei, cześć, olá, ćao, namaste, sawatdee, jambo, pozdravi, Γεια σου, привіт, שלום, مرحبا, こんにちは, , سلام, 你好, Привет….

So many languages, and there are U2 fans for every one of them. Try saying that about Maroon 5.

Remember us? Pleased to announce myself, Edge, Adam and Larry have finally given birth to our new baby… Songs of Innocence. It’s been a while. We wanted to get it right for you/us. We just finished it last week and thanks to Apple and iTunes it’s with you today. That’s already amazing to me as it normally takes a few months to turn this stuff around.

As someone who edits for a living, I need to get it out there: Bono is suffering from a major comma deficiency here. But I love that he hopes we remember them.

Part of the DNA of this band has always been the desire to get our music to as many people as possible. In the next 24 hours, over a half a billion people are going to have Songs of Innocence… should they choose to check it out. That is so exciting. People who haven’t heard our music, or weren’t remotely interested, might play us for the first time because we’re in their library.

We all know this has been his goal all along: Being relevant to younger listeners who have never really heard U2. Okay, fine. We’ll let you have that, but please remember the rest of us when you start putting the live arrangements together for the tour. I can only handle one “Crazy Tonite Remix” per decade, so let’s not fix what isn’t broken. The new songs are great; we don’t need an “Iris 2.0.” It’s perfect the way it is!

Country fans, hip hop afficionados from east LA, electro poppers from Seoul, Bhangra fans from New Delhi, Highlifers in Accra… might JUST be tempted to check us out, even for a moment. What a mind blowing, head scratching, 21st century situation. Over 500 million people… that’s a billion ears. And for the people out there who have no interest in checking us out, look at it this way… the blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail.

Bono, you adorable Irishman, there are hip hop afficionados all over America, and for that matter all over the world. This is one of those lines that makes me think he had very little to do with writing this message. Then again, the “blood, sweat and tears” makes me think that maybe he did. Except the Irish would use the Oxfordian comma, which is missing there. Maybe our favorite song writer just doesn’t know how to punctuate.

You’ll have noticed the album is free to U2.com’ers from the band. It’s also free to everyone on iTunes thanks to Apple. To celebrate the ten year anniversary of our iPod commercial, they bought it as a gift to give to all their music customers. Free, but paid for. Because if no-one’s paying anything for it, we’re not sure “free” music is really that free. It usually comes at a cost to the art form and the artist… which has big implications, not for us in U2, but for future musicians and their music… all the songs that have yet to be written by the talents of the future… who need to make a living to write them.

This is my favorite part: “free, but paid for.” Making sure fans understood that had to be per Bono’s input, as he is always standing up for capitalism. At this point in their career, Bono knows that people (for whatever reason) are always questioning U2’s financial decisions, so he is willing to acknowledge that by answering the question on the minds of fans and naysayers. Good for him!

We’re collaborating with Apple on some cool stuff over the next couple of years, innovations that will transform the way music is listened to and viewed. We’ll keep you posted. If you like Songs of Innocence, stay with us for Songs of Experience. It should be ready soon enough… although I know I’ve said that before…

Yep, and you also said Songs of Ascent would be ready three years ago. I was still pretty annoyed by that until this week. All’s forgiven now.

I hope after listening to our new long player a few times, you’ll understand why it took so long. We really went there… it’s a very, very personal album. Apologies if that gets excruciating… actually, I take that back. No apologies if it gets excruciating. What’s the point in being in U2 if you can’t go there?

That’s right, Bono: Apologize for nothing.

There is no end to LOVE.

BONO

So you’re saying you love us, right? Close enough. We love you too – and, we love U2.

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Brook

Writer, wife and mom who loves U2. Achtung Baby was released on my 15th birthday. Shooting off my mouth, that's another great thing about me. Contact via Twitter at @U2RadioBrook.