Posted by: Nathan | May 31, 2006

U2, Goo Goo Dolls, or REM?

There are a few bands who have CDs out that I already know I’ll buy more of: Caedmon’s Call and Billy Joel spring to mind readily (I already have a lot of Billy, but I’d eventually like all of his studio albums). And then there are my hanger-on bands: U2, Goo Goo Dolls, and REM. I have at least one disc from each of these groups that I like a good deal, but I’m hesitant to purchase more. That’s where you, dear reader, come in. I need your opinion! From which band of these three should I buy my next CD? Here are each band’s respective pros and cons:

1.U2 Already have: War, The Joshua Tree
Would purchase: Achtung Baby

Why U2? Bono’s got pipes, the Edge is a sensational guitarist, and they frequently have solid lyrics and good instrumentation. I know there’s a lot more to be heard from them on the albums I don’t have. They are also a Christian band, though not explicitly, and often have uplifting lyrics.

Why not U2? I always shy away from bands that are uber-popular, and people practically worship Bono. Additionally, their recent singles haven’t been as good as their past work. Their fast songs are usually good but sometimes their slower work isn’t particularly catchy.

Greatest Hits: “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “With or Without You,” “Pride,” “Mysterious Ways,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “One.”

2. Goo Goo Dolls Already have: Dizzy Up the Girl
Would purchase: Gutterflower probably

Why GGD? Johnny Rzeznick’s voice is always a joy to listen to, and the Goos have a knack for catchy guitar hooks and good melodies. They excel at harder rock but can also swing the quieter songs.

Why Not GGD? Their bassist Robby sings a couple/three songs per album, and he’s terrible, so one has to skip tracks on their discs.

Greatest Hits: “Name,” “Long Way Down,” “Sympathy,” “Dizzy,” “Slide,” “Iris,” “Broadway.”

3. REM Already have: Out of Time, Automatic for the People
Would purchase: TBD–they have so many albums

Why REM? At times REM is sonically beautiful and excels at diversity in sound and instrumentation. Michael Stipe’s voice is often clear and expressive, though in his older songs it is not. They have good guitar sound and make excellent use of the piano at times.

Why not REM? Stipe is frequently hard to understand lyrically, which he does on purpose. A lot of their songs are experimental, so the tracks are frequently hit-and-miss with the occasional song being quite boring. Also, not that one is surpised to know this, the band is very left-wing and some of their songs echo such themes.

Greatest Hits: “Radio Free Europe,” “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?,” It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” “Everybody Hurts,” “Nightswimming,” “Daysleeper,” “The Great Beyond,” “Electrolite,” “Losing My Religion.”

You vote counts! Not as much as mine, of course, but your voice can be heard! Which should band should next grace my CD drawer and iPod?



  1. Please folks, remember to consider the wife’s feelings on this subject. Our iPod has been hijacked by the fifty gazillion DMB songs that Nathan has taken from “our” CD collection. I no longer use the shuffle feature for this reason. Be kind. U2 for sanity!

  2. Of the three choices that are listed I would have to go with U2 everytime. You’re right they are almost to ultra popular for me. It’s like if you like music you have to be a U2 fan or a Coldplay fan. Yet you can’t ever take anything away from U2. I love the Goo Goo Dolls as well, but their new album has basically been played in its entireity on the radio being they kept pushing back the release date. As for REM, they have had some great stuff in the past, but I agree that some of their stuff has been politcally driven. As much as I like the new Goo Goo Dolls CD, I say go with U2

  3. I LOVE that Nathan has “fifty gazillion DMB songs” on the iPod. Represent, yo. Here’s to 6 different versions of ‘Ants.’ I would probably recommend U2 on lyrical and musical merit. Though I haven’t listened to them TOO much, I have liked their stuff better than the Goo or REM.

    Another option (though I know you prefer the concept of a full album) is to create your own mix by downloading all three bands on iTunes. Just a thought that may throw a wrench in the process. Bwahahahaha.

  4. U2 is perhaps the most overhyped band in the world, and they’re no more a Christian band than Creed. (And since you brought it up with Stipe, let us not forget how left-wing Señor Bono is as well.)

    Musically, U2 doesn’t stand a chance against REM. Old, new, it doesn’t matter. Stipe definitely has the better voice, while even his backup vocals for other bands can make a song. But even with all the non-political respect and sentiment I have for REM, my collection (including their best-of album) has been collecting dust in a corner of my basement for some time now.

    I’d have to say Goo Goo Dolls. I haven’t listened to enough of the new album yet (no desire or stomach to go anywhere near top-40 radio). Dizzy Up The Girl IS one of my guilty pleasures. I’d say to go easy on Robby Takac though. His singing can be an acquired taste, and I admit I enjoy it when he takes the lead too.

  5. I’m changing my vote to copy Kyle. “Create your own mix” sounds like a solid plan.

  6. I’d have to agree with Jason – not because I support the ‘Dolls, I actually don’t care between them and Rapid Eye Movement – I just can’t stand U2! Jason is right; they’re overhyped. But what drives me crazy is how seriously they take themselves. I can’t stand it when entertainers get involved in politics; Bono deserves to be shunned just for that reason. Even U2’s music is oozes self-seriousness. U2 isn’t fun, and they don’t “rock.” Instead, U2 tries to make “art” that you feel, but not really enjoy.

  7. Okay, here’s the tally so far:
    U2: 2
    GGD: 2
    REM: 0
    Other: 2 (i’ll count both of Jason’s votes)
    Darn you, Kyle, and your downloading, mixing, megalomania! I’m buying an album here. Yes, iTunes is not a bad plan, but how am I ever going to truly know an artist if all I do is download the songs I already know and love? This plan sounds especially good for REM though; I must admit it’s true. That said, I think my vote goes to REM, especially b/c they’re getting no love from y’all. The verdict is not yet in though. Go on: stuff the ballot box!

  8. Wow. Y’all come down pretty hard on Bono. I would argue that even though most of us don’t care what a given entertainer’s political positions are, there are people who put a lot of credence in something because Bono or Dave Matthews or the Dixie Chicks espouse it. Like it or not, these people have a lot of influence, and somebody like Bono is actually doing some (not all) good things with that influence. I posit that Bono will be remembered as ‘that singer who was an activist’ rather than ‘the lead singer of U2.’ I would also argue that the world AIDS crisis wouldn’t be quite so present in the public consciousness if it weren’t for Bono. Though I (and most of you) don’t really care how Bono votes or thinks politically, good or bad, the guy has influence. My vote goes to U2.

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