There was a time when the giveaway of a new U2 album would have been a big deal in a good way, not in the PR-disaster way surrounding this month's Apple stunt. Most people, it seems, responded with a shrug or with annoyance that an album they didn't want suddenly showed up in their iTunes library. "This is quite a comedown for a band who, just over a decade ago, could still call itself the biggest band in the world," writes Nico Lang at the Daily Dot. He recounts how U2 seems to have firmly established itself among the ranks of bands that got huge, only to become groups that "no one likes"—think Coldplay, the Dave Matthews Band, Weezer, and, of course, Nickelback.
"As someone who likes many U2 records and dislikes many others, their recent output isn’t so much an issue of selling your soul to the man as much as deciding to be a certain type of band, one that might not please the Achtung Baby faithful," writes Lang. Take 2009's No Line on the Horizon, for example, filled with "hippy-dippy lyrics about world peace that could play while you browse the aisles at Hobby Lobby." Achtung Baby may be brilliant, but that was 1991, and the band is now more about "middling commercial jingles." It doesn't help that Bono continues to come off as "holier-than-thou" and pompous. He "has spent the last three and a half decades trying to get everyone to like him, but the greatest PR coup he could ever pull is to finally stop caring." Click to read the full column.