What you may know: U2's new album, Songs of Experience, came out in early December. What you may not know: Bono apparently almost died while making it. That's per a new interview with Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner in which the U2 frontman doesn't reveal exactly what happened, but notes he considers it an "extinction event." He explains that such a happening for people "could be psychological or it could be physical," and for him it was physical. He says it was in sync with the "political apocalypse" going on in the US and abroad and that "you get warning signs, and then you realize that you are not a tank." Bono also talks about how this near-death experience shaped the album. But what has raised more than a few eyebrows is his assessment in the interview of the current state of the industry for male musicians and the "rage" that should be at the center of rock music.
"I think music has gotten very girly," Bono notes. "And there are some good things about that, but hip-hop is the only place for young male anger at the moment—and that's not good." That remark has spurred online eyerolling, with Rebecca Fishbein noting at Jezebel that white male musicians are "relegated only to releasing their rage at being the least oppressed members of society via mediums like film, television, national lawmaking, company CEOing, and Twitter-threading." And for the Independent, Roisin O'Connor says Bono's remarks "reduce hip-hop to the laziest possible stereotype of 'aggressive' black masculinity," while his "pejorative" use of the word "girly" seems to ignore that some of U2's biggest hits have been romantic ballads. "Rock music never was, and never should be, simply a place to channel male anger," O'Connor writes. The Rolling Stone interview here. (Read more Bono stories.)