Archive | Publication

U2 and Music Theory Series Debuted on @U2.com

Professor Christopher Endrinal, Florida Gulf Coast University, writes about U2 and music theory in “Theorectically Speaking,” a new series on @U2.

Theoretically SpeakingHave you ever been listening to a familiar song and suddenly noticed something new about it? This happens to me all the time, especially with U2’s music. If I hear something new or particularly interesting, my music theory training instinctively kicks in and compels me to dive deeper. That’s what this series, “Theoretically Speaking…”, is all about: an exploration of U2’s music through the lens of music theory.

His debut article is Rhythmic Representations of Uncertainty in ‘Zooropa.‘” 

New Study: Emotions in U2 Fan Videos

From this Media Release:

Music fans’ emotions could be used to help them find new songs online, according to research at the University of Strathclyde.

A study of 150 music videos made by U2 fans uncovered a range of methods, both visual and musical, used to convey emotion, through location, style of music and video content.

Dr Diane Pennington, a Lecturer in Strathclyde’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences, carried out the research. She said: “Although music holds no emotion in itself, it can elicit very deep emotions in listeners and performers.”

The videos were covers of U2’s Song For Someone, from their 2014 album Songs Of Innocence. They were made and posted on video streaming website YouTube, after the band invited their fans to create their own clips, which would “make (it) your song.”

The research found that the videos, and viewers’ responses to them, were highly individual but often also social, with shared emotions creating a sense of community.

It also found that such emotions could help to inform searches, recommendations and playlists in online music providers.

Dr Pennington said: “The emotion music evokes is the main reason people listen to it and many would like to be able to search for music videos that meet an emotional need, such as a desire to be cheered up.

“However, information retrieval systems, such as those used in video streaming sites, don’t currently support this well. To advance these systems, new systems need to be envisioned that go beyond traditional keyword-based or subject-based queries and process information requirements in new ways.

“I chose the Song For Someone clips as a case study after U2 called for fans to make them. This was because it would be a rich source of information and because, for their fans, U2’s songs and concerts are highly emotional; this is reflected in the content of the Song For Someone clips and the reactions they produced.

“Many of the cover versions were personalised by people recording their own versions in their houses or bedrooms, or including images of their loved ones. Others signified their devotion to U2 by using their original version to accompany the clip or by including U2 paraphernalia, such as t-shirts, posters and photos.

“Emotions are difficult to define tangibly and describing them in a way which could benefit information retrieval presents a challenge. However, this research could inform commercial music service providers on how they might include emotional factors in their recommendations and automatically created playlists.

“Allowing retrieval system users to search, browse and retrieve by positive emotions could also have a contribution to make to music therapy.”

Dr Pennington’s research has been published in the Journal of Documentation (doi.org/10.1108/JD-07-2015-0086)

 

Book Review: U2 Above, Across, and Beyond: Interdisciplinary Assessments

“This is heady stuff written by individuals who’ve given serious thought to U2’s ‘missteps, disappointments, failures…and ordinary problems.’ … [t]here is ample (and stimulating) intellectual discussion of the Irish band’s ‘proclivity for change’ in a world that doesn’t always welcome it. And each of the eight articles (none longer than thirty pages) makes for an easy-to-digest, hour-long patch of premiere rock and roll reading.” — Peter Roche, Cleveland Music Examiner

Read the full review here.

Danish book on U2 published: When the Sky meets the Sea – U2´s songs as hymns

In June 2015, a new book was published in Denmark. The Danish title is “Himmel og hav i ét – U2´s sange som salmer”.  Translated directly it is: “Sky and Sea in one – U2´s songs as hymns”. The book focus on the theme of U2´s No Line On The Horizon (2009), exposing the contrasts and ambiguity of life, the longing for contact, understanding, unity and love and the harsh reality of alienation, division, disintegration and hatred in our personal life and in the world we live in. The wonderful moments where the sky meets the sea, and there is no line on the horizon, end the times where the line between the sky and the sea is all too clear.

The book is an in-depth analysis of No Line On The Horizon, and there is a wide range of references to other U2 songs, music, literature, the bible, hymns, our personal experiences among other things. It is available here.

The book consists of 15 chapters, with an introduction, a presentation of the four trilogies of U2 (1980-2009), a chapter for each of the 11 songs on NLOTH plus “Winter”. The last chapter focuses on the 360 tour and the new songs presented there. As an appendix there are two articles on our experiences with U2 church services.

The authors of the book are Joergen Lasgaard, Aarhus and Jens Moesgaard Nielsen, Herning – two pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark, who have been inspired by U2 in decades. They have been arranging U2 services since 1993. Joergen is a vicar amongst homeless people, drug addicts and people who are fighting to keep up every day. His experience is that the music and songs of U2 can be a part of both reflection and reconciliation. Jens is a vicar in a church, and he can say the same thing, even though his church is situated in an “upper class area”. The Church is the home of the well renowned Herning Boys Choir, and they have transformed two U2 songs into sacred music, both “Magnificent” and “Gloria.”

Both authors participated in the U2 Conference 2009, giving a presentation on our work with U2 services: U2 in the church – How it is done in Denmark.

 

Contributor:
Jens Moesgaard Nielsen and Joergen Lasgaard
Contact:
jcmn@km.dk

The U2 Tattoo Project

The U2 Tattoo Project is documenting and curating U2 tattoos and the stories behind them.

When you think of bands like The Beatles, The Who or The Rolling Stones, a dominant icon emerges in your mind: the elongated type and fretboard-like “T” of the Beatles, the arrow-protruding “o” of The Who, the lips and tongue of the Stones. But what comes to mind when you think of U2? The hand-brushed grunge script from Achtung? The bold, red Block Gothic face of War? The Joshua Tree silhouette? U2 has become an iconic band with no consistent icon, but rather a history of transient visual identities that embody their eras and represent different emotional experiences for fans.

In the absence of an official logo or singular, long-running, uniform mark, how do U2 fans brand their love for the band? The U2 Tattoo Project aims to study U2 fan tattoos in terms of popular U2 iconography and lyrics, examine the connections between favorite albums and tattoos, and explore what happens to U2’s visual identity as it passes into the hands and onto the bodies of fans.

Have a tattoo? Submit via our survey. Follow the project on social media: “U2 Tattoo Project” on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. 

 

Contributor:
Beth Nabi
Contact:
U2tattooproject@gmail.com

U2 Concerts and Community Publications by Michael Williams

My name is Michael Williams, and I am a long-time U2 fan (since 1982). Currently, I am also a doctoral candidate, researching rock music events, focusing on U2’s 360° tour. The aim of my research is to develop a better understanding of the concept of spectacle in the context of a rock music event. 

The following two publications relate to my research project and may be of interest to fellow researchers and fans:

Williams, M. (2015) ‘One but not the same: U2 Concerts, Community and Cultural Identity’ in Merkel, U. (ed.) Identity Discourses and Communities in International Events, Festivals and Celebrations. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 242-259.

Williams, M. (2014) ‘Politics as spectacle: U2’s 360° tour (2009-11)’, in Merkel, U. (ed.) Power, Politics and International Events: Socio-cultural Analyses of Festivals and Spectacles. London: Routledge, 174-190.

 You can find out more about my research project at www.U2360spectacle.net

Contributor:
Michael Williams
Contact:
mw146@brighton.ac.uk

Research query on U2 and Krautrock, and new MA dissertation on U2 and James Joyce

Hello. My name is Helena Torres and I wrote an MA dissertation in Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool on U2 and Joyce, titled “Nicely-polished looking glasses: A comparative study of U2 and Joyce’s Dublin in ‘Eveline’ and ‘Running to Stand Still.’” You can read my work here.

I would like to develop a new research project focused on Achtung Baby and the influence of krautrock for this album. However, I think sources regading U2 and krautrock are scarce. I have Rock and Popular Music in Ireland: Before and After U2 by Noel McLaughlin and Martin McLoone to provide me a starting point, but I’d like to know if there are more options. Thanks a lot.

 

 

 

Contributor:
Helena Torres Montes García
Contact:
ladystardust18@gmail.com

New book: The World and U2: One Band’s Remaking of Global Activism

I am happy to announce the publication of my new book, The World and U2: One Band’s Remaking of Global Activism. It’s a history of the band’s evolution as activists–what made them engaged, how they changed, and the impact they’ve had both on their causes and on the world of activism. Rowman & Littlefield is the publisher. It’s a short book, great for students, and you can see more here at the publisher’s page. It’s available at Amazon too.

Alan McPherson

Contributor:
Alan McPherson
Contact:
mcpherson@ou.edu

College Course on U2, Spiritual Engagement & Activism

WE GET TO CARRY EACH OTHER: USING THE MUSICAL ACTIVISM OF U2 AS A FRAMEWORK FOR AN ENGAGED SPIRITUALITY & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT COURSE

Marshall Welch
Saint Mary’s College of California
Engaging Pedagogies in Catholic Higher Education, Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 4, 2015

logoThis article describes a January-term community engagement service-learning college course that used the musical and spiritually-based activism of U2 as an example of engaged spirituality using activism and advocacy. In addition to learning about the history, music, and activism of the band, students were taught a specific set of skills for developing and implementing action plans, and coordinating logistics for advocacy-based events on campus.  Students were assigned to apply these skills as the service-learning component of the course.  These activities were conceptualized as indirect service that reflected activism and advocacy as a form of engaged spirituality.  The article concludes by describing its impact and how learning objectives were met.

Click here to download the article.

 

 

Contributor:
Marshall Welch, Ph.D.
Contact:
mjw6@stmarys-ca.edu

Two Collections of Essays Published from the U2 Conference

* From the 2009 meeting of the U2 Conference came Exploring U2: Is This Rock ‘n’ Roll? from Rowman & Littlefield.

Edited by Scott Calhoun, with sixteen essays based on presentations from the conference from Neil McCormick, Danielle Rhéaume, Rachel E. Seiler, Jeffrey F. Keuss and Sara Koenig, Christopher Endrinal, Steve Taylor, Michele O’Brien, Kevin J. H. Dettmar, Daniel T. Kline, Beth Maynard, Greg Clarke, Deane Galbraith, Bruce L. Edwards, John Hurtgen, Stephen Catanzarite, and Scott Calhoun. More information and contents here.

* From the 2013 meeting of the U2 Conference came U2 Above, Across, and Beyond: Interdisciplinary Assessments from Lexington Press.

Edited by Scott Calhoun, with eight essays based on presentations from the conference from Christopher Wales, Brian F. Wright, Ed Montano, Arlan Elizabeth Hess, Fred Johnson, Theodore Louis Trost, Steve Taylor, and Matthew J. Hamilton. More information and contents here.

                       

Contributor:
Scott Calhoun
Contact:
calhouns@cedarville.edu

U2 Conference logo and site design by Beth Nabi.