I'm almost 20 years old (just 10 more days until my birthday!) but I didn't grow up listening to U2. I'm the youngest of four kids, and I grew up listening to whatever my older siblings were listening to. In the early to mid 90s, it was mostly Pearl Jam and Nirvana, and after that, it was mostly Madonna and Jewel.
It wasn't until my mid to late teens that I really started to individualize myself, and start seeking out my own music. It wasn't easy, especially because I seem to have an aversion to listening to the radio/watching MTV. So it's hard for me to discover music for myself, without having it shoved at me. Also, I tend to get into phases with individual bands. I'll listen to one band almost exclusively for a couple of months, and then move on to another one. This also hinders my discovery of anything new.
The first band I really became a fan of on my own was Linkin Park, and then Matchbox Twenty, and Evanescence.
Now, I'd heard some of U2's bigger hits growing up, it was pretty much inevitable. But never much. In the time after I'd began listening to my own music, it never occured to me to give U2 a try.
Until a certain commercial for a certain Apple product..
Yes, I jumped on the Vertigo bandwagon. The little bit of the song in the iPod commercial had a way of working its way into my brain and getting stuck there. So of course, I had to hear the whole thing, and I liked what I heard.
My mother had also become a fan of the commercial and began popping into my room several times a week to ask me to play the music video for her. Not that I was complaining, before that she used to ask me to play Hoobastank for her... so I was glad she was asking for U2 instead.
At that point it was just Vertigo. I hadn't branched out yet. But when I heard U2 were going to be on Saturday Night Live, I had to watch. It was pretty much what I expected... until the end of the show.
Bono just jumped up and started a third song. I loved it. And then he was running all over the place and doing his camera-dancing thing. And then.. he jumped onto the lap of some DAMN LUCKY woman in the audience... I think it was at that totally shocking moment that I fell in love with the man. I was just in awe.
But then I went into an Evanescence phase, and it would be another couple of months before the real discovery came.
One day, I was looking for new music to listen to, and I remembered hearing U2 perform Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own on SNL, and that I liked it, so I started trying to find it.
Only I couldn't find a working file of it. But I remembered hearing an online friend from England mentioning it, so when she got online I asked her to send it to me. She ended up sending me half of the How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb album.
The first song out of the ones she sent me that I really latched onto was Fast Cars. I didn't know then that that song was a bonus track exclusive to the UK/Japan version of the album.
The second song I latched onto was Miracle Drug, which has stayed my favourite of that group. I love it (and have featured it in my icon =P), the whole thing, the lyrics, it's all just so beautiful.
Needless to say, the seven songs she sent me got me hooked. I needed more, so I promptly went on a downloading spree, and ended up with a nice random splattering of music spanning their entire career. And I loved all of it.
I've stayed mostly chronological so far, but I now need to branch out.
I'd heard several years ago from a Christian friend that U2 were religious, but I didn't put much thought into it.
See, I've had my own personal struggles with religion. I spent my childhood as the average American kid that goes to church twice a year, if even that, and would claim Christianity as their religion, if asked, because they know the bible stories.
But at about age 13, through an odd turn of events, I ended up becoming a bit of a Jesus Freak. The church I'd joined taught a strict doctrine. I was told that as a Christian I should strive to be as holy as possible, this meant church four times a week, prayer and bible study everyday, no non-Christian music, and a wholesome lifestyle.
It was hard on me, particularly when I started growing up and wanting to individualize myself. I wanted to be myself, but I wanted to believe. But I'd been told so much that I couldn't. I couldn't have my cake and eat it too, so to speak.
So I ran away, I left it behind and embraced Agnostism, because I didn't know what else I could do.
This is where U2 comes into the picture. Back during my first discovery of Vertigo, something in the song struck a nerve with me: "Your love is teaching me how to kneel" It started making me think about what I'd heard before. But I put it out of mind, until I really got hooked on U2, anyway.
As I began listening to more and more U2, I began noticing more and more religious references in the music. So I started doing research (as I would've anyway, anytime I get hooked on anything, a band, an actor, a movie, an author, I want to find out as much about them as possible), I went to various websites and read biographies of the band as a whole, as well as all four members. I also read trivia, random facts, and interviews and quotes.
I began to gain an understanding, particularly about Bono. He's found a way to be a Christian, to be religious, to have faith, and to believe... and still be himself. I admire that so much... I'm jealous of it in fact.
The man has such an understanding of faith, that I will never have. And at the moment, I'm not quite sure what I believe, but I was never happy about abandoning what faith I did have over mere confusion of who I should be in order to believe. If I do decide to take up my faith again, I plan on taking a page out of Bono's book and having both my faith, and my individuality.
It's probably quite odd to put this section right under the section about religion, but I'm almost done, and there's not really any other place for it. It's a bit scary though.
See, I knew I fancied Bono, it started with the Saturday Night Live insanity. And I was always slightly disturbed by the fact that I fancied him so much. He's 25 years older than me (almost to the day). And of course.. there's the fact that my mother fancies him, and probably has since before I was born. I don't think she knows I fancy him, and I don't think she fancies him as much as I do.. at least, I hope she doesn't, that would be scary.
Anyway, after I'd gotten hooked on U2, I went to visit my brother. He has a collection of official music video DVDs from various bands and artists, and he had U2's The Best Of 1990-2000 DVD, so I borrowed it from him.
So I sat one afternoon watching it. I giggled over the camera swinging up between Bono's leather-clad legs in the Even Better Than The Real Thing video. I swooned and smiled over Bono in drag in the One video (men in drag are hot!), but The Edge makes a better drag queen I think.
And then I got to the video for Until The End Of The World. It used live concert footage, which made it interesting to watch. Bono started doing his camera-dancing thing, which I'd seen before, and liked. And then he gave the camera lense a nice wet kiss, I hadn't seen that before, but I liked it, a lot.
And then... and then Bono grabbed the camera and brought it down against his leather-clad crotch. I stopped breathing. I was just in shock and awe. And boy was I jealous of that DAMN LUCKY camera.
So of course the first thing I did was go on and on about Bono's camera humping to my friends. My friends are not really U2 fans, even the ones that do listen to U2 don't obsess like I do.
It became a sort of running joke that I would randomly just start talking about Bono's "hot, leather-encased, Irish crotch" as I so poignantly dubbed it.
His is not the first crotch I've obsessed over, during my rabid Linkin Park fangirling days, I obsessed over Chester Bennington's crotch, after reading that he gets an erection when he hears the fans singing along during concerts. It makes watching live video clips fun to watch, there's a particular one on Launch where it's so obvious.
Anyway.. I'm trying not to seem like a total perve or something, but my crotch-obsession is mostly just a running joke. Last night, a friend remarked "If Bono ever gets raped, I'm going to laugh, because I'll know it was you." So yea, it's mostly a running joke, but it did cause me to make this icon:
Highly animated, large filesize, beware dial-up users.
I love the icon, it's just so silly, but I'll probably never use it, because I'd have to kill the image quality to get it under 40kb (the LiveJournal filesize limit for icons).
Anyway, I toned down my obsession a lot in the last couple of days, because my friends were beginning to get less amused by the crotch-obsession, and more annoyed.
That's part of the reason I'm here, because none of my friends are fans like I am, and I'm afraid they might tape my mouth shut if I don't shut up about Bono.
Plus, I like the idea of a place where I can just talk about the songs, and what they mean to me, with people that will understand exactly what I mean.
Oh, plus I want to brag about my willpower. See, I decided that because I liked Fast Cars so much that if I got the How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb album, I would have to get the UK/Japan version. So I checked out my options and discovered that if I bought it myself, I would end up having to pay about twice the price.
Luckily I have a birthday coming, and another online friend in England offered to buy it for me and send it over. And so he did. It arrived a week ago, and my birthday is still more than a week away. I haven't unwrapped it yet. I promised the friend that I wouldn't open it until my birthday. That's willpower, to have something you want at your fingertips, and no one to stop you from taking it, but you don't because you know you shouldn't.
Alright, I think I'm done here... I wonder if anyone's gonna actually read the whole thing... ah well, it was fun to get it all out anyway.