Music Talk Discuss music in all its forms: CD, MP3, DVD-A, SACD and of course live
View Poll Results: U2 vs REM - who wins?
U2
49
45.79%
REM
50
46.73%
Can't stand either one
6
5.61%
I still haven't found what I'm looking for, it's a tie
2
1.87%
Voters: 107. You may not vote on this poll

Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Old 07-09-10, 02:57 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
Thread Starter
 
The Antipodean's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 6,036
Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

The last Battle of the Bands was kinda fun, so let's try another one, '80s style -- Stipe Vs. Bono, Joshua Tree vs Document, et cetera -- who's your favorite of the two and why?
The Antipodean is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 03:02 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Hokeyboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 18,817
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Both died to me in 1987.
Hokeyboy is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 03:22 PM
  #3  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

This is a great match-up. Two of the best bands of the 80's, who grew in the 90's and stumbled in the 00's. U2 has the big sound, and REM always sounded more intimate. I have to go with REM because they ultimately have more high quality albums than U2, and because I think U2's 00's output is so bad that they should be ashamed of themselves. But if this were 1993 I don't know if I could make that choice so easily.
Supermallet is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 03:51 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Chrisedge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Part of the Left-Wing Conspiracy
Posts: 6,809
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Well, for me this is a no brainer. U2 by a mile. Even if you compare them post 80's, U2 still wins. I know Supr hates their 2000's output, but compare the two bands 2000's albums.

Looking at all their albums, 80's was probably the closest race, then 90's then U2 kills them more recently...

1980's
Boy (1980)
October (1981)
War (1983)
The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
The Joshua Tree (1987)
Rattle and Hum (1988)
vs.
Murmur (1983)
Reckoning (1984)
Fables of the Reconstruction (1985)
Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)
Document (1987)
Green (1988)


1990's
Achtung Baby (1991)
Zooropa (1993)
Pop (1997)
vs.
Out of Time (1991)
Automatic for the People (1992)
Monster (1994)
New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996)
Up (1998)


2000's
All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004)
No Line on the Horizon (2009)
vs.
Reveal (2001)
Around the Sun (2004)
Accelerate (2008)
Chrisedge is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 04:29 PM
  #5  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

When you put it side by side like that, it makes the REM choice all the easier for me. Boy's good, October's ok, so U2 doesn't really get great until War, and Rattle and Hum is less than great as well. Compare that to REM, who put out consistently great albums through Document. Green is uneven, but still much better than Rattle and Hum. The Joshua Tree is arguably better than any individual 80's REM album, but cumulatively REM is the clear winner for that decade.

The 90's have U2 at their peak, I feel, but REM also put out two of their best albums that decade (Automatic For The People and New Adventures in Hi-Fi), as well as their career defining song, "Losing My Religion." Slight edge to U2 this decade for the stellar Achtung Baby and the experimental nature of Zooropa, as well as the Zoo TV live shows they did, but it's a very close call. I would also say that Up has held up better than Pop. Significantly better, actually.

REM's 00's albums have been pleasant but forgettable. Nothing incredible, nothing terrible. U2, aside from "Beautiful Day" and some of No Line On The Horizon, made music that I am shocked is from the same band that gave us "Angel of Harlem," let alone "In God's Country" or "Until The End of the World." REM wins 00's, but only by dint of not being awful.

U2 may have had higher highs than REM, but cumulatively, REM has remained more consistent and has a deeper bench to pull from. Still, neither are a band I would call relevant anymore.
Supermallet is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 04:44 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Chrisedge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Part of the Left-Wing Conspiracy
Posts: 6,809
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

I can understand why you (or anyone) could vote REM. Esp looking at 80s output. The thing that "hurts" U2 in the 1990's is they really only had one stellar album (AB), Zooropa is a little too throwaway for me, and while I like POP, I can see why some would think REM wins that decade. (5 albums against U2's 3)

I actually think U2 has been more consistant than REM Esp since 1990. Out of Time and Automatic for the People were the last GREAT REM albums, although there are parts of Monster and Hi-Fi that I like too.

I last saw REM on the UP tour and they still had it, but add in the live performances and U2 is the winner.

EDITED TO ADD
And no matter how much you hate the U2 of the 2000's, REM fell hard with those 3 albums and ATYCLB is considered by many as U2's "Comeback", and NLOTH was their best reviewed album since Achtung Baby...

Last edited by Chrisedge; 07-09-10 at 04:46 PM.
Chrisedge is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 04:44 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Legend
 
astrochimp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 17,619
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

REM was the band that got me to put away my Ozzy,Maiden and Priest albums back in the 80's.Although their latter stuff didn't get my interest and i don't listen to them very often i still have a fondness for them.

I remember buying Joshua Tree the day it came out.It was like the biggest thing of that year and it didn't disappoint.Last U2 album i bought was Atomic Bomb which was okay but again i don't often put on any U2 anymore.

REM wins for me.
astrochimp is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 04:57 PM
  #8  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
I can understand why you (or anyone) could vote REM. Esp looking at 80s output. The thing that "hurts" U2 in the 1990's is they really only had one stellar album (AB), Zooropa is a little too throwaway for me, and while I like POP, I can see why some would think REM wins that decade. (5 albums against U2's 3)

I actually think U2 has been more consistant than REM Esp since 1990. Out of Time and Automatic for the People were the last GREAT REM albums, although there are parts of Monster and Hi-Fi that I like too.

I last saw REM on the UP tour and they still had it, but add in the live performances and U2 is the winner.

EDITED TO ADD
And no matter how much you hate the U2 of the 2000's, REM fell hard with those 3 albums and ATYCLB is considered by many as U2's "Comeback", and NLOTH was their best reviewed album since Achtung Baby...
And as I tried to get across in my posts, I can see why someone would pick U2. They were two of the greatest bands on the planet at one point.

As for U2's 00's work, we'll just have to agree to disagree. ATYCLB was horribly bland, other than "Beautiful Day." NLOTH was definitely the best thing they'd done since Pop or even Zooropa, but "best since..." isn't the same as "among their best."

But then I'm one of those crazy fans who thinks that Zooropa is one of their best albums.
Supermallet is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 05:24 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Hokeyboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 18,817
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

REM became insufferable to me when I started college in 1988 and 'Green' was released, where you couldn't go to a single damn party, dance, club, or event without Stand coming on the soundsystem and a bunch of motards would start doing the goddamn "Stand Dance" from the freakin' video. And as far as I'm concerned, Brian Eno obliterated U2's potential when, after 3 very strong albums and an excellent live EP, the band took a shitter with "The Unforgettable Fire" and "The Joshua Tree" (although strangely enough I didn't mind "Rattle & Hum" and LOVED "Achtung Baby").

If I had to pick, I'd go with REM since Murmur, Reckoning, Fables, and Pageant are a stronger quartet than Boy, October, War, and Unforgettable Fire. But War is the best album of the eight.
Hokeyboy is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 06:00 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 14,292
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

I like REM alot, and although the 3-piece stuff has been spotty at best, I thought Accelerate was a very good album and hopefully they will continue in that direction.

U2, on the other hand, is the biggest band in the world.

I like them both, but if I had to choose to only keep one of their catalogues, I would go with U2.
cdollaz is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 06:05 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
Thread Starter
 
The Antipodean's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 6,036
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

I have to admit neither band I've really followed post-2000. But while I respect U2 and do dig a fair amount of their stuff, I've never been a huge fanboy while I had a giant thing for REM up til about 1997 or so. At their peak I think REM trounced U2 songwriting-wise -- Stipe was a master at both the cryptic jingle and later on the more anthemic pop singles, whereas I've always felt like U2 lacked a sense of humour (and yeah, Bono's rather sanctimonious public persona wore thin for me a long time ago).

I've only got a couple U2 albums I would rate as "favorites" -- Joshua Tree and Achtung -- whereas pretty much everything REM did from Life's Rich Pageant to New Adventures in Hi-Fi were on constant rotation in my house. I know some turned off to them post-Green or so but I think Out of Time's stylistic gambles and Automatic for the People's warmth and grace are their peaks, and both Monster and New Adventures are pretty underrated in my book.
The Antipodean is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 06:08 PM
  #12  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Also, I think Bono's voice has been going since Atomic Bomb. The live stuff I've heard from the middle and later parts of this decade sound like he's losing it. He needs to pitch lower at this point.
Supermallet is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 06:39 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: East of Ypsi
Posts: 8,895
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Agree with most of what Suprmallet wrote. I would give the 00's to U2 but REM still wins easily.
auto is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 06:41 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Chrisedge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Part of the Left-Wing Conspiracy
Posts: 6,809
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Also, I think Bono's voice has been going since Atomic Bomb. The live stuff I've heard from the middle and later parts of this decade sound like he's losing it. He needs to pitch lower at this point.
Actually since 2004 they have been playing a half step higher. (for years they played live in a lower tuning for Bono's voice) His voice is actually better now vs before the Vertigo tour since he stopped smoking.



He never would have been able to do Pavarotti part between 1990-2004 (starts at about 3:25)

I will say he doesn't sound like he did 25 years ago though...who does?

Last edited by Chrisedge; 07-09-10 at 06:49 PM.
Chrisedge is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 08:45 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
dolphinboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: AZ
Posts: 8,028
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Even when they weren't commercial, there was something commercial sounding to U2. Can't blame them for that.

But as was posted earlier:

Murmur (1983)
Reckoning (1984)
Fables of the Reconstruction (1985)
Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)
Document (1987)
Green (1988)

In my opinion, no band has released 5 consecutive albums this good in my lifetime and U2 would have had to have been perfet to surpass that achievement. Add in Out of Time, which was the big commercial hit, but the average listener probably doesn't even know the best tracks on that album because they didn't get played much, if at all.

One more, really good commercial album, Monster, and a highly underrated album, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, and along the way throw in one more masterpiece, even better than the brilliant Achtung Baby, in Automatic For the People, and I give it to R.E.M.

Most of what I consider brilliant are songs like Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars), Sitting Still (and like many others, I'm not even sure what Stipe is even singing during parts of it) and Disturbance at the Heron House. Pretty much everything they released on those classic, maybe perfect albums, and I can see why U2 would win because they just had a more accessible sound.

I would pay an obscene amount of money just to go see R.E.M. in concert only playing the songs from Chronic Town to Document. I just don't have the same feeling about U2, despite thinking they are on of the best bands ever.
dolphinboy is offline  
Old 07-09-10, 08:50 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Hero
 
inri222's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 45,020
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
Both died to me in 1987.
inri222 is online now  
Old 07-09-10, 10:18 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Spiderbite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 13,139
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

U2...but I really don't care for either.
Spiderbite is offline  
Old 07-10-10, 07:47 AM
  #18  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
The Bus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 54,814
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

I'm not a huge fan of either, but I've been a bigger fan of U2 in the past. So... U2.
The Bus is offline  
Old 07-11-10, 12:03 AM
  #19  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,629
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

U2, because even U2's worst (Pop, October) is still significantly better than REM's. Also, the sheer amount of crap put out by U2 pales in comparison to the huge load from REM in the past 13 years.

Of course, I am a big U2 fan and marginal REM fan. I do like the fact that REM got off to a better start with the caliber of their music, and their first 7 or so albums were all consistently good.
Hollowgen is offline  
Old 07-12-10, 09:36 AM
  #20  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Formerly known as "orangecrush18" - still legal though
Posts: 13,846
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

I went with R.E.M. if for no other reason than I bought far more bootlegs of them than U2 in my life.
orangecrush is offline  
Old 07-12-10, 10:04 AM
  #21  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,921
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

U2 and REM were probably the two most important bands for REALLY getting me into music during my musically "formative" years--late high school and college when I really started exploring stuff. I still consider early 80's U2 and REM to be two of my favorite bands ever, but I really lost interest in both of them in the 90s and 00s, other than the odd single here and there that I liked. I'm not even knowledgeable enough about their output during those years to comment on it that much. Other 80s artists like The Cure, Morrissey and even Simple Minds were doing post-80s stuff that appealed to me a lot more.
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 07-12-10, 12:23 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Chrisedge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Part of the Left-Wing Conspiracy
Posts: 6,809
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Originally Posted by orangecrush View Post
I went with R.E.M. if for no other reason than I bought far more bootlegs of them than U2 in my life.
Says the guy with a username of a REM song...
Chrisedge is offline  
Old 07-12-10, 12:31 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Formerly known as "orangecrush18" - still legal though
Posts: 13,846
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
Says the guy with a username of a REM song...
That is true. Though, I did choose this name about 8 years ago. I don't listen to them nearly as much now as I did then. I would say that I like the catalogues of both bands about the same now. I just give the edge to R.E.M. because I was really into them in H.S. and college. Automatic for the People was the first tape I ever bought.
orangecrush is offline  
Old 07-12-10, 02:01 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 573
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

I have a bit more respect for R.E.M. because I LOVED (Still do) Murmur and Reckoning and played my cassette copies into the ground. I had the cassettes of Under a Blood Red Sky and Unforgettable Fire and played those a lot too, though, and even saw U2 live in '87. I think I was always in love with the live U2 just as I was fascinated with Springsteen as a live act, but I still liked R.E.M. much more for the songs and the albums. I heard more of their bootlegs as well, even really early stuff from '80-'82. There's a really exciting recording of them in '82 playing live that I always thought sounded like their best moment ever when they were playing a medley of "Stumble" and "Skank", a song that remains unreleased to this day.

I still like Green (How can you not like "You Are The Everything" or "Hairshirt"), Out of Time and Monster even though they weren't as flawless as those 1st 2 albums, and Fables, Life's RP and Document are decent if not boring. Automatic was a disappointment for me, and almost everything after Monster is boring. Accelerate sounds promising, however.

Last edited by HUG-H; 07-13-10 at 11:41 AM.
HUG-H is offline  
Old 07-12-10, 02:34 PM
  #25  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 7,935
Re: Battle of the Bands #2: U2 vs REM - who wins?

I'm reading a book right now on Murmur and it meant the world to me the summer it came out. Totally changed my musical outlook. All those IRS albums are incredible, but have to admit that every album they've released since signing to Warner have meant less to me (yes, even Automatic).

But I still like U2 more. The whole atmospheric bombast just hits me harder. Maybe it has something to do with R.E.M. being in my own backyard, but I dig the European sensibility of U2 and would most likely grab one of their albums before R.E.M. at this point in my life even though they are not nearly as good as they used to be.

If you asked me this question in 1986 I would have chosen R.E.M. w/out even thinking about it.
atlantamoi is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.