Bono and Luciano Pavarotti, "Ave Maria"
Every year, at almost exactly this time, if you're like me, you can't get U2's goddamned "New Year's Day" out of your head. And, if you're like me, it drives you insane, not because of the quality of the song, but ... well, yeah, it is the quality of the song. It's a great, stupendous and amazing song, full of life and optimism and righteousness and all that stuff that made us pay attention to U2 in the first place.
But this year, as the publicity/marketing machine for U2's upcoming Eno-produced disc is getting geared up with news of there being five (yes, five) different release formats, the predictably massive world tour and, somewhere along the way, Bono dropping gold bars into Somalian refugee camps, it's becoming harder and harder to remember the band that once was. This year's excellent reissue of Under A Blood Red Sky (from which the linked "New Year's Day" was taken) was a good start, but the fact of the matter is, Bono has become shorthand for pretentious gasbag and no reissue campaign will ever cover up for this.
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Of course, there's also this great rundown of the band's ego growth over at McSweeney's. - Jason Ferguson