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July 21 2018

June 24 2018

June 08 2018

June 04 2018

May 23 2018

A Second Life After Cancer

Federico Viticci, creator of MacStories, on rethinking his life post cancer:

That lasted for a couple of years. But the self-centered, work-obsessed barrier I built around myself began to crack sometime last year. It didn’t happen suddenly, and I lied to myself by ignoring it for months, but something was changing. I completely poured myself into my job to the point where I was enjoying neither the work nor the reward anymore. I began to feel burned out and often not good enough for the website I had so passionately built over the course of eight years. A constant feeling of unease and dissatisfaction percolated through other aspects of my life as well. I pretended to be relaxed and have fun in social situations and important life events; in reality, there was a persistent sense of anxiety always there, sitting in the back of my mind where the fear of cancer also was, telling me that I wasn’t good enough or hadn’t done enough. That it was only a matter of days until someone figured out that I sucked and everything I had built was easily replaceable – a trivial, forgettable commodity.

On gratitude:

…at some point, I can’t say exactly when, true empathy towards other people began eluding me. Instead of compassionately trying to understand why other people in my life acted the way they did, my default setting became assuming that everyone was fundamentally driven by a desire to screw me over.

The role of Apple Watch Series 3 and your own motivations:

At the same time though, I’m aware that the Apple Watch is just a conduit. This is where I failed to understand it as a fitness device for years. If you’re lazy and lack the determination to exercise and get back in shape, the Apple Watch isn’t going to fix that for you. It can encourage you initially, but you have to put in the real work after that. I miserably failed at this in the past, but I’m starting to understand this year: you have to get to the point where you viscerally want to exercise – with no excuses – if you really want to improve.

There’s plenty more to read and it’s a nice change from the “tech first” articles that routinely come out of Apple fans.

But it’s important for me to share this – to go on the record by admitting my failures and outlining my renewed commitment – because I feel a responsibility to be a better person, partner, friend, and writer by cherishing my second chance and making the most of it.

In the same way that an app review might inspire you to buy a new app for your iPhone, this article might inspire you to make a healthy change in your life.

The post A Second Life After Cancer appeared first on Faraway, So Close.

May 04 2018

Test of a WordPress Twitter Embed Bug

https://twitter.com/iChris/status/99241890840887706553474

How about this one?

What about a copy other than a few extra characters of the same tweet?

This is a test of a Twitter / WordPress embed bug of some sort first noticed when Chris Coyier tried to embed my tweet alongside other tweets on this post.

The post Test of a WordPress Twitter Embed Bug appeared first on Faraway, So Close.

April 29 2018

April 25 2018

Cancelling My Podia Account

Earlier today I sent this email to folks on my mailing list that had purchased or expressed interest in purchasing a course I published on Podia. I’m cross-posting it to my blog just in case someone misses the email.

I’m sorry to have to do this but I’m letting you know that I’m going to be shutting down my account on Podia at the end of April, 2018. When I cancel my Podia account the content on here will be disappearing.

Why?

The main reason is that I’ve realized I’m not able to produce courses_videos and market them at the pace necessary to justify paying for a service like Podia on a monthly basis. It has nothing to do with the quality of Podia as a course_membership service – I think it’s one of the best out there if you’re looking to publish a video course, run a membership program, or both!

Spencer and the crew at Podia are doing an amazing job of taking all the pain away from creators and teachers who just want to get their thing out there in the world. Podia makes it so much easier than it used to be. Memberships, Courses, Email Newsletters, or Digital Downloads are all possible without having to worry about complicated servers and plugins and payment gateways.

What Happens to the Courses You Purchased?

The last purchase of one of my courses was in February 2018 so hopefully by now if you bought the course you’ve had a chance to work through it. As I said, the site will be active until the end of April, 2018. If you have any questions about how to access the course, please reply to this email before April 30th or send me an email at contact@lemonproductions.ca / tweet at https://twitter.com/ichris and I can direct you to where the videos will live on on my YouTube channel.

I’m also in the process of publishing all the course videos on my YouTube channel where they’ll live on freely available to watch for as long as Google keeps YouTube around.

What About Podcasting 101 / WordPress 101?

I’d still love to put together those courses someday but I know that it’s not happening anytime soon. I’ll definitely be publishing podcasting tutorials and quick tips on my YouTube channel.

If you’d like to keep up with new videos I publish, you can sign up for my newsletter here 💌 and I’ll drop you a note whenever I put out a new video.

Listen Along

If you’d like to keep up with what I’m up to, you can listen to my podcast Daily(ish) where every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I talk about life, work, and most everything in between in 10 minutes or less each episode.

Subscribe to my podcast:

Thank you for your time today as well as for your support in the courses I wanted to create. I’d also like to thank Podia for their help in answering any questions I had in using their site.

Chris Enns
Lemon Productions

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April 03 2018

March 21 2018

Literally and Figuratively Out of Touch on Powder Mountain

I have no doubt that the previous generations of rich businessmen were as out of touch as these guys, but at least they presumably had the good sense to keep their mouths shut about it.

From The Guardian, “Welcome to Powder Mountain – a utopian club for the millennial elite“:

But it was an experience on a Summit cruise ship that Chawla says made the biggest impression. He was on the deck, casually talking to the founder of a not-for-profit company whose career had been devoted “to building schools in Africa or something like that”. “I felt so embarrassed to say, ‘Oh, I run a technology company, I build apps.’ It was just so purposeless. It felt so selfish, what I was doing.” Chawla says the first thing he did when he got off the boat was set up his own (now defunct) not-for-profit company: Charity Swear Box. It was a website connected to Twitter that would monitor how often a user swears in their tweets, and recommend they make a donation to charity. “I would have never spent the time and effort to do that had I not come to Summit,” he says.

It also shows an astounding lack of self awareness around what technology is enabling for some, while completely crushing the worlds of others:

I tell Rosenthal that I’ve met many people in America who work as hard as him and his friends – harder, in fact – but struggle to make ends meet. He acknowledges that he’s benefited from considerable advantage, but insists we now live in an era in which “the internet is the great equaliser”. “What are you doing to create the utility for yourself? Are you introducing people so they can collaborate?” he says. Struggling Americans, he adds, might want to “host a dinner. Invite 10 strangers. See what happens.”

The conversation reminds me of so many I have had in and around San Francisco, in which millennials made rich through technology relay snippets of revelatory conversations they’ve had with Uber drivers, some of whom live and sleep in their cars. It is as though the taxi-sharing app is one of the last remaining cords keeping the new elites connected to everyone else’s world. When Uber rolls out its self-driving cars, even that fragile connection will be broken.

Lord, give me the confidence of a white tech dude.

The post Literally and Figuratively Out of Touch on Powder Mountain appeared first on Faraway, So Close.

March 20 2018

Blogging in 2018 – Kottke Hits 20

kottke.org was one of the first blogs I remember reading regularly. In this recent interview titled Last blog standing, Jason Kottke talks about how blogging compares with other options out there for writers in 2018 as his own blog turns 20:

On “the kids” and social media:

I got the feeling that if it’s not on Facebook and it’s not on Instagram, and it doesn’t involve their friends, they don’t really care that much.

​Using other membership options:

Whereas if you use Patreon, you go to Patreon.com, you’re in their experience. That’s the other thing I really didn’t like about it; I wanted to keep control over my membership experience. I didn’t want to outsource it to Patreon if in three years they do some sort of Facebook-esque thing and start hosting more and more content on their site so that it becomes more about them and less about the creators. I could just see that happening, and I didn’t want to go anywhere near it.

The blog as his job and as his life:

I never really got sick of the site. I would every once in a while, but since the membership thing happened, I really like sitting down and going to work for my members. It’s not just that it’s my job. It’s like, I want to do this for them because they have been kind enough to support me. You don’t get that feeling about having advertising on your site. It’s not the same.

​I went to grab the link for his site to write this post and the first article linked was this one on a video blogger dealing with cancer that I immediately had to watch.

Congratulations Jason on getting your “one-man-band” to Twenty.

The post Blogging in 2018 – Kottke Hits 20 appeared first on Faraway, So Close.

February 27 2018

Timers, Reminders, and Alarms on Apple Devices

Dr Drang compiles all the various ways you can set timers or alarms on Apple Devices:

In the table below, I’m comparing the features of the three alert types on iOS: Timers, Alarms, and Reminders. Included in the comparison is how certain features work (or don’t work) on the iPhone, iPad, Watch, Mac, and HomePod.

The post Timers, Reminders, and Alarms on Apple Devices appeared first on Faraway, So Close.

February 01 2018

January 24 2018

January 19 2018

January 15 2018

The State of the iOS Economy

Horace Dediu dives into numbers of the iOS economy in 2017 based off Apple’s PR release announcing a record breaking holiday season.

While the numbers are crazy high and obviously good for Apple, I wonder where all the money people are spending on apps is coming from? And what isn’t getting the money anymore now that it’s being spent on apps?

Horace Dediu:

During this year iOS users will be spending about $100 million per day for Apps.

Maybe this is part of the answer?

I’ve made comparisons before with the app business being bigger than the film industry (and much bigger than the music industry.) This was considering Android revenues and iOS combined as “app revenues”. As of this year the App Store alone will overtake Global Box Office revenues.

Scrolling through the top selling apps on the iOS App Store today, it seems like a healthy mix of lifestyle, productivity, and utility apps. The games section is a similar mix of big publishers and indie games all in the $1 – $10 range – Minecraft continues to be the top selling iOS game, which is interesting now that Microsoft owns Minecraft. 15 years ago if I’d told you that Microsoft would have the top selling game on any sort of Apple software store, you’d think I was nuts on many levels.

The top grossing charts are full of free apps that offer in-app purchase or subscription options that Apple gets a cut of: Netflix, Tinder, and Pandora are the top 3. Candy Crush Saga is #4, and YouTube rounds out the top 5. To give an idea of scale, Minecraft, the top paid app at $9.99CDN, is down at #33 on the top grossing list.

It makes me sad that a great Mac developer like Panic couldn’t make Transmit for iOS work at the scale of the App Store in 2017. There’s obviously a ton of money pouring into the App Store economy – I just hope developers don’t have to race to the bottom of the quality scale in order to make it in 2018.

The post The State of the iOS Economy appeared first on Faraway, So Close.

January 14 2018

January 10 2018

Apple’s Privacy Feature Costing Ad Companies Millions

Privacy continues to suck on the web. Luckily browser makers have finally started to take the user’s interests to heart. From The Guardian via MacStories: No tracking, no revenue: Apple’s privacy feature costs ad companies millions:

Internet advertising firms are losing hundreds of millions of dollars following the introduction of a new privacy feature from Apple that prevents users from being tracked around the web. Advertising technology firm Criteo, one of the largest in the industry, says that the Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) feature for Safari, which holds 15% of the global browser market, is likely to cut its 2018 revenue by more than a fifth compared to projections made before ITP was announced.

I don’t have any sympathy for an industry that’s gotten tremendously rich off trying to track people on the web, whether they want it or not. It’s not like they learned their lesson when Apple first released ITP – they just tried to figure out a way around it:

Initially, many advertisers believed they had found a technological way around some of the restrictions put in place by ITP. Criteo, which took advantage of that loophole, had initially expected revenue to drop by only 9-13%, the company said. But in December, Apple closed that work-around on its mobile devices as part of the iOS 11.2 update, causing the ad-tech firm to update its projected impact to its current estimate of 22% “relative to our pre-ITP base case projections”.

A Modest Proposal

If you follow this link to my business site, I should be allowed to:

  • Know how many people visited my site via that link.
  • See what pages are popular over time on my site and using my own data on Lemon Productions extrapolate that people who come from ChrisEnns.com tend to visit these kinds of pages on Lemon Productions.
  • See how long people tend to stay on a given page on my site.

What I should not be allowed to do is then track that person when they leave my site. And then show that person ads on other sites based on the pages they visited on my site.

It’d be like going into Canadian Tire, talking to a sales person about a car battery, and then as you’re leaving the sales person slips a chip in your pocket so they can track you as you head over to Best Buy and while you’re looking at a new TV there, Canadian Tire is able to show an ad for a car battery on the TV you’re in front of. Which is going to start happening soon enough anyway.

Can’t we just go back to trying to write/create great stuff that attracts readers/watchers/listeners because it’s great and not because they were coerced, manipulated, and badgered to visit?

The post Apple’s Privacy Feature Costing Ad Companies Millions appeared first on Faraway, So Close.

January 04 2018

Dealing with Social Media Stress

Social media isn’t going to go away anytime soon – despite how many tweets there are proclaiming the death of social media.

I wrote this all out on Twitterstarting at this tweet – but thought I’d blog it as well since my blog may outlive Twitter at the rate it seems to be imploding 1 these days.

What works for me may not work for you. That’s fine. Take what makes sense and try it. Ignore the stuff that makes you angry. Leave a comment down below after you read it if you have constructive criticism or a helpful thought. This whole article is as much for me as for anyone else.

Here goes Chris’ Tips for Avoiding Social Media Stress or Angst.

Delete Your Account

The obvious answer is to simply delete your account. Here’s how on the big three social media sites:

But that’s not always possible for a lot of people for a variety of reasons – work, connections with support groups, etc. Or maybe you really don’t want to just give up on the whole thing all at once. In that case…

Mute or Unfollow Stressful Accounts

If someone (or something if it’s a business account) is causing you stress because of what they post, you don’t need to keep following them. Even if not everything they post makes you want to put your fist through the wall or cry a bucket of tears, if the majority of the time they’re posting things that make your brain go in a direction you don’t like – good or bad – you can unfollow them.

There’s no rule that you have to follow someone. If you’re worried that they’re going to be sad/hurt/angry/mad about you not following them anymore, that’s on them and not you. If it’s a really close friend or family member and they ask you why, hopefully they respect you enough to understand when you explain that reading the 500 anti-Trump articles they post every day doesn’t help your mental health. Or whatever your reason – it’s your feed, not theirs.

I’ll confess that I sometimes fear offending someone by unfollowing. And then I realize how silly that is. I’m not in high school anymore. My following (or not) of someone else isn’t a value statement on them. Their worth shouldn’t be defined by a follower checkbox.

I believe that social media and the web is real and made up of humans more than technology. But it’s not my full reality. I’m not my follower count. And neither are you.

Muting accounts, where possible, is a great way to keep the technical connection without having to deal with any sort of notification that you no longer follow what they’re posting. Facebook and Twitter make this easy to do. Tweetbot, a Twitter client for iOS or Mac, makes it even easier to do a trial of muting an account for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, or forever.

If I did this I would forget everyone I ever followed and be alone in the world. (My memory is shite.) My strategy: mute someone for 30 days. When the mute expires, are you glad to see them?

Muting on Twitter

Muting on Twitter for when Justin Jackson goes on and on about waterbeds

Muting means you still follow them but never see their tweets. Blocking means you’ve unfollowed them and they can’t see anything you do – unless your account is public. Then technically they can just load up your profile in a browser.

In this example, I’d be muting Justin Jackson and would never see his tweets again until I went back and unmuted him. He wouldn’t be notified that I’d muted him. I suppose if he was really worried that I wasn’t following him he could tweet something like “Hey Chris Enns is a filthy stinky booger eater” and when I didn’t respond, he’d know? But who’s got the time for that kind of shenanigans?

Muting on Facebook

Muting Justin Jackson on Facebook

Ironically, Facebook just added the ability to snooze an account for 30 days as I was writing this. So snoozing an account for 30 days means it’ll pop back up in 30 days and start appearing in your feed again.

Unfollowing Justin means I’d still be Facebook friends with him, but I wouldn’t ever see anything he’s posted. He wouldn’t be notified that I’ve unfollowed him. But the “filthy stinky booger eater” test still applies here. Shenanigans I tell you.

Muting on Instagram

Instagram Muting

Currently there’s no way to mute an account’s feed on Instagram. You can mute their Stories though. Once again, the muted account owner is never notified that they’ve been muted, “filthy stinky booger eater” not withstanding.

Make a List and Check it Once or Twice

On Twitter you can make lists, here’s the support doc on how, and you can use lists in a couple of different ways:

  • Throw every account you think you need to keep up on in there, and then unfollow everyone from your main account. Slowly follow people back as you feel like you want them in your timeline.
  • Build a private “quiet” Twitter list of the accounts that don’t tweet much. Switch to using that timeline for a week and see how you feel.

I’ve been really tempted to just unfollow every account I follow at the start of the year. If Twitter had a button to do that, I’d have pressed it already.

I’ve tried a variation on this and it worked for awhile to help me scale back my follower list. But inevitably new people/accounts come along that seem interesting and you find yourself with a torrent of tweets hitting you every day.

Update 2018-01-05: Thanks to @Smokey for this suggestion that Facebook Lists are a thing as well:

I’ve used Facebook’s Lists similarly for the better part of a decade, at first just to keep up with infrequently-posting friends between my infrequent visits, then later to avoid the timeline entirely. Sadly, over the past few years Facebook has been slowly degrading the feature (and trying to hide it), so it only works well if you visit Facebook at least once a week.

Read Websites Not Social Media Accounts

Old timers on the web, like me, will occasionally pine for the old days when people wrote on blogs, like this one, and we used RSS Readers to subscribe to blogs. And before that we just visited the websites we liked directly and refreshed like mad in the hopes that something new would come along to entertain us.

The Office quotes from Andy about the good old days

Try getting rid of the social media apps on your phone and computer devices for a week and just reading blogs and websites directly. Find 10-15 that you think you’ll like from a variety of sources and then just load those up as your browser favs and see how it feels. Use an app like Freedom to block your access to sites that cause you stress or suck your will to live away.

Whether you use the new year to try something new or just want to take a break for a couple of weeks – I’d recommend changing up your routine. There is always going to be more information fed into the social media machine. Whatever you miss out on this week will be quickly replaced by something else next week. The really important stuff will bubble up to the top of your conversations wherever you’re having them – whether it’s on Twitter or coffee row.

And for crying out loud – make sure you drink more water and get some sleep!

I'm outta here


  1. Sorry. Bad joke. Nuclear buttons as a dick size argument make me cranky.

  2. <!--/#footnote-1.footnote-->
<!--/#footnotes-->

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December 03 2017

Working Backwards from U2’s Songs of Experience – A Musical Journey

With U2’s Songs of Experience out everywhere now, I noticed iTunes has deals on their back catalogue. Obviously I have no need for more digital copies of albums from my favourite band but I thought I’d write up some recommendations if Songs of Experience is your first U2 album.

Note: Album names will have an iTunes affiliate link. Buy U2 music and make me rich!

Songs of Experience

If you don’t have it, go get it. I’d recommend the deluxe version because the St Peter’s String Version of “Lights of Home” is worth the upgrade price alone.

You’re Stuck in a Moment And Only Want One or Two

Best of 1990-200 / Best of 1980-1990

Normally I’d frown on getting a Best Of collection from any artist – but I know that’s often the gateway into their deeper cuts. And if you just want to stop here, you can’t go wrong picking up their “Best of 1990-200” collection. The “Best of 1980-1990” is great as well but if you’ve had a radio on at all in your life you’ve probably heard their 80’s hits played and overplayed enough to know if you’d like them or not. The early 90s was U2 hitting their peak in popularity, but radio (at least in Canada where I live) doesn’t seem to know what to do with 90s era U2 music.

Achtung – I Will Follow You Deeper, Light My Way

Ok. Skip the greatest hits and get music the way God (yes, Bono) intended it.

Achtung Baby

This is where I show my own entry into U2 – 1991’s Achtung Baby was that album that changed them from being a sentimental lovey-dovey rock band (which they still are), into something that felt cool and had an edge1 to it. From “Zoo Station” all the way to “Love is Blindness”, there isn’t a track on this album that I don’t love and know every word and guitar hook to.

If you can find ZooTV Live From Sydney, the concert documentary of the tour that followed this album, you’ll have the full U2 immersion experience I did back in the early 90’s.

Songs of Innocence

If you had (have?) an iTunes account in 2014 you should already have “Songs of Innocence” since it was given away for free to everyone by Apple. If not, pick it up as a companion to “Songs of Experience”. There’s plenty of callbacks to this album from SoI that make it worth owning to catch – but by no means is it required listening to enjoy SoE. “Song for Someone”, “Iris (Hold Me Close)”, “Cedarwood Road”, “The Troubles”, and “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight”2 are all highlights for me.

Zooopa

It’s not every U2 fan’s favourite, but mysterious and explorative U2 is my favourite U2. Listening to the opening build up of the opening track throws me right back to early 90’s and wondering what kind of musical journey I was about to embark on.

“Stay (Faraway, So Close)” is definitely my favourite U2 ballad and in my top 5 U2 tracks.

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

If, like me, you’re sick of that “Vertigo” song then you can safely skip it and enjoy the beautiful “Miracle Drug” / “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” combo that, in my opinion, should have started this album.

“One Step Closer” and “Yahweh” close out a great album.

The Unforgettable Fire / War

This step is a choose your own adventure: chime-y U2 or 80’s rock U2?

1984’s The Unforgettable Fire is a beautiful album that’s often overshadowed by the popularity of “Pride (In the Name of Love)” in much the same way as How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is by “Vertigo”. But “Bad” is U2 at their most U2-ish and “A Sort of Homecoming” is possibly one of their best album openers to date.

Whereas 1983’s War has the intensity of songs you have likely heard, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day”, one of my favourite deep cuts in “Seconds”, and closes with “40” – a beautiful lament that closed out many of U2’s concerts in the 80s.

Both are great albums and if you’ve come this far, you might as well get both of them because you’re not stopping now.

The Joshua Tree

I don’t know how you could possibly have escaped hearing the first 3 tracks. But if you’re of hearing Bono wail about being with or without you, skip to “Bullet the Blue Sky” – a song that U2 has morphed and twisted over the years to serve whatever political climate they find themselves in while on tour. “Running to Stand Still” is also my favourite U2 ballad (I have a few) and “One Tree Hill”, “Exit”, and “Mothers of the Disappeared” is an amazing trio of songs to close out an album.

You should have this album in your collection. I didn’t put it higher on the list because I assumed you’d already have it.

There’s also deluxe and super deluxe versions of the album if you want to really hear what late 80’s U2 sounded like. You know you want to hear “Red Hill Mining Town (Steve Lillywhite 2017 Mix)”.

Rattle and Hum

You may have heard of the musical journey U2 went on in making the documentary of the same name, Rattle and Hum is the companion live/studio to The Joshua Tree. It features my other favourite U2 balled, “All I Want is You”, concert favourites like “Desire” and “Angel of Harlem”, and collaborations with B.B. King (“When Love Comes to Town”) and Bob Dylan (“Love Rescue Me”).

“Heartland” is not to be missed and should have been included on The Joshua Tree.

Pop

It’s been theorized that U2 albums come in sets of three, and if that’s true then 1997’s Pop is the conclusion of what the band started in Achtung Baby and Zooropa. This was the point where I remember a lot of my friend’s getting off the U2 ride. Whether it was the choice of “Discotheque” for a single, along with Village People inspired music video, or the accompanying Popmart tour – a lot of my fellow U2 fans/friends at the time decided it was all too much.

But there’s plenty of amazing songs on this album – especially if The Joshua Tree sounding U2 is your least favourite U2. “Please” is one of the most beautiful political songs they’ve written. “If God Will Send His Angels” is certainly one of my favourite U2 ballads and takes me back to Christmas in Dublin when I found a copy of the single I’d been looking for. “Gone” is a screamer of a tune, especially live.

I think if they’d committed all the way to the themes they started out with on the first half of the record, this could’ve been an amazing experiment. But it feels like they got cold feet and needed to reign in the beats a bit and have more standard U2 sounding songs.

A Trip Through Your Wires

I chose to journey back through U2 by album as opposed to picking songs you might like. And so with that criteria in mind, the rest of U2’s records all have great songs on them but aren’t as interesting or necessary3 if you’re trying to get your audio hooks into U2.

The rest of their albums are listed in no particular order. Choose your own adventure on your U2 musical journey.

All That You Can’t Leave Behind

A return to form after Pop – but it left a bit of a “trying to make a popular record” taste in my mouth. That said, it’s a heck of a record. “Beautiful Day” is a great song, start to finish. “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” is the brightest sounding description of depression and suicide. “Kite” is a love letter to Bono’s young kids. “In a Little While” is my favourite U2 song to play on guitar. “Peace on Earth” is a beautiful companion to Pop’s “Please”.

You won’t be disappointed in the album. I was only disappointed, at the time, that they didn’t continue experimenting after Pop.

No Line on the Horizon

This is the completion of the 2000’s trilogy that started with All That You Can’t Leave Behind and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. In some alternate universe, I envision U2’s albums released in the 2000s coming out in the reverse order and it all makes more sense to me.

“Breathe”, “Stand Up Comedy”, and “Get On Your Boots” are fun rock songs. “Magnificent” became much better for my ears after hearing it live on tour.

But you’d be forgiven if you skipped No Line on the Horizon in my books. As a hardcore U2 fan, I find it an interesting experiment – not as good as the Zooropa experiment – but still, an interesting exploration of writing and recording.

October

To this day, I have a hard time getting into this album. “October” is a beautiful piano ballad. “Gloria” is U2 filled with their most religious 80s rock righteousness. I know some U2 fans will flame me for it, but I just have a hard time getting into early 80’s U2. #AchtungBaby4ever

Boy

Despite having slammed October one paragraph ago, I have no trouble loving Boy. If you’re going to follow U2 in the 90s, 2000’s, and beyond – you have to at least be willing to see where they came from. “I Will Follow”, “Into the Heart”, “Out of Control”, and “The Electric Co.” are incredible songs for a band’s first album.

Wide Awake in America / Under a Blood Red Sky / Live from Paris

I don’t know how universally true this is, but for bands like U2, their songs come alive in concert. Whatever the staging and production they might choose, every time I hear a new U2 song for the first time I start imagining how they might perform it live on tour. Songs that I couldn’t find a place for on the album suddenly change into something I need to hear once I’ve heard or seen it live. On their recent 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree tour, U2 took “Exit”, already a fan favourite for sure, to a whole different level with the live performance of it.

So while live isn’t necessarily the best place to hear a song for the first time, it’s almost a required experience for me if you’re saying you just can’t get into U2.

There’s Been A Lot of Talk About This Next Song

…maybe, maybe too much talk.

If you’ve read this far and have a comment on something you disagree with or maybe I’ve dissed your favourite song – by all means, leave a comment below. But if you’re a fellow hardcore U2 fan – know that:

a) I love you. You’re part of my tribe.
b) I think U2 is great. I love their music, their lyrics, their tours.
c) As great as U2 is, I think it’s fun to critique, debate, and discuss art. Which is why I have a lot of fun hosting the @U2 Podcast where we get to do exactly that – subscribe in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
d) Be polite or I’ll delete your comment.

If I wait a week and rewrite this, the albums would probably tumble out in a different order. The songs I like and am drawn to are influenced by what’s going on in my life. U2 has influenced my faith, my guitar, my relationships, and my mind in a way that no other musical artist has.

I can’t wait to hear their next album4!


  1. Pun fully intended

  2. <!--/#footnote-1.footnote-->
  3. Just kidding. Sleep Like a Baby Tonight is terrible. Just seeing if Matt McGee is reading this.

  4. <!--/#footnote-2.footnote-->
  5. Feel free to argue and disagree in the comments below – just remember that I wrote this on very little sleep and kept getting pulled away to help my son puke into a bucket. We are rock and roll!

  6. <!--/#footnote-3.footnote-->
  7. When is Songs of Ascent going to be out already?

  8. <!--/#footnote-4.footnote-->
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The post Working Backwards from U2’s Songs of Experience – A Musical Journey appeared first on Faraway, So Close.

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