The following is an edited transcript of a chat with readers Friday by Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers.
Q: Hearing lots of hype on the new U2 record, but I suspect it will be another bloated and overproduced album. I have never really been a big U2 fan. For me, the band has very boring mundane bass lines, rudimentary drumming, very little substance or raw emotion guitar work, and way overproduced vocals … Just like their protégés Coldplay. But, they sell a ton of records, sell out concerts and have a ton of fans, lasted a long time in a tough business, so good on them.
JM: I hope it is under-produced. I will respectfully disagree with you on U2 – I’ve always found the bass lines to be very strong: simple, yes, but incredibly effective, and right for the songs. The drumming is also often rudimentary, but also, often very creative within its own framework. As far as the Edge goes, I find his use of effects to be absolutely game-changing, for myself as a player. He is not some virtuoso – no one in the band is. But he is a very creative musician. The production on the early albums never bothered me. And when Bono is in the zone, he is a killer rock vocalist.
Q: Do you think PR firms manufacture incidents to draw media attention to their clients? I’m thinking of the almost daily Justin Bieber troubles in news.
JM: It certainly happens. But I don’t get the impression that Justin Bieber needs much help turning himself into a walking train-wreck. This is the stage in a career where it is incredibly helpful to have a real and deep relationship with MUSIC. Even Bieber outgrows the pop spew he releases. He has nothing to hang onto aside from celebrity, which is less than worthless.
Q: I’m actually disturbed by the seemingly high number of country shows that come through this town. And even more disturbed that they’re so well attended.
JM: That’s fine and all, but I just wish that promoters would realize that country and classic rock is not ALL that Buffalo will support.
Q: Church choirs have a great tradition. Lots of pop stars started there I think.
JM: Absolutely! From Sam Cooke on. Here in Buffalo, I’ve met and jammed with musicians who cut their teeth playing in church, and man, there is a certain soulfulness and understanding of groove that they seem to have picked up. Very cool.
Q: Surely you are excited that Leno is leaving so that Fallon can expand the late night music scene.
JM: That’s definitely my take on it.
Q: Say three nice things about Bruno Mars.
JM: Good voice. Some catchy tunes. Not completely offensive to my ears.
Q: Do you read Mojo Magazine? Far better than Rolling Stone (for music at least) and with reviews that have made me seek out music I’d not previously encountered.
JM: Yes! It’s my bible. They treat music criticism as something serious. They never bought into the whole “Dumb it down and keep it short and pretend you think Kanye West is as brilliant as Sly Stone” nonsense.
Q: Who would win in a fight: Isley Brothers or Everly Brothers?
JM: No need to fight when there’s all that sweet harmony going on. Both bands were completely awesome!
Got a question for Jeff Miers? Visit his Friday live chats at buffalonews.com.