a word on the new U2 album…

a word on the new U2 album…

Starting to notice U2 is getting some backlash for releasing their new album “Songs of Innocence” as a free gift to iTunes users. If you have an iTunes account the album is already available in your purchased music page or in the cloud if you store your music there.

I’m not the biggest U2 fan out there, but I do enjoy and respect their work. I haven’t listened to the new record yet, but I have to say I think it is so crazy backwards people are starting to complain about getting something for free from one of the biggest bands of all time. Whether you are a fan or not, you were just given a gift and it’s something to appreciate and say “thank you” for. You don’t hand back gifts to your friends and family and say “Um, not a fan of this, I didn’t ask for it, and how could you even dare think I would want this!?” No, no you don’t. You politely smile and say “Thank you so much! I really appreciate this.”

I think it’s hilariously sad that people want to remove the album from their library and/or iCloud account, and that Apple is now having to handle these requests… as if it’s taking up some kind of physical space in their home environment. U2 didn’t deliver a giant ugly couch to your house. They gave you the gift of music. Did we forget that anything digital doesn’t even physically exist? Nor does “The Cloud” – Yep, for the unaware it’s actually just a big floating “nothing” out there in infinite space where all our digital “nothings” are stored. It couldn’t possibly intrude on your life other than the unbearably action of having to see an album in your music library that you’ll have to scroll past when you come across it in your library (likely to happen every now and again). I can only imagine the horror of “Oh no, there’s that damn U2 album again! Gotta flick my thumb on the screen one more time so I don’t have to see it!” I mean dang, Apple & U2, how could you do that to people?!?

There are those reviewing and critiquing the album with a certain pompous tone, again with “I didn’t ask for this, so let me dissect and try to destroy it with my very special and very valuable opinion.” The truth is it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of the album, even if you are the biggest U2 fan who ends up not liking it. You know why? It was a gift, it was free. The band wasn’t trying to sell you on buying the album and you have no personal investment in it. It was a piece of work they deemed worthy of sharing at no expense to their fans.

There are also those acting shocked, as if their privacy has been invaded, pretending to be angry that iTunes “hacked” into their iTunes account to give them something for (dare I say it again?) FREE. Oh, please… your privacy is invaded every second online, don’t act surprised or creeped out that a U2 album magically appeared on your computer one day (Nickelback, maybe). Personally, I think these guys who are upset about invasion of privacy are the same guys that rock out to Pantera but are afraid somebody will find out there’s a Celine Dion track in their music library… NOBODY CAN KNOW!!

Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment and say I think it’s pretty cool one of the biggest bands ever has made this move. If we all went out to our mailboxes today and U2 sent us a physical CD of their new album we’d probably all be like “Hey, that’s pretty cool!” Instead, paranoid and irrational internet is taking over this generous situation and has begun to over analyze and destroy it. That being said, just remember that musical tastes change over time, and even if you don’t enjoy the album today, or you might not be a fan of U2 at this very moment, down the road you may want this record, and heck, you may even really appreciate it.

– Brad


Weekend Recap

In case you missed any of my posts over the weekend I thought I’d share them collectively for you right here along with a few other pics that haven’t been posted yet. If you see a link, click on it to enhance your blog viewing experience.

"This is what being ready to go by 5:30a.m looks like to me." - instagram: bradleyjames2011

“This is what being ready to go by 5:30a.m looks like to me.” – instagram: bradleyjames2011

Friday evening I performed at Penn State University supporting the talented Eric Hutchinson. It was a fun show, good crowd, and hopefully I made some new friends and fans. Since I became a dad my touring schedule has switched from a constant travel back and forth across the U.S., to being home most of the time and flying out to do a few one-off shows here and there. I’ve been okay with that simply because I want to be here for my son, especially during these early years.  On the other hand I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss performing as much as I used to, so it’s always nice to get back on stage these days. One-offs, to me, are like a 36 hour marathon race. As soon as you wake up early in the morning you’re off, non stop. First leg is getting to the airport, second is the flight, third is the layover and the other flight, then getting the rental car, checking into the hotel, getting to the show, so on and so on until you’re back where you started, home. I usually set my iPhone alarm for three different times, each serving a specific purpose. The first alarm goes off about 15 minutes before I actually get up. This is like a nudge just to say “Hey, you’re going to have to get up soon.” The second alarm goes off  only 5 minutes later but allows my brain to get what feels like 30 more minutes of sleep. The third alarm is what I call the “parent alarm” because it reminds me of the last time your mom or dad would wake you up for school in the morning. “Get up RIGHT NOW or you’re going to miss the bus, I’m not telling you again!” So, three alarms, I’m good with that.

Now, the process of getting through the airport and actually getting on the plane is going to have to be another blog at some other time. There’s way to much to complain about and criticize. I’m only saying this as a professional traveler, so if you don’t fly very much you probably haven’t noticed the inconsistencies from one security line to the next. Either way, I’ll save it all for a  stand up comedy routine like everyone else with strong opinions on airport travel. Once I got checked in and settled at my gate I made this Vine. Obviously I was bored, but at least I got to share it with the entire world.

bent propeller blades

bent propeller blades

I had a quick layover at Washington Dulles airport. The second plane was what you’d call lil’. It was a lil’ plane with very lil’ space to relax. Interestingly enough, during the flight while taking “I’m bored on a small plane” pics, I found out looking through the screen on my phone that the propeller blades became warped. I think this was from a combination of the camera’s capture speed and the  curve of the plane’s window, but, it looked weird enough so I snapped a shot of it for you (seen left). You can thank me later for blowing your mind.

Once we landed I went to pick up my rental car. I have to say, never once have I reserved a compact car and actually received a compact car. I’m always told “We’re out of compact cars at the moment so I’m going to upgrade you at no extra charge.” I guess I’m supposed to be like “Oh thanks, that’s nice of you,” but this happens ALL the time. Maybe I don’t want a bigger car, maybe I just want what I asked for. What if psychologically I couldn’t handle a bigger car? What if I was a short person who felt more comfortable in a smaller size vehicle? These are not really the issues, but you don’t know me car rental place, get your act together and get me what I reserved; a vehicle with no automatic locks, no CD player, and a weird dent on the driver side door that I have to take note of so you don’t charge me for it upon return. I mean, come on.

So, I checked into the hotel. This is the point at which I usually restring my guitar, warm up, make the set list, and eventually make my way to the venue. I utilized my Vine account once again to make this action packed video. Side note, it’s hard to make a Vine video of something you normally do with two hands while having to film with one. Anyway, I also made a video with Instagram which was easier than Vine since you can important pre-recorded video. Either way, make sure you follow me on both Vine and Instagram if you have the apps so you don’t miss this stuff.

Everybody at the Penn State show was great. The crowd was fun, the students who put on the event were helpful and made sure I was taken care. If you were there, thanks so much for inviting me to play. I hope to see you again soon! If you weren’t there, here’s the setlist:

Thank you Penn State! instagram: bradleyjames2011

Thank you Penn State! instagram: bradleyjames2011

Do It Again
We’ll Fall In Love Tonight
Save It For Later
Billie Jean (Michael Jackson Cover)
Love The Way
Up To Me
My Girl (The Temptations Cover)
Roll Into You
Better With You
Audience of Zero

I actually didn’t have Roll Into You in the set, but a couple of girls yelled for it so I threw it in. Hey, I aim to please. So, it was a good time. Eric Hutchinson put on a great show with hip tunes and has an awesome live band. Check him out if you haven’t yet. We had a chance to say hi to one another after a show and he was nice. I like it when the other act is nice, sometimes they’re not.

In the morning before I left the hotel I walked out to the parking lot and mistakingly packed my suitcase and guitar in another white rental car that happened to be unlocked. It wasn’t until I tried to put the key into the ignition did I realize “Woops, not my car!”

My flights back were way more interesting than the flights on the way out, mainly thanks to this guy. I think when a situation like this occurs there is an unspoken agreement that if you are going to sleep on my shoulder I get to put a video of it online, so I did. Thank you for that opportunity, Instagram. I also took a picture with my new buddy…

yeah, I don't know you guy...

yeah, I don’t know you, guy.

So that was weird.

Anyway, I’m back in Texas and ready to get back to work on a few projects, one of them being a new Five Times August album. Talk to you soon.

– Brad