U2’s significant career far exceeds that of most average successful rock bands, with a prolific output of thirteen well-received studio albums and a sometimes relentless touring schedule. Theband is famous for uniquely drawing together music, art, faith, and activism, all within a lucrative career that has given each of these elements an unusual degree of social and cultural resonance. Broad-minded musically and intellectually, U2’soutput is thematically rich, addressing a slew of topics, from questions of faith to anxieties about commercialism to outright political statements.
With one of the largest fan bases in the history of rock music, U2 and their work require contextualization and exploration. In U2: Rock ’n’ Roll to Change the World, Timothy D. Neufeld takes up this challenge. Neufeld explores U2’s move from the youthful idealism of a band barely able to play instruments through its many phases of artistic expression and cultural engagement to its employment of faith and activism as a foundation for its success. This book outlines how U2 reshaped the very musical and even political culture that had originally shaped it, demonstrating through close readings of its musical work the dynamic interplay of artistic expression and social engagement.
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