Bono cannot find a venue for "young male anger" in the current musical climate, apparently. The musician told Rolling Stone this week that music has become very feminine, which leaves men like him (angry, vicious musicians who also write Broadway musicals) out to dry.
"I think music has gotten very girly," he said, adding that "there are some good things about [being girly]." But, at least according to Bono's logic, girliness and masculinity are mutually exclusive.
"Hip-hop is the only place for young male anger at the moment – and that's not good," he explained. "When I was 16, I had a lot of anger in me. You need to find a place for it and for guitars, whether it is with a drum machine – I don't care."
Bono's mistake is threefold — first, he implies that being "girly" is bad, a viewpoint that is inherently sexist. He also insinuates that hip hop is a popular vehicle for anger, a viewpoint that is reductive, racially insensitive, and harmful. Then, there's the whole idea that "male anger" doesn't have a platform in any other genre of music, when it absolutely does. (Bono may have neglected to realise that women can express masculinity — and anger — in their music, too.)
But for Bono, anger is essential to rock and roll.
"In the end, what is rock & roll? Rage is at the heart of it," he added. "Some great rock & roll tends to have that, which is why The Who were such a great band. Or Pearl Jam. Eddie has that rage."
Bono's comments reek of older generation things-are-changing fustiness — as he watches the rollout of U2's newest album Songs of Experience, which came out in early December, the musician must reckon with a new music landscape. And hey, things have changed. A female rapper topped the charts for the first time in 19 years!
In the past, Bono has been considered an ally for women. Last year, Glamour honoured Bono as one of they "Women of the Year" for his foundation Poverty is Sexist, which focuses on the different and more extreme ways women experience poverty. He seemed a bit sheepish about the honour, and there was some backlash to the decision.
"I’m sure I don’t deserve it," he told the Independent at the time. Well, now, he certainly doesn't.
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