Our 10 Greatest Hopes and Fears for 20122012 is going to be a big year for music. We hope these people don't screw it up.
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U2 Plot Their Future
Hope: U2's 2009 album No Line On The Horizon was an extremely ambitious record that sold millions of copies all over the world. Songs like "Moment of Surrender" and "Magnificent" rank with the band's best work, but the singles failed to connect with a mass audience and by U2's standards it was a disappointment. We hope that they realize that radio is unlikely to put any song they ever write into heavy rotation; instead, they should just focus on making another great record, and then hit the road on an arena tour that drops some of the old warhorses in favor of great songs from the past. How about "Acrobat," "Drowning Man" and "Numb"? "Pride (In The Name of Love)" is a great song, but enough's enough.
Fear: U2 tends to end each decade with a commercial disappointment, and then begin the new decade with an album that's the exact opposite of their last work. The failure of Rattle and Hum gave the world Achtung Baby and the failure of the (criminally underrated) Pop led to the back-to-basics approach on All That You Can't Leave Behind. They have spent much of the last two years working with a rotating cast of producers, including Danger Mouse and RedOne. We fear their primary focus is competing with Lady Gaga on the radio. It's a fight they're going to lose. Hey Bono, don't overthink this next record. Just make it great. It'll serve you better in the long run. Remember that awful charity single "Stranded" you cut with Jay-Z and Rihanna? Never do anything like that again.