The release of this 11 song LP “Songs of Innocence” by rockers U2 has created a lot of buzz in the last couple of days. Apple purchased the music and gave it away for free to every Apple owner on the planet at the release of iPhone 6 and the upcoming iWatch.
Some have labeled U2 as sell-outs because of this move. Bono, U2’s front man and lead singer, didn’t hide the fact that they were compensated for the use of their music. It was just a business deal and a generous gift from Apple to their customers.
My Music Review:
“Haters are gonna hate.” It’s their opinion and that’s fine. I’m kind of a fan-boy of U2…but hang on, don’t stop reading because I have some criticism of this latest offering. I have listened to U2 since “Rattle and Hum”
The Albums I loved: “Joshua Tree”, “War”, “Achtung Baby”, “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb”
The Albums I Hated: “Zooropa”, “Pop”, “No Line In The Horizon” (except for Cedars of Lebanon).
This latest offering “Songs of Innocence”…let’s see, how can I describe it?
Here are a few descriptions that come to mind:
*Haven’t I heard this before?
What I liked:
I enjoy hearing the guitar riffs from The Edge…hence the “Punchy” description. He has a way of placing those riffs to explode your ear drums and enhance any song. Few guitar players of The Edge’s caliber has the kind of influence and identifiable sounds. It’s like hearing Sting sing…you just know immediately who is singing. That’s how it is with The Edge for me.
Similarly, like Sting, Bono’s voice is easily recognizable. In this latest LP “Songs of Innocence” Bono’s vocals do not disappoint. He wails, sails in the rafters and nails every note which is uniquely “Bono”. It’s the kind of music you want to get in your car and crank it to “11” (Sorry Spinal Tap fans).
I am also a fan of their global efforts to end A.I.D.S. and to help people around the world who have no voice. Bono and the rest of U2 are amazing within the realms of philanthropy. They just seem to get it, and they aren’t just charitable by word or a kind of “look at me” style of “charity”…they actually do the tough work as well. See this link – Red (okay haters out there, stop gagging and fake retching)
Two songs that I currently love on this recent LP are – “Raised By Wolves” and “Sleep Like A Baby Tonight” which I think tap into their passion to help the helpless and to throw the punch at the apathetic and those that hinder efforts of compassion and love in our world. Bono can often be quite critical of the Church as well as “Religion” in general, and this LP is no different. With such gut punching lines like;
“Hope is where the door is
When the church is where the war is
Where no one can feel no one else’s pain…” (from ‘Sleep like a baby tonight’)
U2 paints their worldview very clearly in their songs and this is something that resonates within me. They don’t have to be overtly “religious” to declare that they care for others and for something more than themselves. Honestly, I can’t help but hear deep theological undertones within their music and a sincere passion to search for the truth and for God.
What I didn’t like:
This album felt forced.
Some songs seem unfinished to me, or perhaps a little less polished. Perhaps it had to do with the way it was released. Maybe that’s it. I felt that maybe this publicity campaign with Apple pushed the release of this album up far too quickly for it to develop into something truly great. It left me feeling “meh”…it was okay. I felt as if I had heard this all before. It wasn’t unique with the exception of Bono’s vocals and The Edge’s guitaring. It just left me wanting more. It left me longing to hear something as epic as Achtung Baby once more.
I’ve only listened to the complete album a handful of times so far, and I’m sure I will listen to it a lot more since I’m a fan. Maybe, like other albums I’ve owned over the years, it just takes time to grow on me. I don’t know. Time will tell.