'A cracker of an album…'

30 Nov 201777

'Songs of Experience' arrives tomorrow and this week the reviewers have been passing judgment. Here's some highlights, we'll add more in the coming days.

"U2 unveil an album full of self-awareness, gravitas and humour... Often it seems as if the moments that deal with the aforementioned brush with mortality are the most natural and enjoyable, as if concerns about their frontman's potential demise caused everyone to stop worrying about U2's place within the contemporary scheme of things and focus on the music… Boasting a guitar part atmospheric and understated even by the Edge's 80s standards, the concluding 13 (There Is a Light) is delicately affecting; Landlady's extended apology to Bono's wife, Ali Hewson, gently achieves precisely the kind of emotional uplift Love is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way nearly gives itself a hernia trying to attain; Lights of Home welds distorted slide guitar and a gospel-ish chorus to an entirely fantastic song. The Showman, meanwhile, is playful and authentically funny: a reflection on the contradictions and ridiculousness of the job of rock star that shows infinitely more self-awareness than Bono's critics would give him credit for... U2 sound more like the band you suspect they want to be than they have in a decade."
Alexis Petridis, THE GUARDIAN,'U2: Songs of Experience, '…fantastic return to form' ****

"People who can't stand U2's earnest, heal-the-world side may want to turn elsewhere right now. The word "love," unironic and high-minded, recurs all over "Songs of Experience," the band's long-gestating sequel to its 2014 album, "Songs of Innocence." Where "Songs of Innocence" was full of youthful biographical specifics, both euphoric and grim, from the group's lead singer and main lyricist, Bono, "Songs of Experience" has an adult's broader, more general perspective. It favours lessons and archetypes, not stories…"
Jon Pareles, NEW YORK TIMES, 'U2 Releases 'Songs of Experience. Cynicism Not Included.'

"Songs of Experience will likely go down as a late-career classic. Unlike its predecessors, it carries some memorable, stadium-ready tunes, initially signposted by You're The Best Thing About me - their best comeback single since 2000's Beautiful Day…. U2 have dug deep, yet they remain both postmodern and unpredictable. Able to assume many sounds and voices; to invoke their early-80's innocence but also none-more-experienced, masters of every inch of their game…. from here, U2 can rebuild with confidence."
Andrew Perry, Q MAGAZINE, Bringing It All Back Home ****

"Textbook anthem Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way… is plainly a parent-to-child letter of reassurance; an important unburdening for someone recently spooked, and another key component in U2's strongest album this century."
James McNair, MOJO, 'The Letters of Paul' ****
 "As the title makes plain, Songs of Experience is not the work of young men. It showcases U2 at their most mature and assured, playing songs of passion and purpose, shot through and enlivened with a piercing bolt of desperation. "The Showman gives you front row to his heart / Making a spectacle of falling apart," Bono sings with defiant humour on The Showman, and it is this spectacle that makes Experience so compelling. A little battered by time and bloodied by events, U2 remain defiantly unbowed, as determined as ever to make mass market music that really matters."
Neil McCormick, DAILY TELEGRAPH, 'U2's Songs of Experience is full of desperation and meaty hooks in equal measure' ****

"Behind those tinted shades…there is still a superb blue-eyed soul singer. And next to him, The Edge, is several guitarists in one: if he's not murmuring in your ear, he's roaring like Jimmy Page or taking a step back to join Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton, the most resolute of rhythm sections. After 41 years, U2's secret is their unity, just about the greatest strength a band can have. They're like an old friend now - you take them warts and all, you ride out their midlife crisis, and after spending time with them, you feel uplifted."
Tim De Lisle, MAIL ON SUNDAY, Album of the Week, '…the melodic, punchy tunes soon get under your skin.' ****

"Like its 2014 predecessor, U2's "Songs of Experience" is the product of a difficult and drawn-out recording process. Much more so than "Songs of Innocence," however, U2 has made an exciting, stage-ready album that doesn't blush or blink in its use of the band's signature sounds — The Edge's chiming guitar, Adam Clayton's trebly, adhesive bass, Larry Mullen Jr.'s sharp and responsive drums and Bono's heart-on-his-vocal-cords singing…"
Pablo Gordini, ASSOCIATED PRESS, 'U2's 'Songs of Experience' is a thrilling listen'
"...The penultimate track is 'Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way' another multi-layered beaut of a ballad. Sounds like a choir doing harmonies to Bono's soaring vocals and yet another strong grower.  This is truly a cracker of an album on first, second and third listens. Living with it for an extended spell will determine whether it hits the heights of a Joshua Tree, an Achtung Baby or the cruelly underrated Pop."
Eric Lalor, JOE.ie, 'Songs of Experience by U2 ranks alongside the band's greatest work.'

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THE book of your heart
Fantastisch album. THE book of your heart is magic and a sounds they Can Use for THE next album.
One for the radio
I'm lovin the new CD!! I've listened to the new CD four times now and each time another song sticks with me and I find myself singing the song in my head. Lots of great, upbeat songs that are catchy and feel good! The first songs that stuck in my head were Red Flag Day, The Showman & Summer of Love. Landlady is my favorite today. Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way should be the concert closer. Also great to hear Ordinary Love again. Several songs are "radio-ready" but the theme of love, equality and hope are what continue to make me gravitate to listening to U2 constantly. Super excited about upcoming tour and can't wait to sing along with my favorite band at The L.A. Forum in May! Merriest Christmas!
My soundtrack for 2018 and many years to
You did it again, guys... Great songs when you hear them the first time, classic songs when you hear them more often. I don't know how you do it time after time, but your songs grow on you, they mean something to you no matter what mood you're in or when you listen to them now or in 10 years time. Thank you so much! I'm streaming the album on Spotify, I'll get it on iTunes and on CD ;) Can't wait for the European Tour!
What a emotional song! Tears in my eyes every time!
Out of this world
Just WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW.... Don't need to say anymore...
Beautiful Album
I'm loving the album. Lots of gems and thought-prevoking lyrics. Thank you U2 & co for another fantastic album. Favorite songs so far - Love is all we have left, Summer of love, The little things that give you away, Landlady, & 13 (There is a light). Cant wait until you tour my way. Love you U2!
Underground Oldenzaal Town:
The door is open to Go through, if I coud come too, the path made by al walking, stop singing and start to talk: COMMMUNICATION. THANKS U2 for this album, it is a master piece and the end is not coming. .. ... .... Love and Light my way to Vertigo... .. Detlev Lassche for the Vertigo Hunter. Miss You Sugar.
The Best One from POP
Even better than ATYCLB (this is of course subjective, and my own opinion)...Not that I don't like or love all other albums in between, love them, but this is the one I was expecting a long time.. Lot of energy here, variety also. Each tune has its own story and own sound. Some of them reminding me of songs from earlier albums like The Unforgettable Fire (Red Flag Day), but yet fresh and different at the same time. Classic rock also, in U2 style, from Lights of Home, to Showman. And subtle Summer of Love, with oriental sounds encompassed in simple, but effective and full sounding tune. Been on each tour since Achtung Baby, but hardly wait to see them performing this album alive!!! Great work. I can remember of a group that has being around for 40 years, and yet has so much to express and deliver to the public.
Sometimes, on albums, there are tracks which you just skip past. This is only the second album, where I’ve not wanted to skip past tracks. I love it!
Little things that give you away lyrics
The lyrics on the recording are different than what Bono has been singing ? Did he tweak them after the recording , was he still playing around with that ? He told Zane Lowe that he never felt streets with no name was finished when they recorded it so is this the same kind of thing ? This is really my favorite song and it's haunting . if you've lived it , it's almost as if you instinctively know the words in your head as he sings them , without having ever heard it before. because you've lived it . And it haunts you . Brilliant .
Life Changer
Heard it so many times in the last days since it arrived - and whoa... It really is hard to tell what to say. It's a challenge at first - I miss the Edge's crystal clear guitar sound a little bit and was hoping for a little bit of NLOTH sounds (which by the way is an outstanding album that changed my life and deserves to be remembered as a masterpiece). But then, really this stuff brought me to tears when almost nothing ever does. What a collection of masterpiece songs! It is doing something with me deep inside. I read those lines from Bono in the package about the inner voice that vanished and reappeared, about faith and mortality - and this album is really doing that. It challenges you to look inside and to get clear about so many things. Outstanding. I can't put it into words, really. And finally - what amazing songwriting there is! Just to chose one song - which is really hard - "The little Things that you give away" - what a song! The whole Idea - gigantic, the lyrics are nailing it - and the sound, stunning. To put such an emotional journey in just one song, amazing. It makes me want to stand up and fight and to surrender at the same time. Incredible. This album is a Life Changer and down on my knees and begging - please don't make it your last! Thank you U2 for not giving up until now and for making such beautiful music, enriching my life and for being guests in my home all those years! "Love is bigger than anything in it's way", and I'm totally in love with you.
SOE is instant classic U2 material!
After waiting the whole day on Friday for SOE to pop up in my itunes decided to just buy the album...
Love this track
Lights of home
A song for EVERYONE....
played 3 times already... number 4 coming up... gets better with every play. JT2017 was outstanding at Twickenham with TLTTGA played was so looking forward to hearing the studio version... it didn't disappoint Love the new version of Ordinary Love ... in fact I can't find a song that I don't like. Really good mature piece of work- thought SOI was best album since Zooropa, SOE might just surpass that. Roll on UK tour (Book of YOUR Heart... outstanding!!!!!!)
An absolute crackerjack.
Not even finished the first run through this album and safe to say the tunes stack up again and again.. listening now to track 11, the blackout ( having just picked up the 12" vinyl this morning!) and the rise and fall, ebb and flow is just mesmeric.. A classic in amongst classics.
Great album. So U2 and different at the same time. Eclectic, but harmonious. Sophisticated, but not too much. His depth made me cry, it brought me back to the emotion I had with your work years ago. Facing the mortality make you alive. Just THANK YOU guys !
Love is Bigger ...
Lyric "As you‘re walking, start singing and stop talking" and Packaging "As you‘re walking, stop singing and start talking"
Wow.. three letters the only way to do i
I’m as hard nosed as they come, but this album has me in tears. It is just stunning, so many of the best tracks build to an unbelievable crescendo of words and sounds, I can’t turn it off. Thank God I have a weekend off to listen.. thankyou. Thankyou thankyou.
Bedroom is my Universe
Can't wait................it was sent out to me today!
It's all about the music.
Love this people. Love this album. Love this music. Love these messages. Love Summer of Love. Love the fact a band like this exists in today's world. Thank you so much for this new cracker of an album.
Light of home live
Light of home live It’s got a 40 end to it, the band leaving the stage one by one and everybody in the audience belting out the “free yourself bit”
Big Sounds Indeed
On my fourth listen though already. So much for the ear to gather. The sounds are big, uplifting, emotional, and thoughtful. No one song stands out from the others in a world of "singles." It is a cohesive piece that must be heard as one. It is a very complete effort that really let's Larry and Adam shine.
Another classic
Just listened to the new album what can I say can’t say anything stuck for words
Waiting !
The Amazon man can’t come fast enough ! Vinyl on the way
Oh Wow!!
Great album and great Bono lyrics!! Thank's again guys for this record!! See you in Italy next summer :-))
Songs of Experience
Absolutely love this album already, been on non stop all morning in work, U2 are and always will be the greatest band of all time. Lots of love from Sunny Wales. ValleyboyU2
Loving it
First listen at work today and loving it. I think The Guardian review is absolutely spot on.
In the form of advice to someone
There're different atmospheres on this album. There are signs of rockabilly, rock, heavy rock, experimental rock, progressive rock, electronic and even an iconic SKA Punk. The first track comforts any soul. When there is an approach about the inconstancy of life, one can easily assume that a great evil is to fail to conclude with the virtues of life, but if at least there is love, it would already be significant. When I heard "Love Is All We Have Left" for the first time, I remembered the special day my daughter was born, I remembered that feeling of responsibility that I will have someone to protect that is not yet self-sufficient. I remembered that I posted an image of her sleeping in the Instagram app with just one hour of life and with the lines of "Girl" from the Beatles in the caption: "Is there anybody going to listen to my story / All about the girl who came to stay? / She's the kind of girl you want so much / It makes you sorry / Still, you do not regret a single day." They are beautiful lines, especially if addressed to a newborn, the question gains a sense of wondering if the world is still interested in this type of miracle and in this type of concern to stay alive on the "telescope" with the purposes to teach someother to follow their dreams. In "Love Is All We Have Left", I was hooked with the lines, "And now you're at the other end of the telescope / Seven billion stars in her eyes," and somehow recalls David Bowie's "Starman" song. Soon in "Lights of Home" is that the album makes it very clear that it has a personal approach. This song does not give much room for hopelessness despite the thin line of life, especially when connected to the lines of "Iris (Hold Me Close)." In fact, I see in this music a feeling of fullness. If it is for me to summarize a theme to this song, I would say it is about feeling at home different dimmensions after crashing your head on the ground. There is so intense humanization in this song. It’s both common, subtle and shocking when one begins to doubt his own faith, “Oh Jesus if I'm still your friend / What the hell you got for me”. The song "Get Out of Your Own Way", with all that atmosphere of accented beat that recalls "Beautiful Day", in terms of lyric, reminded me much of a song "Marvin", by Titãs. However, in "Marvin" has a different perception of the narrator, since that is a son narrating the advice of the father. "Best Thing" and "Get Out of Your Own Way" are songs that already is in the minds of my two years daughter and of my wife. "Summer Love" is the kind of theme and sound proposal that I always admire that somehow always becomes a strong song. Songs that seek to explore a tense theme combined with a peculiar and/or gentle rhythm of composition are rare. The song has great lines to the survivors of Aleppo. The sequence of the theme with the "Red Flag Day" is thrilling! This SKA punk is giant brilhant! It's capable to break the heart when someone imagine what the song might be accurately referring to, especially in lines like this "I, I can feel your body shaking / I, I will meet you where the waves are breaking". Beacause of this song, I think there is a great risk of abandoning "Blackout", with that incredible apocalyptic and cyberpunk atmosphere, and "Little Things", with that such a personal, sincere approach about a difficult period of existentialism, as my favorites songs of this record. And the rockabilly in "Showman" left me ecstatic. I think it would be the result of some influence of Imelda May. This way of not taking yourself so seriously fit perfectly into rockabilly. The sound energy is youthful, which does justice to this style. Probably some fans of the traditional sound of the band will surprise in a negative way, but I think it's something that has to be taught. This style of music opens many doors of sonority. Elect a favorite music does not work very well on this album, there's no way to define only one song. The album is really consistent. For example, the song "Love is bigger than anything in its way" is particularly epic! I do not know what could be better than this good electronic rock mixed with such sincere lines about the composer's past, it's an inspirational conversation with the alter-ego younger (at least, I think that's what the song is all about), "so young to be the words of your own song / I know the rage in you is strong / Write a world where we can belong / To each other and sing it like no other". I know it's an almost silly reason for satisfaction, but I really enjoyed the presence of eletronic samples in the arrangements. The song "13" makes me wonder how there will be countless people identifying with the lyrics of this album! I imagine that this will be a real and keen quality. In terms of lyric, I loved the song "13", this thought of antithesis of any utopia is a real process into the existential transformation. And that space of paradigm between the present and the incertain future, in the form of advice to someone, is where there's space of an experience overcoming. This is very well demonstrated in the lines, "I know that darkness always gathers around the light" and "I know the world is done / But you do not have to be". And the final construction has one immediate empathy, "This is a song / A song for someone / Someone like me". It will freeze many fan hearts! It's a beautiful album! My favorite so far, not only because is the new one. Bye Achung Baby! It’s interesting to note that there are always those who revere the past. It’s a recurring theme among writers, poets and journalists critical of music. Millôr Fernandes, a brazilian poet, writer and jornalist, once said this: that the past is a future used. I can only think that one who lives only from the past is the museum. For anyone who wants to sum up the hearing and the taste of this new album in just wishing for the cyberpunk atmosphere from Achtung Baby (something I also admire), has one killer song to satisfy the fan ego, "The Blackout." To these opinion makers, I quote here a question from Leonard Cohen: "How can I start something new with all the yesterday that is inside of me?". "Songs of experience" has a new kind of well-doing. The album has this airy sound that combines with such sincere and inspiring lyrics. In a generic appreciation, the sound remembers the proposal of the song "Ordinary Love". And I must add, I really enjoyed the cover of the album and all this planned process of giving dimension to the image during the release of the album. It’s a significant picture from different points of view. Now, I'm looking for dates of the tour in the second half of 2018. Starting in September I'll be able to combine my vacation with my wife's vacation. And I think these dates will be in Europe. See you.
what a f*cking great album.......I love
What a great album is just released today. It gets you just in the heart and mind......and it will never leave it. It's even better than the real thing! This is really lovely to listen to. Every song sounds new and fresh, but is also really U2. By the first sound it takes you on a trip of love and understanding. It sounds as a birdsong that never leaves your mind. It feels warm, beautiful and full of love.... I can't wait till the europian tour starts. These songs must sound great live. Thank you Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry for this perfect album......it will be played with a lot of love....and I will sing it with you...just from the heart. Hope to see you soon in Belgium!!!
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