Songs of Innocence may have been a disaster for U2, a cultural, critical and commercial failure, but it seems they’ve rediscovered their mojo.
New taster ‘The Blackout’ is a return to the insanely tight, groove based rock that U2 once did so well. Sonically it harkens back to the unfairly slighted experimental album Pop, and sets a dark tone entirely at odds with the triumphantly commercial sound of recent albums. It also has a far more contemporary feel than the mid-00s bland sound of their prior album. They’ve even jumped on the slashed ‘O’ (Ø) bandwagon which the kids are so into.
Songs of Experience may just restore U2’s position as most exciting rock band on the planet, if they can avoid the sort of drippy bullshit that pervaded Songs of Innocence.
The lead single ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’ will ultimately put paid to that; it sounds like a foray into balladry based on title alone. Of the few songs to impress on SofI, the ballad ‘Song For Someone’ was by far the best, so it may make more sense to launch with softer material.
In any event, it’s good to be excited about a U2 project again. Haters be damned, they’ve written some of the greatest and most evocative music of the last thirty years. Time to get reacquainted.