Last week U2 hinted at new album Songs of Experience with a sneak-peek of what to expect. Now, we have the first single, and it doesn’t give much joy to those of us hoping for a U2 resurgence.
‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’ recalls the very worst of the MOR fog that hung over the band’s more recent output, particularly in the mid-00s. Where once U2 were a band with amazing vision, a laser-like precision in writing, here they resort to the blandest and most generic sentiments.
Bono’s lyrics are lacklustre in the extreme, with bland imagery that entirely fails to provoke, and will bounce ineffectively off the carapace of most listeners.
It’s again made very obvious how much of the band’s success lies with the imagination and skill of the Edge. His guitar is such an integral part of their sound and here he operates as little more than a sideshow, with a repetitive and dulled riff.
It gives me no pleasure to say that U2 show no signs of reclaiming the huge cultural status they once held. When as recently as 2013 U2 were releasing songs as fresh and evocative as ‘Invincible’ or ‘Ordinary Love’, here they appear a shadow of their former selves.
On ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’ U2 sound like The Temper Trap playing off-colour.
See also: U2 Release ‘The Blackout’