U2’s Songs of Innocence Experienced

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 92% (17 Votes)

Martin Kennedy summed up the experience of listening to U2’s Songs of Innocence best when he tweeted, “the new U2 album is growing on me.”  And it does grow on you with repeated listening.  Songs of Innocence is right up there with some of the best U2 albums, which is saying a lot given its company. It begins, fittingly, with a lovely tribute to Joey Ramone, complete with that full-treble raunchy guitar.  It’s hard to tell with most of their albums, but U2 was a punkish New-Wave band when they started out.  They owed a lot to the newer sounds of the 70s. Their tribute to Joey Ramone is a good one, though it does not set the tone for Songs of Innocence.

The Shadow of The Joshua Tree

This is one of those albums that proves the premise of our meagre site: to review new material by bands that have been around for twenty years or more—or bands that have that sound—and compare the new album to one of their old ones.  In this instance the new album has become, through obsessive listening, one of my favourites.  It’s a brilliant album, one of U2’s best ever, and it’s 2014. Who’d have guessed they could pull that off? Well, those who’ve known them for a while.  Don’t snub it just because it’s new.

A Full Five Stars

The last five songs on the album are some of their best tracks ever, “Raised by Wolves” being one of their top five songs, easily.  “Cedarwood Road,” “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight,” “This is Where You Can Reach Me Now,” and “The Troubles” all have that haunting sound first truly recognizable on The Joshua Tree  back in 1987—sprinkeled all over with Zooropa and All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and better than both of the last mentioned.

It’s early days, but this is clearly one of the most underestimated albums for some time.  There’s a Pet Sounds tribute in “California (There Is No End to Love)” and, the other parentheses song, “Iris (Hold Me Close)” is one of those classic U2 songs that shows what they owe to the Beach Boys, those harmonies and rhythms.  Seeking out a weak tune, a lagging one to pounce on behind the heard, I guess you would choose “Volcano” and its double entendre—which must be intended. Otherwise this is a brilliant and meticulously produced album, so much so that it would be brilliant to hear it performed at the Cork Opera House the way they jammed up their repertoire back in 1979.

This is their best album since The Joshua Tree and it’s wonderful to hear them again, though in something of a nostalgic mood. Still brilliant.

http://www.u2.com/

AH

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