There's no cure for U2's Songs of Innocence

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      Songs of Innocence (Island)

      The album may be called Songs of Innocence, a title borrowed without permission from William Blake, but it might as well be Signs of Desperation.

      U2’s album sales have tanked postmillennium, down from 4.4 million for 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind to 3.3 million for 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb to a mere 1.1 million for 2009’s No Line on the Horizon.

      Taking a cue from Beyoncé’s viral album launch, Jay Z’s Samsung tie-in, and that time KISS “shipped” five million copies of their solo albums on the same day, U2 lined up a deal with Apple to dump 500 million copies of their new album into everyone’s library.

      Terrible idea, right? Nope. It worked. That’s the only reason I’m writing about this dollop of Irish mayonnaise. Plus, aside from the cool $US100 million that the band made in advance from Apple, which is way easier than creating a good album and selling it to people who want to buy it, the release reminded their fans of how good U2 used to be, with those fans subsequently throwing money at their back catalogue.

      It doesn’t matter that so many people complained about the unwanted album that Apple had to create a tool to delete it from your library. Or that any critic with half a soul can hear that this album sounds like Danger Mouse squeezed it out of a tube like Coldplay-brand toothpaste, an impression exacerbated by references to artists like Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone, the lazy fade at the end of “The Troubles,” the utter lack of Edge edginess outside of “Cedarwood Road”, and Bono’s vapid vocals, which consistently wank in such a hokey and sentimental way that they could make a Hallmark card blush (“Free yourself, to be yourself,” “You are rock ’n’ roll,” or that brutal falsetto in the last verse of “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight”).

      All those scathing reviews haven’t taken Nickelback down, and neither will this spam fiasco sink the lame ship U2, as it sails the middling seas of maximum accessibility toward future Super Bowl ads. They achieved their goal long ago. They are a virus, and there is no cure.




      Sep 24, 2014 at 1:31pm

      Nope. This is a good album. It's cool to hate U2 right now and virtually impossibly for the media to listen to it without a preconceived idea of how they are going to feel about it. Kanye West can repeatedly release unlistenable, tone-deaf garbage and get stellar reviews, but give it 15 years and see how the media reacts to him. Reviews like the one above are lazy and biased.


      Sep 24, 2014 at 1:57pm

      See the thing is, it's actually an excellent album, well up there with U2s very best. The problem is with reviewers like this wonderfully eloquent mouthpiece of hatred who have decided that U2 have no place in their oh so "cool" world... There are many millions around the world who are listening and enjoying Songs of Innocence right now, not concerned if it's "cool" to do so or not.


      Sep 24, 2014 at 2:10pm

      It is really sad when a critic jumps on the bandwagon like this instead of giving the album an honest review. He wanted to trash U2, aince it is popular to do so right now. Many of the more thoughtful and extensive reviews of the album has been pretty positive. It's not a masterpiece, but it's a pretty good album.


      Sep 24, 2014 at 2:13pm

      How are they supposed to ask William Blake for permission to use the title, genius? Hold a seance? This whole piece is uninformed and overly biased from the opening sentence.


      Sep 24, 2014 at 2:55pm

      The cure is simple: If you don't like the album don't listen to it. I'm not that impressed with this album but I do enjoy some of U2's older music. And they probably have new goals now.


      Sep 24, 2014 at 2:57pm

      Tyler, Kanye gets rave reviews because he makes art. Sometimes art is challenging, unlike this U2 pablum. Worse still, they attempt to cash in on the cred of dead men who can't defend themselves against this crap (RIP Joey, glad he didn't live to see this). This is music for people who think The Olive Garden is Italian food, Tim Burton makes edgy movies and Two and a Half Men is hilarious. Cheap, mass-produced garbage. Fuck these pricks forever.


      Sep 24, 2014 at 3:02pm

      achtung baby got thrashed when realesed,no singles on this album from one critic.Most of the recent records are still very good with some cracking songs,this new record in years to come will be up there with their best work and thats something to still have that in the bag after 35 years of recording


      Sep 24, 2014 at 3:42pm

      MK - "RIP Joey, glad he didn't live to see this". Joey Ramone passed away while listening to U2. But you think you know what he would be into? And "fuck these pricks forever" . . . geez, man . . . you sound angry.


      Sep 24, 2014 at 3:59pm

      Fuck. Another shit reviewer. Seriously, a shame you cannot appreciate this album. It is one of the best put out this year. Next time review the album instead of trying to cash in on the hipster hate for U2 getting yourself some street cred. Sleep like a baby tonight is my favorite song on the album falsetto and all. You could pull select lyrics from any of great album in history and make it read like a bad hallmark card in print. It's all right if you don't like U2 but if you are interested in this album I suggest you listen to a couple of interviews and hear what the songs are about. Why Bono chose to use songs of innocence and songs of experience(next album) as titles. I think this is their strongest album since Pop which was also underrated.


      Sep 24, 2014 at 4:05pm

      Are you done, Alan "Rant"a? How about you actually review the album, being that this appears in the "music" section of this site? Way to jump on the bandwagon of U2-haters bashing the band in articles instead of writing a comprehensive review about the music. Trendy hipster? Yes. Insightful writing? No.