close button

U2: Songs of Innocence - review

Sep 17, 2014 Music

U2-Songs-Of-Innocence1-608x608It’s a salutary lesson: that you’re never more liked than you are hated. U2 may indeed be (still) one of the biggest arena bands, but if you let Apple automatically attach your latest album to everyone’s iTunes library, you’ll be condemned and ridiculed. Even when it’s free.

Perhaps the vehemence is simply misdirected Apple hatred. After all, it’s a technology organisation whose products might rock, but which behaves more like the church of Scientology crossed with a totalitarian regime. Or perhaps the less than ardent reaction marks a genuine sea change in audience tastes, away from messianic arena rockers like U2 to a less pretentious pop mode.

Songs of Innocence is an album that doesn’t even try for the cinematic scope of a Joshua Tree, let alone the adventure of Achtung Baby. Going for the mainstream jugular, it’s a pallid set of songs that, when it’s not being overtly nostalgic or reflective like “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)”, is happy to rely on simple love songs like “Iris (Hold Me Close)”.

Having been stung by comparatively paltry sales of their last album, No Line on the Horizon (2009), it feels like the group has struggled to find a reason to exist. The result is a collection that, in harnessing the skills of go-to producer Dangermouse, recognises that the ordinary needed a surgical saviour. Sadly, reanimation, let alone the second coming, failed to transpire.


Latest issue shadow

Metro N°440 is out now!

With progressive councillors starting to score some wins under what was anticipated to be a reactionary major, Hayden Donnell asks: Has Wayne Brown gone woke?
Plus: we go out and investigate Auckland’s nightlife (or in some cases, the lack thereof), with best bars (with thanks to Campari); going-out diaries from Chlöe Swarbrick, BBYFACEKILLA.mp3, Poppa.Jax & more; a look into Auckland’s drugs by Don Roew (who’s holding and how much they paid for it); we go on the campaign trail with Willie Jackson, talk to gallerist Michael Lett, drink martinis and alternative wines, start seeing a therapist, visit Imogen Taylor’s studio, look into Takutai Tarsh Kemp’s wardrobe. And more!

Buy the latest issue