Songs of Experience (2018)

1. Love is All We Have Left 2. Lights of Home 3. You're the Best Thing About Me 4. Get Out of Your Own Way 5. American Soul 6. Summer of Love 7. Red Flag Day 8. The Showman (Little More Better) 9. The Little Things That Give You Away 10.Landlady 11.The Blackout 12.Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way 13.13 (There is a Light) 14.Ordinary Love (Extraordinary Mix) 15.Book of Your Heart


A sort of companion piece to the band's last release Songs of Innocence. For better or worse, this album suffers the same fate as its predecessor - it's marred by lackluster production on an overly set of very strong songs. Once again, this record sounds like the band is simply going through the motions. They definitely deserve the title of being one of the best bands of all time, and with this album, it feels as if they know that, so therefore they feel as though they shouldn't take any chances nor be daring in any way.

As legendary as they are, they sadly proved they weren't exactly hip with younger audiences anymore when they botched the promotion with Apple and users automatically found the entire Songs of Innocence downloaded onto their itunes - whether they wanted it or not. Smartly, this release was much more low key. Although the band claimed they had already had the album ready to go more than a year prior to release, they claimed that "changing times" forced them to go back and change some songs while adding and deleting others. In retrospect, this seems a bit silly. Nothing on this album is earth shattering, nor feels heavily politically handed. So again, you almost have to wonder if the band is taking themselves a tad too seriously and giving themselves a bit more credit that they deserve now that the guys are well into their 50s.

It mus be reiterrated, though, that these are all good songs. The feeling, though, is that they could, and probably should, be a whole lot better had more care gone into the production. Looking at the tracklist of the 15 songs, I still can't even remember what a few songs sound like after I've listened to this thing many times. Things on the record just seem to blend where they shouldn't. I still can't get over how similar the songs Summer of Love and Red Flag Day sound. It simply sounds as though the tempo has slightly shifted. Perhaps this is why these two songs are back-to-back on the record? I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It seems as though they should have simply left one of these off completely. I also can't tell any difference between 13 (There is a Light) and Song for Someone from the last release Songs of Innocence. It's like they deliberately made a replica for some strange reason.

Well, if we were to be honest, there were plenty of fans that balked when these guys became some experimental in the 1990s. I can't help but think, though, that they should have taken the approach when they followed The Joshua Tree with Achtung Baby!. It seems like they badly need to shake things up in order to still be relevant, interesting, and yet still keep the magnificent brand of U2 alive and well.

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