U2: Songs of Experience (Interscope/Island) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Songs of Experience


Dec 05, 2017 U2 Bookmark and Share

There’s not much new musical ground U2 can break and not much new that can be written about one of the most well-known and popular rock bands in history. The band of four has had their ups and downs over a sometimes turbulent career spanning the better part of four decades now. While pushing their distinctive rocking style across genre boundaries and logging a slew of top hits and albums along the way, they certainly have nothing left to prove. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying.

On the surface, Songs of Experience sees U2 striving to remain relevant by employing tricks of the trade popular in today’s music. Whether it’s the use of auto-tune on the soft and gentle opener “Love Is All We Have Left,” the crowd-choir chorus on “Lights of Home,” or the guest appearance of uber-rapper Kendrick Lamar on “Get Out of Your Own Way” and rocker “American Soul,” it all seems like a ploy invoked to keep the music afloat and draw attention.

But truth be told, underneath the gimmicks lurks an upbeat and catchy pop record. It’s no secret Bono, The Edge, and Co. are skilled musicians, but also great songwriters. And this is what makes Songs of Experience such a fun album. It seems the band’s focus was not on impressing their fan base with a new musical direction or a pretentious trendy genre, but rather on entertaining them with a rollicking pop-rock record. Similar to Coldplay, Songs of Experience shows U2 have a knack for mixing grand melodies and stirring choruses that appeal to a wide audience. “Lights of Home” and “Red Flag Day” are fine examples.

Over the years while their sound evolved and morphed and the band reinvented themselves a few times over, the glue that held it all together was the rock solid rhythm section, razor sharp guitars and of course Bono’s rock star voice. They proved they could write and play any style or genre well. But on Songs of Experience U2 ignore their past and instead saunter ahead with hooking melodies and sing-along choruses. (www.u2.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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