REVIEW: Songs of Experience by U2

Love or hate U2 and their music, they do something that people are always talking about and to find the longevity they have had and still have in the music world isn’t magic or luck, it’s the know how and the fearlessness in trying something new and sometimes sticking to something old. As a long time U2 fan, there are albums that are instant timeless classics and then there are those that are good but are only listened to when the mood strikes.

As for SONGS OF EXPERIENCE, it falls into instant timeless classics. 12 of the 13 songs on this album could be singles because they are just that damn good.

The Edge is wonderful on this album as always. He has a sound that is all his own and it is core to U2’s sound just as Bono’s voice and the lyrics to their songs, but for me, this album is also one of the best albums that showcases Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr’s spectacular bass and drumming prowess. Probably two of the most underrated musicians in my lifetime, this bass drum duo is what makes the U2 sound infectious to the soul.

The best way to listen to this album is throw your headphones on and get lost in the music for a while. Trust me, it’s a wonderful distraction to the world that’s out there right now.

“Love Is All We Have Left”
It is the least memorable song on the album. What makes it so forgettable is the autotune. It takes away from the song. It’s my least favorite song on the album.

“Lights of Home”
Maybe it’s the choir but there’s a little feeling of religion in this song. Maybe not one of God, Buddha, or Allah but one of faith, hope and love.

“You’re the Best Thing About Me”
The first single from SONGS OF EXPERIENCE and the musicianship of Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr is what makes this song shine.

“Get Out of Your Own Way”
My favorite track off all the album for three reasons.
1 – classic U2 anthem in the same vein as “Beautiful Day”
2 – the drum and bass in the song
3 – these lyrics: “I could sing it to you all night, all night. If I could, I’d make it alright, alright. Nothing’s stopping you except what’s inside. I can help you, but it’s your fight, your fight.”
My only negative is I wish they had moved the spoken word completely into “American Soul” or made it a track on its own.

“American Soul”
Well, Bono says it best in these lyrics “…to me a sound of drum and bass…” and boy is the drum and bass in this song amazing. I grew up in the South and my grandparents lived across from an African American church and the drum and bass in this song is the feeling of the the hymns that filled my soul with a little bit of faith.

“Summer of Love”
What is great about U2 is that even when a song sounds “simple” it is never as simple as a guitar, bass, drum, and vocals together. Each contributor to the song has an intricate roll in the sound of the song. This song may sound like a simple ode to summer love, but it is far from simple. It’s more of a complex ode to summer love and it’s a beautiful ode to it.

“Red Flag Day”
Upon first hearing this song, I wanted to jump on a surfboard and hang ten on the highest waves. It harkens back to the music of surf films from the 60’s. Of course, U2 effortlessly brings that sound perfectly into the now.

“The Showman (Little More Better)”
Why is this the best song on the album? It showcases the perfected sound that is U2. It is a perfect mix of The Edge’s guitar work, Adam’s bass playing, Larry’s drumming and Bono’s vocals. Mix those four parts with catchy lyrics and toe-tapping music and you have one infectious song that you will find yourself singing all day.

“The Little Things That Give You Away”
This beautiful ballad gives us signature The Edge. There’s a sound only he can get from a guitar and you hear it echo throughout in this song. It’s an instant classic sound like that of “Where The Streets Have No Name”.

There’s something haunting about this song. Be it the lyrics, Bono’s vocals, or the hush tones of the music, this song tugs at the heart strings.

“The Blackout”
Like “The Showman” this song is another perfected sound that is U2 circa “Mysterious Ways” era. Just like its predecessor, it too is catchy and infectious and if you’re not in love with Adam and Larry’s amazingness at this point, I don’t know what I can say to convince you.

“Love is Bigger than Anything in its Way”
This song is anthem-esque like “Walk On” from the ALL THAT YOU CAN’T LEAVE BEHIND album and it’s message is very needed in 2017.

“13 (There is a Light)”
This song is for every soul who is battling or has battled darkness. I wish I had this song when I was 13 or even when I battled depression in my early 20’s. It is a song of hope and it’s beautiful.

Best Song: “The Showman (Little More Better)”
Writer’s Favorite Song: “Get Out of Your Own Way”
Song You Should Play on Repeat: “The Blackout”
Song You Can Skip: “Love is All We Have Left”

Listen to SONGS OF EXPERIENCE at Spotify
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