U2’s Songs of Experience proves their last album was not a brilliant one-off [Review]

U2’s Songs of Experience proves their last album was not a brilliant one-off [Review]

U2 prove once again they’re deserving of their status as one of the biggest rock bands of all time with their latest album

World-dominating rock band U2 faced backlash for making 2014’s Songs Of Innocence automatically download on all Apple devices. Aside from this disastrous PR stunt, the record saw the Irish four-piece deliver their most cohesive and exciting songs in a long time. This month sees its counterpart release Songs of Experience.

Like before, U2 take a stripped-back approach, with simple rock songs and no extra frills. Lights of Home captures this with gritty, metallic guitars from The Edge, as Bono delivers the anthemic chorus over a stomping beat – reminiscent of their optimistic 90s era. You’re The Best Thing About Me is similar in approach, but reverts to The Edge’s signature shimmering, delayed guitars.


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U2 also break new ground, while continuing to give big choruses throughout: American Soul is a classic protest song with all the fuzz of The Black Keys, and the fun, wide-eyed The Showman is pure 60s rock’n’roll, as Bono cries “You looks so good!” providing one of the strongest hooks on the album.

Summer of Love has a slight Latin-inspired rhythm, while Love Is All We Have Left, Get Out of Your Own Way and 13 all have a sparse, reflective tone. Landlady proves another strong moment with some of Bono’s most heartfelt lyrics, “Every sweet confusion, every grand illusion, I will win and call it losing, if the prize is not for you.”

Songs of Experience is a solid album. It proves their last one wasn’t a one-off, and the band sound their most consistent and exciting since The Joshua Tree.

Edited by Ginny Wong

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