U2's Songs of Innocence....Five Year Later

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by americanscientist, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. americanscientist

    americanscientist Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Boston, MA
    This article by Steven Hyden on Uproxx forced me to revisit U2's Songs of Innocence five years after its controversial launch:

    It’s Time To Admit We Overreacted About U2 Putting A Free Album On Our Phones

    Apple controversy aside, I think the case can be made that Innocence might be their best album since the experimental Zooropa.

    In fact, I recently spliced Innocence and the lackluster Songs of Experience into 11 songs and it has become my favorite U2 "album" after Achtung Baby

    The Blackout
    Every Breaking Wave
    You're The Best Thing
    Song for Someone
    Raised By Wolves
    Lights of Home
    Red Flag Day
    Sleep Like a Baby
    13 (there is a light)

    Anyone else willing to go to bat for this late career gem?
  2. cdollaz

    cdollaz Forum Resident

    For me, Songs Of Innocence is down there at the bottom of their catalog with Zooropa. On the other hand, I really like Songs Of Experience and consider a turn back in the right direction (save for American Soul, which may be the worst thing they have ever released.
    tug_of_war and DocShipe like this.
  3. Son of Ziggy

    Son of Ziggy Forum Resident

    Still ****e, sorry.
  4. jeffmo789

    jeffmo789 Give The Gift of Music!

    New England
    I prefer it to SOE.

    Shame the way it was released.
    DocShipe, Purple and The MEZ like this.
  5. Squealy

    Squealy Forum Hall Of Fame

    Interesting you think SOI is their best album since Zooropa and SOE is lackluster ... yet your combination of them is almost evenly split between the two.
    MikeVielhaber and I333I like this.
  6. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Overreacted? Ya think? :laugh:

    All I can say is that I love the album and it sparked a major re-booting of interest in U2 in my life. If they hadn't released it freely as they did, I probably would not have listened to it. As it is, I download it and enjoyed it immensely, and I bought both SOI and SOE on LP, and the Paris blu-ray which I watch fairly frequently. And I think that the controversy over it was a complete joke and I still sometimes revisit the relevant threads here when I need a good sardonic laugh.
  7. BryanA-HTX

    BryanA-HTX Crazy Doctor

    Houston, TX
    It still keeps popping up on my iPod from time to time when I connect it. I have to keep deleting it.
    ARK, Odysseus and Solace like this.
  8. hollywoodswag

    hollywoodswag Forum Resident

    Central Florida
    Many songs, as well as the album itself, have grown on me, but it's still near or at the bottom of my U2 album rankins. I feel like it's an album that did a couple of things: it came off as yet another attempt to make a more commercial album to redeem some sort of greater public standing on the heels of an album (No Line on the Horizon) that really didn't get as much love as they were used to getting, much as All That You Can't Leave Behind did on the heels of Pop, and also as a second attempt to be the face of the digital age of music, much as they did with How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Songs of Innocence came off, to me, at least, as an act of desperation for relevance in an industry where the major rock bands were those with established legacies, and the big-name modern bands who even had a hint of rock in them were those who were teetering on the edge of pop vs. guitar-driven rock.

    I tested the waters of U2 in the Atomic Bomb era and didn’t really go all-out on them until just a couple of years ago, but despite the many different styles of their various albums and eras, I felt like they were always themselves, if that makes any sense, up to and including No Line. This album was the first time I didn’t feel I could say it anymore. I have far more fondness for it than I used to have, but I feel like it has a bit of weakness that most of their output didn’t.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
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  9. andrewskyDE

    andrewskyDE Island Owner

    New Zack Island
    A few weeks before the 'automatic album download' debacle happened I downloaded it myself on iTunes, as it was free even then.
    Five years later and I still didn't listen to it yet.^^
    tug_of_war, Hammerpeg and Odysseus like this.
  10. americanscientist

    americanscientist Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Boston, MA
    I had written U2 off as entering the dinosaur/Steel Wheels era of their career back around Atomic Bomb. But revisiting Innocence was a pleasant surprise. It is far from perfect, which is I why sprinkled in the stronger cuts from Experience. With regards to Zooropa, I miss 90s experimental U2. Zooropa and Pop were also far from perfect, but they were never boring.
  11. davebush

    davebush New Test Leper

    St. Catharines, ON
    The reaction to the giveaway release was completely absurd. A free album shows up in your free software - and people are OUTRAGED. This kind of entitled attitude has seeped into our culture way too much.
  12. Panama Jack

    Panama Jack Forum Resident

    SLC, UT
    I still love this album and listen to it all the time!!
    impalaboy, acetboy, The MEZ and 7 others like this.
  13. Dave513

    Dave513 Forum Resident

    Cincinnati, Ohio
    SOI and SOE aren't terrible, but they are definitely my least two favorite U2 records. I never listen to them and don't even put some of the better songs in playlists.
    Dudley Morris likes this.
  14. DavidD

    DavidD Forum Resident

    Immediately recognizable as U2! If you're an old time fan from the early 1980s, you'll like appreciate hearing they are still a terrific sounding band.
    acetboy, danielbravo, D.B. and 4 others like this.
  15. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    Good record.
  16. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover

    I think it’s a great album and since I’m a U2 fan I was very happy to receive it as a gift in my iTunes.
  17. Panther

    Panther Forum Resident

    Tokyo, Japan
    As I've never owned an Apple product in my life, U2's album showing up on i-Phones didn't affect me one way or the other (I also live in Japan, where people don't overreact to such things). I did listen to Songs of Innocence a few weeks after it came out, and I thought it was pretty good. Like the OP, I also revisited it recently and found it was a really strong record.

    I do find that the U2 maniacal fans (usually that became fans in the internet era) hate this album with a passion, for reasons I can't fathom.

    I'd been listening to U2 since 1987 (I was 11 then), as the first thing that struck me about Songs of Innocence was that the production & mixing was finally good again. The only U2 album I truly dislike is 2009's abysmal No Line On The Horizon, which features so-so Eno/Lanois production, but horrible mixing, horribly recorded vocals, and terrible songs. I started to think I would never hear Bono sounding good and not over-singing on every track again, but I slept easier after Songs of Innocence, which in fact has very strong and well-recorded vocals, very little over-singing, and clean & sharp production.

    "Cedarwood Road" isn't my favorite tune, but each of the other 10 tracks is quite strong. "Every Breaking Wave" (in this studio form, only) is one of U2's very greatest tracks, ever.

    There are a few problems, like invoking "Joey Ramone" by name on the opening track, which was a bit desperate, along with the "Oh-oh-oh's" draped all over the track (the one bit of over-singing on this album, but at least it's not Bono's lead). The song is a bit too obviously targeting a hit single (it failed). I also could live without the frankly weird sleeve photo on the CD release, which looks like a high-class DVD cover to a gay-porn film. The i-Tunes release "sleeve" was a lot cooler and reflected the "back-to-the-70s" vibe of the songs better:

    A few desperate-for-hit-status moments aside, basically Songs of Innocence is a lean & mean U2 record that is WAY better than any band that's been around (and been as successful) as long as them should realistically be expected to make.
    mikedifr0923, serj, obi and 8 others like this.
  18. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    Songs of Innocence is the best U2 album they released so far in the 21st century in my opinion
    serj, danielbravo, YMC4 and 10 others like this.
  19. aravel

    aravel starchitect...then, father!

    GDL - MEX
    :::...When I listen to this Album, I pick the CD 2, with the acoustic versions of the album, and a couple of remixes...this one wasn't free and IMO it has the real album that the band had in mind, less polish, more raw guitars, alternative lyrics and Bono's voice more revealing...nevertheless, those who were in some kind affected by the iPhone-iTunes affair, are not gonna listen or evaluate the album even with the best recommendations...

    Sleep Like A Baby Tonight
    Sleep Like A Baby Tonight - (Alternative Perspective Mix By Tchad Blake)

    Best Songs Of The Album CD1 and CD2 ...check the lyrics, same song, different point of view...
    Also It has an extraordinary video that was offered on pre-sale at iTunes...sadly, is not on youTube.

    Mr.Sean and somebodywhocares like this.
  20. Retro Hound

    Retro Hound Forum Resident

    Pittsburg, KS
    I really like SOI a lot. SOE I found to be a disappointment after such a good album.
    lordfalconer, serj, The MEZ and 3 others like this.
  21. aussievinyl

    aussievinyl Appreciator Of Creative Expression

    It was nice to get it free and I love a couple of songs on it, like ‘Every Breaking Wave’ and ‘Iris’. I bought it when it was on sale and will listen again. Not every band gets better with age, however they’ve been going a while.

    My standards aren’t the same as others, it seems. I’m glad it’s the same four people after all this time. I celebrate that when I listen to any of their later albums.
    Twilight likes this.
  22. I don't like the main album at all although I quite liked the acoustic versions or demos or whatever they were that came on Disc 2 in the 2 CD version.
  23. americanscientist

    americanscientist Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Boston, MA
    100%. And Every Breaking Wave might be their best song of this century as well.
    Lewisboogie, serj, Mr.Sean and 5 others like this.
  24. johnnyb1964

    johnnyb1964 Treats please!

    Eugene, Oregon
    Me too!
    BryanA-HTX likes this.
  25. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group

    First World Problems to the Max.

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