U2 “Songs Of Innocence” LP September 9, 2014
It’s a game of one upmanship. It started with Radiohead allowing listeners to name their price to Beyonce announcing on Instagram the release of her new album to Tom Petty giving away his album with each concert ticket purchase and now U2 just giving their music to everyone that owns a computer.
I was actually quite excited when I heard the album I’ve been reading about for the past year which apparently had no new release date in site.
I think U2 named this album “Songs Of Innocence” because they’re not sure what they’re entering into by just releasing music this way. Because it’s free will it be consumed once and forgotten immediately? Will this make streaming the accepted way to listen to music and finally bury the CD? I’m sure there’s some truth to both questions.
In case you wanted to pay for the music, there will alternate ways to consume this album. The official release date is October 13. The physical release of Songs of Innocence comes with a 24-page booklet. A deluxe, gatefold double album, contains an acoustic session of songs from the album and four additional tracks: Lucifer’s Hands, The Crystal Ballroom, The Troubles (Alternative version) and Sleep Like a Baby Tonight (Alternative Perspective Mix by Tchad Blake)
The album will also be available as a gatefold, double white-vinyl LP with an exclusive remix of “The Crystal Ballroom”.
Bono has already hinted that “Song of Experience” is on the way
And of course this is all hype for their upcoming concerts in 2015. I imagine tickets will go on sale very soon with the band holding hands with Apple and Beats Music.
But is the album any good? “Songs Of Innocence” is just that. They are songs about their musical influences, first loves and first time experiences. It might win some fans who have not heard U2 before but I don’t think it’s going to win back any fans that might have fallen by the wayside since the days of Actung Baby and Zooropa when they were experimenting and reinventing the sound of the band. It might seem plausible that since they were reaching out to a billion people this free music sampler that they would make the most traditional sounding U2 record possible. This is unfortunate news for those that still hold on hope they will re-invent themselves again like all great artists need to do. In the meantime I’ll hold on hope that “Song Of Experience” will be their call to arms.
Although not my favorite, the album is free so what have you got to lose? With my first listen, “Song For Someone” is now my current favorite. It’s a plaintive ballad about first love. It starts acoustically and then kicks in with a trademark solo from The Edge.
Larry Mulliins Jr., Adam Clayton, Bono & The Edge from U2 2014