Original image found at Stereogum
I’ve been a long time fan of U2 and their music. Just about all of their albums have been great… yes, even “Zooropa” and “Pop” were ones I enjoyed. That changed with 2009’s “No Line On The Horizon”. Something was different and I just wasn’t all that fond of the album. So pretty much for the last 9 years, there’s not been any new music from U2 that I’ve liked. Until now.
On September 9th, U2 released their new album “Songs Of Innocence” to the world [literally] and I’ve had a chance to give it a few spins.
- “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)”
- “Every Breaking Wave”
- “California (There Is No End to Love)”
- “Song for Someone”
- “Iris (Hold Me Close)”
- “Raised by Wolves”
- “Cedarwood Road”
- “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight”
- “This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now”
- “The Troubles”
A Nice Return
The 11 new songs are a nice return to their sound from 2005’s “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” which was an album I liked a lot. It was a good mix of guitar, bass, drums and vocals that had some upbeat songs and some mellow songs. This new release is a good mix of the same. Upbeat songs like “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)”, “Iris (Hold Me Close)”, “Volcano” and “Raised By Wolves” provide some great strums and wails, mixed with the more mellow side of the album with tracks such as “Every Breaking Wave”, “Song for Someone” and “The Troubles”. The production is a good set of well-written songs that flow rather well into each other.
If I had to pick any weak musical moments, it’s “This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now” which is ok, but just kind of hangs low in the excitement department. The more I listen to it, the more I tend to skip it and let the album finish on a mellow note. The strong opening song that praises the brilliance of Joey Ramone and his band is one I haven’t tired of yet, which can happen with a lead hit song. Overall, I really do like this album and it’s grown on me in the 8 times I’ve played it since it’s release.
But it appears that I might be a minority in the liking of this album, given the amount of backlash generated since this album was distributed to every single iTunes customer. You see, the album dropped on the same day Apple announced new iPhones, an Apple Watch and Apple Pay. U2 performed the first track live then went into an awkward marketing spiel with Tim Cook in an effort to tell the world they just got the new U2 album for free – just for having an iTunes account.
Within a day or two, the internet forums filled with hate and disgust for Apple violating their digital music library with a horrible album. And how they would just dump an album to their iDevices without their explicit permission. As it turns out, some users do have the Automatic Downloads option enabled, which means any iTunes song they buy – or get for free – gets downloaded locally to their iPhones and iPads. Apparently this is a bad thing for some, which if you factor in bandwidth and limited storage, would be a legitimate concern. But enough to create an outrage of proportionate loudness? I question that.
U2 Be Gone
Apple listened to those that bitched and created a page, where upset iTunes users could remove the new U2 album that they didn’t want. Wow. Imagine using that kind of power to get a triple-digit billion dollar company to make a change for a fraction of their users and applying that kind of outrage on smaller to larger scales in areas that need change. But I digress. This is tech hate at it’s finest.
For me and others that are fans of this new release, we say to Apple and U2 “Thank you for the free music.”