When you’ve had as long a career as U2 has had and have reached the insane heights they have how do you remain relevant yet still push forward your craft in meaningful ways? I assume these are questions that haunt U2 and weigh heavily on their creative decisions. They tried to be different and relevant on their last album, but failed massively in execution wise and left a sour taste in many people’s mouths and it didn’t even have anything to do with their music. Because despite all the jokes and meme-worthy moments they may conjure now, they still are one of the most prolific rock bands to ever do it. In terms of staying musically relevant, they’ve clearly had their ears to the ‘streets’ and have found inspiration from a number of different sources – even tapping the likes of Haim and Kendrick Lamar. The fact that they were able to lean on all of these influences without it sounding contrived is maybe Songs of Experience’s greatest accomplishment. And as someone who’s not a die hard U2 fan, I thoroughly enjoyed their modern sound – it felt relevant yet still very much true to who U2 are. Sure rock may not be the vanguard it once was but that still doesn’t stop them from including the obligatory ‘woke’, political/social commentary. Although not as in your face as I half expected it to be. After past missteps, Songs of Experience feels like a true return to form for the legendary band and a worthy (and voluntary) addition to my music library.
“And if the terrors of the night
Come creeping into your days
And the world comes stealing children from your room
Guard your innocence from hallucination
And know that darkness always gathers around the light”
Have you heard Songs of Experience? What’d you think about it? Did you like their more modern influences? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions to the album.
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