Though the Irish rock band U2 has been around since 1976, their popularity among American teenagers is questionable.
The group consists of 4 members: Bono, the lead vocalist, the Edge, the lead guitarist, Adam Clayton with the bass guitar and Larry Mullen Jr. on drums and percussion. Originally, U2 started in post-punk, and though their musical style has since evolved into alternative rock, it still has its focus on Bono’s expressive vocals and Edge’s guitar textures.
The group’s most popular album was “The Joshua Tree” in 1987, which brought the band into international recognition.
After making a misguided decision to put their least successful album “Songs of Innocence” on every iTunes of the world in 2014, the band had lost most of their fame. But on Dec. 1, U2 came back with their new album “Songs of Experience,” a companion to “Songs of Innocence.”
According to The New York Times, “Bono has described ‘Songs of Experience’ as a collection of letters to family, fans and America: messages and advisories from a globally minded public figure.”
Though the album discusses and handles mature topics, including suicide, depression and death, it has its flaws.
Though Bono tried to prove that his 30-year-old band was still capable of releasing life-changing tracks, he unfortunately couldn’t make “Songs of Experience” as good as many hoped.
Just looking at the tracklist, most U2 fans will be disappointed. The song titles are a weird and awkward mix. Some of the song titles are unusually long like “The Little Things That Give You Away,” “You’re The Best Thing About,” “Love Is All We Have Left,” while others like “13” or “Ordinary Love” just seem to be off.
Their latest single “Get Out Of Your Own Way” featuring Kendrick Lamar was released earlier this year as a preview for the album. The song is forgettable and easily tuned out. Lamar’s small addition in the end feels like U2 made an unsuccessful attempt to make their album “hip.”
“The Blackout,” another preview released in August, has a fast beat and strong sounds. But the bland voice of Bono and the song’s repetitive lyrics don’t do any good for the album. The song also raises some political issues when Bono sings: “Statues fall/Democracy’s flat on its back, Jack.”
Unlike “The Blackout” or “Get Out Of Your Own Way,” the song “Love Is Bigger Than Anything Than Anything In Its Way” is not about mid-life crises or complex matters. This slow-pace song is about loving someone even at their worst. While it might be a good tune for some “star-crossed lovers,” it’s an awkward fit in the overall topic of “Songs of Experience.”
While some tracks in the album are about death and depression, others like “Landlady,” “Summer of Love” and “Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way” are full of cliches and carefree tunes.
If U2 is trying to gain back lost popularity through collaborations with more currently famous artists, such as Kygo, Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar, it’s not working.
Though “Songs of Experience” reflect all of the experience that U2 has collected since 1976, the weak voices and repetitive lyrics ultimately fail the album.