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Old 12-27-2018, 08:15 PM   #1
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Songs of Experience - 1 Year Later

After one year with this album, I am enjoying and appreciating it more than ever! A great sign for an excellent album's staying power. I tried to make my favorite track list keeping as true as possible to the band's theme and track listing. It took some alternate mixes to take this album to the next level for me.


Fore example, Get Out (Womankind Mix) is leaps and bounds above the album cut. If you are not a fan of this song, I believe this version will at least allow you to tolerate the song. This version removes Kendrick's sermon and the first 25 seconds of the song, which show the band trying to hard to make a "pop" song. This mix makes the song just 3 minutes long and truly accentuates the better elements of the song.


I never totally took to Summer of Love, except for the excellent lyrics. The Egan Driftaway mix elevates the song to new heights with its strings and spare yet prominent piano part. The song and Bono's vocal have room to breathe and make the song's weighty subject matter resonate more deeply.


I also made a homemade mix of the worst song on the album, American Soul, removing Kendrick and starting the song with the big guitar riff. This makes the song just 4 minutes long for those of you who cannot wait until it's over. This song can easily be replaced by Book of Your Heart or simply eliminated.


My new track list is the following:


1. Love is All We Have Left
2. Lights of Home (Strings Version)
3. Best Thing
4. Get Out (Womankind Mix)
5. American Soul (Lamarless Mix)
6. Summer of Love (Driftaway Mix)
7. Red Flag Day
8. The Showman
9. Little Things
10. Landlady
11. Book of Your Heart
12. The Blackout
13. Love is Bigger
14. 13
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:32 PM   #2
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One year later, I’m still a pretty big fan. Lights of Home is the track that has probably aged the worst for me. I actually don’t mind American Soul anymore, as long as I don’t think about it too hard.

I actually heard “best thing” in a restaurant today at lunch, and heard “love is bigger” while getting a haircut last week. Makes me feel like some of the tracks broke through a little bit, which is about the best we can ask for these days.
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:46 PM   #3
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I also made a homemade mix of the worst song on the album, American Soul, removing Kendrick and starting the song with the big guitar riff. This makes the song just 4 minutes long for those of you who cannot wait until it's over.
It will be even more improved if you can take out the clunky "You are Rock n'Roll" mantra.

I thought it worked great in Volcano (not many cared for this tune but I liked it), but it's as flat as it gets in AS.

I actually hate all the recycled lines on SOE carried over from SOI.

Though for 13 who cares? It's a boring dud anyway.
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Old 12-27-2018, 09:02 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=Mac_Fly;8288878]It will be even more improved if you can take out the clunky "You are Rock n'Roll" mantra.

I thought it worked great in Volcano (not many cared for this tune but I liked it), but it's as flat as it gets in AS.

I actually hate all the recycled lines on SOE carried over from SOI.

Though for 13 who cares? It's a boring dud anyway.


I agree about the "You are Rock n'Roll" but am not able to take it out successfully with the basic program I have. I also thought it worked well in Volcano and much prefer it to American Soul.
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:48 PM   #5
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Songs of Experience - 1 Year Later

I actually love the verses to AS. I find the “it’s not a plaaaaace....” parts to be insanely catchy. That gets stuck in my head more than anything. But yeah, just don’t care for that reused Volcano chorus.
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:52 PM   #6
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One year out, I think I've listened to the album about five or six times.

I have never been less interested in a U2 album.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:19 AM   #7
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1 year later, still listen to it a lot. I'd say the only song that I really don't care for is The Showman, but I don't go out of my way to skip it. Like SOI, I see myself continuing to revisit these albums, which have been highlights for me.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:35 AM   #8
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One year out, I think I've listened to the album about five or six times.

I have never been less interested in a U2 album.
same. i think start to finish i've probably listened to it four times at the most, and one of those was at the end of LN7's survey just so that i could say i listened to the entire discography in chronological order.

i'm just not interested anymore in forcing myself to listen to something on repeat just because it's by a certain artist, in hopes that it'll grow on me.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:52 AM   #9
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I still love SoE. Listen to it quite often. I think it is a solid album, with some fantastic highs (Little Things, Love is Bigger...) In contrast, I rarely listen to anything from SOI. SOE is easily in the upper half of U2 albums.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:16 AM   #10
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One year out, I think I've listened to the album about five or six times.

I have never been less interested in a U2 album.
Pretty much the same here.

Kinda reminds me how I fell off the REM wagon when New Adventures In Hi-Fi came out.

Sounded good, but I couldn't connect with the album much.

SOI ranks at the bottom of my U2 evaluation, perhaps a tie with October in that regard.

But at least October had Gloria.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by AtomicHorizon View Post
Fore example, Get Out (Womankind Mix) is leaps and bounds above the album cut. If you are not a fan of this song, I believe this version will at least allow you to tolerate the song. This version removes Kendrick's sermon and the first 25 seconds of the song, which show the band trying to hard to make a "pop" song. This mix makes the song just 3 minutes long and truly accentuates the better elements of the song.

The Kendrick appearance is the only good thing about Get Out.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:43 AM   #12
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Still really liking it. Some of the bands strongest work in nearly 20 years. I still can't really place it above or below SOI. Both land just about the same.

Still love listening to Love is All, Summer of Love, Red Flag, Little Things, LANDLADY!, 13, and Book of Your Heart.
Lights may have slipped a bit for me, The Showman may be my least fave U2 song ever, and i don't listen to Get Out of American Soul anymore. But i heard the best thing the other day, and i enjoy it quite a bit.

So to have 6 songs i love plus 1 more non album track (Book) and 4 more (LIghts, Best Thing, Blackout,Love is Bigger) that i enjoy after one year on a U2 album in the 2000's is quite a feat.

ATYCLB I'd say I have about 5 songs I really like and listen to
Bomb - About 5
No Line - Around 5 (possibly 6, I'm liking Cedars more lately)
SOI - 8 (including Crystal Ballroom)

So all in all, These last two albums have been a solid step up in their output for me and stands in stark contrast with my second favorite band, REM where their output from UP and on was almost unlistenable except for a few select tracks here and there and the fairly decent final album Accelerate.
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Old 12-28-2018, 12:04 PM   #13
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I just listened to it again this morning and I'm certain that it's my least favorite by the band, but it's no worse than mediocre on the whole. That, I suppose, is a testament to the quality of their discography.

The problems here are four-fold:

1. Bono's boring A/B/A/B rhyme schemes and bumper sticker slogan lyricism

2. Edge contributing next to nothing innovative or even memorable on guitar

3. Sturdy but dull chord progressions that don't stick in the head at all

4. Ultra-stick production that drains the life out of even the album's most intriguing moments

Breaking it down song by song:

Love Is All We Have Left - A good idea to start things soft and unassuming in a refreshing change from The Miracle, but the vocoder sounds awful and it doesn't really build to anything. Not their best opener, but not awful.

Lights of Home - I have an electronic drum kit in my apartment that cost a couple hundred bucks and it has a similar tone to Larry's crash cymbal on this song. So yeah, the production doesn't help. It's a bit of a Frankenstein monster too, jumping around without ever locking into a groove. The best part of the song is when it evokes Iris, and that is not a compliment by any means.

You're the Best Thing About Me - Enough bandwith has been spent shitting on this song, but I'll add to it. The "I can see it all so clearly" bridge is great, but nearly everything else is trash. The verses drag badly with a clunky tempo and nagging vocal melody and the chorus features the line "you're the best thing that ever happened a boy." It ain't pre-release single material, that's for sure.

Get Out of Your Own Way - Eugh. I love the textures in the intro, but it goes downhill fast. It's an absolute ripoff of Beautiful Day, sure, but the biggest problem is the awful second verse, which is maybe well-intended but baffling in execution. The ALL NIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT WHAT'S INSIDE INSIDE ALRIGHT YEAH YEAH YEAH chorus is like a caricature of 21st century U2.

American Soul - They mixed together one of my favorite songs of 2017 and one of the better songs on SOI and made a mess. I don't despise this track or anything, but it's Stand Up Comedy all over again; a clunky rocker with a bad arrangement and no flow. Plus: refujesus!

Summer of Love - It's at this point that the album locks into a nice groove for a bit. This is a very pleasant track with a good message, decent melody and likable beat. I get a Time of the Season vibe from this one. More interesting or exotic percussion would have helped, but it's a fine track, if a little bland sonically.

Red Flag Day - Another rocker that's way too polished and overdone, but it sounds reasonably modern and is buoyed by a strong chorus. Again, there's a good bit of social commentary here that works and I think Bono and Edge play off each other well vocally. Solid.

The Showman - I like how low key the album continues to be during this section of the album, but I'll pass on this one. It starts off well enough and I appreciate the self-reflection contained in the lyrics - Bono has discussed this subject in the past quite eloquently - but the chorus could be used for torture. LIL MO LIL MO! Fuck. Half of this song should be thrown into a fire.

The Little Things That Give You Away - Honestly, I think this is one of the more overrated U2 songs. I liked the live arrangement, but the album take feels stiff and rote until the outro, which is so over the top that I can't help but appreciate how hard it's trying. The song is explicitly sad and overtly U2 and it means well, but something doesn't connect. It's lacking subtlety and contrast. I do like what Edge brings to the table on guitar though, a rarity for this album.

Landlady - Another track with a few different parts that doesn't cohere into anything or offer much that sticks. The subject matter sticks in the head, though it comes off a bit goofy on this drab, sleepy backdrop. The chorus is somewhat memorable, but the verses are in one ear and out the other. I've heard this song like half a dozen times and can never remember them. The bridge suffers from a leaden rhyme scheme that drags an already slow track to a halt.

The Blackout - Most of this is very good. The pre-chorus is potent and the chorus is memorable. Adam sounds great on here. Edge's guitar textures are kinda badass. Unfortunately...those end rhymes in the verses. SHEESH. Full body cringe.

Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way - You know what you're getting with this one from the title. It's a fucking Coldplay song that you might hear at the grocery store sometimes. And yet...it's one of the best tracks here. From the start, there's an actual hook and as overdone as it all is, at least it sticks with you after it's over. The effort was well-placed this time. Heartwarming, goofy, mildly embarrassing and familiar. U2 feels like family here.

13 - For a song with Song For Someone at its core, it's not bad. I don't dislike the re-used lyrics, but it does bug me that they actually use the title verbatim. I don't have much to say about the music because it just kind of floats there. The lyrics are a mixed bag, not good enough for a song that places so much emphasis on the vocals, but not the worst on the album. Kind of disappointing after great closers like Cedars of Lebanon and The Troubles.

I've listened to SOE maybe half a dozen times and today's listen only confirmed what I already knew: it's a 5/10 album. But that's OK; U2 have released plenty of amazing albums and plenty of great albums come out every year. One mediocre record is no big deal in the grand scheme of things. If they do want to contribute to that list of great records to drop every year though, they need to hook up with Eno and Lanois to at least get their textures right. The sound of SOE is so bad, which makes the inconsistent content much less enjoyable.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:05 PM   #14
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2. Edge contributing next to nothing innovative or even memorable on guitar
This puts it at the bottom of their catalogue for me.
The biggest drawing point to U2 for me has always been Edge. This album has so little from him (and a couple of the very few interesting guitar pieces belong to Haim and One Republic, not Edge) that it just doesn't resonate with me much at all.

For me, The Blackout, Red Flag Day and maybe Summer of Love & Little Things are keepers.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:32 PM   #15
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I still listen to this album pretty often when the mood hits, with the exception of GOOYOW, Lights of Home, American Soul, and Love is Bigger.

There’s some catchy tunes. No songs are top echelon, but a few are very good.

I also know there are plenty of valid criticisms, such as Hewson’s above, but I try not to analyze songs I like because I end up disliking them.

GOOYOW and American Soul are plain dogshit, although American Soul did kick some ass live.

Love is Bigger has some catchy parts and I can see why people like it, but since the first listen, I can’t get over how sappy it is.

Lights of Home just doesn’t connect for me. It has the bones of a good song but feels flat. Even live it was a dud. The BBC version was the only time they got it right.
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