New Album Discussion 1 - Songs of..... - Unreasonable guitar album

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The botching of Invisible was the glaring error there, even more so than the iTunes debacle.
nahhhhhh.

it was a huge mistake not pushing it harder, no doubt. and hey, maybe there's a world where if they DO push it harder that the iTunes debacle never happens.

but the iTunes thing made them a running punchline for, well, a decade.

one decision was dumb and cost them a few tickets, the other caused serious damage to their reputation that they still haven't fully recovered from.

there's an entire generation that knows U2 more for the iTunes thing than anything else.
 
Shifting away from SOI, I had mentioned HTDAAB earlier, and I actually retract a lot of the negative commentary I had for that album about 15 years ago. At the time, I really wanted more atmospheric U2. After stepping away for a bit and not really listening to U2 at all for the last 3-4 years, I revisited this album and really enjoyed it. It's a unique sound for them compared to their other albums and they really have some bangers on there. I get some of the criticism but overall, it deserved a lot of the praise it got.
 
nahhhhhh.

it was a huge mistake not pushing it harder, no doubt. and hey, maybe there's a world where if they DO push it harder that the iTunes debacle never happens.

but the iTunes thing made them a running punchline for, well, a decade.

one decision was dumb and cost them a few tickets, the other caused serious damage to their reputation that they still haven't fully recovered from.

there's an entire generation that knows U2 more for the iTunes thing than anything else.

Well, that's exactly my point. If they do it correctly and have the album ready, Invisible is your leadoff single, promoted during the Super Bowl, the album comes out shortly after, and then you don't even have the iTunes scenario.

So yes, screwing that up at the beginning was worse.
 
Songs of Innocence is a very poor U2 album, it has that bubblegum effect in that its an instant U2 album but wore off very quickly. The production is very poor, something Larry highlighted the minute it was released, sounding ProTooled to the eyeballs. Very sterile and doesn't sound like a band performance. Musically uninteresting. And the chart baiting songs are obvious and shallow.

Then there's the lyrics. I think for something that is supposed to be reflective of youth, its surprising how little intimacy there are in the lyrics. Less figurative, very literal, there's very little depth to them. There's some bright moments like 'the universe is beautiful but cold' bit in Iris, but I think that song sums up how far Bono's lyrics have become uninspired.

Iris is a really nice song, definitely one of the stronger moments, but it lacks the devastating impact of Lemon regarding the same subject of Bono's yearning for his late mother. With Lemon, I think when you frame your grief and yearning around an intimate moment like seeing your mother in old film footage, it really compounds the feeling of what has been lost, alongside the feelings of remoteness, isolation and the unobtainable. It perfectly encapsulates grief and reflections through a single moment, and thereafter how it impacts the desire for creativity to try and fill that hole. Ultimately, there's that unifying spark of inspiration and reflection through that single moment watching a film. I think that song is the ultimate portrait on grief.

Iris on the other hand is a lot more generic with its literal descriptions and 'hold me close' refrain. Very nice, but more the stuff of pop music and not the depth and genius of a song like Lemon.

It sums up Bono's decline as a lyricist in recent years, and that's coming from one of their stronger songs in recent years. As such, the less said about horror shows like American Soul, the better.
 
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Shifting away from SOI, I had mentioned HTDAAB earlier, and I actually retract a lot of the negative commentary I had for that album about 15 years ago. At the time, I really wanted more atmospheric U2. After stepping away for a bit and not really listening to U2 at all for the last 3-4 years, I revisited this album and really enjoyed it. It's a unique sound for them compared to their other albums and they really have some bangers on there. I get some of the criticism but overall, it deserved a lot of the praise it got.
It has their most successful “rawk” songs of the past 30 years. And even the mawkish stuff comes from a far more organic and genuine place than the pablum pop on the last 3 records.
 
the most frustrating part of the entire thing is that it truly did seem like another U2 moment, albeit a smaller one than in the past - Invisible and Ordinary Love did about as well as standalone releases from an aging rock band could do. hell, bono even looked the best he's looked in a while with his faux hipster thing.

and then, well, they went and spammed the world - bono smashed his face before they had a chance to try and make things right, and when the fucker came back he had sun in dyed blonde hair.
Yes and as you have pointed out before, that was true especially for Ordinary Love! Made a good sized splash.

It's easy (at least for me) to forget how much of a shrug/disinterest/decline in critical review NLOTH was met with coming off ATYCLB and HTDAAB.

Personally, it was an album that fizzled out over time and I was thrilled when 360 took on a decidedly AB flavor in 2011. Those shows were far superior to the ones I saw in 2009.

When I first heard Ordinary Love, it hit as a refreshing change in sound that had some nice call backs to early U2. Despite being very different. You can see a line from there to songs like Crystal Ballroom.

They really had a common, cohesive theme and sound. One that was both interesting and far more accessible to a wide audience than NLOTH.

I took my friend to his first U2 show on I&E . Not only did he become an instant fan, he said he came away feeling like he had a true understanding of who they are and what they've been saying all these years.

The near miss/what could have been has always been easy to see with this album and era.
 
Yes and as you have pointed out before, that was true especially for Ordinary Love! Made a good sized splash.

It's easy (at least for me) to forget how much of a shrug/disinterest/decline in critical review NLOTH was met with coming off ATYCLB and HTDAAB.

Personally, it was an album that fizzled out over time and I was thrilled when 360 took on a decidedly AB flavor in 2011. Those shows were far superior to the ones I saw in 2009.

When I first heard Ordinary Love, it hit as a refreshing change in sound that had some nice call backs to early U2. Despite being very different. You can see a line from there to songs like Crystal Ballroom.

They really had a common, cohesive theme and sound. One that was both interesting and far more accessible to a wide audience than NLOTH.

I took my friend to his first U2 show on I&E . Not only did he become an instant fan, he said he came away feeling like he had a true understanding of who they are and what they've been saying all these years.

The near miss/what could have been has always been easy to see with this album and era.
NLOTH really killed the momentum they had built. Really, they were only about 2 years removed from a widely successful Vertigo Tour and could have kept it rolling, maybe not at the level of the last 2 albums, but love it or hate it, that album is what started the decline.

I know this isn't widely known, but there was a demo called "For Your Love", which later became "Stand Up Comedy". The former had a great hook and would have been a good modern rock song. Pair that up with "All My Life" and "Magnificent", and suddenly you have a couple of good singles and could have still had a mostly atmospheric album with "No Line On The Horizon" and "Moment Of Surrender" being classic U2 songs to support those singles.
 
I listened to the album a few weeks ago and really the stinker is SUC. I am no fan of Crazy but it does have a warmth to it and as a U2 ballad it’s not their worst….and i always liked Boots. Thought it was a quick fun song and really liked the harmonies in the chorus.

But SUC just sucks. There might be something in there but it feels pieced together by techs vs something U2 actually played in a room

The Danger Mouse U2 would have been an interesting album. I don’t think we’d get any riffs like a vertigo / boots out of Edge, instead his playing would have been more bouncy…jangling

The aslan cover “This is”, Ordinary Love, Crystal Ballroom…Reach Me Noe….they all seem to have a very tight rhythm section…a good thump. Edge was then free to play more of a Clash style guitar vs the big power chord stuff he seems to be in love with (miracle, atomic city)

With Lilywhite and Jacknife, i feel we will get more of the miracle / atomic style than anything atmospheric
 
I listened to the album a few weeks ago and really the stinker is SUC. I am no fan of Crazy but it does have a warmth to it and as a U2 ballad it’s not their worst….and i always liked Boots. Thought it was a quick fun song and really liked the harmonies in the chorus.

But SUC just sucks. There might be something in there but it feels pieced together by techs vs something U2 actually played in a room

The Danger Mouse U2 would have been an interesting album. I don’t think we’d get any riffs like a vertigo / boots out of Edge, instead his playing would have been more bouncy…jangling

The aslan cover “This is”, Ordinary Love, Crystal Ballroom…Reach Me Noe….they all seem to have a very tight rhythm section…a good thump. Edge was then free to play more of a Clash style guitar vs the big power chord stuff he seems to be in love with (miracle, atomic city)

With Lilywhite and Jacknife, i feel we will get more of the miracle / atomic style than anything atmospheric
Yeah, I actually don't "Hate" GYOB and with the changes I pointed out above, it still would have been fine on the album. Could have actually followed up with Fez- Being Born towards the end of the album. A tracklist below could have been a huge upgrade:

1. No Line On The Horizon
2. Magnificent
3. All My Life
4. Moment Of Surrender
5. Unknown Caller (with better chorus lyrics)
6. For Your Love
7. Get On Your Boots
8. Fez - Being Born
9. Winter (A mix of the movie version and album version would be ideal)
10. White As Snow
11. Breathe
12. Cedars Of Lebanon
 
Songs of Innocence is a very poor U2 album, it has that bubblegum effect in that its an instant U2 album but wore off very quickly. The production is very poor, something Larry highlighted the minute it was released, sounding ProTooled to the eyeballs. Very sterile and doesn't sound like a band performance. Musically uninteresting. And the chart baiting songs are obvious and shallow.

Then there's the lyrics. I think for something that is supposed to be reflective of youth, its surprising how little intimacy there are in the lyrics. Less figurative, very literal, there's very little depth to them. There's some bright moments like 'the universe is beautiful but cold' bit in Iris, but I think that song sums up how far Bono's lyrics have become uninspired.

Iris is a really nice song, definitely one of the stronger moments, but it lacks the devastating impact of Lemon regarding the same subject of Bono's yearning for his late mother. With Lemon, I think when you frame your grief and yearning around an intimate moment like seeing your mother in old film footage, it really compounds the feeling of what has been lost, alongside the feelings of remoteness, isolation and the unobtainable. It perfectly encapsulates grief and reflections through a single moment, and thereafter how it impacts the desire for creativity to try and fill that hole. Ultimately, there's that unifying spark of inspiration and reflection through that single moment watching a film. I think that song is the ultimate portrait on grief.

Iris on the other hand is a lot more generic with its literal descriptions and 'hold me close' refrain. Very nice, but more the stuff of pop music and not the depth and genius of a song like Lemon.

It sums up Bono's decline as a lyricist in recent years, and that's coming from one of their stronger songs in recent years. As such, the less said about horror shows like American Soul, the better.
This is spot on. Agree with you on almost all counts (exception being that I don't think Iris is a really nice song).
 
My biggest memory from the Invisbible -> SoI debacle was a friend who said "Woah, U2 is giving away their song for free and the money is going to charity" to absolutely trashing them online for months about SoI.
yep. same exact basic idea, different execution.

one small change - hey, our album is free - go get it vs. hey, our album is free - and you already have it - would have changed the entire vibe around SOI and their legacy as a whole.
 
Yes and as you have pointed out before, that was true especially for Ordinary Love! Made a good sized splash.

It's easy (at least for me) to forget how much of a shrug/disinterest/decline in critical review NLOTH was met with coming off ATYCLB and HTDAAB.

Personally, it was an album that fizzled out over time and I was thrilled when 360 took on a decidedly AB flavor in 2011. Those shows were far superior to the ones I saw in 2009.

When I first heard Ordinary Love, it hit as a refreshing change in sound that had some nice call backs to early U2. Despite being very different. You can see a line from there to songs like Crystal Ballroom.

They really had a common, cohesive theme and sound. One that was both interesting and far more accessible to a wide audience than NLOTH.

I took my friend to his first U2 show on I&E . Not only did he become an instant fan, he said he came away feeling like he had a true understanding of who they are and what they've been saying all these years.

The near miss/what could have been has always been easy to see with this album and era.
i hope it doesn't take for someone in the band to pass away for the vaults to be opened up. i really want to hear the danger mouse produced album.

they released a ton of b sides and alternate takes around the Bomb / iPod era with The Complete U2... but haven't really done anything like that since. would love to hear a Tracks or Lost Dogs style release from U2 one day.
 
i hope it doesn't take for someone in the band to pass away for the vaults to be opened up. i really want to hear the danger mouse produced album.
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Songs of Innocence is a very poor U2 album, it has that bubblegum effect in that its an instant U2 album but wore off very quickly. The production is very poor, something Larry highlighted the minute it was released, sounding ProTooled to the eyeballs. Very sterile and doesn't sound like a band performance. Musically uninteresting. And the chart baiting songs are obvious and shallow.

Then there's the lyrics. I think for something that is supposed to be reflective of youth, its surprising how little intimacy there are in the lyrics.

100% this. The sterility of it is just terrible. It’s why I prefer SOE since it has less of this.

they released a ton of b sides and alternate takes around the Bomb / iPod era with The Complete U2... but haven't really done anything like that since. would love to hear a Tracks or Lost Dogs style release from U2 one day.

There may be nothing else left. They aren’t exactly known for being prolific in the studio.
 
I suspect the issue with unreleased stuff is their famously high-bar for what they consider something being of an acceptable standard for public consumption. So unless there's stuff in a relatively finished state which was being considered for an album, they'll have to invest time in finishing it before release.
 
There may be nothing else left. They aren’t exactly known for being prolific in the studio.
First, no, that's simply not true. They have a TON of studio work. Many of it may be alternate takes and ideas that turned into other songs - but there's a lot of it and always has been.

And second, we literally know that a full on danger mouse produced album was scrapped and redone with Ryan Tedder. There are countless songs that we've heard of along the way that have never seen the light of day. So maybe they couldn't fill a full 6 album set like Bruce, but there's undoubtedly 15-20 tracks they could put out.

The album I referenced itself featured a bunch of alternate takes to flesh it out.
 
Man, just think of what could've been with SOI. First single Invisible, with the Super Bowl to launch it. Properly promote the single. Release the album a couple months later in April, then do the I&E Tour throughout 2014-15. Do the free download, but give people a chance vs spamming the album. Nobody would've had anything bad to say. I happen to think SOI is a good album, and I agree that album/tour combination had the most cohesive, well thought out theme since Zoo TV. Man, they really fucked the whole thing up, and they're still paying for it. SOE & The Joshua Tree Tour did a little bit to repair their image, but I feel like it wasn't until recently with the Sphere and Atomic City that they are finally back in the general public's good graces. They NEED to follow this up with a new album later THIS YEAR, and a tour next year.
 
i think SOI is an good not great album that suffered form the last minute indecision regarding going all in with Danger Mouse, who certainly has a unique style and sound.

it also never stood a chance to be judged on it's own merits because of the release method. every actual review of the album led with the release. and the one chance they had to change minds and get the attention on the music was curtailed by Bono smacking his head off the Central Park bike trail.
 
Yeah SOI isn't a masterpiece, but pretty solid for a late career release. But there wee thousands of posts on social media saying "I don't want U2's shitty album on my phone, yet I can't get rid of it!" This narrative spread, mostly by people who never even listened to the album, or just listened to "The Miracle" (which I happen to think is a fairly crappy song). It was such a strange time to be a U2 fan. I was so excited by the surprise release and everything, and then I was gobsmacked in the face by the onslaught of relentless negativity. And you're right, they didn't really get the chance to properly promote the album or do damage control because of Bono's accident. Still, the rest of the band / management could've and should've tried to do something.
 
Yeah SOI isn't a masterpiece, but pretty solid for a late career release. But there wee thousands of posts on social media saying "I don't want U2's shitty album on my phone, yet I can't get rid of it!" This narrative spread, mostly by people who never even listened to the album, or just listened to "The Miracle" (which I happen to think is a fairly crappy song). It was such a strange time to be a U2 fan. I was so excited by the surprise release and everything, and then I was gobsmacked in the face by the onslaught of relentless negativity. And you're right, they didn't really get the chance to properly promote the album or do damage control because of Bono's accident. Still, the rest of the band / management could've and should've tried to do something.
For sure, that incident definitely led to me mentioning the band in public circles a lot less.
 
While we wait for no news, enjoy this Sweetest Thing demo. And these old, rare Joshua Tree outtakes .

New to my ears



 
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