On Songs of Innocence, U2 took a pop route over a traditional rock route. Personally, I liked Songs of Innocence even though it differed greatly from the band's past. Luckily, U2 holds onto a bit of the pop genre with "You're The Best Thing About Me" and "Get Out Of Your Own Way". The tunes are catchy and work as lead singles for the album's release. Lately, it seems as though U2 has tried to blend in with modern music through experimentation. These two singles are perfect for modern times and guide us stealthily into the more traditional rock song, "American Soul". The Edge shows off his twang once more with this hit.
The rhythm is clearly still with the band as well. The acoustic Latin-esque song, "Summer Of Love" is a relaxing and yet chilling song for listeners to bridge the songs together. This track would make for a great interlude during a show. Fittingly, "Summer Of Love" leads us into one of the most familiar songs for hardcore U2 fans to reminisce upon. "Red Flag Day" gives us a lot of Bono's vocal range, with all the hard hitting high notes. Unfortunately, the follow-up song is not great, but every album is bound to have a weak song here and there.
In May, I had the opportunity to see U2 live in Seattle on The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. This was my first opportunity to see the band live and it was a blast. I bought a general admission ticket, realizing later that hardcore U2 fans line up days before the concert to get a decent standing spot. I lined up at 9AM the morning of the concert and was able to get a third row spot. After they played the songs off of The Joshua Tree, the band gave us many more songs to enjoy. One of the songs that we got to enjoy was a preview of "The Little Things That Give You Away". The band did a great job, and I enjoyed the song live more than I do on the record. However, I do like the completed version with the buildup and payoff that comes towards the end of the song. This is definitely one of the highlights of the whole album.
"The Little Things That Give You Away" leads the audience into a darker and sadder portion of the album. Dreamy guitars drift us into "Landlady", which is full of stories that may or may not relate to the band members. I would like to learn the history behind the writing for this track. The flow of this song is subtly catchy as it drags you into the next track. To me, the next song ("The Blackout") is just another average U2 song.
Just as the album starts off strong, it closes even stronger. Bono's straight-edge preaching brings us into "Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way". The chorus is grand and I love the piano instrumentals throughout the track. Eventually, the cymbals crash and a full choir of voices join in with Bono. This is the modern U2 that some fans might hate, but I admit I enjoy it. After the full sound from "Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way", Bono closes out the album with a reminder from the past U2 release. "13 (There Is A Light)" is a clear reference to "Song For Someone" off of Songs of Innocence. The track is isolated at first and leaves out the full chorus. It takes a while for the track to really pick up, but it is a nice way to end the album and give us hope for more U2 releases.
Favorite Tracks: "Lights of Home", "You're The Best Thing About Me", "Get Out Of Your Own Way", "Get Out Of Your Own Way", "The Little Things That Give You Away", "Landlady", "Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way"
Least Favorite Tracks: "American Soul", "The Showman (Little More Better)"