After the hype U2s Songs of Innocence reviewed
14 Nov 2014
It took five long years but U2 are back with their latest album. Snapshot stories of their formative years collected under the title Songs of Innocence. Following its highly talked-about blitz release in October via Apple’s iTunes, the band is eager to shift the discussion from media-hype back to the music. Let's take a peek.
U2 : Raw & personal
U2's lead singer, Bono, pointed out that the album is the first in a trilogy of albums named after William Blake’s collection of poems, Songs of Innocent and Songs of Experience. The first instalment, Songs of Innocent, takes the band back to their native Dublin when U2 were mere teenagers and a long stretch away from the global rock superstars they have become since.
The result is a very personal and, compared to U2's last releases, quite raw record that spawns semi-biographical songs, such as Iris (Hold Me Close), a homage to Bono’s mother who passed away when he was just 14 ("The ache in my heart is so much a part of who I am.").
Then there’s the Arcade Fire-esque The Crystal Ballroom. A dubby disco tune in which Bono imagines himself as teenager performing with his new band in front of his parents the moment they first met at the Dublin venue The Crystal Ballroom ("Life begins with the first glance. The first kiss at the first dance").
Lead single The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) and album track This is Where You Can Reach Me Now explore how life changed for the young musicians upon discovering 'their' music, particularly after seeing The Ramones and The Clash live in Dublin in the late 1970's. Another track, Volcano, a heavy-rocker that would have fitted perfectly fine on the band’s 1991 Achtung Baby album, expands on that feeling and has the young singer questioning his life in a band (“Do you live here or is this a vacation”).
For many who made the acquaintance with U2 over the past decade, the album’s fey title and the topics on some of the tunes might raise an eyebrow or two but it’s U2 reassessing, and in many ways returning, to what made them the global stars they have since become.
U2 : Volcano (Live from Later with Jools Holland - November 2014)
U2 : Volcano Tour 2015
U2 will be taking Songs of Innocence on tour. Early rumours indicate the tour to have several shows in each city. The band has also talked about plans to play two different sets, a more intimate acoustic set and an all-out electric set. Rumours are that the U2 tour 2015 to be called The U2 Volcano Tour 2015.
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