U2: Songs of Innocence

U2 has been one of those bands with staying power that has gone on for decades.  Since their first album, "Boy," in 1980, they have evolved with the times, with their own unique sound.  At least in my mind, their best work was the albums "Achtung Baby," "The Joshua Tree," and "Rattle and Hum."One could argue they went off the rails a little bit (that may be an understatement) with their technopop sound in the 90's, but they worked their way back to their original sound.

That brings us to their current album, "Songs of Innocence."  Up front, two things made this album already revolutionary: the first is that it was released 5 years after their last album, and the second is that it was released on iTunes- for free.

The iTunes release coincided with an Apple product launch this fall for the new iPhones, and seemed a nice value add to the event.  As a diehard Windows user, including a Microsoft Zune, I am so not a fan of iTunes.  While I often wonder if this is due to the fact that Windows simply does not want to play nicely with Apple software, but I find it a frustrating experience at best.  While I can easily download an album from Amazon, or from Google Play, this iTunes is a test of my computing patience to get anything done.  At any rate, after an hour of persistence, the download could be accomplished.

Here is the discography:

The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)
Every Breaking Wave
California (There is no End to Love)
Song for Someone
Iris (Hold Me Close)
Raised By Wolves
Cedarwood Road
Sleep Like a Baby Tonight
This is Where You Can Reach Me Now
The Troubles

The album opens with "The Miracle of Joey Ramone."  The chorus definitely has a refrain that has a retrospective feel of this venerable rock band looking back: "I was young/Not dumb/Just wishing to be blinded/By you/Brand new/And we were pilgrims on our way."  The song draws upon one of U2's influences, from the punk of the 1980's, and Joey Ramone was involved with the punk band, The Ramones that was influential to many other artists.  This track has a modern punk feel, with a driving rhythm.

"Every Breaking Wave" is another strong track.  It features the signature U2 bass line that the band became known for that provided as much for rhythm as it does to reinforce the melody.  If you inserted this song into a playlist of their best 80's songs, it fits completely.In our current era, where folks often purchase, and listen to individual tracks, more than an album experience, I have to say that there is really no bad track here.  The songs are consistent, and all have the classic U2 sound that their fans crave.  Let's hope that U2 plays some tracks from "Songs of Innocence" on their upcoming tour.

Overall Grade: A


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