U2 set another music record this past week. They’re the first group to have a #1 album in the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and now the 2010s! “Songs Of Experience” is the album U2 should have released three years ago. We all remember the iTunes fiasco when the band and their label thought it would be smart to force feed EVERYONE “Songs Of Innocence”. One huge problem, not everyone wanted a U2 album (understatement!) and it was one of the Irish rockers’ worst albums of all-time. But things have changed in 2017 and their 14th studio release is a dynamic album that doesn’t have any real dead weight and is one of the top albums of 2017. Is every song great? Absolutely not, but even the worst tracks are still a step up from the “Innocence” LP and there are some inspired gems that should make the long-time fans ecstatic and even garner new U2 fans. Like most classic albums, “Songs Of Experience” simply sounds better the more you just let it play and sink in. If you’re not going to opt for the full album, which five tracks are the strongest?
Even though they didn’t make the Top 5 tracks, the lead single “You’re The Best Thing About Me” and “American Soul” are vibrant radio-friendly hits that you’re going hear all over the radio for the next few months. Great songs for sure, and could have been included but it’s tough to lock down this impressive album’s Top 5.
#1 “THE LITTLE THINGS YOU GIVE AWAY” During their 2017 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree tour (review), “Little Things” debuted as the concert’s closing track. The nostalgic track features a swirling Edge riff and a hopeful Bono vocal that resonate on repeated listens. A classic U2 that could have actually appeared on Joshua Tree next to “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.
#2 “GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY” “Love has got to fight for its existence, The enemy has armies of assistance, the amorist, the glamorous, the kiss, a fist, listen to this!”
Produced by tour mate, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Bono is dishing more of his self-help advice but it’s not overly preachy and the chorus will be a concert favorite. Sounds like it came from their “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” days. Rapper Kendrick Lamar adds a spoken word element to the song’s closing moments.
#3 “RED FLAG DAY” If you’re a fan of their October and War-Era sound, you’ll love the modern day Punk rock energy here. Caught between a battle of Adam Clayton’s bass riff and another urgent Edge guitar solo, it’s one of the best rockers on the album.
#4 “SUMMER OF LOVE” If you’re not tapping your foot and bopping your head after the opening 15 seconds, check your pulse. A seductive rocker that builds and climbs deep into your soul, just when you think you know where it’s going, it swerves in a different direction.
#5 “13 (THERE IS A LIGHT)” Always been partial to those softer U2 moments like “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out” and “Running To Stand Still”. “There Is A Light” is an inspirational closing number that can hold its own with these dramatic masterpieces. The song has a subtle build-up to the conclusion that lifts your spirit and reminds us of the U2 we came to love four decades ago.