One day they will have to stand up to themselves
May 13, 2018 9:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm freshly home after seeing U2 on their current eXEPERIENCE + iNNOOCNCE tour and so hey, here's the most recent U2 album, Songs Of Experience. The production on this album alludes strongly to past albums while always returning to U2 being a 4-piece rock band. It's 40 years of U2 condensed into one truly classic album. . Side One: Love Is All We Have Left, Light Of Home, You're The Best Thing About Me [video], Get Out Of Your Own Way / American Soul [GOOYOW video, AS official lyric video]

Side Two: Summer Of Love, Red Flag Day [OMG the bass!], The Showman (Little More Better), The Little Things That Give You Away

Side Three: Landlady, The Blackout, Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way [video], 13 (There Is A Light) [video]

Side Four: various remixes and alternate versions, I'm too tried from the Vegas trip to do the research.
posted by hippybear (17 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
You talkin’ U2 to me?
posted by seemoorglass at 9:18 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


If that podcast has an episode about this album that is worth hearing, link it here!
posted by hippybear at 9:19 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Great album.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:20 PM on May 13


good ep
posted by bietz at 10:29 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


eXEPERIENCE + iNNOOCNCE

Best U2 tour since POOPMART.
posted by rory at 1:18 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Here's the relevant episode of Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman's all-things-U2 podcast U Talkin' U2 To Me?.
posted by spielzebub at 1:32 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I wonder what the story is behind the last two links in hippybear's post. "Song for Someone" the video has distinctly different lyrics than "13 (There is a Light)." After a couple listens each I think they only loosely share the chorus. Cool.
posted by TreeRooster at 5:27 AM on May 14


Good ‘ol Bonobos is at it again!
posted by Secretariat at 9:19 AM on May 14


I have a Theory about U2. Through the 90s, they were moving in a more experimental direction. Achtung Baby was a conscious rejection of their Joshua Tree sound, and ZOO TV was obviously a very different beast than any live show they had done before.

It was wildly successful. Zooropa took them even farther in that direction, and it wasn't quite as successful as Achtung Baby, but they were still in the middle of ZOO TV, and it was successful enough to feel like the direction they were going was a worthwhile one.

Then there was POP. Now, I love POP. I think it's one of their best albums. There are moments of the sincerity of the Joshua Tree era, but it's messy, and electronic, and at points utterly disposable, but in the best way. It was interesting.

It did not do well. Stadiums that they sold out on ZOO TV had empty seats, the reviews were mixed, and sales were less than stellar. And I think it hurt. And it scared them. Coming out of this, they put together a couple greatest hits collection, and then recorded an album full of Classic U2 Sounds, and it was HUUUUGE.

So, okay, let's leave the experimental thing. ATYCLB was big, HTDAB was, to my mind, largely the same album. They're feeling better, they're selling out stadiums easily, people love everything, and they feel like maybe they can do something interesting again.

No Line on the Horizon has some very interesting things. Wasn't quite the standard U2, if not quite as experimental as people were expecting. It didn't sell very well. And again, I think that hurt.

Since then we've been presented with 2 albums of Standard U2 Product. It's not bad, but I don't think it's especially good either. Maybe it's just that Achtung Baby happened when I was 16, and the 90's U2 was the soundtrack of High School and college. It's hard for anything to stand up to that. I just suspect that they have all the money in the world, so they can spend 12 months in the studio, taking their ideas and mashing them into sort of a smooth slurry that's suitable for U2 fans of any age.
posted by curiousgene at 10:59 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


For the past fifteen years, I kept reading about them moving in a more experimental direction in the studio. They didn't.
posted by davebush at 1:29 PM on May 14


I've never liked the term "experimental" to describe things that aren't science. It's such a vague term. People called Achtung Baby "experimental." My mom, who was a fan since Boy, heard Achtung Baby and said "I don't see what the fuss is about - it sounds like a U2 record with 60s vocal effects." Of course, her reaction to Nirvana was "they're playing the same chords as everyone else, just louder." She liked both.

If any U2 record is "experimental" it'd be the Passengers album, which is really a Brian Eno album with U2 as sidemen/collaborators. Everything else, including their 90s output is arena rock with different window dressing.

I'm one of the few who digs their whole catalog, with the exception of "Pride," which is a song I've never liked, for numerous reasons - it contains, in one song, all of their compositional flaws and tendency toward the vague Christian imagery that they can often lean on - "Pride" as a song is every bit as corny as the "Refu-Jesus" line from the new album but it lasts four and a half minutes, and they play it at every show.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:20 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


So at the Vegas e+i show I saw this weekend, the Macphisto character from ZooTV was brought back to talk about our current times. It felt appropriate, really. At the end of his little session (which included a completely mind-bending performance of Acrobat (!) ), the video screens were running giant color footage of the Charlottesville tiki torch marches/marchers which then suddenly was replaced with a full portrait of Martin Luther King and showing black and white footage of civil rights marchers in the 60 while Pride was performed by the band. It was one very effective moment in an entirely astounding show.
posted by hippybear at 6:03 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Here's the relevant episode of Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman's all-things-U2 podcast U Talkin' U2 To Me?.

No, that's from 2015 and is about the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE era. This is now 2018 and it's eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE this time around. The shows are sort of bookends for each other, but they are NOT the same at all, except for about 20 minutes in the middle of the first act.
posted by hippybear at 6:18 PM on May 14


hippybear I've been on the fence about going to e+i because I saw i+e but it sounds like, from your description, it's worth catching.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:07 PM on May 14


I've been on the fence about going to e+i because I saw i+e

My jaw was left hanging open more times during this show... They've done something masterful and sublime with this tour and if you can find tickets, get them.

As with last time around, sit in the middle along the sides of the arena. Those are the best seats. We had seats in the upper level and those were totally amazing. They're using that screen in new imaginative ways, and just the concert opening alone was like something out of a magic act.
posted by hippybear at 7:43 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Good ‘ol Bonobos is at it again!

My understanding is that bonobos are at it so much that PBS can't film them for prime time broadcast.
posted by hippybear at 9:12 PM on May 14


"Pride," which is a song I've never liked, for numerous reasons - it contains, in one song, all of their compositional flaws and tendency toward the vague Christian imagery that they can often lean on

Also, MLK was assassinated during the evening of April 4th, not the early morning. The MacPhisto is in the details.

I've never liked the term "experimental" to describe things that aren't science. It's such a vague term.

Maybe "experimental" was the wrong word. But I think some of their albums really were attempts to step outside their formula, and to write things (for instance) without dotted-eighth delays. Zooropa and POP, in particular, didn't sound much like U2 records, at least to me.
posted by curiousgene at 11:42 AM on May 18


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