If you open your iTunes library and scroll down to the “U” artists, chances are you already have U2’s new album “Songs of Innocence.” U2 and Apple collaborated to have it ready to download in every iTunes library as part of the iPhone 6 announcement Sept. 9. In just a matter of seconds, 500,000 people had access to the new album.
While it’s quite an innovative way to release an album, “Songs of Innocence” isn’t as unique. It’s a standard U2 album (the band’s first album since 2009 and second in a decade), complete with uplifting lyrics, sparkling guitar solos, and raspy vocals courtesy of lead singer Bono.
Perhaps the exciting release was meant to mask this bland album.
The album’s lead single, “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone),” is a rocking ballad that will be a staple addition to U2’s live setlist. It’s reminiscent of 2005’s “Vertigo,” but the chorus falls a bit flat after such a raucous introduction.
“Every Breaking Wave” is a catchy tune and really touches at how personal Bono’s lyrics are for the album. “Song for Someone” is a slower ballad, driven by the lyrics “This is a song for someone … There is a light we can’t always see/There is a world that can’t always be.” Both are my favorite tracks from the album.
“Volcano” tries to be a classic punk rock song, but it’s the most skippable song on the album. One can only take so much of Bono trying to sing “sexy.” “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight” is a yawn-worthy track, fitting for the song’s title, thanks to the length of a track that doesn’t really go anywhere.
But “The Troubles,” the closing track, is absolutely fantastic. It features a haunting repetitive chorus – “Somebody stepped inside your soul/Little by little they robbed and stole” and chilling vocals from Lykke Li that refuse to leave your head. Who knows what the lyrics mean? It’s still chilling and quite the ending track.
In the end, “Songs of Innocence” may actually be one of the most forgetful albums of U2’s discography. It is by no means a bad album, but it leaves much to be desired considering it’s their first album in five years. Then again, I’m complaining about an entirely free album. It’s still definitely worth the download.
Bono already announced their next album “Songs of Experience,” which is an obvious sequel to “Songs of Innocence.” Expect that to be forced into your iTunes library soon.
Jared Huhta is a senior history education major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This review reflects the view of the writer only.