U2 – Songs Of Innocence (2014)

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GREAT SONGS:
Every Breaking Wave
Iris (Hold Me Close)
Volcano
The Troubles

VERY GOOD SONGS:
Song For Someone
Raised By Wolves
Sleep Like A Baby Tonight

GOOD SONGS:
The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)
Cedarwood Road
This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now

NOT MY THING:
California (There Is No End To Love)

TRASH:
None

THE CHEESE: Well, shit. I can’t say I saw this coming at all.

 Over the last 17 years U2 had managed to release only three albums. The terribly inconsistent ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’, the terribly boring ‘How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb’ and the terribly embarrassing ‘No Line On The Horizon.’ Naturally The Cheese’s expectation for the new U2 album was low. The fact the album was five years in the making and had approximately 47 release dates that were not eventually met certainly gave the impression this was U2’s ‘Chinese Democracy’ and the band was perhaps totally spent as a creative force.

But ‘Songs Of Innocence’ is pretty fucking good. Let’s not get carried away – it’s not great. It certainly isn’t even worth comparing to U2’s classic top albums. But it’s a very good album. It’s largely consistent, holds together as an actual album, is sequenced perfectly, is lively and interesting. It’s everything the last two albums were not.

I’m not sure there are any big hits on the album at all. But I don’t give a shit about that because I’m not 14 years old.

Perhaps the best thing about the album is it doesn’t have any crassly and deliberately stupid songs on it like ‘Elevation’, ‘Vertigo’ or ‘Get On Your Boots.’

The top 4 songs are amazing and are a quality I didn’t think the band could record any longer. ‘Volcano’ is easily my favorite U2 song since those 4 great songs on ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind.’ ‘Every Breaking Wave’ is an instant classic U2 song. The lyrics on the whole album are, broadly speaking, very strong.

We’ll let the album sit with us for the next few weeks and then we’ll have to revisit U2’s Cheese. I’m not sure where it ranks in U2’s history – I think it’s probably somewhere in the middle.   And that feels like a huge win as a U2 fan.