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JJ reviews U2's Songs of Innocence



This album has been a long time coming. When Songs of Innocence 'fell out of the sky' from no where, Bono was quick to mention U2 had actually recorded two albums and would be releasing a companion album soon after.

Well, no one listens to Bono so when he said 2016, we knew he meant 2019 so it's with some listening pleasure we are reviewing Songs of Experience in late 2017.

And it is a  genuine companion album to Songs of Innocence by several means. The inspiration is of course William Blake's book of poetry which casts life into the two groups of innocence and experience, the lyrics of Bono which are hugely introspective of his life (every song could be about himself or his wife) and by way of two songs taking musical cues from Volcano and Song for Someone from the first album.

So, here's our review on a track by track basis:

Love is all we have left


A mild opening track which sets a sombre tone for the album. Atmospheric and it largely works except for the ridiculous vocal manipulation done midway through. Could not be more of a different album opener that Discotheque if you tried. There's clearly going to be no tounge in cheek or village people on album.

Woah, a bomb track straight off the board. Bland, uninspiring, how the heck did this song get through the band's internal vetting processes?

The first single, and a great U2 track. A zippy chorus that gets better and better with each listen. This song is kind of almost by-the-numbers single but U2 has always had better numbers than any band.  It's comparable to Magnificent from No Line on the Horizon in that sense.

Get Out of Your Own Way


Another single, that promises much when it evokes the opening of Where The Streets Have No Name but doesn't get quite to that level of glory. A firm track to back up the first single.

The one with Kendrick Lamar marshaling comment on rich people. Another American love letter from the band to America. They sure do write a lot about the US of A!

The chorus is a direct lift from Songs of Innocence's Volcano and easily improves on what was a weak track from that album.

Another stray from the rescue home. Could have done with a bit more TLC before being released back into the wild. 

No we are talking. The first genuinely brilliant song with a chorus hook to die for. A classic song in the sense that it's a upbeat song where the lyrics focus on the utterly depressing subject of Syrian refugees.

The Showman (Little More Better) 


If ever U2 were ever to write a proper Irish song that could be song across pubs around the world when the punters are up for a tune, this is it. 

This one of the best songs U2 have written in a decade. With a wonderful melody and a sing a long chorus to die for. 10 out of 10. 

A love ballad in pace, with lyrics that seem to be about Bono reflecting on his past life. The way Bono sings it is almost confessional. A potential live favourite. 

Landlady


A clear love note from Bono to his wife Ali. Slow and plodding but builds nicely. 

The rocker song on the album, this has STADIUM written all over it. A filthy base line from Adam Clayton and his best in many an album. 

A filler track, but better than Lights of Home. Like many tracks on this album, a slow starter that land quite well at the end. 

The most beautifully haunting song on this album. Borrowing heavily from the wonderful Song for Someone this is U2's equivalent of Metallica's Unforgiven II
Simply superb and it continues U2's song tradition of really good album closing tracks. 

Summary

U2 will never record another Achtung Baby but we can still expect them to record cracker songs and a handful of those have been delivered with this album. A genuine surprise that the Lights of Home is so genuinely bad but that can be quickly over looked by the big singles and sing-a-long tracks that far outweigh any complaints.

Despite Bono's rhetoric' about American President Donald Trump being the basis for a lyrical rewrite on many songs, the effect is neglible - maybe there's a a dig about him as a dinosaur in The Blackout and a bit of a sledge in American Soul but that would be about it. 

A strong effort from U2 and they should be proud that they have made a true companion album. Many bands are afraid to try new things so as to not upset the gravy train but yet again the biggest band in the world has got their hands dirty.  

Tom and Hester, up a treee


Here's some of our more popular posts over the year from our Mortal Engines site that you may find interesting - they cover both the book and the making of the new Peter Jackson produced Movie which is set for release in late 2018.





U2 has a new sweet album about themselves and Donald Trump


Ireland's Finest Band, U2 have recorded a new album, called Songs of Experience. It’s a companion album to the Songs of Innocence album which was released some three odd years ago.

Where Songs of Innocence reflected on the four members of U2’s childhoods (innocence and the loss of it), this new album features songs that are reflective of how the band has grown up themselves and lived their lives as adults.

Frontman Bono has said that many of the songs are about himself such as The Blackout and The Little Things That Give You away. Off the later, he didn't realise it was about himself until he had finished the song with the band.

Bono also took the opportunity to imbue his songs with barbed social commentary on the American Presidency of Donald Trump, of whom Bono appears to be no fan at all (read the lyrics to American Soul as case in point). This should be of no surprise to any U2 fan who has ever read any of the band’s lyrics as they often make political commentary on matters dear to their hearts.

Sonicaly, Songs of Experience is what has become standard U2. Songs such as first single, You’re The Best Thing About me are clean with an uplifting chorus. The Blackout harkens back to Achtung Baby’s Zoo Station and Little Things carries on in the same manner as Every Breaking Wave or Song for Someone did from Songs of Innocence. Again, this should be of no surprise for the listener as Experience is heavy tied to it’s companion album.

Order Songs of Experience from Amazon.

Best birthday card ever!!


My wife knows me so very well! Xx

Oasis: Looking Back in Fondness




Oasis: Looking Back in Fondness


So like I was working in a chicken fast food restaurant late one year in the mid 90s when I heard a song about ‘Rolling With It’ and thought it sounded pretty sweet. And that was that. Didn’t hear it again till weeks later. Then I heard Wonderwall. I NEEDED that song. I recall my mother drove me to K Mart (those were the days!) and I got what had turned out to be the biggest selling album in recent times. Oasis mania had arrived in Jimmy Jangles' house and I began to.. er.. roll with it.

I played that album non stop for two weeks. Then a friend of my lil bro turned up. This guy was like Mr Music Man and was like: "Oh Oasis?, here’s a copy of their first album."


And I'm like "Their first album? Oh, they did that Live Forever song I saw a video of once where they buried the drummer? Sweet."

Now we had two albums for the soundtrack of our summer which came down to playing Oasis in the garage while playing pool, drinking Steinlager homebrew clones. Bless. There may have been some of The Stone Roses songs played too, but that's another story.

And thus I became an Oasis diehard. U2 who? Summer finished and I went to university and started getting my hands on everything Oasis I could. I bought all the singles I could find. There was no ‘real’ internet in 1996/97/98 – it was just this magical thing I could get at the University labs so there was no real web surfing, it was all newspaper headlines. Yes, I had a folder full of Oasis articles where they stated “We’re bigger than God” and “We hope Blur die of Aids”. I signed letters home to my family as Noel Gallagher. That's how cool I was, even back then...

I decided to learn the guitar as I had to be able to play Wonderwall. Playing Oasis b-Sides became a speciality.

This fandom culminated in a crazy Oasis concert in Wellington where Liam stormed off, Noel did an acoustic set featuring Setting Sun with the band in full force for the last song of Champagne Supernova. Rough as, but Mega.
Anyways I thought I’d reminisce about each Oasis album.

Definitely Maybe


Oasis - Definitely Maybe: The DVD


Who wants to be a rock n roll star? If you believe the lyrics, Liam was one before the album made him one. It was the seemingly self referencing that was so clever. It was the same for GNR's Welcome to the Jungle – they were singing about the excess and trappings of Rock Stardom before they had it. It was like both bands were in on the joke about rock and roll joke before both bands became a rock and roll joke in many people’s eyes. I call those people Oasis Haters. Supersonic Live Forever, Slide Away. Songs that will stick around as markers in rock history for all those who follow (as they followed The Stones, The Who, David Bowie and of course, The Beatles.

What’s the Story? (Morning Glory!)


(What's the Story) Morning Glory?









Did you need a little time to wake up after being run down by Definitely Maybe? The title reference to cocaine would pick you up no end with songs Wonderwall, Roll With It, Don’t Look Back in Anger and a song so good the Beatles should have written it, Champagne Supernova. Those songs define Oasis and the Britpop mania wave they rode (and created). They will be living off the royalties from those songs till the day they die. Morning Glory is probably the soundtrack to a generation of British folks.

Be Here Now


Be Here Now (2 LP Vinyl)


Supposedly the Great Rock and Roll Swindle. The punters were eager for a fight and they easily stepped into the ring when they realised that Be Here Now was not another Morning Glory. A few weak songs (despite the A grade D’yer Know What I Mean and All Around the World) and over blown production left many fans turned off and Oasis labelled as has beens. On reflection, Be Here Now is chock full of great songs – the song structures in many are perfect – witness Don’t Go Away acoustically and any objective listener will note its beauty, shame its album version solo was basically a rip off of Slide Away crossed with Live Forever.

Heathen Chemistry


Heathen Chemistry

An album full of great songs but, like Be Here Now, the sum of its parts was not greater than the songs on it. On their own songs like, Songbird, Stop Crying Your Heart and Born on a Different Cloud were majestic. As an album the punters when eh, Oasis diehards loved it – the singles were quite popular.

Don’t Believe the Truth


Don't Believe The Truth


This was the unexpected comeback. Taken as a whole, this was an Oasis album you could listen to as one piece of music and totally enjoy. Lyla was a fun, poppy single, The Importance of Being Idle was a surprisingly quirky hit. The album owed a small debt to the Velvet Underground and a more considered song writing effort from Noel (the album did however have many songs from other band members). Let There Be Love was a beautiful album closer and could be seen as the antithesis of the sibling rivalry that dominated the headlines as Liam and Noel had regularly argued their troubles out in public over the years. Sadly the sentiment of the album closer was lost following the break up of Oasis after the release of the next album.

Dig Out Your Soul


Dig Out Your Soul[2 LP 180g Vinyl]

If you had to label an Oasis album as psychedelic, Dig Out Your Soul was an Eed up Oasis plugging in George Harrison’s sitar and turning it to 10 and a half. Falling Down and I'm Out of Time were Oasis best singles since anything from Morning Glory. Waiting for the Rapture was a wall of Oasis that had live favourite all over it. Lyrically it was sharp and it had an awesome example of drumming expertise from Zak Starkey on The Shock of the Lightning. If Don’t Believe the Truth was the album Oasis should have released after Morning Glory in preference to Be Here Now, this album should have been the immediate follow up (like Zooropa was soon released after to U2's Achtung Baby).

Lucky for those still listening to Oasis, this album did follow DBTT and so it got plenty of listens and some good reviews.

In hindsight, that the single Falling Down was first Oasis song in over a decade to not go top 10 in the UK was the signal that perhaps Oasis’ time was coming to an end. In the tour that followed, Noel finally got fed up, smashed Liam’s guitar and quit the band.


Conclusion: You know what's coming right?

For an Oasis diehard it's very easy to look back on Oasis' music with fondness. The music has been the soundtrack to my life so it's kind of hard to think of Oasis in any other way. As a chorus to one of their b-sides went, thank you for the good times.