By Scott T. Sterling
The new U2 album, quite frankly, is a lot.
Far from a hastily-made affair dashed off to cash in on the enormous goodwill the band built up over the course of this year’s anniversary tour for The Joshua Tree, U2’s latest studio effort sounds like an inspired veteran band working hard to make relevant, vital music in 2017.
Spread across 17 tracks (including three bonus tracks and a Kygo remix), Songs of Experience feels affected by the band’s nostalgic tour, with elements of that era’s beloved sound readily apparent throughout the album.
This should be all good news for U2 fans, as there is plenty of strong material to take in here. These are our five favorites from U2’s Songs of Experience.
“You’re the Best Thing About Me”
U2 scored with the album’s first single, which juxtaposes a loose guitar riff with a rousing chorus. The uplifting anthem is sure to elevate spirits on the band’s upcoming tour. The Kygo remix is worth a spin also, effectively taking the tune’s joy to the dance floor.
“Get Out of Your Own Way”
Bono delivers a dose of self-help inspiration over a chugging track reminiscent of U2’s glory days. Refined to a fine production point, it’s another new track that will fit seamlessly with the band’s classics in a live setting.
“Red Flag Day”
This urgent track lurches with the nervous energy of late ’70s/early ’80s post-punk, with Adam Clayton’s bass lines battling the Edge’s slashing, razor-sharp guitars. The distant backing vocals in the chorus are reminiscent of the band’s earliest releases, like something that could be found on the October album.
“The Showman (Little More Better)”
This raucous little tune builds on a catchy acoustic guitar riff that bursts into a rousing, shout-along chorus packed with upbeat energy. Tucked away in the song are sparkling examples of the Edge’s brilliant guitar-playing, which is a highlight throughout the album.
“Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way”
Few bands can craft a soul-stirring emotional anthem like U2. Add this track to the band’s collection of big, stadium-shaking tearjerkers perfect for closing a concert set. Bono’s still has the ability to tap into simple, human moments and transform them into life-affirming musical moments through the power of his voice and sheer, unflagging determination. U2’s undying dedication to always trying to be the biggest band in the world is genuinely inspiring. Songs of Experience is better for it and a worthy representation of that noble and ongoing effort.