There is no denying that U2 is one of a few rock bands to stay relevant while sticking to the original DNA that knitted the group together more than 40 years ago. The band surpassed disco, punk, arena-rock, pop-synth, grunge and alternative, and soars above the latest mashup of trap-rock with their 14th studio release, Songs of Experience.
The title is appropriate in many ways, but the clearest interpretation could be that this is a record of applying everything that has sonically conquered more than a career of home runs, curveballs and baseline grounders. Ireland’s flagship quartet delivers stunning rockers and delicate softies, gleaning inspiration from the current landscape of troubadours and analog-revival junkies. The expectation level for this record is well below the pop radar, and that’s where magic is made and secured.
Bono captures the essence best in the slide-crunching “Lights of Home” (“I believe my best days are ahead”), and with locked arms we will march into new beginnings with renewed inspiration and determination while blaring “Love Is Better Than Anything in Its Way.”
Overall, Songs of Experience is the newest literal and figurative road trip soundtrack to welcome this New Year with open arms.
– Chris Rucker