U2 - Songs of Experience Album Review

Story posted December 5, 2017 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Jack Grossman

U2 has been a band that can be seen as struggling with their music, as they haven’t had a good reception since the 1990s. The band comes forward with a rock album to close off the year and it’s painfully average. Songs of Experience is roughly an hour in length, so dedicated fans are in for a treat, and casual listeners might have to trek through a bit. It is essentially another installment in the artificial rock era of U2: a combination of both pop and rock sounds to create something that is neither good nor bad.

U2’s sound has evolved into something that has deviated from what made them originally popular, but that does not mean it is not popular among a certain niche. Their fans will appreciate the music, which is littered with classic rock sounds and composition. Lyrically, there are no major feats. “Get Out of Your Own Way” and “American Soul” are intended to be popular songs - catchy, fun and something that the entire family can enjoy. It plays its part very well and they are both very fun and energetic listens.

The majority of Songs of Experience is unfortunately full of songs that are simply average at best. The length of time as mentioned before can potentially throw casual listeners off, but it makes it a very good music to have playing in the background.

The features on this album are quite unique as well. Returning the favor of Bono’s appearance on DAMN. is Kendrick Lamar, tailing at the end of “Get out of Your Own Way” and the very beginning of “American Soul,” completely uncredited. It was a nice surprise to hear Lamar on the album and he is used in a way that doesn’t feel like it was part of an obligation.

Comparing to previous U2 works, Songs of Experience flaunts better composition and mixing than Songs of Innocence, but it lacks what made U2 so well received amongst the popular masses. However, it is a commendable effort by Bono and the rest to put out the album they did as they have taken several creative liberties to create something that backs on what they’ve done before. It is not a necessarily active or good attempt, but it is not as negative as what one might think.

Overall, the mediocrity of the album is what sets it apart. The songs themselves vary from catchy and exciting to boring and repetitive. Every stride that U2 makes quickly regresses backwards into something that is not new and frankly tiring. Bono and the rest of the band have (after several attempts) created the most indifferent piece of music in a long time, which is a bad sign for the band if they want to keep producing music. Perhaps in the future they change their sound or means of writing, but U2 more than anybody out there needs a fresh coat of paint and a sound that makes them unique again.

Rating: 5/10


Jack Grossman is a sophomore majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jackdgrossman@gmail.com.