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U2 - Songs of Innocence

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The bonus material on the CD, meanwhile, blows me away-- especially the two new songs. I mean, wow: They're more fun, more energetic, more visceral than anything on the proper album, and nearly as adventurous (especially "Lucifer's Hands") as the most out-there stuff on the LP ("The Troubles," "Sleep Like a Baby Tonight"). Now I want a full disc of U2 running through trashy, nasty little grooves like those.

 

The acoustic material is worthwhile, too. "Every Breaking Wave" is maybe a shade too genteel, too calculated in its orchestration, but it's got a terrifically soulful vocal from Bono. The acoustic "Raised By Wolves" is just as good as the full version, though, and the acoustic "California" plays up the song's inherently lightweight, breezy nature, which suits it well.

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I did finally reset my iTunes password to get the record, and the one Tchad Blake-produced song on the album was the only one that grabbed me sonically.  The rest felt annoyingly MOR.  Not Danger Mouse's finest moment, nor U2's, I'm afraid.

Edited by Holy Moly!

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I did finally reset my iTunes password to get the record, and the one Tchad Blake-produced song on the album was the only one that grabbed me sonically.  The rest felt annoyingly MOR.  Not Danger Mouse's finest moment, nor U2's, I'm afraid.

 

Which is the one Tchad Blake-produced song? I see his involvement in several, usually as a mixer, but never as producer.

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I did finally reset my iTunes password to get the record, and the one Tchad Blake-produced song on the album was the only one that grabbed me sonically.  The rest felt annoyingly MOR.  Not Danger Mouse's finest moment, nor U2's, I'm afraid.

 

Which is the one Tchad Blake-produced song? I see his involvement in several, usually as a mixer, but never as producer.

 

 

You're right, Blake just mixed it.  "The Troubles".  I don't see any other credits for him on the record though?

 

I don't understand having Danger Mouse produce a record and then going so bland and glossy with the mixes.  But I felt the same way about not keeping Eno/Lanois around for the mixes on the last LP.

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U2 makes an appearance playing songs live for about 90 minutes in this stream of a  2-hour BBC radio show. Increasingly pleased with the flexibility of these songs from format to format, version to version.

 

Featuring a surprise performance of a song from more than a decade ago.

Edited by Overstreet

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There has been plenty of speculation about this, but now Bono confirms it: Songs of Innocence will be the first in a trilogy of albums, to be followed by the more "celebratory" Songs of Experience and then, finally, Songs of Ascent.

 

There's also this:

 

 

The band is highly aware of what Bono calls the "shitstorm" over the iTunes giveaway of their new album, Songs of Innocence. Bono says he didn't understand that the album would automatically download itself onto some people's phones. "It's like we put a bottle of milk in people's fridge that they weren't asking for," he says. "It is a gross invasion!" He smiles. "But it was kind of an accident. The milk was supposed to be in the cloud. It was supposed to be on the front doorstep."

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There's some great stuff in that article, especially for just a "preview" of the full article. Love the part about telling Steve Jobs to f___ off. And this is a beautiful explanation of the more intimate tone of SOI:

 

 

 

Bono rewrote the lyrics of "Iris," an intimate song about his late mother, after being deeply moved by the late ISIS hostage James Foley's letter to his family. 
"I realized," Bono says, "that we will all be remembered, and we remember our loved ones, by the least profound moments. The simplest moments. In the letter he says to his brother, 'I remember playing werewolf in the dark with you.' If I make a swift exit, stage left, my family and friends will not be thinking about debt cancelation or, you know, fighting for HIV/AIDS medication, or U2 being on the cover of Rolling Stone, or 50 million people listening to Songs of Innocence.  They might remember some stupid face I made at breakfast."

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I can't get enough of Disc 2.  Audience expectations be damned.  If the band had released the album with the acoustic tracks instead of the what we get on Disc 1, this would have been one of my top U2 albums.  As it is, it's a middle of the pack album in the same realm as Everything You Can't Leave Behind and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, one that I'll play more often than not.  Disc 2 will get much more use.

Edited by John Drew

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New insights:

 

 

"There is talk of doing two different kinds of shows," says Clayton. "One night would be a kind of loud, explosive rock & roll kind of event and then the other night's show take the acoustic arrangements of some of the songs, and kind of present those songs in a much more intimate way. But we don't really know how that's going to sound and look." One thing the band hasn't figured out: how to make sure audiences understand in advance which show they're getting.

 

There's also this:

 

 

Says Bono, "It used to start with 'This Is Where You Can Reach Me,' which was always supposed to be the first song, and then 'Raised By Wolves.' And the reason we changed ... we put the songs first, is we thought, "Well, if we're going to have 5,000,000 people perhaps check us out, a really long intro is probably not a good idea. Let's put the songs first, like on The Joshua Tree."

 

... which seems odd, just because doesn't "Streets" have a pretty long intro?

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No kidding. Man, if the album had started with those two songs, it would have been received more as a rock record than a pop record. Loading all the lighter stuff at the beginning had a lot to do, I think, with the mixed first-impressions. 

 

Of course, my primary criticism of the album is that there aren't enough substantial stretches of music. I *love* long intros.

Edited by Overstreet

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Bono initially imagined "Every Breaking Wave" as somewhat in the vein of Bob Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand." 

"'Every Breaking Wave' was Steve Jobs' favorite song," says Bono, "and he said, 'Do you have one like that?' And I said, 'I think so. At least we started one.' I might have even sent him the lyrics way back, like as soon as I started. And I wouldn't dare compare the two songs now, I'm just saying the idea was, could you just do a song that simple? Like you and piano?   It was a song about how hard it is to give yourself completely to another person. And the two characters in it are addicted to failure and rebirth. I like the idea that they say to each other, 'Are we ready? Are we ready to be swept off our feet?" Adam [Clayton] was more like one of the characters in that song than I am. And then he went and got married! It took him to be 52 or whatever he was to be swept off his feet. And he got there."

 

Huh. I'm pretty sure there's an error in this. I think Bono probably said "'Every Grain of Sand' was Steve Jobs' favorite song, and he said, 'Do you have one like that?'"

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Bono previously apologized for the iTunes thing, but now he's singing a different tune.

 

 

"It's one of the proudest things for us ever," Bono said of the headline-grabbing September promotion.

...

"We got a lot of people who were uninterested in U2 to be mad with U2. And I would call that an improvement in the relationship," he said to loud laughter and applause from the audience.

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"We got a lot of people who were uninterested in U2 to be mad with U2. And I would call that an improvement in the relationship," he said to loud laughter and applause from the audience.

I much prefer this to the silly apology.

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Josh noted this already in the Best Albums of 2014 thread, but we should note it here too: Songs of Innocence is Rolling Stone's #1 album of 2014.

 

There was no bigger album of 2014 – in terms of surprise, generosity and controversy. Songs of Innocence is also the rebirth of the year. Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. put their lives on the line: giving away 11 songs of guitar rapture and frank, emotional tales of how they became a band out of the rough streets and spiritual ferment of Seventies Dublin. This is personal history with details. In the furiously brooding "Cedarwood Road," named after Bono's home address as a boy, he recalls the fear and rage that drove him to punk rock. "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)" is a glam-stomp homage to the misfit voice that inspired Bono to sing. And that's his mother, who died when Bono was 14, still guiding and comforting him in the chorus of "Iris (Hold Me Close)."

 

This is a record full of the band's stories and triumph, memory and confession detonated with adventure and poise. In its range of sounds, there may be no more complete U2 album: The band bonded its founding post-punk values with dance momentum in "Volcano" and the raw, jagged "Raised by Wolves," and humanized the digital pathos of "Every Breaking Wave" and the harrowing "Sleep Like a Baby Tonight" with the vocal folk-soul warmth of The Joshua Tree. "I have a will for survival," Bono sings in the closing track, "The Troubles." Songs of Innocence is the proof – and the emotionally raw rock album of the year, at any price.

 

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Oh man, heads will explode over this. U2's World Aids Day concert in Times Square today is still happening, even though Bono is out of commission. "U2 minus one" will be performing with vocal duties handled by... Bruce Springsteen and Chris Martin!

 

http://www.u2.com/news/title/u2-minus-1-live-in-new-york-tonight

 

They did "Streets" and "Still Haven't Found" with Springsteen last night, "Beautiful Day" and "With or Without You" with Chris Martin.

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