Author Topic: Initial Thoughts on SOE?  (Read 9629 times)

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Offline GoalisSoul40

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #105 on: December 04, 2017, 10:20:11 AM »
Look, everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion on SoE. Art is subjective, etc...For that reason I do not begrudge those who are underwhelmed (apparently a very small minority based on this thread).

But for me, this is their finest work in many years. I hesitate to rank it with their past albums, since that is a fools errand. Each album must stand or fall on its own. I have learned not to compare every new album up against the mind-boggling greatness of an Achtung Baby. To me, this is a late-career classic. Upon repeated listens, I am enjoying it more and more.

Little Things can easily hold up with their greatest work, while Lights of Home, Get out of your own way, The Best Thing About Me, and Blackout are solid contemporary songs. I love the atmospherics, such as in the opening track and love how the penultimate track (Love is bigger..) bookends very nicely with the first track. To me, the album is paradoxically cohesive while exhibiting the band's stylistic diversity very well.  Bravo boys!


Offline scrittoresabino

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #106 on: December 04, 2017, 10:31:28 PM »
Been listening nonstop, on and off, for a few days now.

This is an ALBUM. It has a tone all it's own. There is cohesion. The songs flow brilliantly from one to the next - Some transitions are stealthy smooth, some crash in with a ferocity. Every song informs the next perfectly. The whole is far great than the sum of its parts.

Interestingly, I think this is something subconscious that they listened to, became aware of, and brought to consciousness. Much has been discussed about mortality, as well as experience and borrowing from previous works as well as the art of others. Combining those themes together, there is a sense of exploring beyond self on multiple levels. The songs are not autobiographical, but a communication. Elements are pulled from and inspired by and emulated from others as well as from other forms of themselves. This is not an individual's lone experience. This is a collective experience. It is experience in every sense of the word - of things learned, of being in the moment, of others, of the collective.

The harmonies and choral arrangements and delivery are striking elements to the album. This is something distinctive and used little and sporadicly previously - usually a background counter vocal by Edge. Here they permeate every song on the album in multiple manners from call and response, to full gospel, to pop, R&B, to 60s.

Strangely, while this feels like an album, where the whole is more impactful than the pieces, each one of these is a song standing on it's own. Singles even. These songs feel familiar, yet when you expect them to burst through the clouds in that U2 way, they turn unexpectedly and in many cases understatedly, only to come climb back in a different manner. They soar, but are grounded. They are personal but universal. In subtle ways, they are doing very Un-U2 things right where the U2 thing is expected - The fact that I just used "subtle" to describe anything U2 is "Un-U2" (and I LOVE that they have been bold enough to not want to be subtle most of the time)

Is this the first album since Joshua Tree where every band member seems to shine equally?

PS: I love a lot of these lyrics, but have no idea how "A baby cries on a doorstep" fits (I don't share the same experience of cringe in these words that many do)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 06:09:56 PM by scrittoresabino »

Offline Butch Flowers

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #107 on: December 05, 2017, 06:28:46 AM »
As a jumped up millennial who inherited his parent's love for U2, I went in with low expectations. I don't want to compare this to anything U2's done previously, that's silly. We should remember and reflect on the past, but move forward.

In the modern world musical taste is more fractured than ever before. We have pop giants such as Taylor Swift and then countless outstanding indie bands. In my opinion, SOE excels as U2's take on a modern world. SOE is pure U2: gunning for the mainstream (when haven't they?) and bombastically political in places; yet deeply personal and has plenty of heart. IMO, good luck finding a modern "mainstream" rock record with this much heart and intent behind it.

My 2 cents:
Fantastic. No standout singles (Lights of Home String Version should have been the lead...). But its the most cohesive and interesting package since Zooropa for me.

Offline macky0104

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #108 on: December 05, 2017, 08:00:55 AM »
Like others I've been listening to this album for the last few days and it just keeps on getting better with every listen.

Summer of Love through to Landlady is right up there with Achtung Baby in terms of middle section of an album, just brilliant.

Only criticism is that in You're the Best Thing and Blackout they've choose the weakest songs on the album in their promotion. Not a serious gripe as they are still good songs but just not on par with the others.

I'm pleased for the band as I can see all of these songs go over all live.

I hope this album isn't a sign-off and gives them the confidence to move onto the next stage of their career.



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Offline macky0104

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #109 on: December 05, 2017, 08:02:46 AM »


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Like others I've been listening to this album for the last few days and it just keeps on getting better with every listen.

Summer of Love through to Landlady is right up there with Achtung Baby in terms of middle section of an album, just brilliant.

Only criticism is that in You're the Best Thing and Blackout they've choose the weakest songs on the album in their promotion. Not a serious gripe as they are still good songs but just not on par with the others.

I'm pleased for the band as I can see all of these songs go over all live.

I hope this album isn't a sign-off and gives them the confidence to move onto the next stage of their career.



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*all of these songs going over well live

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Offline 1985

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #110 on: December 05, 2017, 10:41:27 AM »
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PS: I love a lot of these lyrics, but have no idea how "A baby cries on a doorstep" fits (I don't share the same experience of cringe in these words that many do)

First, I like and agree with your review. My own take on this question is that a baby left (in a basket) on a doorstep is a symbol (perhaps now archaic) of abandonment--mother leaving her child for someone else to care for because she is unable to do so. Not something that we hear in the news so much anymore. "Love is all we have left" starts us out on a dark note of resignation. "Baby cries on a doorstep" encapsulates the grimness in a phrase. "So many ways of seeing. Hey this is no time not to be alive" counters with a gesture toward hope overcoming abandonment.

Offline NateV

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #111 on: December 05, 2017, 01:51:04 PM »
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PS: I love a lot of these lyrics, but have no idea how "A baby cries on a doorstep" fits (I don't share the same experience of cringe in these words that many do)

First, I like and agree with your review. My own take on this question is that a baby left (in a basket) on a doorstep is a symbol (perhaps now archaic) of abandonment--mother leaving her child for someone else to care for because she is unable to do so. Not something that we hear in the news so much anymore. "Love is all we have left" starts us out on a dark note of resignation. "Baby cries on a doorstep" encapsulates the grimness in a phrase. "So many ways of seeing. Hey this is no time not to be alive" counters with a gesture toward hope overcoming abandonment.

My idea is this is Bono’s take on 1 Corinthians 13. The biblical chapter on love.

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Hence, in the end love is all we have left is a very positive message.

Could the baby crying on the doorstep be the Christmas Child, waiting to be received?

Offline EdgeUK8_my_mind

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #112 on: December 05, 2017, 05:20:19 PM »
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U2 now are the following all rolled into one:
1. That Irish band with the annoying front man
2. music of your parents
3. pushing 60 years old in age
4. musicians playing an "extinct" genre
5. have songs that have complete lyrics unlike top40 today that just repeat 1-line choruses the entire song

All those circumstances make them the only one of their kind.  U2 will never be a Top 40 band again, they will never hit the radio again.

Given all that, they have written the BEST album a band of those circumstances could possible have.

Lyrics are life lessons and experiences that only they can write.  Melodies/tunes are ear candy and pleasing even all the way until side B of the album.  Music highlights the musicianship the band have attained now with years of mastering their instruments as the songs are structured in something they could not have written in their youth.

This will never be an Achtung Baby or Joshua Tree, but it's no dud like No Line On The Horizon.  It's like a defocused Songs Of Innocence, because that album was too specific with moments, events, and incidents that it's harder to people to make it their.  It's Songs Of Innocence with broader brush strokes, but with tunes that would like be the best of side A of both ATYCLB and HTDAAB rolled into one.  This is an album that has no side B to me.

U2 are being the best band they can possibly be give these circumstances.

Cheers,

J
I think this is the best post I have ever seen from Jick. You are right on the money.


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Offline Clarky

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #113 on: December 05, 2017, 05:26:14 PM »
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For me, I think I have finally found the successor for WOWY. And it's..Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way.  I love it so much I feel like crying deep inside I don't know why.

This. I literally get a swell of emotion almost every time I hear it and get watery eyes...such a beautiful, heartfelt song.

Offline boomchild

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #114 on: December 05, 2017, 06:52:40 PM »
i dont know why.
But I'm pretty underwhelmed.

From first listen to now probably my least favourite of all the u2 albums.

I'm not enjoying most of it.

Red Flag Day would be my stand out.

The black out would be great but the mix on the album has tamed it.

The rest all feel pretty similar to me.

I'm glad so many fans are liking it. To me it feels light. A lot of the songs have been rehashed from previous better material and some songs have just been grabbed from other musicians.

I look forward though to the live versions and hope u2 can show me what I'm missing.

Once a long time ago I listened to Achtung baby and didn't get it til I saw it live and my mind was blown.



Offline Delvis Crasho

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #115 on: December 05, 2017, 10:00:55 PM »
So this must be how Bowie fans felt from 1984 to about 1995. Those in the know regard that period as quite fruitless and uninspired and that's kind of the feeling I get from my favorite band lately. It was also the period that plagued the artist after his tremendous hit of Let's Dance.

Don't get me wrong - I do not think those that love Experience are wrong or foolish; it's just I am finding it harder and harder to understand why it takes them so long to come up with some of this rubbish.

"Get out of Your Own Way" is musically and melodically fantastic but is lyrically abysmal and up there with Bono's worst like "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" and "Stand Up Comedy."

"American Soul" is a perfect example of the band taking a great idea of a song (I'm referring to "Glastonbury") and then just overworking the magic out of it.

I don't think I'll even touch on "Love Is Bigger..."

My favorites are those that do not preach to me and do not try and tell me about "love" or life or whatever the hell Bono thinks I should know. "Landlady" keeps spellbinding me and, even now after many many listens, I truly love "You're The Best Thing About Me." "Red Flag Day" is also a standout because the message seems to fully lock into the music and vice versa. I knew when I pre-ordered the album that, regardless of the title, that "Book of Your Heart" would most likely be exceptional and I was not wrong. That one is definitely a b-side but it is also a keeper. "The Showman," despite reminding me of "Jessie's Girl," is also infectious and worth adding to a playlist.

Maybe I'm different (I still listen to Songs of Innocence regularly) in that I have always preferred the band when they are looser and less preachy and, most importantly, when they don't sound like they're trying so hard. And this album definitely sounds like they're trying. While I do not agree with the D+ rating, I do think the review over at AV Club is kind of accurate. For those curious here it is: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 10:05:08 PM by Delvis Crasho »

Offline Milk/Korova_1

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #116 on: December 06, 2017, 12:35:28 AM »
I'm up there with Delvis Crasho. It's not a great album for me, Book Of Your Heart the only exception. Not a b-side at all, would have been a great albumtrack in the 90's.
I also do like the emotion-packed The Little Things, where the emotions don't sound empty but honest and real.

I will continue to give the album an occassional spin. But it won't be added to my list of regularly played U2 albums (JT, AB, Zooropa, Pop, NLOTH, SOI).

Offline TongueInMyEar

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #117 on: December 06, 2017, 06:56:31 AM »
At the moment it feels like their most cohesive album since ATYCLB.

The Good:
The order of tracks is brilliant, as others have said it feels like a proper album, starting with LIAWHL makes a nice change from trying to sprint out the traps every time.

The 5 song run from Summer Of Love to Landlady is amazing. Red Flag Day definitely has War-era vibes, Showman is a nice pop song with great self-aware lyrics from Bono. Little Things is my favourite U2 song for probably 17 years, the change to the "Sometimes..." section gives me tingles. And Landlady is a beautiful song for Ali.

Last 2 songs are perfect way to end. I've said elsewhere on the forum Love Is Bigger done nothing for me on first few listens, but at some point this week I found myself swept away with it.

The Bad:
Choice of singles/promo tracks was poor. I like YTBTAB and GOOYOW, but for me Red Flag Day, Summer Of Love, Little Things would have made better singles. I think we will get Little Things as a single at some point.

American Soul doesn't do much for me though I prefer it to Volcano (an obvious companion). The Blackout I just can't get into. I kind of get why people are talking about Achtung Baby vibes from it, but it's nowhere near the quality from that album.

Offline TongueInMyEar

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #118 on: December 06, 2017, 08:57:50 AM »
Oh and Bono's vocals overall are better than they've been for a while. More singing in lower registers I think, which suits him.

Offline Manos73

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Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
« Reply #119 on: December 06, 2017, 09:25:30 AM »
Maybe it's because I've been busy with finals but. . . I haven't been spinning the new record much. It's we constructed and all. Dunno. Not sure if it will have much lasting power for me.