Author Topic: SOE - A retrospective  (Read 835 times)

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Offline Sevy2016

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SOE - A retrospective
« on: October 12, 2018, 03:04:09 AM »
As SOE is almost a year old what are your thoughts on it now?

I think on first visit itís a little simplistic in tone and musicality but after coming back to
it a lot, ultimately thatís its strength. Lyrically it has few hiccups and I think it continues to grow on me the more I listen to it. Iím 34 and itís themes I can relate to and appreciate.
What do you all make of it now?




Offline guidowater

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2018, 12:36:01 PM »
I excualy like it a lot. It is in my personal top 5 for sure.

Strange thing is that the best song in my opinion is a b side. I just love the book of your heart but the whole album is great.

When I forest heart American soul I thought o yeah an uptempo song from u2 with a nice beat I love that. But after a year I just skip this song every time. Its a missed chance and I don't think it fits the album.

I can put this album on every day. The nice thing is that there are parts that fit every mood your in and that is what an album is for me. Just something I can put on every mood I'm in. Like achtung baby, like pop and like the joshua tree.

Offline zoo adam

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2018, 01:15:07 PM »
It is perfectly listenable. A couple of songs too long.

I was hoping for another 'Songs of Innocence' & certainly would not have complained about that after a shorter than usual wait.  But it didn't arrive.

'Love is all we have left' is not a patch on the cool 'Miracle' as an opener. Different types of songs, but only one does it for me.

Thought 'Lights of Home' would become my next 'Every Breaking Wave'. But it never quite got there although I like it.

'Best thing' is fine, but prefer California.

GOOYOW is fluffy although I like the way it merges into AS.

'American Soul' is full of passion, but again prefer the passionate songs of 'Iris', 'Volcano' or 'Raised by Wolves'.

'Little Things' threatens to be the U2 classic I expected after seeing it premiered on Jimmy Fallon. However the watered down production lets it down.

Poor production on 'The Blackout' as well which does not help an already average song.

'Red Flag Day' & 'Summer of Love' are album tracks that will not break out to become fan favourites in years to come.

'Landlady' is as touching as 'Showman' is forgettable.

'Love is Bigger' is overblown. But U2 can pull off 'overblown'.

'13' really finishes the album off on a sombre note. Which is nothing new or wrong. But it does seem like something U2 rustled up one afternoon & unwisely decided to keep.

---------

U2 would have been slaughtered if there had been a 5 year wait for SOE. After they had said it would be a quick follow up to SOI. However I suspect another 2 years work may have produced another great album.

SOE is good  & impressive considering U2 completed 2 big tours & recorded the album in 3 years. But I don't return to the songs often.




Offline laoghaire

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2018, 02:28:32 PM »
I listened to the album in the car last weekend with my family - first time listening to the whole album in the car.

One thing I noticed about that particular experience is that the moods of the album came across well. There was some chatter for some songs, some singing along for some, and dead silence for some, and it all seemed heavily influenced by the mood of the music. For example, singing for AS, chatter for SOL, dead silence for Little Things, chatter for Landlady (kids like that song so chatter wasn't a diss, it just seemed to be a relief of tension after the heavy Little Things), high point for kids was The Blackout. So there was an emotional arc even if you're not engaged in song meanings.

I felt like it was a solid album that held up well. I listened every day for months but now just sometimes, and I'm always pleased when I do. My least favorite is Best Thing, and I still find it very listenable.

Offline ian ryan

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2018, 08:34:46 PM »
I still feel itís one of their four touchstone albums, after Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and ATYCLB. Not to say itís as good as Achtung Baby, but what the release of the album means, given the current state of rock, where U2 are at as people, and the quality of the two prior albums (I love them both, but they are missing an energy that the best U2 albums have), definitely makes it one of the bandís most important albums. I still listen to it regularly as an album, not for individual tracks. If U2 had released a similar album after Atomic Bomb, their half-decade of Bono asking ďWhy are U2 still here?Ē could have been avoided.

rockatansky

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2018, 07:57:19 AM »
I haven't taken very warmly to SOI or SOE.  Maybe a part of the problem is I haven't listened to the albums in one go.  I have randomly picked tracks to listen to. Could be the album would come in better if listened to in whole.
The one thing that really bothers me in SOI or SOE is the feeling that Edge's guitar has taken a backseat.  I don't know if it's the producers or Edge himself.  But I miss those soaring Edge guitar trademarks.  I guess I still am in the War, TUF and TJT mode of listening. 

Offline TongueInMyEar

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2018, 05:16:28 AM »
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I still feel itís one of their four touchstone albums, after Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and ATYCLB. Not to say itís as good as Achtung Baby, but what the release of the album means, given the current state of rock, where U2 are at as people, and the quality of the two prior albums (I love them both, but they are missing an energy that the best U2 albums have), definitely makes it one of the bandís most important albums. I still listen to it regularly as an album, not for individual tracks. If U2 had released a similar album after Atomic Bomb, their half-decade of Bono asking ďWhy are U2 still here?Ē could have been avoided.

This is an excellent summary, and pretty much how I view it. Even more so after seeing E&I tour, it seems to have given them a new lease.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2018, 07:39:26 AM »
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I haven't taken very warmly to SOI or SOE.  Maybe a part of the problem is I haven't listened to the albums in one go.  I have randomly picked tracks to listen to. Could be the album would come in better if listened to in whole.
The one thing that really bothers me in SOI or SOE is the feeling that Edge's guitar has taken a backseat.  I don't know if it's the producers or Edge himself.  But I miss those soaring Edge guitar trademarks.  I guess I still am in the War, TUF and TJT mode of listening.

Yeah, I can't say SOE is an Edge trademark album, though I also can't say that he hasn't left his work all over it - just maybe not the way we expected. We do get pure trademark Edge in Little Things, so trademark we could have complained about it, but no, it was right where we needed to hear it.

Drms and bass figure in a big way on SOE. Adam's hooks on RFD and The Blackout are to die for, and Larry's drumming on Lights of Home is just nuts.

I do think SOE is an album, not a collection of songs - even more so than SOI.

Can't say you'll ever like it but back when it came out the comment I kept reading was that it was a grower, that people described having to play the album over and over. I took that advice myself, patiently playing it front to back, giving it a chance. My reaction each time was: "hm." That's all I had. One day I remember clearly saying to myself, "maybe this album DOES suck." I thought maybe I'd give up on it.


Literally the next day I got the urge to listen again - an urge, not just me patiently scheduling in a listen like before. And it blew up that day for me. I didn't love every single song all at once or anything, but the whole album just came into focus. I described months ago here that I felt like I needed the right ears to hear it, and suddenly it was in color.

Here are a few connections to old sounds, if it helps:
Red Flag Day - could have come off of War. Obviously a modern sound but the energy and theme, but also Bono's vocals here are so young-sounding.
Little Things - the Sometimes part is claaaaaassic U2 from all four guys, but like I said, we get Edge chimes too.
Lights of Home - bluesy gospel hearkening back to JT/RH days.
American Soul - modern Bullet, complete with Hendrix sound.

And a couple of non-U2 callbacks:
The Showman - does not ring a bell for me as an old U2 sound, but the style of the song is old fashioned in some way I can't put my finger on.
Love is Bigger - I think of Queen, actually. I can see Freddy doing his stagework on this one.

rockatansky

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2018, 08:23:20 AM »
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I haven't taken very warmly to SOI or SOE.  Maybe a part of the problem is I haven't listened to the albums in one go.  I have randomly picked tracks to listen to. Could be the album would come in better if listened to in whole.
The one thing that really bothers me in SOI or SOE is the feeling that Edge's guitar has taken a backseat.  I don't know if it's the producers or Edge himself.  But I miss those soaring Edge guitar trademarks.  I guess I still am in the War, TUF and TJT mode of listening.

Yeah, I can't say SOE is an Edge trademark album, though I also can't say that he hasn't left his work all over it - just maybe not the way we expected. We do get pure trademark Edge in Little Things, so trademark we could have complained about it, but no, it was right where we needed to hear it.

Drms and bass figure in a big way on SOE. Adam's hooks on RFD and The Blackout are to die for, and Larry's drumming on Lights of Home is just nuts.

I do think SOE is an album, not a collection of songs - even more so than SOI.

Can't say you'll ever like it but back when it came out the comment I kept reading was that it was a grower, that people described having to play the album over and over. I took that advice myself, patiently playing it front to back, giving it a chance. My reaction each time was: "hm." That's all I had. One day I remember clearly saying to myself, "maybe this album DOES suck." I thought maybe I'd give up on it.


Literally the next day I got the urge to listen again - an urge, not just me patiently scheduling in a listen like before. And it blew up that day for me. I didn't love every single song all at once or anything, but the whole album just came into focus. I described months ago here that I felt like I needed the right ears to hear it, and suddenly it was in color.

Here are a few connections to old sounds, if it helps:
Red Flag Day - could have come off of War. Obviously a modern sound but the energy and theme, but also Bono's vocals here are so young-sounding.
Little Things - the Sometimes part is claaaaaassic U2 from all four guys, but like I said, we get Edge chimes too.
Lights of Home - bluesy gospel hearkening back to JT/RH days.
American Soul - modern Bullet, complete with Hendrix sound.

And a couple of non-U2 callbacks:
The Showman - does not ring a bell for me as an old U2 sound, but the style of the song is old fashioned in some way I can't put my finger on.
Love is Bigger - I think of Queen, actually. I can see Freddy doing his stagework on this one.

Going through my third listen of the album while I'm writing this.  I think it would help if I had a better understanding/knowledge of Blake's work.  Might help to bridge the gap into the overall theme.  I'm sensing of course love but also mortality.  I like the album as a cohesive work.  Need to chew on it some more. It's a difficult one for me since I'm way old school.  One thing that strikes me is the production.  For some reason, it feels too slick to me.  Not raw enough.  Just a thought.  Will be back with a more comprehensive take.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2018, 08:59:10 AM »
It's slick for sure but it's still U2!

By that I mean, what was in the old rawness is still there. The emotions, vulnerability, the care and even the pi**ed-off-ness, though the latter has been tempered by the years and with maturity.

You don't need to read Blake, you're off the hook there. Blake was just the trigger for an idea.

The theme of the e+i show is: wisdom is the recovery of innocence at the far end of experience.

You're spot on about the love and mortality themes. Really, Bono's been trying to say something for the last 38 years, and this is the latest go, from his current perspective.

What do you look for in U2? What keeps you coming back for more? I look for strength rooted in love, blooms in the face of adversity. If I knew what you were looking for I could maybe point out bits of it in SOE. If it's rawness in the music itself, though, I might be stumped - but I could find emotions behind it for sure.

rockatansky

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2018, 09:26:45 AM »
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It's slick for sure but it's still U2!

By that I mean, what was in the old rawness is still there. The emotions, vulnerability, the care and even the pi**ed-off-ness, though the latter has been tempered by the years and with maturity.

You don't need to read Blake, you're off the hook there. Blake was just the trigger for an idea.

The theme of the e+i show is: wisdom is the recovery of innocence at the far end of experience.

You're spot on about the love and mortality themes. Really, Bono's been trying to say something for the last 38 years, and this is the latest go, from his current perspective.

What do you look for in U2? What keeps you coming back for more? I look for strength rooted in love, blooms in the face of adversity. If I knew what you were looking for I could maybe point out bits of it in SOE. If it's rawness in the music itself, though, I might be stumped - but I could find emotions behind it for sure.

What I look for in u2 is hope, guidance, a release of emotion, spirituality, love, meaning in life and the ability to rock 'n roll.  :). I love those huge soaring anthems that were so prevalent in early U2.  Not to say they aren't now but they seem more subdued.  U2 and their music represent to me everything that is good in the world.  Or at least the hope of "good".  It's a complex thing. 

Overall though, I definitely defer to what you said: "strength rooted in love, blooms in the face of adversity".  That's a fantastic, beautiful way to summarize it and one that I share.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2018, 10:43:47 AM »
Ah, the soaring anthems. Yes, they are more subdued.

Love is Bigger is the anthem on SOE. Fans are divided on it - love it, or find it too cheesy. We do get a very good howl in the chorus of the album version. It's guidance, a passing of the torch to his son, but to all of us really. And it's hope in a big way. There's a call ack to Please (love is bigger, it's bigger than us) but without the bitterness.

As I mentioned, Little Things is the emotional climax, and I personally think it's Bad-level. He doesn't quite hit the high notes of "I'm wide awake" but he frickin bleeds in this song nevertheless. It's different from the usual stuff where he lends his strength and tells us we're strong too - because he is the one who is afraid this time. I actually shed tears the first few times I really heard it, and that's why. Bono is "not afraid of anything in this world" but now "all the darkness is swarming, and it covers me in fear." Whoa.

It's still our man, though, baring his heart on his sleeve like always, which is itself an act of strength and faith and love. He feels the shadow of death on him, and it's different now. At 20, death was going to have to fight him for it - "I fought fate, there's blood on the garden gate." But now it's "has the hunter now become the prey?"

Hope and love pervades the entire album as always but at this emotional climax, it gets pretty bleak. But hope and love is the foundation of this song too. I can't prove it, but I think the second round of "the end is here" is different from the first. The first is terror. The second is not. His voice rings reassuringly, centered and strong as the song ends. Has he accepted his fate? Has he regrouped his faith? Or is it a different kind of end that is here - something good, something to be embraced? I don't know but I hear it.

The other stuff you mentioned, hope, guidance, emotions, etc. is all in the album in the same proportions we demand - imho. The rock and roll too, imho (though, yeah, there's some pop too).

Offline laoghaire

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2018, 10:54:56 AM »
Some soaring places:

Summer of Love
Oh, when all is lost, when all is lost we find out what remains
Oh, same oceans crossed, for some it's pleasure, for some it's pain

Red Flag Day
One word that the sea can't say, is - no, no, no, no
(Like "sing: no more!" In SBS)

Lights of Home
In your eyes of love, I see the lights of home

Offline Rasmus

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2018, 05:28:22 PM »
It's mediocre in their discography. It has some standout like Summer of Love and 13 but too many fillers and boring pop songs to even be considered against their classics. I think SOI is better album.

rockatansky

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Re: SOE - A retrospective
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2018, 07:26:39 AM »
As a wise person once wrote, with a slight modification by me:

Arghh. This song. This album. Arghh.

ME --->>>FRUSTRATED

Why can't we have something like this: Focus not on the political message (I know it's almost impossible to do) BUT instead on the sheer PASSION, the badass Edge's guitar keeping pace - (he's attacking that f****** guitar) and then soaring, Larry killing the drums with that martial beat, Adam's heavy propulsive bass AND best of all Bono's voice at its height but breaking apart at one point due to his intensity.  So vulnerable, so real, so STRONG.  This is U2, damn it. I can't get out of the past and sadly don't know if I want to.

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I'm really trying to move past, embrace the new U2, God knows I am.  But.......