Poll

What are your three favorite songs off the album Songs of Innocence, and how do you feel about the album in 2018?

The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)
7 (7.3%)
Every Breaking Wave
21 (21.9%)
California (There is No End to Love)
6 (6.3%)
Song for Someone
8 (8.3%)
Iris (Hold Me Close)
9 (9.4%)
Volcano
4 (4.2%)
Raised by Wolves
7 (7.3%)
Cedarwood Road
11 (11.5%)
Sleep Like a Baby Tonight
6 (6.3%)
This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now
4 (4.2%)
The Troubles
13 (13.5%)

Total Members Voted: 31

Author Topic: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective  (Read 440 times)

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Offline Vox

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Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« on: October 31, 2018, 03:03:56 PM »
This is the thirteenth part of the U2: Retrospective.  You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login 

After listening to the album now, in the present day, the main part of each post will be to vote for your three favorite songs from each album.  The next parts can be optional (well, the whole thing is “optional”), but I’ll structure my posts like this:
•   When did I first listen to that album?  What is my history with the album?   
•   How do I feel about the album when I listen to it today, versus how I’ve felt about the album in the past?


Top three songs:  “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight,” “Every Breaking Wave, “Cedarwood Road”

Like all U2 records, I had a lot of anticipation for this one.  U2 (Bono in particular) had been alluding to a quick follow-up to No Line on the Horizon very early on.  It seems like every couple of months, between 2010-2014, a band member or Paul McGuinness would say “we hope to release it next ‘fill-in-the-blank.’”  Nothing came until “Ordinary Love,” and then “Invisible,” for free, which ended up being the herald.  I remember hearing rumors in early September 2014 that U2 would perform at that year’s Apple event.  Then there were whispers they would release another new song for free…  I woke up the morning of September 9 hoping I’d at least have a new single to listen to before the day was through, but fully anticipating that nothing would happen at all.  I streamed the event on my work computer, and I was shocked to hear that they were giving away an entire album! Back then I used to commute by bus, so I fired up my phone to make sure I had the album downloaded.  Of all days, that day my phone battery had died – the only time that’s happened to me at work, in fact!  So, I had to wait until I got home.

My first impression of it wasn’t one of being totally blown away.  I remember “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight” really striking me, though.  Still does.  I love the whole sound of that song, and paired with the lyrics, it’s quite a chilling spectacle.  I didn’t mind any of the rest of the record, but I wasn’t amazed by anything else either…  Sometimes, it takes me some time to live with a new U2 album before it really kicks in.  I wondered if that would happen.  But it hasn’t happened with this one yet.  I listened to it for a couple of months, and then I didn’t.  Periodically, I’ve tried to go back to it, in the years since.  I usually skip around on some of the songs, but then I move on.  Recently, if I do pine for a song it’s “Every Breaking Wave.”  That’s a good tune.  Somebody someday is going to use that in a film or a show, it’ll catch on and people will say, “where did that come from?!?”  Parts of the rest of the album have been going through my head since I’ve been giving it some listens for this retrospective, so maybe I’ll have to try to spin it more again…  or not...  I can’t say I have a whole lot of urges for repeat listens on this one.     

For the life of me, I don’t know why I have this reaction to the record.  I’d probably rate it as my third least favorite U2 album.  It seems a little strange, as I really do enjoy Songs of Experience, quite a bit.  Earlier this past summer I listened to both albums back-to-back, and I think I appreciated Songs of Innocence more, paired in this way.  But since that night this summer, I don’t think I’ve listened to more than a track or two from it, until this retrospective.  It’s a bit odd, really.  I just haven’t connected with it.  Maybe I will someday, but just not yet.     



Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2018, 06:32:22 PM »
EBW
California
Iris

I took a 12 year hiatus from U2. I did not follow the release of SOI. I was vaguely aware of the Apple thing and blowback. My mom gave me the CD, I assume for Christmas in 2014 but I don't even remember. I stuffed it in my desk drawer, still in shrink wrap.

In September of 2017, I came back. I started with the old stuff and drank it up like I was parched. I was.

Eventually, I was ready to risk hearing new stuff. I was nervous. I never wanted to feel again the way I felt about Bomb. EBW at the MTV EMAs turned up in my YouTube feed, and I gave it a shot.

I was blown away, ok? I could not believe it. It wasn't like, hey, not bad for an older band. It was like, if I had never heard of them before I would have signed up right then, just like I did all those years ago.

Eventually I looked for the album version of the song and had a different type of heart attack - horror. That pop sh** made my ears bleed. I couldn't even get through the song.

So now what? Should I risk trying the album, trying the new stuff, or just live forever in 1980-2000?

I tried the album.

I was nervous, you understand? EBW was both a rebirth and a death to me. Would SOI be another Bomb for me? Maybe there would be at least a few gems in there.

The Miracle is not a stunning, holy-crap song. But it was a relief to me - it sounded like a song, dammit. One that had some level of personality and distinction. I also liked SfS at first, and RBW, and Cedarwood Road. That was enough to keep working on the album.

It's funny, The Miracle and SFS let me into the album. They were easier than some of the other songs. So even though they didn't keep their status with me - I like them fine now but nothing crazy - they do have a value to me for that.

I ate up the album. One or two songs would light up, then a couple others. Some early songs dimmed, but others kept burning. I got through loterally all of it, which I can't say for ATYCLB and certainly not HTDAAB. Every song got at least a little time as a favorite.

Thank god.

BTW, I did eventually come around to the album version of EBW. I mean, I really like it a lot.

Also, The Crystal Ballroom is a BIG hit with my kid, and my non-U2-liking husband also appears to enjoy it. Kid also likes EBW and RBW a lot.

Offline Vox

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2018, 08:14:52 PM »
I really like “Crystal Ballroom” as well.

Offline zoo adam

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2018, 12:25:05 AM »
For me expectations were low. NLOTH is not a favourite of mine & there was another long wait.

'Invisible' was released & underwhelmed me. 'Ordinary Love' was an improvement.

The next song I heard was the Miracle. A cool song & good choice as lead song. I got excited about listening to the album. 

'EBW' is a great U2 song. 'California' is catchy & has an Edge guitar solo. What's not to like ?

SFS is full of passion but a bit OTT. The passion in RBW, Iris & V is better managed in my view. So 7 songs in & I like them all !

SLAB & 'The Troubles' are U2 trying something different. But not quite hitting the mark for me. 'Cedarwood' is good but not quite the classic it tried to be. TIWYCRMN is similar to 'California'. What's not to like ?

So a strong U2 album.


Offline TongueInMyEar

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2018, 06:56:04 AM »
An odd one for me. Nothing on the album I really hate, but too many middle of the road.

EBW is great song (though the piano version is far better), California has great energy and is catchy. RBW is pretty cool though the vocal effect on the chorus put me off (I've come round to it). The Troubles is excellent ending.

SFS, Cedarwood Road, The Miracle are just a bit bland for me. Iris is nice lyrically, musically it's a bit U2-by-numbers, not bad but not very exciting.

It's near the bottom of their albums for me. Just not enough parts that really grab me. In contrast SOE really hits the spot.

rockatansky

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2018, 07:03:35 AM »
I love the Miracle. Great stomping rock track.  I like Every Breaking Wave and Song For Someone.  The latter video with Woody Harrelson is great.  I can relate to that video, not the prison part but the rekindling of a long lost relationship with his daughter.  The rest I can do without.  The Crystal Ballroom is a nice dance track.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 07:05:59 AM by rockatansky »

rockatansky

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2018, 08:58:09 AM »
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An odd one for me. Nothing on the album I really hate, but too many middle of the road.

EBW is great song (though the piano version is far better), California has great energy and is catchy. RBW is pretty cool though the vocal effect on the chorus put me off (I've come round to it). The Troubles is excellent ending.

SFS, Cedarwood Road, The Miracle are just a bit bland for me. Iris is nice lyrically, musically it's a bit U2-by-numbers, not bad but not very exciting.

It's near the bottom of their albums for me. Just not enough parts that really grab me. In contrast SOE really hits the spot.

That piano version of EBW is simply gorgeous.  Bono's passion singing that song, like that, is something fantastic.

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« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 08:59:54 AM by rockatansky »

Offline 73October

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2018, 02:54:20 PM »
EBW
Iris
Cedarwood Road

All the songs that carried it off live.
Two of them have great stories of growing up.  EBW was a reinterpretation (young love on the rocks?, a father/son relationship?) from the theme of NLOTH (which it was included on late 360 shows)

Liked the album then and still like it as much now, as it really has tried (and succeeded in the main) to capture the spirit of 4 boys becoming men in Dublin in the 70's and early 80's, and then beginning to get noticed outside Ireland (America no less).  It paints a picture of a grim industrial world in a country marginalised geographically and politically - but there is a streak of bright hope through it like a mineral vein - the 4 lads reject the way of the local culture and stride out in the bigger world full of hope, love, joy and wonder. 
I warmed to it from the get-go because I grew up through the 80's and early 90's in an area the other side of the Irish Sea that had a number of similarities culturally and socially.  Life was grim when I was a younger child in a post industrial landscape and there was a big heroin problem in the wider area where I grew up - similar to Dublin at the same time (mid-80's) and a lot of unemployment in some areas.

Offline Sunchild

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2018, 04:09:04 PM »
Every Breaking Wave (piano version) - for its intimacy and authenticity that carries a sense of imperfection
Miracle - For its translated Native American tribal dance tune keeping it together as a foundation, there's openess and beauty of it, U2 has never done this before.
Song For Someone - So direct, authentic, so humane, no presenses and masks, like a boy playing to a girl. Unique song that has no comparison.


Offline Rasmus

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2018, 06:15:35 AM »
For me this is the best album they put out in the new millenium - it barely wins over ATYCLB for me. There are some songs I dont like (SFS is particularly dreadful) but also a lot of great songs. I love the last 3 tracks on the album - up there with their 90's stuff - and RBW, California, Cedarwood Road also very good.
The Miracle suffers a bit on the production imo but theres a great melody in it and ofr me it succeeds in conveying the emotion of a life changing musical experience in their youth. EBW is for me too generic although I know its a lot of peoples favorite track - I just think its ok.

The release of the album was unfortunate and overshadowed the melodies on the album. The Miracle was not the best choice as first single either imo. although its was not too bad. The tracks that didnt make the album are as strong as the ones that did - which also speaks for the quality of the songwriting and the sessions leading up to the album. It is underrated.

Favorite tracks: California, TIWYCRMN, The Troubles

Offline U2alwaysforever

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2018, 01:25:01 PM »
Love the record, I will say that touring massively elevated Cedar to the top 3 for me, the Troubles and Every Breaking wave were my other faves and I think have been since I first heard it. The album gets regular play still for me. But I am the minority U2 fan that likes to hear the new stuff just as often as the classics.

Offline GoldenStateGirl

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2018, 05:12:11 PM »
I had been on a mini-U2 sabbatical from 2009 to 2014.  They were still my all time favorite band, but I was mired in the business of work, marriage, raising kids, etc. and didn't have a lot of time to fangirl. 

I have an iPhone.  I got a free album from my all time favorite band.  SQUEE!  Fangirl mode ON.

I listened to it while grading papers, while sitting at my kid's orchestra rehearsal, in the car while shuttling kids around...and I grew to LOVE it because it reminded me of early U2.

It still feels pretty fresh to me.  My favorite tracks are the guitar-heavy Cedarwood Road, RBW and Volcano.

Runner up: California because it sounds like home

Offline Drumheller

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2018, 06:02:10 PM »
I really like this album.  The idea of looking back to the early days is very relatable.  To me, the album is heartbreaking, defiant and joyous. 

But I'm a fan of the band, so what do I know? 

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2018, 07:59:20 PM »
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But I'm a fan of the band, so what do I know?

In my book, that makes you a genius.

Offline World71R

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Retrospective
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2018, 10:12:32 AM »
Every Breaking Wave, Cedarwood Road, and Sleep Like a Baby Tonight do it for me. The Troubles and California come close, as well. I enjoy the alternate version of The Troubles more, tbh though, but both versions are good. California is a solid power pop rock tune.

Some of the songs on here are real growers, like California, SFS, and Volcano, but they really strike a chord when they do grow on you and sound good. The band really dove into more modern production for this album and ironically it makes it a little more inaccessible at first if you're coming from other U2 albums (at least for me), but it really sounds good after listening to it more and understanding the meanings.

A couple songs that don't sit quite right with me, even after some time with the album, are Iris and The Miracle. Iris is a good tune and a throwback to the '80s and The Miracle is alright, it serves its purpose as an opening rocker, but Iris especially feels like it's missing something, like the guitars should be bigger and more prominent and the guitars on The Miracle feel too simple and the "Oh whoa oh"s sound like too much of a reach for the mainstream. I wouldn't say to replace those two, but they certainly don't stand out to me as much and not as much as at first, in the case of Iris.

All in all, very good album. I wish there had been a place for The Crystal Ballroom and Lucifer's Hands, but I can't complain too much, like with SOE and Book of Your Heart, when the official album is pretty good and strong in an overarching theme that connects all of the songs.