Poll

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

Love Is All We Have Left
6 (9.1%)
Lights of Home
10 (15.2%)
You're the Best Thing About Me
4 (6.1%)
Get Out of Your Own Way
5 (7.6%)
American Soul
2 (3%)
Summer of Love
5 (7.6%)
Red Flag Day
7 (10.6%)
The Showman (Little More Better)
0 (0%)
The Little Things That Give You Away
10 (15.2%)
Landlady
3 (4.5%)
The Blackout
2 (3%)
Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way
8 (12.1%)
13 (There Is a Light)
4 (6.1%)

Total Members Voted: 21

Author Topic: Songs of Experience: Retrospective  (Read 429 times)

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Offline Vox

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Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« on: November 14, 2018, 12:44:02 PM »
This is the fourteenth 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:  “Love Is Bigger Than Anything in its Way,” “American Soul,” “You’re the Best Thing About Me”

I took December 1, 2017, off work.  I had it set to download, so I got up at 7:30 a.m. and immediately listened to it from beginning to end.  I liked it.  At 10:00 in the morning I drove to the nearest Best Buy to pick up a couple physical copies of the album, and then I listened to it several more times.  What I remember most from that day was the way the bridge of “Love Is Bigger Than Anything in its Way” sent goosebumps up my arms and tears into my eyes the first several times I heard it.  It was like a Pavlovian response each time the bridge in that song came up.  THAT’S why I love music – stuff like that…  I listened to the album several times over the weekend.

But truth be told, I soon began to drift away from the record relatively quickly.  By Christmas time, I was worried that Songs of Experience would go the route of Songs of Innocence – an album I was a bit “blah,” about right from the start and tuned out early on…  However, within the first few weeks of 2018 I started listening again – often times front-to-back, once or twice a week.  Suddenly, something “clicked” and I finally “got it.”  A song like “You’re the Best Thing About Me,” which I was on the fence about, suddenly leapt out and grabbed hold of me.  Parts of various other songs which I was iffy about had suddenly became revelations. 

“The Little Things That Give You Away” finally revealed itself to me last spring.  Very powerful.  At various times, I would have listed “Lights of Home,” “The Blackout,” and “Red Flag Day” in my top three songs from the album.  For that matter, I can’t remember ever skipping “Summer of Love.”  My wife doesn’t care for U2 but her favorite from this record (by far) is “The Showman” – I like when U2 try fun songs like that one.  The end of “Landlady” is quite awesome and groovy, though I’d probably list that song and “13” as least favorites.  “Love is All We Have Left” is its own special beast, for me…  I also never skip that song and I think it’s quite remarkable…  In fact, it’s the U2 song that’s most likely to be in my head when I wake up in the morning.  What haven’t I mentioned yet?  “Get Out of Your Own Way”?  Damn, that song’s fine too.  My favorite three songs are much maligned on this website, but I love them.

This album took some time to ferment.  But I find it to be quite good.  I’d place it in my upper-middle tier of favorite U2 albums, which is quite an impressive feat this far into my love affair with the band.   



Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2018, 01:05:17 PM »
Red Flag Day
Little Things
American Soul

This album required, for me,  a gestation period to grow ears to receive it. For a period of time it was strictly "meh" - though fortunately better than HTDAAB from the first listen for me.

GOOYOW was the first song that gelled for me. Then Lights of Home. I don't remember the order for everything but it went from "maybe this really does suck" to "I'm so freaking excited I have to run out and join a forum to express how I feel about it, and buy tickets to a show I can't afford and have no idea how I'm going to get to."

I know not everybody here is taken with the album but it was a gift to me. I'm proud of what they did and that feels really good.

I also love that it feels like an ALBUM.

Offline miryclay

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2018, 03:58:17 PM »
13 is the new 40. sh** on record but came together in a live setting.

I have to leave now to watch 'the 27 club' movie.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2018, 06:07:04 PM »
Top 3:

LIAWHL
Landlady
Love is Bigger

Album is in my bottom group of U2 albums...down there with Zooropa and SOI.  All three have a few good songs but are the least consistent U2 albums.  Unlike some others I don’t necessarily think U2 is finished.  I think another revival is still possible.


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Offline Jdelbove

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2018, 10:56:54 PM »
SOE is a top 5 U2 album for me.  Could use more Edge (he is there in the background and his playing is innovative and  appropriate but its missing a great guitar song or two) but Bono, Larry and Adam really shine.  I particularly think Bono's lyrics are consistently great as are his vocals, love the use of his lower register on 13, love is all we have left and book of your heart.

I had a lot of trouble picking my 3 favorites which really shows me how good the album is, except for American Soul which is pretty bad dad rock in my opinion.

Lights of home, Red flag day and Love is bigger are my 3 favorites.

I also love the little things, landlady, summer of love and the blackout.  Ugh I also really enjoy love is all we have left and 13 - nice mellow tracks. 

Offline miryclay

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2018, 01:50:08 AM »
American Soul is edgier than Dad Rock.

Offline BONO31

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2018, 05:38:51 AM »
The Blackout
Lights of Home
Summer of Love

But it's very difficult to choose, because
Love is all we have left
Landlady
Red Flag Day
are great songs too.

To me, "Songs of Experience" might be U2 best album ever, but it's too soon to know.

My all time favorite U2 albums are "PoP" and "Achtung Baby",
I'm a U2 fan since 1991, and I feel like "Songs of Experience" is up there with those 2 records...
Only time will tell!!!

Offline Bundang Dave

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2018, 06:51:19 PM »
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Because of my age, I'm caught in a time machine.  One that keeps returning to the past.  I can't shake it and don't want to.  Some of my ONLY good memories are tied to those early albums. I've been a fan since 1982 when October came out.  I saw U2 performing War in 1983 in a crowd of 300 people for $5 a ticket. I won't let go of the past for a few good pop songs.  Sorry.

No need to denigrate your opinions; they're as valid as anyone's here.

Just wondering: what you think of Red Flag Day? It at least tries to capture the War sound and spirit.

Offline Luzita

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2018, 07:49:54 PM »
Top 3, in order:

Little Things
Red Flag Day
Lights of Home

I’m also very fond of The Showman and 13.

I like this album quite a lot. I would rank it about 6th in their discography, so in the top half. Some terrific songs, some good ones, some that are kind of meh, but no bad ones.

I agree it isn’t very coherent as an album, but I think that may be due to the late revision that took some of the songs in a more political direction. U2 are and have always been political as well as personal in their themes, but I think on songs like Blackout and GOOYOW and American Soul, where the political was a late addition, the splices show. As opposed to, say, Red Flag Day or Summer of Love, which deal with the “political” theme of the refugee crisis in a more organic way. The lyrics on much of the album are very strong, but get clunky in some of those revised songs.

The first time I heard the album, I liked it, but it took further listens to absorb the depth (as is often the case with U2, of course). What did stand out to me on first listen were some of the lyrics. In Landlady, for example, when he talks about knocking on the door and Ali telling him he has the key and him wondered how she knows it’s him. That was so specifically personal and real. Also in 13, when he’s singing softly, but with such emotional profundity, lines such as “the world comes stealing children from their room.” I think the main theme of this album is really family, especially family as experienced by middle-aged adults who know what it means to have life-long relationships and to see the children you raised venturing out on their own and to feel death approaching. I think the album would have been stronger if they — namely Bono — had resisted the temptation to become more pointedly political.


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Offline TongueInMyEar

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2018, 05:55:06 AM »
Having spent the last 2 weeks going through all their albums chronologically I still have this in my top half, probably around 5th spot.

Some of the strongest song writing (from a pop perspective) of their career. For my top 3 I picked LIAWHL, Little Things and Love Is Bigger, but GOOYOW, Red Flag Day, Landlady could all have been picked. Showman gets a lot of hate but I think it's a great wee song, a Wild Honey of this album.

I just love the whole experience (excuse the pun) of listening to this album.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2018, 06:58:38 AM »
I found the tone on RFD striking, too, but I like it - like SLABT. But SLABT is sarcastic, RFD is something different, not sarcasm for sure. Could the singer be putting on a show of hope for whoever is being sung to? Or perhaps the song is supposed to be disorienting for the listener?

I don't know. But I do 100% trust that Bono isn't being disrespectful, 100%.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2018, 07:07:09 AM »
This old post of mine includes my theory of exactly who the singer is and who is being sung to:

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Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2018, 07:25:02 AM »
Don't be sorry!
Just musing aloud about the tone, and ruling that possibility out. And very happy I can trust them enough to do so!

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2018, 09:22:25 AM »
I sincerely apologize, I didn't at all intend to suggest you thought Bono was being disrespectful to refugees. I was just dissecting the "tone gap" that you astutely pointed out, and was just trying to think of ideas. So I was just saying, could be this, could be that, but can't be this idea I brainstormed but immediately dismissed. Never thought for one second that you thought so either. I PROMISE!!

Offline Bundang Dave

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Re: Songs of Experience: Retrospective
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2018, 09:35:19 AM »
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Because of my age, I'm caught in a time machine.  One that keeps returning to the past.  I can't shake it and don't want to.  Some of my ONLY good memories are tied to those early albums. I've been a fan since 1982 when October came out.  I saw U2 performing War in 1983 in a crowd of 300 people for $5 a ticket. I won't let go of the past for a few good pop songs.  Sorry.

No need to denigrate your opinions; they're as valid as anyone's here.

Just wondering: what you think of Red Flag Day? It at least tries to capture the War sound and spirit.

Thanks for that!

I like Red Flag Day and it should have been listed with the three songs I picked about the album.  I am a stickler for lyrics and Red Flag Day's are strong and meaningful. I didn't get the meaning of the song, at first, until I explored the lyrics more.  It's a message about the refugee crisis and the fear of death(?).  Strong U2 song. I agree it does feel like somewhat like a War era song and appreciate its message.  The only negative I can think of regarding the song is that it seems too upbeat for such a serious subject.  It's the way the song is composed and Bono's singing.  I would almost expect it to have a more somber tone given the subject.   And, feel that they could have delivered it in a more "stark" (if that's the right word) tone.  Right now, it sounds like Bono is celebrating in the song.  Maybe he is.  Maybe he is celebrating love. Maybe is celebrating those that survive a horrible refugee crisis.  I really don't know.  Maybe that's how he wants it, open to interpretation.

Overall, I should have not be so flippant about the other songs on the album and forget what I thought of Red Flag Day.  I'm glad you brought it up.

I appreciate your giving me some room on my opinions and hope I answered your question about Red Flag Day!

I think I'm on the same page as you regarding RFD. I enjoy it, and it's a well-crafted track, but it somehow strikes me as War-era "lite".

The best moment is the middle 8 when Bono softly talk-sings and then builds to the War-like ah-ah-oh.....

But I think maybe the "Baby..." lyric comes off as sounding too much like an invitation to a day at the beach or something "lite" like that.