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U2 => General U2 Discussion => Topic started by: singnomore on December 02, 2017, 12:24:19 AM

Title: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: singnomore on December 02, 2017, 12:24:19 AM
Guys - just wondering what everyone is thinking about the new album? I’ve not managed to get my head around it to be able to articulate so interested to see what other folks are saying about it??
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: JaraSangASongAWeapon on December 02, 2017, 12:57:19 AM
Best work since Zooropa, would put it top 5 U2 albums. Easily the best of the 2000s. So many great songs...favorite I would say is Little Things, then Red Flag Day, Love Is All We Have Left. Surprised how much I like The Showman. Landlady is great. Not so sure about Lights of Home...beginning sounds like early 90's G 'n' R acoustic, Use Your Illusion type stuff. But 2nd half of song is brilliant. American Soul and LIBTAIIW are awful. But the rest, including the Book Of Your Heart...brilliant.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Kazaer on December 02, 2017, 02:04:35 AM
I love it! I think it's a great follow up to SoI (which imho was criminally underrated) I love the opener and the whole flow of the album. Only thing i dislike is the Kygo remix tagged on to the end of the deluxe edition, but you can't have it all  ;)
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Marvinho on December 02, 2017, 02:24:07 AM
Initial response after three listens is that I really like it and am looking forward to further listens rewarding me as always with U2 albums. Unusually, I find it quite an "immediate" LP. The songs are in my head straight away whereas usually it takes a while. Maybe as the majority of them lean towards a more pop than rock sound. It does however feel a bit "lightweight" to me and lacks a really hard hitting and crunching rocker to stand up with the classics. I imagine though that the songs will grow and morph in to what they really are when they take them out on tour. I like the ambience/Eno-esque sounds of the first and final songs and there's plenty of pop hooks that are growing on me already. The Little Things That Give You Away has the potential to be an absolute U2 classic too.  It's not gonna be my favourite but I'm pleasantly surprised.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Lizard on December 02, 2017, 02:37:45 AM
I love it - what an album!
I keep listening since yesterday morning.
It brings a lot of light and guess what, after weeks of dark and cloudy skies the sun came out here in Germany. ;)
So, there is a light ... I can't stop listening...
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: GEMF on December 02, 2017, 03:10:09 AM
Some great melodies. Bono in top form.

I would have preferred 12 songs, could do without the chorus of the Showman, only point on the album I really don't like.

But overall best album since ATYCLB, and I haven't said that any other time since ATYCLB  ;)
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: mc on December 02, 2017, 05:50:33 AM
We got the best song back in April. Unfortunately the album mix of Little Things is not as good/raw as the live release and lacks impact. Guitar sprinkles comes in too early and detracts from the finale. Edges sweeping guitar is barely audible and production has dimmed the drums. They should have given the song breathing space. When Bono sings ‘sometimes’ it should trigger emotion.....not with this version. The Jimmy Kimmel show version is perfect. Listen to the audience react to the sweeping guitar near the end. The singles from the last few months ARE actually the good songs. Other stuff is B-side fillers. Sounds like there is no band on most of it. Beautiful Day alone puts ATyCLB way above this album.
The album is slow. Showman is sickly like ‘wild honey’ Landlady is U2 doing a stage musical number and Love is Bigger opens with what sounds like clown car horns then evolves into a Take That song! Red Flag sounds like the beach boys at the start, but is kind of saved by a decent chorus. The Lights Of Home mix is better than the original. Mercy would have been ideal on this album. Needs more uplifting and the production has almost numbed the music. SOI is better. They should have released this as just a cut down EP to attach to SOI.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Rasmus on December 02, 2017, 06:07:59 AM
Its better than I feared although it still doesnt hold a candle to their work in the 80's and 90's. The songs I dislike the most are the singles while a lot of the other songs are pretty good. Summer of Love, Red Flag Day, Love is Bigger..., The Little Things, The Showman are my favorites. Its better than HTDAAB and NLOTH for sure but I'm not sure its better than SOI yet.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: lucas.homem on December 02, 2017, 06:34:40 AM
I'm in love with the album right now. Just look at that unbelievable sequence from Summer of Love to Landlady. How did that happen?! Each one of these five songs exceeds on their own styles so triumphantly that I think this is their best sequence of songs since Passengers (I just love Passengers from tracks 2 to 10) and they even shine above many other great sequences from U2's classic albums. And there's a lot of other great songs on the record, making SOE their best in the 00s and something great to remember about their later career.

The way I see it is that U2 finally accomplished what they were trying to do for so long now. They were searching for real tunes and here they are, a bunch of them, in all moods and colours. They sound fresh, real, well shaped, natural, smart, memorable and emotional. The production is gold too, with the instrumentation creating just the right level of atmosphere and groove (not always, maybe, but most of the time).

Funny thing is that, ironically, SOE resembles HTDAAB the most to me, one of my least favorite records on U2's catalogue. The difference here is that each song on SOE is way better finished, with their own individual musical personality, with really solid melodic motifs, instrumental hooks and grooves (all of that while also keeping the album cohesive). In HTDAAB, not so much, given the fact that I feel like a lot of its sounds were recycled throughout that record, resulting in great fatigue whenenever I try to listen to the whole thing. Even the melodies were very underwhelming despite being nice and sweet.

Moreover, what impresses me the most in SOE is its ability to convey feelings despite all the discipline of the songwriting. I feel like they found a good balance between giving the songs space to breath and also making them neat and precise. And, man, what an emotional rollercoaster! The variety is amazing! There are times that I'm bouncing around the house having a ton of fun with songs like Red Flag Day and The Showman, and then I'm blown away by the emotional catharsis of Little Things and Landlady. And these songs certainly do belong to the same album!

The greatness in not only in the middle. Love Is All We Have Left and 13 (There Is a Light) are among the best opening and closing tracks in U2's history. They perfectly give the tone that SOE deserves. The first one in particular always gives me emotional goosebumps for its incredibly beautiful atmosphere and touching melody. It's like listening to a new song from Passengers after all these years.

Even the songs we had already heard are pretty good, honestly. My favourite from them is American Soul, that I know most people hate. I just think this song is pretty unique and well designed with its raw and agressive sonics. American Soul rocks pretty hard. By the way, I wish The Blackout had the same treatment productionwise, since the studio version sounds a little too docile to me (the guitars are too buried in the mix). But Blackout is pretty good too. I also enjoy The Best Thing and Get Out Of Your Own Way, even if they are not hightlights of the record.

One last thing I want to say is that SOE is Bono's best in a long time. His voice is great here and his renditions are really on point emotionally. But the whole team deserves congratulations, not only the band, but the producers too, all of them. U2 should keep some of them for future records.

Songs of Experience is much more than I had hoped for. I'm in awe and very thankful to U2.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: trainfanjacob8 on December 02, 2017, 06:35:29 AM
Very impressed. I'd give it 4/5 stars. To me, the album sounds like a mix of new music with HTDAAB and ATYCLB sounds.  It was also nice that they started with a slow song instead of their usual upbeat opener.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: dwaltman on December 02, 2017, 06:47:10 AM
It really has me coming back for more.  I'm always looking forward to the next time I have the time/space for a proper listen.  I've been listening since the leak and my favorite songs have changed every few days or so which is also a good sign that the album is strong through out.  Definitely has some "ear worms" that stay with me during the day and night.

Even with the contingent of producers, it sounds pretty cohesive, more than SOI, imo. In fact, I think it works well as a body of work vs. individual singles.

So far, I would rank the songs something like this...

1. Summer of Love
2. Lights of Home (St. Peter's String Version)
3. Get Out of Your Own Way
4. American Soul
5. The Little Things That Give You Away
6. Book of Your Heart
7. You're the Best Thing About Me
8. Landlady
9. Red Flag Day
10. Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way
11. The Showman
12. The Blackout
13. Love is All We Have Left
14. 13

Damn that was really hard to rank.  More like tiers....1-3, 4-13, 14.  I'm sure if you ask me tomorrow, it will be different. 

I love the groove of Summer of Love and then the bitter lyrics seem to defy the upbeat melody and I just like the juxtaposition of that so much.

Lights of Home is just classic U2...it's the type of song that they do so well.  And I like the musical/lyrical connections back to SOI.

Get Out Of Your Own Way is a true original.  Ha-ah, Ah!  Love the message to his kids as I have kids the same age.

Love reading what other people think about the record. Nice to have the forum back.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: U2Fan on December 02, 2017, 07:37:41 AM
Better than my expectations.  Highlights for me are Little Things, Love is All We Have Left, Red Flag Day, Love is Bigger Than Anything In It's Way, Lights of Home, 13, Get Out of Your Own Way.  Impressed with the vocals more so than other recent albums.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: jtdockter on December 02, 2017, 08:19:38 AM
My top favorites are:
- Love is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way
- Summer of Love
- The Blackout
- You're the Best Thing About Me

These will likely grow on me:
- Lights of Home
- Get Out of Your Own Way
- American Soul
- Red Flag Day
- The Little Things That Give You Away

Hard sell:
- Love is All We Have Left
- The Showman
- Landlady
- 13
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: jarsfan1977 on December 02, 2017, 08:39:43 AM
I'll just say that I cried repeatedly while listening to songs on this album. Landlady is incredible, and Love Is Bigger has the same effect. This album's cohesiveness and lyrical focus puts it near the top for me. It's absolutely the album I was afraid they couldn't/wouldn't make.

It's not a grower for me; it's already big.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Achtungbaby23 on December 02, 2017, 09:10:51 AM
I love it! This is a surprise for me. I am usually anxiously awaiting the album release. This time I wasn't. I had myself prepared that I was not going to like this album. I was certain that when they went back to the studio to rework it, I worried it would be more politicized, overworked and ruined.  I wasn't a fan of The Blackout when I heard it.  I had low expectations. I did however go ahead and pay for my membership 3 months early and I did buy the album a few weeks ago on iTunes when it came available. I didn't remember until yesterday afternoon that it was release day. A post on Facebook reminded me. I was doing some demo work around the house and needed some tunes to listen to so I put it on. First song, I thought- that's really good!  Second song- wow I really like that one too!  Third song- holy sh*t, this is a great album. I love the entire thing!  I really enjoyed the Innocense album but I think this is even better. I have listened twice through in entirety. I think after several more plays it is going to grow on me that much more. This is like an unexpected Christmas gift I am very happy to receive!!
BTW: it's great to have this forum back!! I missed checking in although I do not write very often. This is by far the best U2 Forum out there!  Thank you mods for coming back!
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: blovesu2 on December 02, 2017, 09:40:02 AM
Fantastic album.
Absolutely love it and am pleasantly surprised.
However, I am shocked at how awful Love is Bigger is. I find it unbelievable this made the album (much less a B side). I deleted it and pray they don't do it live. It sounds like a band in their later 60's on a career-ending casino tour. Barf.
Other than that, I am really loving many tracks on this album :) Very pleased.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Jono on December 02, 2017, 09:49:58 AM
Very glad it's back, thank you Matt and team! I, like many of you, could not wait to share with all how we feel about the new music...
I am the biased U2 optimist and am sometimes blinded by that and my opinion gets skewed...so with that said:

I am REALLY enjoying all the new tunes, aside from the four we had heard...the album feels crisp and clean and not over baked. The SOE short film with Bono's narration is an incredible album table setter and if you haven't taken the 8 minutes to watch it, I highly recommend it!

As of today, TLTTGYA is still my standout lyrical favorite. This LP is full of 'hit possibilities' with many strong choruses and anthem building rockers. I would like to call this the ultimate Pop/Punk rock-n-roll record.  I can't wait to hear them live!
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: blovesu2 on December 02, 2017, 10:12:40 AM
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Very glad it's back, thank you Matt and team! I, like many of you, could not wait to share with all how we feel about the new music...
I am the biased U2 optimist and am sometimes blinded by that and my opinion gets skewed...so with that said:

I am REALLY enjoying all the new tunes, aside from the four we had heard...the album feels crisp and clean and not over baked. The SOE short film with Bono's narration is an incredible album table setter and if you haven't taken the 8 minutes to watch it, I highly recommend it!

As of today, TLTTGYA is still my standout lyrical favorite. This LP is full of 'hit possibilities' with many strong choruses and anthem building rockers. I would like to call this the ultimate Pop/Punk rock-n-roll record.  I can't wait to hear them live!

Where can one find the 8 minute SOE short film?

Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Jono on December 02, 2017, 10:23:14 AM
iTunes only I think...I'll look around...
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Moser on December 02, 2017, 10:26:00 AM
I listened to the album at 1 AM in a pitch black room with headphones.

It was amazing. I cried on The Little Things and 13. Emotional album. Very moving.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Kazaer on December 02, 2017, 10:50:46 AM
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Very glad it's back, thank you Matt and team! I, like many of you, could not wait to share with all how we feel about the new music...
I am the biased U2 optimist and am sometimes blinded by that and my opinion gets skewed...so with that said:

I am REALLY enjoying all the new tunes, aside from the four we had heard...the album feels crisp and clean and not over baked. The SOE short film with Bono's narration is an incredible album table setter and if you haven't taken the 8 minutes to watch it, I highly recommend it!

As of today, TLTTGYA is still my standout lyrical favorite. This LP is full of 'hit possibilities' with many strong choruses and anthem building rockers. I would like to call this the ultimate Pop/Punk rock-n-roll record.  I can't wait to hear them live!

Where can one find the 8 minute SOE short film?

According to U2's twitter: Listen to our new album #SongsOfExperience and watch exclusive mini-documentaries only on @spotify now #RockThis #ThisIsU2 http://spoti.fi/2j5YU66
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: JTNash on December 02, 2017, 11:14:26 AM
I liked it more than I thought I would!
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: davis on December 02, 2017, 11:23:42 AM
Best album since Achtung Baby.  Stunning. 
Title: Songs of Experience
Post by: habib2343 on December 02, 2017, 11:27:45 AM
well i'd just like to say....not bad.!!

sure some tracks lag, filler material (LIBTAIIW, 13 There is a light, YBTABTM) but on the whole a solid effort with a plethora of catchy tunes. Absolutely adore Summer of Love, the edge's best licks since In a little while imo. Studio versions of the Blackout and LTTGYA are dull and tame in comparison to their explosive live versions- great songs hidden under the dullness of the studio. Book of Your Heart, worthy of inclusion on the main disc.

I get the thematic link between SOE and SOI, hence why there are so many references to the previous album- this is a first for U2 I think where they've never before made such a blatant reference to their past. Nothing wrong with that, but this is a band that prided themselves on looking forward, not living off the past, but I guess the passage of time and the creature comforts they've accumulated along the way have perhaps tamed their lust for pushing the envelope like they did in the 90''s- the best u2 period.

Still looking forward to the shows in Europe next year..i give it a sold 8/10
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Jono on December 02, 2017, 11:28:10 AM
Just watched it again, 100+% recommend finding it...I only have a free acct on Spotify and haven't been able to find elsewhere. The story behind Bono's "Shock" is still unclear, but a pretty spiritual and inspirational story. Bono is a 'Morgan Freeman esque' storyteller, in that I could listen to him tell stories forever!
 
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: blovesu2 on December 02, 2017, 11:44:13 AM
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Very glad it's back, thank you Matt and team! I, like many of you, could not wait to share with all how we feel about the new music...
I am the biased U2 optimist and am sometimes blinded by that and my opinion gets skewed...so with that said:

I am REALLY enjoying all the new tunes, aside from the four we had heard...the album feels crisp and clean and not over baked. The SOE short film with Bono's narration is an incredible album table setter and if you haven't taken the 8 minutes to watch it, I highly recommend it!

As of today, TLTTGYA is still my standout lyrical favorite. This LP is full of 'hit possibilities' with many strong choruses and anthem building rockers. I would like to call this the ultimate Pop/Punk rock-n-roll record.  I can't wait to hear them live!

Where can one find the 8 minute SOE short film?

According to U2's twitter: Listen to our new album #SongsOfExperience and watch exclusive mini-documentaries only on @spotify now #RockThis #ThisIsU2 http://spoti.fi/2j5YU66

thanks! I did log onto Spotify via the above link, but only came across the audio album....no 8 minute video
Title: Re: Songs of Experience
Post by: mossy on December 02, 2017, 12:00:18 PM
Have to say I'm pleasantly surprised.

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: mc on December 02, 2017, 12:17:36 PM
If Mercy was in place of Love is Bigger it would have been special
Title: Re: Songs of Experience
Post by: lucas.homem on December 02, 2017, 12:28:33 PM
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well i'd just like to say....not bad.!!

sure some tracks lag, filler material (LIBTAIIW, 13 There is a light, YBTABTM) but on the whole a solid effort with a plethora of catchy tunes. Absolutely adore Summer of Love, the edge's best licks since In a little while imo. Studio versions of the Blackout and LTTGYA are dull and tame in comparison to their explosive live versions- great songs hidden under the dullness of the studio. Book of Your Heart, worthy of inclusion on the main disc.

I get the thematic link between SOE and SOI, hence why there are so many references to the previous album- this is a first for U2 I think where they've never before made such a blatant reference to their past. Nothing wrong with that, but this is a band that prided themselves on looking forward, not living off the past, but I guess the passage of time and the creature comforts they've accumulated along the way have perhaps tamed their lust for pushing the envelope like they did in the 90''s- the best u2 period.

Still looking forward to the shows in Europe next year..i give it a sold 8/10

Some things to say here...

1) unfortunately (and this is a little disappointing for me too), it looks like the guitar licks from Summer of Love are not from The Edge, but instead a gift from Ryan Tedder to U2, since the licks and the chorus were already being designed to two different songs of OneRepublic, as we can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UWZxGRR12o

2) I agree with you regarding The Blackout, but I do think Little Things is way better in the studio version, even if less explosive.

3) I completely disagree with your statement that the links between SOI and SOE are signals of "living off the past". Well, SOI isn't even a successful album to be used as such (btw, it is even surprising to me that U2 didn't try to erase SOI from existance like they did with POP and NLOTH). They are just companions albums as it was intended to be from the beginning. Mostly, making these citations is just the perfect way to convey the ideas present on SOE itself, because experience comes after innocence.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Jutsy on December 02, 2017, 12:37:35 PM
Really, really underwhelmed by SOE. When will U2 stop over-producing the death out of their songs? Bono's lyrics on this one are pretty lazy, repetitive and in places cringe-worthy. The Showman & Lights of Home aren't bad. Edge's guitar-ing is pretty derivative and uninspired. The real test for me is that after listening to the whole thing a few times, I go away and can't really remember the songs. Really lacks distinction for me. For me, NLOTH was way better. Even SOI was much better. Let the hate begin.... :(
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: mc on December 02, 2017, 12:47:30 PM
I cannot believe West Coast is actually a One Republic song!
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: lucas.homem on December 02, 2017, 12:55:31 PM
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I cannot believe West Coast is actually a One Republic song!

The main motifs yes, but we shouldn't underestimate that bringing everything together is also important. The song is cowritten by U2 and Ryan Tedder.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: GoalisSoul40 on December 02, 2017, 01:01:30 PM
Upon the initial few listens to this album, I can say with a high degree of confidence that this is among their best work of the 21st century and is an improvement over its most recent predecessors, No Line on the Horizon and Songs of Innocence. My initial assessment is that it at least meets, and may prove to exceed, the levels reached by 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind and 2004’s How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. I have learned from experience (pun intended) to refrain from comparisons to the band’s indisputable masterpieces, Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree, until the album has weathered the rigors of time and repeated listens.

The album itself is a fairly cohesive whole that is built around the themes of love (a word and theme that re-emerges from start to finish) and “defiant joy” in response to the hatred, anger, cynicism, darkness, and despair of the present state of the world. There are also themes of light and darkness (“The Lights of Home”, “The Blackout”, “13 (There is a Light)”) and existential searching (“The Little Things That Give You Away”).

Sonically, the band does not venture into previously unexplored territory (such as they did on 1993’s Zooropa and 1997’s POP), but rather seem to take the best instincts from their long 40 year history as a band and pair these with the most successful currents of contemporary pop-rock. And in doing so, the band almost seems to be saying: “anything you can do, we can do better”; and: “we see you and we raise you”. The result is a fantastic synthesis of contemporary hooks with tried-and-true U2 transcendence.

Whereas its predecessor and companion album Songs of Innocence has, in this reviewer’s assessment, grown stale over time and whose songs are almost too personally embedded in historical events of the band's early life in Dublin, Songs of Experience proves to be more universal and accessible in its themes, melodies, and staying power.

In the final analysis, this is a terrific contemporary U2 album. It is fresh sonically, and rich lyrically. It incorporates many timely themes in an artful way. It is dynamic and diverse in its musical styles, while simultaneously achieving a high degree of cohesiveness. Time will tell where this album ultimately ranks within the U2 canon, but as an immediate reaction, I will simply say that it is easily among their best of the current century and has a strong chance to go down as a late career classic.  Album Rating:  7.5/10

Standout tracks: Little Things, Lights of Home, Blackout, Get out of your own way, best things about me, red flag day....
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: habib2343 on December 02, 2017, 01:19:54 PM
before I heard the album, I thought the blackout, Get out of your own way and American soul were the stand outs , to that you can add book of your heart and summer of love.

should be absolutely great live...
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: aviastar on December 02, 2017, 01:38:06 PM
Solid 4 star album.  I love Red Flag Day, Showman, Little Things, Landlady, GOOYAW, Lights of Home....

Only weak links for me are Love Is Bigger....I feel it lacks something.

However, I think this is an incredibly consistent and high quality album.  Better than SOI, better than Bomb, No Line, and ATYCLB.  Really enjoyable.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: jick on December 02, 2017, 01:51:17 PM
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
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: GoldenStateGirl on December 02, 2017, 01:59:46 PM
1.  I missed the heck out of this forum.  I've been rattling around in my own U2 world for the last 2 months, no one to "talk" to...feeling all giddy but bottled up.  The mixlrs just faded away in Latin America...no one to chat with there either! 

2.  So far, so good.  Little Things is my favorite so far.  But I am getting a solid feeling off of all of it.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: SwimmingSorrows on December 02, 2017, 02:02:06 PM
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I cannot believe West Coast is actually a One Republic song!

The main motifs yes, but we shouldn't underestimate that bringing everything together is also important. The song is cowritten by U2 and Ryan Tedder.

Danny Lanois wrote the chorus melody for Moment of Surrender, didn't he?  Also I kind of like that they turned what was an innocent little Ryan Tedder ditty into a dark commentary on the Syrian refugee crisis.  I believe the Tedder song was about the west coast everyone knows. . . .
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: cabral255 on December 02, 2017, 02:09:18 PM
This album is pure gold!
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Manos73 on December 02, 2017, 02:54:40 PM
Well constructed, radio friendly, modern, somewhat empty. I doubt many of these songs would make a career spanning best of.  Not trying to be harsh. It's better than SOI, NLOTH and maybe even HTDAAB.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Stateless on December 02, 2017, 02:55:50 PM
I am really enjoying it.  My standouts today were different than yesterday and I think that it going to keep happening as the more listens I get in.  Yesterday, I was not feeling the Showman, but somehow it got stuck in my head and I woke up the sound and lyrics in my head this morning.  After another 2 listens, I really love the song.  Landlady is also another surprise to me.  Was not feeling in during my first 2 listens like Red Flag Day and today I am enjoying both of those a lot more.  Red Flag Day seems like it would fit almost in with the War album minus a few things.  lol.

Overall, very happy with the new album.  Need to have a few more listens or a lot, but usually U2 albums grow on me and this one seems to have it's hook in me a bit quicker than normal which for me is a fantastic thing!
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: cjnemec on December 02, 2017, 03:11:42 PM
I’ve been asked a bunch the last few days to describe the new U2 album. I think I figured it out.

After 9/11 Springsteen releases The Rising. It was an album with the urgency and necessity only Bruce could bring to that moment.

This is that U2 album for this moment.

We’re facing an uncertain world with deep cynicism and divisiveness. This album pushes aside all of that cynicism to show us another way and that love is that other way.

I think the criticism could be that the word love gets overused on this album but that would be missing the point entirely.

We all know U2 in the live setting is all about loving each other. It always has been. This album doubles down on that and then some.
And that it just so happens to coincide with the rapidly descending fall of the monster in the White House is not a coincidence.
 
The theme:
Love wins. Always.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: MysteriousFly on December 02, 2017, 04:28:36 PM
I like it better  overall than SOI...but its still not a very strong album to me. That being said, its got some good songs and my favorites at the moment are:

Lights of home
Red flag day
Landlady
The blackout

I got the deluxe and I do like the b-sides of Ordinary Love and Book of your heart. If U2 want to keep going though, I think the next record has to be a bit on the heavier side but we'll see what the future holds.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: dealme on December 02, 2017, 04:58:20 PM
I'm still waiting for my copy of the album to show up in the mail.  So much for a release day arrival  ;)
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: HolyHandGrenade on December 02, 2017, 05:10:12 PM
My thoughts from reddit:

Strengths:

- The bass. Both Adam, and Edge's low notes. Intro guitar on Lights of Home, the solo in YTBTAM, American Soul, the driving, blaring bass in Red Flag Day, and The Blackout, obviously. I love bands like Royal Blood, so this was a treat. It's not a place...

- Sticking to an aesthetic. The album clearly has an identity sonically and lyrically, and as a result, leaves no clutter.

Weaknesses:

- Many songs straight up blend together if I'm not paying attention. Yes, they're all discrete songs, but that "aesthetic" I was talking about also really hurts the album at times. No stark contrasts, no Mofo into If God Will Send His Angels (extreme example). They picked a flavor and went with it.

- This one may be more obvious, but minimal pushing of the boundaries. The age excuse is the frame of reference, but it's not the music itself. American Soul's verse was more fitting as a Kendrick Lamar sample, and everyone's favorite Red Flag Day (mine too) sounds straight out of War (Seconds, The Refugee, Red Light). They could've thrown at least one "wrench" into how they generally went about the album and it probably would have sounded more diverse and pleased a wider group of fans (as in, the step above using mixes to get a different sound).

- I'm tired of wishy-washy vanilla songs. Landlady and Love is Bigger Than Anything Is Its Way completely lost me. In general, I can easily say that each song on the album has quality, but I think only half of the songs were going somewhere and memorable beyond an easy listen.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: lucas.homem on December 02, 2017, 05:42:35 PM
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Weaknesses:

- Many songs straight up blend together if I'm not paying attention. Yes, they're all discrete songs, but that "aesthetic" I was talking about also really hurts the album at times. No stark contrasts, no Mofo into If God Will Send His Angels (extreme example). They picked a flavor and went with it.

That is interesting. I find these songs so easily recognizable and even different that sometimes the sequencing is too abrupt to me. Great contrasts between tracks 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 5 and 6, 8 and 9, 10 and 11, 11 and 12. And, of course, the others also don't quite blend together, in my opinion.

Maybe it's because I only have the downloaded files right now and have to click on each track everytime... or maybe because I've already listened to each song individually (out of the context of the album) and in many different orders.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: radiofreenewport on December 02, 2017, 05:58:09 PM
Thanks to the moderators for bringing the forum back. It's fun to read the reactions to the record so far.

For me, SOE is good in spots, really weak in others, maybe a B+ overall. It's in a league with ATYCLB and HTDAAB, though without the high points of either (Beautiful Day, Walk On, Vertigo, etc.). It feels more cohesive than the last two. My highlights are Little Things (I was fortunate to hear this live in Dublin), Love Is All We Have Left (a wonderful Zooropa-esque opener), The Blackout, and Book of Your Heart (I would've put this in the main 13). Best Thing has grown on me, but I don't know that it's going to have a long shelf life (I like sugar cookies, but I won't eat ten in one sitting). The rework of Song For Someone is a charming end to the record, and I like it better than the original. American Soul is a missed opportunity, especially with the killer momentum of the Lamar bit over the stomping intro. I can totally do without Summer of Love, Red Flag Day, Landlady, and The Showman, which remind me of the more lightweight pop that might've been a B-side in an earlier time (like Sweetest Thing, although that is better than any of the ones I mentioned).

The biggest weakness is, by far, Bono's lyrics. Lazy, overly simple, repetitive, often vapid and cringe-worthy in places. Too many superficial, lightweight concepts (like American Soul). And man, while I'm optimistic by nature, the world is a lot more complicated than "love is [fill in the blank]," and being hammered over the head with it while the daily news makes me want to wretch is not a good thing. FWIW, Neil McCormick replied to me on Twitter to say he thinks they're Bono's best lyrics since ATYCLB It also feels like Edge has lost his mojo as the band's main source of new musical ideas -- some of his bluesy riffs are uninspired, too.

On one hand, as a lifelong fan, it's hard for any record to measure up to their peaks. I'm 51, came on board when I first heard Gloria on MTV, and have seen almost every tour since the original JT tour. So there are my early loves (Boy thru TUF), my coming of age record (JT in my senior year in college), and the crazily productive peaks of Achtung thru Pop with B-sides that are better and more inventive than anything they write now. That said, I'm also a lifelong Bowie fan, and his two last records were positively brilliant; Blackstar is now one of my favorite records of all time, and had an enormous influence on me as a musician and songwriter. I also loved REM's last two records, so it's not as if I'm some old dude who can't get past the glory songs of my youth. ;-)

Bowie and REM also provide relevant context to SOE in other ways. Bowie released his last two records with no fanfare -- both came out of the blue with no rumors or leaks (musicians signed NDAs to enforce the secrecy). He made them both with a small crew of musicians (The Next Day with some of his longtime sidemen, Blackstar with Donny McCaslin's brilliant quartet), one producer, (the brilliant Tony Visconti), and one studio. No hype, no interviews, a few videos -- just a focus on the songs. I was able to take both records just as they were. With U2, I can't help but expect more than this after the endless blather, hype, multiple producers, reworking the record, ad nauseum, etc. Bowie just said "f**k it, I'm David Bowie," while U2 is desperately striving for relevance and radio success, almost embarrassingly so, it seems. (Like others, I wonder if the Live Nation contract influences this.)

REM is relevant because I've been listening a lot to the 25th anniversary of Automatic For The People. REM knew they weren't going to tour behind it, so they weren't concerned with writing songs that would have to go over in arenas or stadia. Michael Stipe has talked recently about their knowing that they finally had major cachet and that radio would play basically anything they released, so they perversely released the slow, spacey Drive as the lead single. I would love to hear what U2 would release if they weren't concerned with big Coldplay-ish whoa-oa-oa choruses for arena shows and if they weren't so concerned with relevance and radio success.

I dunno...as I told my wife and a couple close mates who are all big U2 fans, I miss the days when new U2 records made me cry, dance, and hug my friends, rather than trying to rationalize why I don't love the record. I'll keep listening and how this grows on me, but more than likely, I'll end up listening to a best-of playlist of my fave songs from NTOTH thru SOE, something I thought I'd never do with my favorite band of all time.

Thanks for listening. Cheers, all.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Clarky on December 02, 2017, 06:29:45 PM
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Fantastic album.
Absolutely love it and am pleasantly surprised.
However, I am shocked at how awful Love is Bigger is. I find it unbelievable this made the album (much less a B side). I deleted it and pray they don't do it live. It sounds like a band in their later 60's on a career-ending casino tour. Barf.
Other than that, I am really loving many tracks on this album :) Very pleased.

lol WHAT?

I really like this album after the first few days. After listening to it a couple of times I layed in bed in the dark on the first night and had my 3rd listen (I think there's something about a 3rd listen where music starts to seep into your veins if you resonate with it...its a make or break moment for me) and I fell in love with the songs. Interestingly, songs like the Blackout and American Soul took on greater impact and more energy when they were in context with the whole album. They really elevated themselves for me.

Love how the albums starts with Love is All We Have Left. Sick of the dad rockers of Vertigo, Mircale and Boots type songs. Bono sounds so much more inspired and prepared to lay it on the line than he did on SOI. There's something about the slight element of getting out of their comfort zone a little on this record that really makes a difference to me.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Manos73 on December 02, 2017, 07:12:20 PM
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Fantastic album.
Absolutely love it and am pleasantly surprised.
However, I am shocked at how awful Love is Bigger is. I find it unbelievable this made the album (much less a B side). I deleted it and pray they don't do it live. It sounds like a band in their later 60's on a career-ending casino tour. Barf.
Other than that, I am really loving many tracks on this album :) Very pleased.

lol WHAT?

I really like this album after the first few days. After listening to it a couple of times I layed in bed in the dark on the first night and had my 3rd listen (I think there's something about a 3rd listen where music starts to seep into your veins if you resonate with it...its a make or break moment for me) and I fell in love with the songs. Interestingly, songs like the Blackout and American Soul took on greater impact and more energy when they were in context with the whole album. They really elevated themselves for me.

Love how the albums starts with Love is All We Have Left. Sick of the dad rockers of Vertigo, Mircale and Boots type songs. Bono sounds so much more inspired and prepared to lay it on the line than he did on SOI. There's something about the slight element of getting out of their comfort zone a little on this record that really makes a difference to me.
Quote from: radiofreenewport link=topic=32595.msg1749902#msg1749902
date=1512262689
Thanks to the moderators for bringing the forum back. It's fun to read the reactions to the record so far.

For me, SOE is good in spots, really weak in others, maybe a B+ overall. It's in a league with ATYCLB and HTDAAB, though without the high points of either (Beautiful Day, Walk On, Vertigo, etc.). It feels more cohesive than the last two. My highlights are Little Things (I was fortunate to hear this live in Dublin), Love Is All We Have Left (a wonderful Zooropa-esque opener), The Blackout, and Book of Your Heart (I would've put this in the main 13). Best Thing has grown on me, but I don't know that it's going to have a long shelf life (I like sugar cookies, but I won't eat ten in one sitting). The rework of Song For Someone is a charming end to the record, and I like it better than the original. American Soul is a missed opportunity, especially with the killer momentum of the Lamar bit over the stomping intro. I can totally do without Summer of Love, Red Flag Day, Landlady, and The Showman, which remind me of the more lightweight pop that might've been a B-side in an earlier time (like Sweetest Thing, although that is better than any of the ones I mentioned).

The biggest weakness is, by far, Bono's lyrics. Lazy, overly simple, repetitive, often vapid and cringe-worthy in places. Too many superficial, lightweight concepts (like American Soul). And man, while I'm optimistic by nature, the world is a lot more complicated than "love is [fill in the blank]," and being hammered over the head with it while the daily news makes me want to wretch is not a good thing. FWIW, Neil McCormick replied to me on Twitter to say he thinks they're Bono's best lyrics since ATYCLB It also feels like Edge has lost his mojo as the band's main source of new musical ideas -- some of his bluesy riffs are uninspired, too.

On one hand, as a lifelong fan, it's hard for any record to measure up to their peaks. I'm 51, came on board when I first heard Gloria on MTV, and have seen almost every tour since the original JT tour. So there are my early loves (Boy thru TUF), my coming of age record (JT in my senior year in college), and the crazily productive peaks of Achtung thru Pop with B-sides that are better and more inventive than anything they write now. That said, I'm also a lifelong Bowie fan, and his two last records were positively brilliant; Blackstar is now one of my favorite records of all time, and had an enormous influence on me as a musician and songwriter. I also loved REM's last two records, so it's not as if I'm some old dude who can't get past the glory songs of my youth. ;-)

Bowie and REM also provide relevant context to SOE in other ways. Bowie released his last two records with no fanfare -- both came out of the blue with no rumors or leaks (musicians signed NDAs to enforce the secrecy). He made them both with a small crew of musicians (The Next Day with some of his longtime sidemen, Blackstar with Donny McCaslin's brilliant quartet), one producer, (the brilliant Tony Visconti), and one studio. No hype, no interviews, a few videos -- just a focus on the songs. I was able to take both records just as they were. With U2, I can't help but expect more than this after the endless blather, hype, multiple producers, reworking the record, ad nauseum, etc. Bowie just said "f**k it, I'm David Bowie," while U2 is desperately striving for relevance and radio success, almost embarrassingly so, it seems. (Like others, I wonder if the Live Nation contract influences this.)

REM is relevant because I've been listening a lot to the 25th anniversary of Automatic For The People. REM knew they weren't going to tour behind it, so they weren't concerned with writing songs that would have to go over in arenas or stadia. Michael Stipe has talked recently about their knowing that they finally had major cachet and that radio would play basically anything they released, so they perversely released the slow, spacey Drive as the lead single. I would love to hear what U2 would release if they weren't concerned with big Coldplay-ish whoa-oa-oa choruses for arena shows and if they weren't so concerned with relevance and radio success.

I dunno...as I told my wife and a couple close mates who are all big U2 fans, I miss the days when new U2 records made me cry, dance, and hug my friends, rather than trying to rationalize why I don't love the record. I'll keep listening and how this grows on me, but more than likely, I'll end up listening to a best-of playlist of my fave songs from NTOTH thru SOE, something I thought I'd never do with my favorite band of all time.

Thanks for listening. Cheers, all.

This. Been trying to say this for the last ten years. The frustration of hearing glimpses of my favorite band.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Clarky on December 02, 2017, 07:25:49 PM
I get that. I do still feel like U2 is a little too concerned with polishing their music and packaging it up for a commerical purposes. This album could have done with a few more experimental interludes (which is why I really like NLOTH - those touches are fantastic), but for what it is... it's some of their best music in the last 20 years. It really is. I feel like the sum is greater than it's parts, but there's no doubt that at least 3 of the songs off this album will stand the test of time and be held in higher regard than anything off SOI.....surely.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: trainfanjacob8 on December 02, 2017, 07:31:33 PM
"Love how the albums starts with Love is All We Have Left. Sick of the dad rockers of Vertigo, Mircale and Boots type songs. Bono sounds so much more inspired and prepared to lay it on the line than he did on SOI. There's something about the slight element of getting out of their comfort zone a little on this record that really makes a difference to me."



To me, I take this as the band having more confidence in SOE than the past few albums.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Clarky on December 02, 2017, 07:40:29 PM
Yep! To me this album is best described as bold. Haven't been able to say that about a U2 record since maybe POP. And I was too young to have an opinion back then, so it's my first time.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Albono on December 02, 2017, 07:50:24 PM
Surprised of how the album turned out. I think this one sounds more coherent than SOI. I also liked the subtle, atmospheric opening and ending tracks. Bono's voice is superb on both tracks!

Red Flag Day, Summer of Love, The Showman, and Lights of Home are current favorites.

The Little Things, Love is Bigger, are beautiful tracks! And Landlady... wow! Just wow!
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: BalconyTV on December 02, 2017, 07:54:52 PM
Generally I like the album. But am just learning that U2 have used a bit of a Haim track on Track 2, and Summer Of Love was a track that One Republic were working on called West Coast. So thats a bit off putting.

:-(

I think Your The Best Thing to American Soul is an unfortunate placed hurdle in the album that I look forward to ending. And then the rest is a good listen.

I think No Line is better. :-P

But its a good album no doubt. But have definite issues with it.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: miryclay on December 02, 2017, 08:11:24 PM
I'm calling it now...Bono's brush with mortality is just Irish shenanigans. Just an writing prop. However, the album does really have a Blackstar vibe. Like with all of these mentions of 'the end' and mystique.

Who knows it could be the end.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: bw on December 02, 2017, 08:28:02 PM
I’ve been a fan since I heard the album version of “Bad” driving home from college in a down pour in 1986. I was so shaken by the song, in a positive way, that I called the radio station when I got home to ask the name and artist of the song. U2 have been a huge, integral part of my life since. My kids say they have been raised musically by U2 and Springsteen in my car. But I digress...

Thus far, SoE seems another U2 album big on hype, light on results. This makes three in a row. Alas, U2 haven’t recovered since the catastrophe of “Boots”, a meager attempt to follow the formula of “Vertigo”, as the opening single of NLOTH. Since HTDAAB, their best material have been songs that were never included on an official U2 album - “Mercy”, “Invisible”, “Ordinary Love”.

These last two albums just don’t have anything big and cinematic - trademarks of U2 that stir me. So far with SoE, I’m just flat out confused what they are striving for musically. My guess is there are better versions of the songs. But because U2, and they admit this, can’t make final decisions - sometimes for years - I think we get too many of these over-produced, stitched together songs that sort of land in no man’s land...

I’ll keep listening - of course - hoping for a breakthrough. But this is the most negative reaction I’ve ever had.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: artificialhuman on December 02, 2017, 08:55:19 PM
I love that there's atmosphere and ambience on this album, even without Eno/ Lanois.  It's one of the things that separate them from other modern rock bands.  By comparison, SoI had no ambience/ atmosphere except in The Troubles and a watered down version in Iris.

I've always had in my U2 wishlist an album full of tracks like Stateless, Disappearing Act, just really minimal and icy and mature (i.e. not pretending to be a young band) tracks.  This is probably the closest I'll get to that. 

Absolute favorite is Landlady - it's so bare and shiny.

Then the Book of Your Heart, which is like Heartland vs Love is Blindness or Luminous Times/ Spanish Eyes era of the b-sides.

Red Flag Day, Little Things... and Get Out of Your Own Way round out my top 5.  All of those songs feel like they achieve liftoff and have a great reward to getting through the track.

Summer of Love, Lights of Home and Love is All We Have Left are catchy, tracks that are around the middle- they're like the One Tree Hills of this record.

The Sci-Fi Soul mix of Best Thing is way ahead of the album version and I'm boggled as to why.  It has so much more personality. 

Love is Bigger, 13 are so similar to Christian band Delirious? (who were constantly compared to U2) that if you blind-taste tested me those tracks I might assume it was Delirious? 

The Showman- reminds me of Lennon on Double Fantasy.  I do like Showman/ Red Flag Day bringing in some reggae which is a really good fit. 

Ordinary Love is a catchy tune in a middle-of-the-road package.  I can't help but think there's some way to boost the drama of the track 10-fold. 

American Soul and Blackout; there's a constant under mixing of The Edge's "guitar on fire" and over-mixing of Bono that really weakens these songs, same w Cedarwood Road, Beautiful Day and the album version of Elevation.  U2 live, those same songs have ear splitting good guitar + pounding drums.  I think Jacknife Lee got it perfect on HTDAAB.  Maybe there's a decent remix of these coming.   
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Clarky on December 02, 2017, 09:02:46 PM
I'm struggling as to why Love Is Bigger isn't getting nearly as much admiration from others as it gets from me.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: jjcruiser on December 02, 2017, 09:04:19 PM
I always waver back and forth.  I remember being so unimpressed with Atomic Bomb.  I thought Vertigo was tired and overdone before I even had the album.  I didn't even make it through to Original of the Species, which turned out to be the best thing on the album. 

And then I went back and read a review I wrote of No Line when it came out and I said it was literally the best thing since Achtung.  Needless to say, I almost never listen to No Line now.  MoS once in a while.

So all that said, 48 hours in and about 20 listens and I have to say I love a few of the songs as much as I've loved anything since Pop, but a few other songs are odd and tough to take seriously.  I practically cry every time I hear Lights of Home so far and Landlady, and others I think are very strong like Blackout and Little Things.  But having a hard time getting into that Get Out/American Soul couplet in the middle and it feels like the band thought that was the heart of the album. 

It's got elements of hip hop, 60s, 80s and 2000s pop, even some Margaritaville country/western twang to it.  Bono's voice is great but not sure I disagree about the simplistic lyrics.  Guitar, drums and bass feel muted except when they crush it (Blackout).

Compared with other U2 albums I feel like it's a step below SoI but a step above No Line?  I guess it will take a few months if not years to know. 

And the Tour will matter with this one.  Either Lights of Home and Love is Bigger will absolutely be devoured live and become transformative anthems or they'll wilt with time.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: ian ryan on December 02, 2017, 09:07:11 PM
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well i'd just like to say....not bad.!!

sure some tracks lag, filler material (LIBTAIIW, 13 There is a light, YBTABTM) but on the whole a solid effort with a plethora of catchy tunes. Absolutely adore Summer of Love, the edge's best licks since In a little while imo. Studio versions of the Blackout and LTTGYA are dull and tame in comparison to their explosive live versions- great songs hidden under the dullness of the studio. Book of Your Heart, worthy of inclusion on the main disc.

I get the thematic link between SOE and SOI, hence why there are so many references to the previous album- this is a first for U2 I think where they've never before made such a blatant reference to their past. Nothing wrong with that, but this is a band that prided themselves on looking forward, not living off the past, but I guess the passage of time and the creature comforts they've accumulated along the way have perhaps tamed their lust for pushing the envelope like they did in the 90''s- the best u2 period.

Still looking forward to the shows in Europe next year..i give it a sold 8/10

Some things to say here...

1) unfortunately (and this is a little disappointing for me too), it looks like the guitar licks from Summer of Love are not from The Edge, but instead a gift from Ryan Tedder to U2, since the licks and the chorus were already being designed to two different songs of OneRepublic, as we can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UWZxGRR12o

2) I agree with you regarding The Blackout, but I do think Little Things is way better in the studio version, even if less explosive.

3) I completely disagree with your statement that the links between SOI and SOE are signals of "living off the past". Well, SOI isn't even a successful album to be used as such (btw, it is even surprising to me that U2 didn't try to erase SOI from existance like they did with POP and NLOTH). They are just companions albums as it was intended to be from the beginning. Mostly, making these citations is just the perfect way to convey the ideas present on SOE itself, because experience comes after innocence.

I think we'd be in for a bit of a shock if we found out how much U2 music was created by Eno and Lanois and Lillywhite. If Tedder has a good hook for a U2 song, power to him.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: ian ryan on December 02, 2017, 09:17:32 PM
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To me, I take this as the band having more confidence in SOE than the past few albums.

This 100%. This album sounds so much more confident and open than SOI and NLOTH. Those albums sounded like they didn't know what to do exactly and so they were trying to make a statement. This album makes the statement and lets that determine what it needs to do. This is U2 at their best and most confident.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: ian ryan on December 02, 2017, 09:22:44 PM
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I'm calling it now...Bono's brush with mortality is just Irish shenanigans. Just an writing prop. However, the album does really have a Blackstar vibe. Like with all of these mentions of 'the end' and mystique.

Who knows it could be the end.

I don't know, going off his talk about being "arrested" in the liner notes and that maybe being cardiac arrest, the bridge of Love Is Bigger and the first verse of Lights Of Home take on a whole new, heavier meaning.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Clarky on December 02, 2017, 09:29:58 PM
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To me, I take this as the band having more confidence in SOE than the past few albums.

This 100%. This album sounds so much more confident and open than SOI and NLOTH. Those albums sounded like they didn't know what to do exactly and so they were trying to make a statement. This album makes the statement and lets that determine what it needs to do. This is U2 at its best and most confident.

I think saying something is making a 'statement' is an overused description, but I get what you mean. I agree that the album overall feels like it has more confidence in itself than the previous 2 (NLOTH was almost intentionally more subdued tho, so I personally give it a pass) and you get the sense that the music wants to soar. Whether it does or not is a little subjective, but I think a handful of tracks do, especially in how they all relate to one another. SOI hand a bunch of songs that were good, but they didn't really feel that cohesive and were all playing it a little safe. SOE sounds more dynamic and feeds off itself as it goes along. Thats a wonderful thing to hear when you sit down with an album. Sure there are a couple of duds and over time I think they might weaken the album as individual's opinions become more galvanised, but I think there is much more to like than not to from this effort.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Stateless on December 02, 2017, 09:32:39 PM
I agree with the poster that said there seems to be a bit more confidence and if you have not seen the interview with Bono on the NFL network it seems like they are kind of really happy right now.  The video for Your the best thing seems like they are having a blast and in listing to this new album it just seems like they are confident and having fun.  What really impresses me is that this baby band that I feel in love with back near 1981 or so is still making impactful albums and to me they are very relevant.  They may not have top singles, but they continue to make music that is good to great at times.  I think SOE is one of the best albums since POP and may be a bit better than POP imho.   

Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: BurningDownLove on December 02, 2017, 09:33:47 PM
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I'm struggling as to why Love Is Bigger isn't getting nearly as much admiration from others as it gets from me.

I completely agree. I think it's beautiful.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: bren4tha on December 02, 2017, 09:35:36 PM
 The songs on SOE are so much better than anything U2 have put out since AB in my opinion. The songs are catchier and more melodic than on previous albums since AB. I couldn't help but notice just a few shows into the JT 2017 Tour that Bono seemed to have abandon his gentle, dry, and off key talk singing style in favor of a more powerful one to fit those JT songs. In doing so, I feel that Bono kind of rediscovered his real voice again. Despite the fact that Bono is not quite what he was as a singer 30 years ago, his vocals are louder, deeper, more on key, and more operatic at times now. I notice that he brought this style along with a little extra echo to SOE as well. The vocals on it are more pronounced and wide open than they have been in the last 20 years.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: ian ryan on December 02, 2017, 09:47:26 PM
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To me, I take this as the band having more confidence in SOE than the past few albums.

This 100%. This album sounds so much more confident and open than SOI and NLOTH. Those albums sounded like they didn't know what to do exactly and so they were trying to make a statement. This album makes the statement and lets that determine what it needs to do. This is U2 at its best and most confident.

I think saying something is making a 'statement' is an overused description, but I get what you mean. I agree that the album overall feels like it has more confidence in itself than the previous 2 (NLOTH was almost intentionally more subdued tho, so I personally give it a pass) and you get the sense that the music wants to soar. Whether it does or not is a little subjective, but I think a handful of tracks do, especially in how they all relate to one another. SOI hand a bunch of songs that were good, but they didn't really feel that cohesive and were all playing it a little safe. SOE sounds more dynamic and feeds off itself as it goes along. Thats a wonderful thing to hear when you sit down with an album. Sure there are a couple of duds and over time I think they might weaken the album as individual's opinions become more galvanised, but I think there is much more to like than not to from this effort.

What they're saying about Trump and modern politics in American Soul and The Blackout is a statement. So is what they're saying about death in Lights Of Home and Love Is All We Have Left. This album is absolutely making statements.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Clarky on December 02, 2017, 09:47:42 PM
The Book of Your Heart reminds me so much of 90's era b-sides. I can't pin-point which songs exactly (some other more knowledgeable U2 fans will know) but it's so similar in feel. Really nice.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: ian ryan on December 02, 2017, 09:49:07 PM
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The Book of Your Heart reminds me so much of 90's era b-sides. I can't pin-point which songs exactly (some other more knowledgeable U2 fans will know) but it's so similar in feel. Really nice.

To me, it feels really close to Deep In The Heart, Walk To The Water, and Disappearing Act.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Clarky on December 02, 2017, 09:49:29 PM
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To me, I take this as the band having more confidence in SOE than the past few albums.

This 100%. This album sounds so much more confident and open than SOI and NLOTH. Those albums sounded like they didn't know what to do exactly and so they were trying to make a statement. This album makes the statement and lets that determine what it needs to do. This is U2 at its best and most confident.

I think saying something is making a 'statement' is an overused description, but I get what you mean. I agree that the album overall feels like it has more confidence in itself than the previous 2 (NLOTH was almost intentionally more subdued tho, so I personally give it a pass) and you get the sense that the music wants to soar. Whether it does or not is a little subjective, but I think a handful of tracks do, especially in how they all relate to one another. SOI hand a bunch of songs that were good, but they didn't really feel that cohesive and were all playing it a little safe. SOE sounds more dynamic and feeds off itself as it goes along. Thats a wonderful thing to hear when you sit down with an album. Sure there are a couple of duds and over time I think they might weaken the album as individual's opinions become more galvanised, but I think there is much more to like than not to from this effort.

What they're saying about Trump and modern politics in American Soul and The Blackout is absolutely a statement. So is what they're saying about death in Lights Of Home and Love Is All We Have Left. This album is absolutely making statements.

Fair point. I interpreted it as the music overall, but lyrically and on individual songs, sure.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: jjcruiser on December 02, 2017, 11:19:58 PM
Bono's notes:

"LAST WINTER I WAS ON THE RECEIVING END OF A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM MYSELF, A SHOCK THAT LEFT ME CLINGING ON TO MY OWN LIFE LIKE A RAFT.
NOW LOTS OF US HAVE A BRUSH WITH MORTALITY AT SOME STAGE, WHETHER IT’S OUR OWN OR SOMEONE DEAR TO US. IT’S AN ARRESTING EXPERIENCE.
I WAS ARRESTED.
FACING A WALL WITH MY HANDS UP OVER MY HEAD… THE FORCE SCREAMING AT ME NOT TO MOVE.
I WON’T DWELL IN IT OR ON IT. I DON’T WANT TO NAME IT. IN A REALITY TV WORLD OF MINOR MAJOR MELODRAMA I CAN SPARE EVERYONE THAT.
WHETHER IT’S PHYSICAL OR MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL SO MANY OF US HIT A WALL AT SOME POINT IN OUR LIFE.
I FEEL FANTASTIC NOW, STRONGER THAN EVER, BUT THESE SONGS HAVE THAT IMPETUS BEHIND THEM AND IT WOULD FEEL DISHONEST NOT TO ADMIT
THE TURBULENCE I WAS FEELING AT THE TIME OF WRITING.
THE GENIUS THAT LIES BEHIND THE GENIUS OF JOHN DONNE AND THE GENIUS OF A FEW HUMANS GOT ME SAFELY TO THE SHORE BUT I CONFESS
THAT ALONG THE WAY THE FAITH THAT HAD GUIDED MY LIFE SINCE I WAS A YOUNG MAN DID NOT ONLY NOT DEEPEN. IT SHALLOWED.
I HAD TO FIGHT EVEN HARDER FOR THAT FAITH.
TO MAKE OUT ‘THE STILL SMALL VOICE’.
I HAD TO PULL DOWN THE BLINDS ON THE WORLD.
SHUT OUT THE BACKGROUND AND FOREGROUND NOISES. THE INTERFERENCE.
TURN DOWN THE VOLUME OF MY CROWDED MIND TO HEAR THAT STILL, SOFT VOICE THAT PROMISES ‘THE PEACE THAT PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING’.
THAT RELATIONSHIP THAT YOU HAVE WITH GOD OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL GOD, IT’S A RELATIONSHIP THAT ONLY YIELDS TO TRUTHFULNESS.
I HAD TO FACE SOME LIES I’D BEEN TELLING MYSELF… LIES LIKE ‘MY HEAD WAS HARDER THAN THE GROUND’. THERE WERE OTHERS. I HAD TO FACE MY
OWN FEAR AND MY FEAR OF FEAR ITSELF.
I DON’T DO THAT VERY EASILY.
BUT THE STILL SMALL VOICE RETURNED, THE ONE I’D FIRST HEARD IN CHILDHOOD.
THE LANGUAGE IS HARD TO TRANSLATE BUT THE T-SHIRT SAYS: ‘FREE YOURSELF, TO BE YOURSELF, IF ONLY YOU COULD SEE YOURSELF.’
THE VOICE OF IRIS, THE VOICE OF GOD, THE VOICE OF FRIENDSHIP, WHO KNOWS?
IT’S POWERFUL. IT’S PERSPECTIVE.
THE TIME TO RETURN HOME. TO DISCOVER IT WASN’T A PLACE. IT WAS A FACE. IT WAS MORE THAN A FEW FACES BUT HER HEART WAS MY HOME.
ALI.
THE LIGHTS OF HOME
I’VE ALWAYS KNOWN THAT JOY CANNOT BE CONTRIVED, THAT IT’S A WELLSPRING OF A LIFE BEING LIVED AND BEING LOVED.
IN THE MESSAGE, EUGENE PETERSON’S TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE, I READ PSALM 100: ‘ENTER WITH THE PASSWORD ‘THANK YOU!’ AND MAKE
YOURSELF AT HOME.’
WHAT A LINE.
I WENT LOOKING FOR THE JOY THAT CANNOT BE MANUFACTURED, THAT WILL NOT BE CALLED UP AT WILL. HAPPINESS IS SO MUCH EASIER TO
COUNTERFEIT."
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: tommyboy6913 on December 03, 2017, 12:26:26 AM
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Its better than I feared although it still doesnt hold a candle to their work in the 80's and 90's. The songs I dislike the most are the singles while a lot of the other songs are pretty good. Summer of Love, Red Flag Day, Love is Bigger..., The Little Things, The Showman are my favorites. Its better than HTDAAB and NLOTH for sure but I'm not sure its better than SOI yet.
I couldn't with MC more. My thoughts exactly. I really like the album but at this stage, I prefer SOI a little more. Overall, it's a solid album and glad to hear new music from my favorite band of all time. I suspect their next album will be more experimental or ambient.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: HolyHandGrenade on December 03, 2017, 12:38:48 AM
Finally put my finger on it, but Love Is Bigger really reminds me of Alone Together by Fall Out Boy. Specifically 0:43, 2:08 etc..., but also in general.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3xyDNBX7do (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3xyDNBX7do)

I have some hard feelings about Save Rock and Roll, so it makes sense I'm averse to LIBTAIIW.

Speaking of similarities, if you like Lights of Home - St. Peter's String Version, check out Burn the Witch by Radiohead.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI2oS2hoL0k (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI2oS2hoL0k)
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Chip on December 03, 2017, 12:53:27 AM
My take is a bit different from some of the other ones here. This album is so drenched in an overwhelming sense of mortality that I'm very much still processing it. Everything on this album seems so personal, so much the thoughts of a man who writes as if this could be his last album that the personal very much overwhelms the big statements here. Or, to put it another way, what seems like big statements here are actually just very personal concerns being made by someone who feels like he has to let them be known before he leaves this life (as well as do what he can before that departure). Where others hear confidence in these songs, I instead hear an intimate frailty in each one, although to varying degrees. This seems to me to be the closest U2 has ever come to a Bono solo album; it's not one, of course, but the sense of mortality is so strong and the sentiments are so personal that Bono overwhelms the other band members in a way I've never seen before. They seem to have adapted the music to fit his frame of mind as well. It's in many ways a very good album, but very challenging and a difficult journey.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: miryclay on December 03, 2017, 12:56:42 AM
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I'm calling it now...Bono's brush with mortality is just Irish shenanigans. Just an writing prop. However, the album does really have a Blackstar vibe. Like with all of these mentions of 'the end' and mystique.

Who knows it could be the end.

I don't know, going off his talk about being "arrested" in the liner notes and that maybe being cardiac arrest, the bridge of Love Is Bigger and the first verse of Lights Of Home take on a whole new, heavier meaning.

Sounds like Bono is entering Sun Ra levels of supernatural understanding.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: miryclay on December 03, 2017, 01:06:58 AM
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Thanks to the moderators for bringing the forum back. It's fun to read the reactions to the record so far.

For me, SOE is good in spots, really weak in others, maybe a B+ overall. It's in a league with ATYCLB and HTDAAB, though without the high points of either (Beautiful Day, Walk On, Vertigo, etc.). It feels more cohesive than the last two. My highlights are Little Things (I was fortunate to hear this live in Dublin), Love Is All We Have Left (a wonderful Zooropa-esque opener), The Blackout, and Book of Your Heart (I would've put this in the main 13). Best Thing has grown on me, but I don't know that it's going to have a long shelf life (I like sugar cookies, but I won't eat ten in one sitting). The rework of Song For Someone is a charming end to the record, and I like it better than the original. American Soul is a missed opportunity, especially with the killer momentum of the Lamar bit over the stomping intro. I can totally do without Summer of Love, Red Flag Day, Landlady, and The Showman, which remind me of the more lightweight pop that might've been a B-side in an earlier time (like Sweetest Thing, although that is better than any of the ones I mentioned).

The biggest weakness is, by far, Bono's lyrics. Lazy, overly simple, repetitive, often vapid and cringe-worthy in places. Too many superficial, lightweight concepts (like American Soul). And man, while I'm optimistic by nature, the world is a lot more complicated than "love is [fill in the blank]," and being hammered over the head with it while the daily news makes me want to wretch is not a good thing. FWIW, Neil McCormick replied to me on Twitter to say he thinks they're Bono's best lyrics since ATYCLB It also feels like Edge has lost his mojo as the band's main source of new musical ideas -- some of his bluesy riffs are uninspired, too.

On one hand, as a lifelong fan, it's hard for any record to measure up to their peaks. I'm 51, came on board when I first heard Gloria on MTV, and have seen almost every tour since the original JT tour. So there are my early loves (Boy thru TUF), my coming of age record (JT in my senior year in college), and the crazily productive peaks of Achtung thru Pop with B-sides that are better and more inventive than anything they write now. That said, I'm also a lifelong Bowie fan, and his two last records were positively brilliant; Blackstar is now one of my favorite records of all time, and had an enormous influence on me as a musician and songwriter. I also loved REM's last two records, so it's not as if I'm some old dude who can't get past the glory songs of my youth. ;-)

Bowie and REM also provide relevant context to SOE in other ways. Bowie released his last two records with no fanfare -- both came out of the blue with no rumors or leaks (musicians signed NDAs to enforce the secrecy). He made them both with a small crew of musicians (The Next Day with some of his longtime sidemen, Blackstar with Donny McCaslin's brilliant quartet), one producer, (the brilliant Tony Visconti), and one studio. No hype, no interviews, a few videos -- just a focus on the songs. I was able to take both records just as they were. With U2, I can't help but expect more than this after the endless blather, hype, multiple producers, reworking the record, ad nauseum, etc. Bowie just said "f**k it, I'm David Bowie," while U2 is desperately striving for relevance and radio success, almost embarrassingly so, it seems. (Like others, I wonder if the Live Nation contract influences this.)

REM is relevant because I've been listening a lot to the 25th anniversary of Automatic For The People. REM knew they weren't going to tour behind it, so they weren't concerned with writing songs that would have to go over in arenas or stadia. Michael Stipe has talked recently about their knowing that they finally had major cachet and that radio would play basically anything they released, so they perversely released the slow, spacey Drive as the lead single. I would love to hear what U2 would release if they weren't concerned with big Coldplay-ish whoa-oa-oa choruses for arena shows and if they weren't so concerned with relevance and radio success.

I dunno...as I told my wife and a couple close mates who are all big U2 fans, I miss the days when new U2 records made me cry, dance, and hug my friends, rather than trying to rationalize why I don't love the record. I'll keep listening and how this grows on me, but more than likely, I'll end up listening to a best-of playlist of my fave songs from NTOTH thru SOE, something I thought I'd never do with my favorite band of all time.

Thanks for listening. Cheers, all.

I also thought of Blackstar with the mortality theme running through SOE. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: lucas.homem on December 03, 2017, 04:03:58 AM
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well i'd just like to say....not bad.!!

sure some tracks lag, filler material (LIBTAIIW, 13 There is a light, YBTABTM) but on the whole a solid effort with a plethora of catchy tunes. Absolutely adore Summer of Love, the edge's best licks since In a little while imo. Studio versions of the Blackout and LTTGYA are dull and tame in comparison to their explosive live versions- great songs hidden under the dullness of the studio. Book of Your Heart, worthy of inclusion on the main disc.

I get the thematic link between SOE and SOI, hence why there are so many references to the previous album- this is a first for U2 I think where they've never before made such a blatant reference to their past. Nothing wrong with that, but this is a band that prided themselves on looking forward, not living off the past, but I guess the passage of time and the creature comforts they've accumulated along the way have perhaps tamed their lust for pushing the envelope like they did in the 90''s- the best u2 period.

Still looking forward to the shows in Europe next year..i give it a sold 8/10

Some things to say here...

1) unfortunately (and this is a little disappointing for me too), it looks like the guitar licks from Summer of Love are not from The Edge, but instead a gift from Ryan Tedder to U2, since the licks and the chorus were already being designed to two different songs of OneRepublic, as we can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UWZxGRR12o

2) I agree with you regarding The Blackout, but I do think Little Things is way better in the studio version, even if less explosive.

3) I completely disagree with your statement that the links between SOI and SOE are signals of "living off the past". Well, SOI isn't even a successful album to be used as such (btw, it is even surprising to me that U2 didn't try to erase SOI from existance like they did with POP and NLOTH). They are just companions albums as it was intended to be from the beginning. Mostly, making these citations is just the perfect way to convey the ideas present on SOE itself, because experience comes after innocence.

I think we'd be in for a bit of a shock if we found out how much U2 music was created by Eno and Lanois and Lillywhite. If Tedder has a good hook for a U2 song, power to him.

I agree with you. And I do think Summer of Love is also a U2 song (I suppose U2 have done more than just put Bono to sing it). But it's also a little sad that those fantastic guitar licks are from someone else, even because that's the core and the magnet of the song. One of the highlights of the whole record, in my opinion, maybe even more.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: olimar on December 03, 2017, 06:13:23 AM
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I agree with you. And I do think Summer of Love is also a U2 song (I suppose U2 have done more than just put Bono to sing it). But it's also a little sad that those fantastic guitar licks are from someone else, even because that's the core and the magnet of the song. One of the highlights of the whole record, in my opinion, maybe even more.

Judging by the One Republic demo (as much as there is available), the guitar riff does appear to be borrowed and the chorus, but the verses and lyrics are obviously all new. The best bit of the entire song is the last 1 minute or so, when the strings are brought in to it. It sounds fantastic.

Also, there was an interview somewhere, possibly last month in Q but Id need to check, where Bono talks openly about Edge stealing riffs from other songs and how open they are to the idea of taking someones idea and working it up. Its impossible for any music to be unique anyway, its always going to be influenced by whatever else youve listened to (even subconsciously in the most part), so Im fine with it.

Album is really strong for me- I look at the lists of favourite tracks people are putting together and agree with the ones they put at the top, then find I disagree with some that end up near the bottom. That tells its own story- Im liking a high percentage of them (not taken with Showman or 13 particularly though).
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: lucas.homem on December 03, 2017, 06:20:41 AM
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I agree with you. And I do think Summer of Love is also a U2 song (I suppose U2 have done more than just put Bono to sing it). But it's also a little sad that those fantastic guitar licks are from someone else, even because that's the core and the magnet of the song. One of the highlights of the whole record, in my opinion, maybe even more.

Judging by the One Republic demo (as much as there is available), the guitar riff does appear to be borrowed and the chorus, but the verses and lyrics are obviously all new. The best bit of the entire song is the last 1 minute or so, when the strings are brought in to it. It sounds fantastic.

Also, there was an interview somewhere, possibly last month in Q but Id need to check, where Bono talks openly about Edge stealing riffs from other songs and how open they are to the idea of taking someones idea and working it up. Its impossible for any music to be unique anyway, its always going to be influenced by whatever else youve listened to (even subconsciously in the most part), so Im fine with it.

Album is really strong for me- I look at the lists of favourite tracks people are putting together and agree with the ones they put at the top, then find I disagree with some that end up near the bottom. That tells its own story- Im liking a high percentage of them (not taken with Showman or 13 particularly though).

I agree. No big problem for me too. I come from a background of classical music and it was pretty normal to quote (or steal) themes and melodies from others, sometimes more openly, sometimes not. All fine, because the final product was unique.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: BalconyTV on December 03, 2017, 06:33:57 AM
So would you be cool if you found out the main sound from New Years Day was from someone else?
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: croni on December 03, 2017, 06:43:00 AM
Okay I've listened to the album about 15 times now.

First things first. It blows Songs of Innocence out of the water. That's a relief.

In large parts of the album there's a confidence and a swagger that was seriously lacking for about twenty years. Whether it be recent global events or personal experiences, the album is a lot more focused and has greater cohesion.

In some ways this is the album U2 have been trying to make for a very long time, that pop-ier album. It's surprisingly easy to listen to while you're doing other things, which U2 rarely do. It's not as needy or as abrasive as a lot of their recent stuff. Some lovely experimentation as well.

Possibly their best post millenium work

It's up there with, if not better that ATYCLB and No Line (a demanding but ultimately very rewarding listen, apart from those 3 stinkers crazy, boots and stand up)

Atomic Bomb and SOI are duds IMHO.

Standout tracks: Little things, Red Flag Day, Summer of Love

Binners: Best Thing, American Soul, Landlady, Love is bigger (vacuous anthems, boring rockers or broadway musical numbers)

easily a 4 star out 5 album.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: lucas.homem on December 03, 2017, 06:51:18 AM
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So would you be cool if you found out the main sound from New Years Day was from someone else?

The piano melody? No problem at all. Depending from where they were stealing it, I'd actually find it even more awesome.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: croni on December 03, 2017, 06:53:22 AM
It boggles the mind how Book of Your Heart was left off the album
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: olimar on December 03, 2017, 07:14:27 AM
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In large parts of the album there's a confidence and a swagger that was seriously lacking for about twenty years. Whether it be recent global events or personal experiences, the album is a lot more focused and has greater cohesion.

Interesting- Id definitely say there is so much more cohesion than there has been on an album going back probably to ATYCLB (although that might be unfair on Atomic Bomb that has a fairly even style to it).
However, rather than saying its confident or full of swagger, one of the things I really like is that I find its actually quite understated, melancholic in places and feels like a band so much more relaxed. Several songs just move along with a lot less... I dont know.... Noise.
Case in point, the sections at the end of Landlady, Summer of Love, Little Things would ordinarily move towards big swirling traditional climaxes, but instead they play out in a much more understated style and sound great for it.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: blovesu2 on December 03, 2017, 09:03:22 AM
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It boggles the mind how Book of Your Heart was left off the album

100% agree! and that they left Love is Bigger on the album is equal in baffle
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: hollywoodswag on December 03, 2017, 09:10:51 AM
Copied from elsewhere:

I've played through this album end-to-end only once so far, and I find that it takes multiple listens to really form a proper opinion, but so far, I'd say it's probably in the bottom rung for U2 albums for me.

I had an endlessly long review that I deleted to avoid any TLDR issues, but, at least after my initial play-through, this album is so-so, possibly even duking it out for the position of my least-favorite U2 album with its predecessor (October would be in contention as well because when it's bad, it's bad, but Gloria, ITABTAW and especially I Fall Down cover a multitude of sins). I think that SOE benefits from many strong lyrics in a lot of areas, and the occasional references to songs on the predecessor (American Soul drawing much of its chorus from a snippet in Volcano and 13 appropriating the chorus of Song for Someone and turning it on its head to suit the theme of this album), but when it's using names like Fred, Ned, Jack, and Zack to preserve rhyme scheme, well, come on, even at their silliest, U2 is better than that. I also don't like the flip-flopping between political and personal. At times, the lyrical themes make it feel like two albums stitched together. I have no problem with albums having multiple lyrical themes from song to song, but when there's a disproportionate level of lyrical strength between one theme (the personal being very powerful) and another (the political not so much), it creates a rough contrast.

My biggest issue, though, is the sound of the album. It suffers from the same problem as SOI, which is that it sounds like generic top 40 radio. Gone is U2's usual brand of either creating their own sound or modifying an existing sound with their own flavor (i.e. the 90s material), and instead we're stuck with a Coldplay or OneRepublic album that just happens to have Bono on vocals. I think that when SOE succeeds on the sonic front, it does so far better than SOI, but when it flops, it falls hard. I also think that even some of the highlights (The Blackout, for example), have a structure that seems like it's building to something that never materializes. To expand on that, in the chorus of The Blackout, you get this bass drum beat that sounds almost club-ish, but you have the guitar and the bass in full-on rock mode. I feel like a drum beat that's not so focused on the bass drum alone would have made that song more explosive. YTBTAM suffers even more from an energy drop-off, where you have these amazing guitar-driven verses only to bleed off that energy into the softer chorus.

I'd say that The Little Things is probably the album's strongest overall performance, and YTBTAM, American Soul, and The Blackout are all strong in their own rights. I also think that the album reaches the point of being a tear-jerker in several spots (13 is one of those songs where, were it accompanied by glass of wine, the listener would likely be reduced to a blubbering mess), and I can admire the vulnerability it takes to go there. In an overall sense, though, I'd probably put the album near the bottom of the U2 catalogue based on my first impression. I don't rule out it being a grower, even if I've played the living daylights out of a few songs, but I don't see it climbing high in my rankings.

Oh, and one last highlight: Adam Clayton's bass. Good grief, does that man bring the thunder on this thing.

On a side note, I really hope it's not a goodbye album, but it sure as heck comes off as one in some areas.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: tommyboy6913 on December 03, 2017, 09:59:53 AM
Here's my initial impression after only 2 listens: It's a solid album but does not live up to the hype. To use a baseball analogy, the last several albums have had Home-Runs such as Beautiful Day and Kite, Vertigo, City of Blinding Lights, EBW and Sleep Like a Baby Tonight and SFS. This album has no Home-Run hits but does have some solid doubles Black-out, Showman, Your the Best Thing and triples Little Things, RFD and Get Out of Your Own Way. The rest are all singles, no fly balls or grounders but no home-runs.
I will need to give it a few more listens. I see this album as a Grower but at this point, I would say it's not a Top 10 album for me. However, it's very consistent and the only song I dislike is 13. How some of you can say 13 is better than SFS is beyond me. Also track 12 sounds like Christian music to me...puke  :-\ There are a couple of songs that sound a little "show-tunes or Broadway" to me like Landlady and Love is Bigger. At this point, I would give this album a 2 out of 4 stars.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Stateless on December 03, 2017, 10:42:04 AM
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In some ways this is the album U2 have been trying to make for a very long time, that pop-ier album. It's surprisingly easy to listen to while you're doing other things, which U2 rarely do. It's not as needy or as abrasive as a lot of their recent stuff. Some lovely experimentation as well.

I agree.  I have it playing while cooking or doing dishes etc.  I am also a gamer and there is an ability on the Xbox One X to stream music while playing a game, so I had SOE playing while playing some of my video games (racing games mainly).   It is very easy to listen and it is kind of rare that that I am not reaching for the "skip" button on some songs.  Usually with a new U2 album there are some songs that don't connect with me initially and I hit the skip button.  The only time I have done that was on my drive home the other day and the only reason I hit skip was because my commute was only 30 minutes and I was skipping Best Thing, Blackout and Little Things just because I have heard them a lot already and wanted more time with some of the newer songs to me. 

Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: wraitii on December 03, 2017, 11:13:28 AM
In a lot of ways, this is the first album on which Bono is the highlight since forever.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: derry falcon on December 03, 2017, 03:08:25 PM
Easily the best material since Pop. Red Flag Day could end up in my top 10 U2 songs ever. Lights of Home, The Little Things and Summer of Love are easily better than anything on SoI. Can see The Blackout being a stomping opener on the tour. And Adam Clayton is on absolute fire on this album. Brilliant stuff, I'm absolutely delighted with the finished product, I was a bit skeptical after hearing American Soul and was honestly fearing the worst but thankfully the album is a classic.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: 73October on December 03, 2017, 03:22:21 PM
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Easily the best material since Pop. Red Flag Day could end up in my top 10 U2 songs ever. Lights of Home, The Little Things and Summer of Love are easily better than anything on SoI. Can see The Blackout being a stomping opener on the tour. And Adam Clayton is on absolute fire on this album. Brilliant stuff, I'm absolutely delighted with the finished product, I was a bit skeptical after hearing American Soul and was honestly fearing the worst but thankfully the album is a classic.
Larry is also on fire on this album.  In fact, I think the rhythm section has really enhanced the sound - to the point that it becomes their best since Pop and better than Unforgettable Fire. 
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: NateV on December 03, 2017, 03:40:17 PM
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The Book of Your Heart reminds me so much of 90's era b-sides. I can't pin-point which songs exactly (some other more knowledgeable U2 fans will know) but it's so similar in feel. Really nice.

I was thinking that as well. It reminds me of Oh Berlin.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: olimar on December 03, 2017, 03:51:32 PM
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Easily the best material since Pop. Red Flag Day could end up in my top 10 U2 songs ever. Lights of Home, The Little Things and Summer of Love are easily better than anything on SoI. Can see The Blackout being a stomping opener on the tour. And Adam Clayton is on absolute fire on this album. Brilliant stuff, I'm absolutely delighted with the finished product, I was a bit skeptical after hearing American Soul and was honestly fearing the worst but thankfully the album is a classic.
Larry is also on fire on this album.  In fact, I think the rhythm section has really enhanced the sound - to the point that it becomes their best since Pop and better than Unforgettable Fire. 

With repeated listens, the rhythm sections is increasingly standout and varied.
Also, I think Ive realised why I like the understated feel of much of it and its a surprise to realise that its because the guitars are pushed back a bit.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: redrunningred on December 03, 2017, 04:24:21 PM
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Easily the best material since Pop. Red Flag Day could end up in my top 10 U2 songs ever. Lights of Home, The Little Things and Summer of Love are easily better than anything on SoI. Can see The Blackout being a stomping opener on the tour. And Adam Clayton is on absolute fire on this album. Brilliant stuff, I'm absolutely delighted with the finished product, I was a bit skeptical after hearing American Soul and was honestly fearing the worst but thankfully the album is a classic.
Larry is also on fire on this album.  In fact, I think the rhythm section has really enhanced the sound - to the point that it becomes their best since Pop and better than Unforgettable Fire. 

With repeated listens, the rhythm sections is increasingly standout and varied.
Also, I think Ive realised why I like the understated feel of much of it and its a surprise to realise that its because the guitars are pushed back a bit.
That's one of the main improvements I feel over SOI.  The production of SOI really smothered the rhythm section to the point where they just sounded like really good session players.  SOE brought them out front and center more often.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: fresno dave on December 03, 2017, 10:00:24 PM
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According to U2's twitter: Listen to our new album #SongsOfExperience and watch exclusive mini-documentaries only on @spotify now #RockThis #ThisIsU2 http://spoti.fi/2j5YU66

Here's the "Rock This" mini-doc:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAPrtEXwaAA&app=desktop
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: jdoyle on December 03, 2017, 11:00:48 PM
I was ready to totally dismiss this album based on the four or five songs I heard before it was released. Of those the only one I sortof liked was GOOYOW, even the end of that with the spoken word grates on my brain. However although this is a disjointed affair with all the hallmarks of too many producers and way too long in the making, I keep returning to it. I am surprised at the quality of the songs and they are not the ones we heard prior to release. Red Flag Day is great and I love the quieter moments on this album. TLTTGYA is way better here than the insipid live version they were playing. The Showman reminds me of Boomtown Rats. I like it. Also like Landlady. Despite it being an incoherent collection of songs there are enough hints that there's still potental for greatness in U2. I'm struggling to look on this as a whole album. It seems more like a greatest hits of songs they have written over the last 3 years. I am wondering if a rejigged track listing might make it a better listen. I think they should have done the old fashioned approach and got all the singles out of the way at the start of the album, then follow with the rock songs and then create a sort of side B with all the more atmospheric songs one after the other. I might come back with a suggested alternative listing. For now I am still listening and mining some good stuff out of this album. First album from U2 in a long long time that I have done that with. PS: lose all the crappy disco remixes. Absolutely hate them. Just new songs and new bonus tracks please.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: GoldenStateGirl on December 03, 2017, 11:37:13 PM
LOL I *live* for those “crappy disco remixes”.  It takes me back to the era of 12 inch remixes. It also feels so Euro for a rock act to put out a dance remix.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: NateV on December 03, 2017, 11:58:22 PM
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The songs on SOE are so much better than anything U2 have put out since AB in my opinion. The songs are catchier and more melodic than on previous albums since AB. I couldn't help but notice just a few shows into the JT 2017 Tour that Bono seemed to have abandon his gentle, dry, and off key talk singing style in favor of a more powerful one to fit those JT songs. In doing so, I feel that Bono kind of rediscovered his real voice again. Despite the fact that Bono is not quite what he was as a singer 30 years ago, his vocals are louder, deeper, more on key, and more operatic at times now. I notice that he brought this style along with a little extra echo to SOE as well. The vocals on it are more pronounced and wide open than they have been in the last 20 years.

I think its interesting how Bono in the past said he didn’t like his “girly voice” of their first albums, but recently has said he is singing like a girl again. A return to innocence from experience?
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Argo on December 04, 2017, 06:37:39 AM
Mostly liking it. Best Thing has worn thin but heard it so many times. Still making my mind up on Summer of Love, RFD, Showman and Love is Bigger. Book of Your Heart is awesome and the strings version of Lights of Home should be on the main album. Very solid and interesting stuff overall. Am a pretty big fan of SOI and probably have SOI ahead though.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: redrunningred on December 04, 2017, 07:37:25 AM
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Mostly liking it. Best Thing has worn thin but heard it so many times. Still making my mind up on Summer of Love, RFD, Showman and Love is Bigger. Book of Your Heart is awesome and the strings version of Lights of Home should be on the main album. Very solid and interesting stuff overall. Am a pretty big fan of SOI and probably have SOI ahead though.

I think SOI has higher highs but slightly lower slows. Side 2 i think is better than SOE, but 1st half is fairly equal.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: MadRob360 on December 04, 2017, 07:47:35 AM
I love it, IMO their best since PoP certainly. Best 2 tracks to open an album since then anyway. Overall flow of the album is brilliant, My only minor thing is i wish they'd be braver with the single choices. The best songs on the record are all not singles (so far). Little things is definately a highlight for me. American soul is probably my least favourite track it's not that it;s bad, i do like it but it's just my least favourite on the album, I think it'll kill live! I think given that the 'singles' we've had so far, they'll certainly get played live so im afraid some of my favourites won't see the light of day in a live setting. Alas, A return to form indeed!  8)
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: lucas.homem on December 04, 2017, 08:02:35 AM
I think SOE has higher highs than SOI, has many more songs with staying power to me and its low points are not great mistakes. It's even more consistent as a whole album and also brings great variety in songwriting (SOI too, sure).
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: j2736 (i'm not a boy ! ) on December 04, 2017, 08:38:47 AM
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.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: bonorules on December 04, 2017, 08:40:13 AM
Finally listened to it in full over the weekend and I love it!
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: loungeshep on December 04, 2017, 09:00:28 AM
Well:

1. I thought it was a great album, their best in the 18 years I've been a fan.

2. Why is it everytime I'm in the middle of some dramatic crisis that threatens to completely destroy my life U2 releases a new album?

and

3. Was Bono nearly dying or something? Half the album are things I'd want to say to my wife if I were dying.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: GoalisSoul40 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!

Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: scrittoresabino 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)
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Butch Flowers 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.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: macky0104 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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Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: macky0104 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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Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: 1985 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.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: NateV 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?
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: EdgeUK8_my_mind 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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Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Clarky 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.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: boomchild 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.


Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Delvis Crasho 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: https://www.avclub.com/u2-gives-too-many-fucks-on-the-insufferable-songs-of-ex-1820789568 (https://www.avclub.com/u2-gives-too-many-fucks-on-the-insufferable-songs-of-ex-1820789568)
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Milk/Korova_1 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).
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: TongueInMyEar 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.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: TongueInMyEar 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.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Manos73 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.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: achtung child on December 06, 2017, 10:20:22 AM
I agree with the sentiment it's the best of the post 00's material.  I pin it on the fact the album has more of a direct intent.  SOI was great, but as some have noted, the themes were so specific it lacked a universal connection.  Don't get me started on NLOTH, an embarrassment of failures on all counts.  It's much more fun than Bomb, which is the best fact it is more a relative to ATYCLB.  It has the same playful vibe that doesn't compromise the darker bites.  There is a marked restraint that allows the music to breathe.

Aside from that, I've come to the conclusion I HATE Bono as a lyricist. The band itself delivers, and always has, great tunes - but they're often derailed by Bono's ridiculous lyrics.  But as they've stated many times, they're a live band.  The performance always delivers where Bono falls flat (i.e. Elevation, countless others). 

As far as production, I do wish Edge was mixed in a bit louder, but I think that was deliberate.  Songs like Get Out don't quite take off as much as I'd like because Edge is oddly muted.  This is essentially BD stripped down, which is fine - it works.  But I want it to blast, not simmer. 

I do think if it were not for the release debacle, SOI would have been better received.  If they employed a similar guerilla promo strategy, as they are now, I think the tide of opinion would be even stronger on this one.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: SUMNER78 on December 06, 2017, 11:08:55 AM
3.5/5
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Tortuga on December 06, 2017, 12:35:20 PM
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Listen to the audience react to the sweeping guitar near the end.

That sounded like an obvious turning on of the "applause" sign coupled with turning the audience mics up in the mix.  No way that was pure spontaneous unaided reaction to the guitar.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Nanda360 on December 06, 2017, 01:57:46 PM
I like it so much. Maybe someday I will love it. The lyrics mean much more than what I can get now, it will take a few years ahead until I can make my full “internal” review. So far it is one of my favorites, with consistency taken very seriously. Full of groove, zouk guitar, in-depth and superficial thoughts, words prophesied by Kendrick Lamar, high frequency of Edge’s vocals. Well, the new old U2’s back.


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Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: durk on December 06, 2017, 02:34:28 PM
i really like this album.
more than SOI - i can picture myself playing most of these songs a year from now.
not a great album- but solidly good imo.
btw i'm glad to see this forum back.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: durk on December 06, 2017, 02:46:45 PM
oh...and Red Flag Day is one of my favorite U2 songs in YEARS.
and i cannot get Love is Bigger out of my head.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: miracle_al on December 06, 2017, 02:53:23 PM
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oh...and Red Flag Day is one of my favorite U2 songs in YEARS.
and i cannot get Love is Bigger out of my head.

^ this.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: SwimmingSorrows on December 06, 2017, 05:08:03 PM
Lady Gaga does backing vocals for Summer of Love, and I read some posts on a Lady Gaga forum to see what they thought and have found that they really like the song despite her not being featured prominently.

Couple quotes:

"Say what you want about it, but the song is pretty cool."

"This song is enchanting I just deeply wish you could hear her more."
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Clarky on December 06, 2017, 05:24:27 PM
I agree that Little Things, while not my favourite track on the album, is probably the one song that will stand the test of time and be the 'classic' that most people point to. I'm happy about that.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: siddavis on December 06, 2017, 05:45:50 PM
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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.
Bingo. This for me has been a real problem on the last couple of albums. I’ve been hoping for the lower registers ala WOWY for a while.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: scrittoresabino on December 06, 2017, 06:57:28 PM
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the change to the "Sometimes..." section gives me tingles.
^^^THIS. It is one of THE moments on the album.

Aside from the build, Bono's singing here, and the classic (staccato?) Edge guitar, another thing that makes this work so well is space. This song allowed to breathe more than others. Right before that "Sometimes" is a nice use a space. Many people have noted that their least favorite thing on the album is the lyrics (I love them, even the most hated, I think serves the song in many ways... Chace ;P). My biggest complaint on this album, is that there are many songs that could use a bit more space in certain moments.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: sierrra on December 07, 2017, 03:53:21 AM
Love the album, but will they ever make a next album i hope they will skip the ohoho and ahaha parts in their songs.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Albono on December 07, 2017, 05:20:47 AM
"The Little Things..." is fantastic! I can't stop listening to it!
Vino U2!
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: sierrra on December 07, 2017, 05:35:04 AM
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"The Little Things..." is fantastic! I can't stop listening to it!
Vino U2!

I love that song to, only for me it feels somewhat out of place on the album. I cant explain why. Maybe the mood of the song is different than the rest of the album.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Vox on December 07, 2017, 08:22:06 AM
I think it’s pretty good, however I’m not a very reliable witness when it comes to initial reactions to new U2 albums.  It takes me a couple months of living with them to see what sticks and what doesn’t.

The songs I’ve habitually found myself skipping have been “Landlady,” and “13.”  I don’t mind those songs, and maybe they’ll grow on me.  I’ve also been skipping “YTBTAM” and “GOOYOW” – but I’m assuming it’s because I’ve been listening to those songs too much for the past few months. 

The highlight for me is “Love is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way.”  I’m fascinated by the reactions to this song.  People’s temperatures to it run either hot or cold.  Personally, it elicits something in me only the best songs do.  I’m very thankful for that one.  My next tier would be “American Soul,” “Summer of Love,” “Red Flag Day,” “The Showman,” and “The Blackout.”   And don’t get me wrong – I also enjoy all of the other songs that I haven’t mentioned in this post – it’s just that I’m still wrapping my head around them.  “Lights of Home,” for example, seems a bit all over the place, and I’m not 100% certain that it works.  That being said, the sound U2 makes in the second verse of that song is un-freaking-believable and enough reason for that tune to exist in any form. 

As of today, this album could have that magic about it that keeps drawing me in, just like all the best U2 records do.  Or, there may be something a little bit off about it that makes me flake out, just like I did with SOI.  It’s still too early to tell.  My initial reaction after a week is that it’s much more substantive and interesting to me than SOI ever was.   It’s probably best to wait half a year or so to see where it sorta ends up in my U2antheon and just enjoy it for what it is for today – a very good U2 album that I’m happy with.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: sierrra on December 07, 2017, 09:01:03 AM
Lol. 13 is beautiful song. For me one of best songs of the album.  Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way is the only song i dont like till now. Funny the diverse reactions to this album.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: durk on December 07, 2017, 05:29:42 PM
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I think it’s pretty good, however I’m not a very reliable witness when it comes to initial reactions to new U2 albums.  It takes me a couple months of living with them to see what sticks and what doesn’t.

The songs I’ve habitually found myself skipping have been “Landlady,” and “13.”  I don’t mind those songs, and maybe they’ll grow on me.  I’ve also been skipping “YTBTAM” and “GOOYOW” – but I’m assuming it’s because I’ve been listening to those songs too much for the past few months. 

The highlight for me is “Love is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way.”  I’m fascinated by the reactions to this song.  People’s temperatures to it run either hot or cold.  Personally, it elicits something in me only the best songs do.  I’m very thankful for that one.  My next tier would be “American Soul,” “Summer of Love,” “Red Flag Day,” “The Showman,” and “The Blackout.”   And don’t get me wrong – I also enjoy all of the other songs that I haven’t mentioned in this post – it’s just that I’m still wrapping my head around them.  “Lights of Home,” for example, seems a bit all over the place, and I’m not 100% certain that it works.  That being said, the sound U2 makes in the second verse of that song is un-freaking-believable and enough reason for that tune to exist in any form. 

As of today, this album could have that magic about it that keeps drawing me in, just like all the best U2 records do.  Or, there may be something a little bit off about it that makes me flake out, just like I did with SOI.  It’s still too early to tell.  My initial reaction after a week is that it’s much more substantive and interesting to me than SOI ever was.   It’s probably best to wait half a year or so to see where it sorta ends up in my U2antheon and just enjoy it for what it is for today – a very good U2 album that I’m happy with.
great post
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: jjcruiser on December 07, 2017, 10:06:29 PM
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“Lights of Home,” for example, seems a bit all over the place, and I’m not 100% certain that it works.  That being said, the sound U2 makes in the second verse of that song is un-freaking-believable and enough reason for that tune to exist in any form. 

That deep dark crunching guitar bit is awesome.  The only part I prefer to the St. Peter Strings version.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: zeeTV on December 08, 2017, 05:00:04 AM
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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)

Could not agree any more with you on this, its perfect
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: lightmyway92 on December 12, 2017, 07:52:37 AM
Not sure if anyone mentioned it yet, but in addition to the very strong songs on this album, the sequencing of the songs is beautifully done.  One songs flows easily into the other.  Even "American Soul," which is probably one of my least favorite songs on the album (although it's got great energy), is set up nicely by the spoken-word outro from "Get out of Your Own Way."  Also, who could have predicted that at this stage in their career, U2 could pull off a minor masterpiece like "The Little Things That Give You Away."  That song is absolutely stunning!

On a side note, this is my first time back on this forum since well before it was temporarily taken down, and I must say that the overall atmosphere is much-improved.  There was a definite unpleasant vibe going on before, which really pushed me away.  But that seems gone now. 
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: dwaltman on December 12, 2017, 10:51:18 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)

Not sure if anyone watches the TV show "This Is Us," but my mind goes to that show when I hear that line.  If you watch the show, then you know why.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: durk on December 12, 2017, 02:21:40 PM
Love is Bigger has become one of my favorite U2 songs ever.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Coop15879 on December 12, 2017, 08:16:44 PM
This is a great U2 album and one that I think will resonate over time.  I listened to SOI into SOE and was reminded what George Harrison said in the Beatles Anthology concerning Rubber Soul and Revolver, calling them two parts of the same album.   
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: achtung child on December 12, 2017, 09:26:27 PM
I will say the only other thing that bugs me about the album is certain songs start out very tentatively, when it feels the correct impulse would be for the intro to explode (i.e. Get Out, Love is Bigger).  I'm not sure if it's intentional or not, but it reads insecure somehow - as if Ryan Tedder was slowly moving the master fader up during the mixing.  Small quibbles, but I'm really digging this one.  I can't say how it will factor a year from now.  I haven't listened to much of Innocence, but some of it was stained by a breakup for me.  I've also relapsed into a Stones phase the past couple years.  I can say I am definitely digging this more than Bomb and No Line, which is progress for them by my book.  My favorite part of the album is the "opera" singing on 13 - it's creepy and tender AF.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Allhorizonbomb on December 12, 2017, 11:54:34 PM
I wish Love is all we have left was longer. Best song U2 has done since Moment of surrender in terms of emotional value. 13 is a close second.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: TongueInMyEar on December 13, 2017, 02:38:04 AM
Into a second week with this album being played non-stop, I really am loving it.

The run from LIAWHL to GOOYOW and then Summer of Love to Landlady are both brilliant and what make the album so listenable for me. American Soul and The Blackout the only dips.

Love Is Bigger grown on me a lot, 13 perfect end to the album and recycling Song For Someone works well.

SOI wasn't a bad album IMO, there were a number of songs I really like (EBW, California, Iris, RBW and The Troubles in particular) but it just didn't flow as well as SOE, I don't know if that's because of the quality of songs, or the sequence of songs. Also I think SOE has a more cohesive "feel" to the album.

Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: DGordon1 on December 13, 2017, 06:46:08 AM
Probably their best album since Pop for me, maybe even Zooropa. They've really rediscovered melody since NLOTH, and this album features some of their best songwriting for many years. Also a good range of dynamics used - it never sounds like it's trying too hard. Bono sounds great and has written some really beautiful and heartfelt lyrics on SoE (Refujesus aside!). The songs are all well produced imo, so it's a great achievement by all involved.

It's a shame it's had quite a few mediocre reviews - U2 seems a toxic brand nowadays. What we'll likely see when the E&I tour resumes is exactly what happened with SoI (ie the reviewers will say the songs sounded lifeless and dull on record but came alive on tour). This is what they said with SoI and it's just a b******t way to try and reconcile giving the album a crap review whilst praising the gig.

Anyway, a couple of questionable decisions aside this improves on SoI for me. SoI is similarly consistent start to finish and is a cohesive record; however SoE is almost as cohesive but packs more of a punch emotionally. The second half of the album is beautiful, with The Blackout somewhat oddly wedged in to the mix.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: durk on December 13, 2017, 09:06:29 AM
true on Blackout. Odd placement there.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Clarky on December 13, 2017, 06:04:11 PM
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I wish Love is all we have left was longer. Best song U2 has done since Moment of surrender in terms of emotional value. 13 is a close second.

Yeah, I feel like a couple songs were shortchanged, like Love is Bigger could have been another minute longer and I have never liked how You're the Best Thing ends so suddenly.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Lizard on December 15, 2017, 01:25:39 PM
Yeah, I absolutely agree that Love is bigger is too short. The end could be a extended longer (Streets is more than 4 minutes long, Love is bigger only 3 minutes - that's definitely too short for a song like that.)
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: eldercantrell@yahoo.com on December 16, 2017, 03:08:09 PM
Takes me 6 months to really know how good a U2 album is. So far, after 15 listens, SOE is my favorite album since Pop. We'll see where it sits in a few more months tho.

I would have liked Love is bigger to go on another 30-45 seconds. 1 min may have been too long maybe not if there was a bit more guitar varied into it. Is such an epic variation on the original chorus that I would have enjoyed it going on longer. But still a great song to me.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: Bundang Dave on December 17, 2017, 06:34:50 PM
I still have mixed feelings about this one.

I really like the tracks that have a Passengers-like vibe: Love Is All We Have Left, 13 (There Is a Light), and Book of Your Heart.

And I feel Summer of Love and The Little Things are top-notch tracks to complement the above three.

I even like American Soul (though the middle 8 not so much) as a foil.

But the rest of the tracks seem out of place and/or miss the mark is irksome ways.

I'd like to have heard Landlady given a more Passengers-like treatment. Great melody, nice lyric, but bland arrangement.

Red Flag Day and The Showman I think would be better served with a heavier, more aggressive sound, but as is strike me as MOR.

Lights of Home kind of goes the same way...has a great sound in the verses but then MORs it in the chorus and coda.

I guess albums don't really have to be albums anymore since we just make our tracklists and there are solid tracks to mine here.
Title: Re: Initial Thoughts on SOE?
Post by: jc619er on December 19, 2017, 01:47:47 PM
For me this album lived up to everything I wanted. No weak songs and it’s very well paced. The track order is perfect like everyone has said. Great flow. I love that they started it off with a slow melancholy track and then just get right into it. I get that it’s very pop influenced but U2 has always been a pop music group. There’s no way of overlooking that. Overall I feel this album will hold up over time.