Author Topic: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On  (Read 1102 times)

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Offline Vox

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Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« on: September 09, 2019, 12:02:23 PM »
Has it really been five years today since Songs of Innocence was released?  Five years since the most controversial album release in history?  In some ways, in seems like less than five years, and in other respects, it seems like a lifetime ago. 

The Release:  The negative response to the album release was overblown.  Some could argue the release still overshadows the album itself.  One thingís for certain Ė I think itís safe to assume itís the last time so many people out in the ďreal worldĒ were talking about U2.

The Album:  Iíve never been able to connect with the album, myself.  Iím still hoping at some point I will.  As of today, Iíd say itís my second least-favorite U2 album.  Though Iím happy for those who like it, of which there seem to be quite a few.  Maybe someday for me, eh?   



Offline hollywoodswag

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2019, 01:29:23 PM »
I agree that the release likely overshadowed the quality of the album itself in the eyes of many, but I was surprised in a good way that a free album by a band I liked dropped into my iTunes account. However, the album was a letdown. Though it has grown on me, I still think itís too pop-ish in sound, and it screams of a desperate attempt for a band to stay relevant to the youngsters out there (I say this as someone still in his 20s at the time of release) instead of a band writing the music on their own terms. I think NLOTHís lukewarm reception spooked them in much the same way Pop did, but where they brought the goods with ATYCLB, I think they fell a bit flat on this one. They also had the advantage of rock being a really popular genre at the time of ATYCLB, so that allowed them to chase relevance with material in their own wheelhouse, but such was not the case in the era of SOI.

I wish they would have just stuck to pleasing their then-current fan base rather than chase the pop fans of the day, because I feel like they did themselves more harm than good.

I do think the album held up well lyrically outside of The Miracle and California, but the instrumental stylings just werenít there. Iím glad I like it more than I did, though, because I got pretty frustrated trying to like it and struggling to find appeal, but I eventually grew to accept it. Still near or at the bottom of their catalogue in my opinion, though, but hey, its U2.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2019, 07:39:35 PM »
I missed the release and the album is a little less than two years old for me.

While I consider Miracle and SFS to be the weakest songs, SOI is the first album since Pop that I at least like every song front to back. The end of ATYCLB is a skip, most of Bomb is a skip, two (yeah, two, not three) songs on NLOTH are a skip. But SOI, and incidentally SOE, I can go start to finish.

And what's even better is that I'll walk away feeling like it was even better than I expected.

I know I'm supposed to regard it as trash and apparently my taste in music is questionable at best, but I'm not just cutting them a break. I think if they came out with Iris or SLABT or The Troubles or EBW or TIWYCRMN in 1995 people would have fallen over dead saying how good they were.

Offline Argo

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2019, 10:41:43 PM »
I am a big fan of SOI. It is a top 4 U2 album for me behind AB, JT and Pop. It has real depth on it for me with barely a bad tune really. Similar to the way I perceive Pop, SOI is very strong from start to finish but lacks a killer single to make the album really stand out. And this is an album that had Invisible and Crystal Ballroom as extras! In my SOI playlist I have EBW, California and Crystal Ballroom which really work well together. And the later trio of RBW, Cedarwood Road and SLABT is awesome. Another real find for me is the emotion of Iris. Loved that live too.

Miracle is a bit average, Volcano and Lucifer's Hands don't do it for me and I don't like parts of TIWYCFMN (did I get that right?). But the slower songs of Troubles and SFS I really like.

I much prefer SOI to SOE. I really don't care about the release. Probably what most annoyed me is that I didn't have automatic downloads setting on and I had to figure out how to get my free album in desperate anticipation!

Offline singnomore

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2019, 06:50:38 AM »
The SOI tour resonates well with me - so by default i have a fondness for this album. 5 years does seem like a long time ago...

Offline pan360

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2019, 12:27:50 PM »
SOI is not on my top five U2 albums but I love it. There are three songs I didnít like so much at the beginning, but I appreciated laterÖ California and Raised by Wolves from the live versions, especially those included in U2.comís LIVE I&E and TIWYCRMN which now I enjoy watching on Films of Innocence. I liked The Miracle from the very beginning and I really donít understand why some people dislike it.

Offline Rasmus

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2019, 12:42:49 PM »
The album is my favorite of theirs since the 90's so I think its pretty great. I wish Song for Someone (one of my least favorite u2 songs) was replaced with the much better Crystal Ballroom and that the albums production was a bit more raw. These 2 changes would make it a top 5 U2 album for me - as it stands its top 7.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2019, 08:17:59 PM »
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SOI is not on my top five U2 albums but I love it. There are three songs I didnít like so much at the beginning, but I appreciated laterÖ California and Raised by Wolves from the live versions, especially those included in U2.comís LIVE I&E and TIWYCRMN which now I enjoy watching on Films of Innocence. I liked The Miracle from the very beginning and I really donít understand why some people dislike it.

Raised by Wolves
The chorus kind of surprised me the first time I heard it, and I wasn't sure I liked it. But I quickly came to see how clever it was - it raises the hackles, so to speak. So I really like it.

California
This was the last song on SOI that I liked - and it was a surprise because I figured if I didn't like a song by that point, it wasn't going to happen for me. But then it did. Like it always does lol. I think I understood the lyric finally and it clicked into place. What sounded kind of pointless and shallow suddenly had something pretty big to say.

TIWYCRMN
The second to last song I learned to like. I don't know why, I guess it just took time to grow on me. I like the New Wave sound which was nailed by all instruments, and the "into College Square" line kind of tickles me.

The Miracle
I was really nervous to listen to this album - the band lost me at Bomb and I in fact hadn't even tried No Line yet. So, other than EBW, my first toe dipped back into the U2 sea was The Miracle, and I was so relieved that it sounded great. And after a little while, I didn't really hear anything deeper in it, so it became kind of a throwaway tune to me. I don't hate it at all, but it just doesn't have anything I really feel the need to keep revisiting.

Offline pan360

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2019, 11:41:03 AM »
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The Miracle
I was really nervous to listen to this album - the band lost me at Bomb and I in fact hadn't even tried No Line yet. So, other than EBW, my first toe dipped back into the U2 sea was The Miracle, and I was so relieved that it sounded great. And after a little while, I didn't really hear anything deeper in it, so it became kind of a throwaway tune to me. I don't hate it at all, but it just doesn't have anything I really feel the need to keep revisiting.

How to Dismantle is low on my list but I appreciate it for what it is: an attempt to really sound like U2 after all the attempts not to sound like U2. No Line is really high on my list. It would be the perfect album if they had included Soon and Winter as well as the remixed version of Iíll go crazy instead of Stand Up Comedy. I suggest you give it a try..

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2019, 08:03:43 AM »
Oh, I am mad for NLOTH (except Boots and SUC, ugh). But when I returned to the fold, I started with SOI, and The Miracle was a relief even if its light faded after a bit. I did SOE a few months later, and NLOTH a few months after that. So while I still consider Bomb to be trash, I love the albums following.

Offline pan360

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2019, 02:15:04 PM »
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Oh, I am mad for NLOTH (except Boots and SUC, ugh). But when I returned to the fold, I started with SOI, and The Miracle was a relief even if its light faded after a bit. I did SOE a few months later, and NLOTH a few months after that. So while I still consider Bomb to be trash, I love the albums following.
It is good that you love the last three U2 albums!

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2019, 02:29:31 PM »
Another NLOTH lover!  Excellent!  We should have a special subgroup for the fans of October/NLOTH, which don't always get a lot of love from hard-core fans but are two of my favorites.

Offline pan360

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2019, 12:04:37 PM »
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Another NLOTH lover!  Excellent!  We should have a special subgroup for the fans of October/NLOTH, which don't always get a lot of love from hard-core fans but are two of my favorites.
I am a big fan of NLOTH but I associate it more with UF. Both albums belong to my top five list. October is also great. This kind of youthful spiritualism resonates with me.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2019, 09:02:16 PM »
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SOI is not on my top five U2 albums but I love it. There are three songs I didnít like so much at the beginning, but I appreciated laterÖ California and Raised by Wolves from the live versions, especially those included in U2.comís LIVE I&E and TIWYCRMN which now I enjoy watching on Films of Innocence. I liked The Miracle from the very beginning and I really donít understand why some people dislike it.

Raised by Wolves
The chorus kind of surprised me the first time I heard it, and I wasn't sure I liked it. But I quickly came to see how clever it was - it raises the hackles, so to speak. So I really like it.

California
This was the last song on SOI that I liked - and it was a surprise because I figured if I didn't like a song by that point, it wasn't going to happen for me. But then it did. Like it always does lol. I think I understood the lyric finally and it clicked into place. What sounded kind of pointless and shallow suddenly had something pretty big to say.

TIWYCRMN
The second to last song I learned to like. I don't know why, I guess it just took time to grow on me. I like the New Wave sound which was nailed by all instruments, and the "into College Square" line kind of tickles me.

The Miracle
I was really nervous to listen to this album - the band lost me at Bomb and I in fact hadn't even tried No Line yet. So, other than EBW, my first toe dipped back into the U2 sea was The Miracle, and I was so relieved that it sounded great. And after a little while, I didn't really hear anything deeper in it, so it became kind of a throwaway tune to me. I don't hate it at all, but it just doesn't have anything I really feel the need to keep revisiting.

Laoghaire, Iíve heard you say this many times....HTDAAB lost you to U2 and then SOI won you back.  This is a curiosity to me.  I assume you must have liked ATYCLB, since it was bomb that lost you.  So the confusing thing to me is that you liked ATYCLB but HTDAAB was so bad that you refused to even try NLOTH.  Iíve always seen HTDAAB as ATYCLBís inferior cousin.  I mean, it is inferior, but it is cut from the same stylistic mold as ATYCLB.  Did you dislike ATYCLB too and HTDAAB was just the straw that broke the camels back?  If so, what did you find redeeming in SOI?  Is it just maybe where you were in life at the various times?  I feel like I can relate to most of your opinions (i.e. agree with, meaning we may have similar taste) except your like for SOI/SOE, which to me seems at odds with your utter contempt for HTDAAB.  I know you are tuned into lyrics.  So I assume you like SOI lyrics better than HTDAAB.  Which songs for you are the winners and losers on each album? (Obviously you donít have to answer that but Iím curious.)

To my taste, U2 has been in a slow descent to lowest common denominator pop music starting with HTDAAB, with NLOTH sans the terrible three being an exception.  SOI/SOE being the bottom of trying to be radio friendly pop with dumbed down lyrics (just my opinion).  ATYCLB could be seen as the beginning but if you look at it without seeing what it was the start of, it is outstanding.  The lyrics were several notches above most of what has come since.  (Again, just my opinion.)


Offline laoghaire

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Re: Songs of Innocence: Five Years On
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2019, 12:31:05 PM »
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Another NLOTH lover!  Excellent!  We should have a special subgroup for the fans of October/NLOTH, which don't always get a lot of love from hard-core fans but are two of my favorites.
I am a big fan of NLOTH but I associate it more with UF. Both albums belong to my top five list. October is also great. This kind of youthful spiritualism resonates with me.

I think the October-NLOTH relation has nothing to do with the sound, but rather that we noticed that there may be an overlap of people who like those albums, for some reason.

Some may point to the religious themes as being similar... but all the albums other than Boy seem very religious imho.