In Defence of U2

U2 released their thirteenth studio album Songs of Innocence in September 2014. I feel the need to make two introductory statements: U2 are responsible for some great songs that everyone knows (One, With or Without You, Beautiful Day, Where the Streets Have No Name) and so many other amazing songs that aren’t that popular, and Bono needs to shut up already and focus on the music. Back in 2009 I had the chance to catch them live in Athens, it was my first arena concert, I still remember every minute of it and, in all, it was one of the most intense experiences of my life. They are the kind of band you openly hate, but secretly like. Or you just hate them, it happens…

You all know what went down, one day we woke up and found Songs of Innocence in our iTunes accounts for free. Um, thanks, I guess, but no thank you! Did I mind having the new U2 album for free? Nope, but I’m a huge U2 fan, so my opinion doesn’t count. I understand where all the backlash is coming from, I would be furious if all of a sudden a Katy Perry album made its way into my music library, so I get the outrage. Imagine the worst case scenario: JUSTIN BIEBER. Other than that, it’s a matter of privacy, although I’m pretty sure that we’ve already sold our souls to Apple-one day we should really sit down and read the terms and conditions before agreeing to them blindly.

All of a sudden U2 got jealous of what Beyonce did, digitally dropping her new album out of the blue. Well, sorry to break it to you fellows, Beyonce is Beyonce and she’s flawless, she can practically storm into my room performing her dance routine and I would still not be worthy! U2 are trying their hardest to sit with the cool kids. Guys, I’ve got news for you, you’re older and that’s okay. You shouldn’t be trying so hard, especially when you still make decent music. Look at Bruce Springsteen, we all still have major respect for the Boss!

Is it a bad album? Oh no, it’s not even close to bad. U2 know how to reinvent themselves, they did it in How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and they’re currently doing it in Songs of Innocence. They are reinventing themselves by looking back. Songs of Innocence is a mature mixture of Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby-that’s how I would sell this album, not by forcing it down everyone’s throat. It’s refreshing to listen to a mainstream album with songs that aren’t about butts. And yes, Bono is his usual Bono-self, he whines and complains and I wish I could scream at him “dude, you’re rock star, enjoy it!”, but his voice is still powerful and his lyrics are as inspired as ever. It’s a three-and-a-half out of five stars album, not bad when none of the band members used to be a teenage Disney icon.

Necessary question: have U2 sold out? Of course they did, they sold out years ago, that’s not the point. U2 represent a generation of musicians who are struggling to keep up with how the music industry works nowadays. It says a lot if U2, arguably one of the most successful bands out there, feel the pressure to stay relevant by giving their music for free. I don’t even dare to imagine how difficult things must be for struggling artists…

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