U2 – ” You’re the Best Thing About Me “

Posted: December 9, 2017 in MUSIC
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Image result for u2 you're the best thing about me

Even as U2 were summoning their own illustrious past on The Joshua Tree 2017 Tour, which only completed its continent crossover in October, they were looking ready to release the next recording adventure. From the opening shows onwards, the rock giants were offering a preview of it by performing the appealing new song ‘The Little Things That Give You Away.’

When that adventure reached fruition with the 1st December release of “Songs Of Experience”Q Magazine has already described it as a “classic,” while for Mojo, it’s “U2’s strongest album this century.”

Songs Of Experience may be titled as the complementary bookend of its 2014 predecessor Songs Of Innocencebut what’s really on display is the collective experience of a rock institution with more than 40 years of friendship on the clock. As the pleasing symmetry extends from the studio to the road, the new companion album will be made flesh by 2018’s Experience + Innocence tourdue to start in Tulsa in May 2018. It will do so fuelled by the weighty 14th studio entry in the U2 canon.

Early listens to Songs Of Experience reveal a band still so nimble that they can draw on the weight of their achievements, not be dragged down by them. In the process, they’ve created a deftly updated version of themselves. New textures and fresh filters abound, for what is still one of the world’s most cohesive and visceral rock outfits. There are contributions from Kendrick LamarLady GaGa and Haim may convey this work to a younger audience, but not at the expense of the essence of U2.

Some listeners have sensed an enforced optimism about the album’s lyrical demeanour, but when Bono introduces the opening ‘Love Is All We Have Left’ with the words “Nothing to stop this being the best day ever/Nothing to keep us from where we should be,” it’s with a sense of informed realism and his an entirely believable, undimmed positivity.

The dreamy, almost celestial hue of that opener quickly blends into the infectious, ragged rock shuffle of ‘Lights Of Home.’ Like much of the album, it’s live enough to retain a demo-like energy, yet as it progresses, big enough to have stadiums singing along to it. And there goes Bono again: “I believe my best days are ahead, I can see the lights in front of me.”

Thus they proceed on an odyssey that, on the album’s deluxe edition with its various mixes and alternative versions, embraces no fewer than 17 tracks and 67 minutes, created in London, Dublin and Los Angeles. Production, by Jacknife Lee and Ryan Tedder, with Steve Lillywhite, Andy Barlow and Jolyon Thomas, is ever-imaginative, focused on innovation without smothering the spirit of the song in its presentation. The Edge’s guitar leads are as admirably nuanced as ever and the Clayton/Mullen rhythm section has the kind of intuitive depth that can only come from this quartet’s unbuyable symbiosis.

The album also exudes sharp-eyed lyrical observation, from the zeitgeist phraseology of ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’ and ‘Get Out Of Your Own Way’ to some moments of poignant observation, such as the moment in ‘Red Flag Day’ when Bono notes how inured we have become to shocking world events such as the global immigration crisis. “Not even news today, so many lost in the sea last night,” he sings. “One word that the sea can’t say is no, no, no.”

Moods undulate from the stripped back, acoustic guitar and tambourine set-up of ‘The Showman (Little More Better)’ to the laid-back ‘Landlady’ and on again to another potential anthem in ‘Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way.’ To quote themselves, U2 have got out of their own way and added a significant new chapter to their epic story.

  1. A U2 album has actually surprised me. You think of their last several albums, and it just seems like there isn’t all that much to say. They’re not bad. There are some classic songs. It’s all just very U2… and a bit predictable. I don’t expect them to be a group that throws a wrench in the gears and does something different. But they actually got me this time. It’s their best album since Achtung Baby.

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