Released in conjunction with the debut of the new Apple iPhone 6 as a gift to all Apple users, U2‘s latest offering and 13th studio album has arrived amid a maelstrom of controversy. Amid a flurry of complaints from Apple users, the album was released and the back lash has overshadowed the album itself. It lends to question – are U2 on a downward slide or are they innovating a path for mass release and mass media? It’s not the first time U2 have paired with Apple, ten years ago the “Limited Edition U2″ iPod was released to fans across the globe.
Sadly though this mega release and back lash greatly overshadows the actual album, many iPhone users demanding a way to delete the album from their devices, sending online forums into overdrive.
As it stands, Songs of Innocence, is everything that you would expect from a U2 album. Whilst the band will never again reach the glory of previous stadium-filling albums such as Actung Baby!, it is safe to say the new album is comfortably familiar and has a nice sound. There are few surprises and the band is not breaking any new ground here with this album, it has a very retro-feel of classic U2 without breaking into any new styles or venturing too far from the sound that has become popular with listeners. The album will appeal to the die-hard fans that have stuck with the band in their illustrious career that has spanned almost four decades.
The opening track ‘The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)’ penned in tribute to Bono’s idol Ramone is about as catchy as it gets and delivers the usual guitar licks and catchy choruses that U2 are famous for; an obvious choice for the mass marketing that is currently promoting the album. ‘This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now’ is reminiscent of ‘Sunday, Bloody Sunday’ without the same fire and zest that captured the imagination of listeners all over the world thirty one years ago, however it’s still a rather enjoyable tune. ‘Song to Someone’, an ode to his wife is a rather pleasant acoustic guitar-laden ballad with a softness that is rather enjoyable. ‘Volcano’ opens with some chunky guitar riffs leading into a big chorus that is undeniably characteristic of the band. ‘California (There is No End to Love)’ is simple classic U2 – toe tapping and easy listening. Bono’s voice is consistent throughout proving his vocals are still immaculate. The Edge delivers his signature distinctive riffs throughout the album and a stability that is comforting and familiar.
Songs of Innocence is everything that fans expect to receive from any record released by the band. Whilst their halcyon days may be behind them, U2 prove with this album that they can create an enjoyable sound that requires the listener to just press play and relax into the familiar feel that is U2. Put aside the mass marketing furore that this album has created and simply put, this is an album full of stable, enjoyable tracks that leave a sweet after taste.
Reviewer: Amanda Starkey