So, U2. When Songs of Innocence came out I got the feeling that what may be one of the longest streaks of a band being sincerely good — of trying to avoid repeating themselves and falling into decline — was finally over. Having now heard two songs from the upcoming Songs of Experience, I feel like my suspicions have been confirmed.
When …Innocence came out, one of the common complaints I heard was that, by working with an array of hot producers, U2 was sounding too much like their imitators (e.g. Coldplay) — instead of being U2, they were being a band that was trying to sound like U2. That critique continues to seem apt. Listening to this song, I’m hearing bits of lots of post-Pop U2 songs all jammed together into an archetypical 21st-century ecstatic U2 product.
And like most of …Innocence, I feel like the Edge has been really dialed back in the mix, which I guess is because nobody producing pop hits really gives a shit about guitars much these days — as long as you can hear there is guitar there, you don’t need to actually hear the guitar. Which (for me) is total bullshit, because what always distinguishes U2 from their imitators is Edge’s guitar. It’s like asking Sting* to just play bass on a track.
So, yeah, not so enthused about this one. Heck, I even passed on getting tickets for their Joshua Tree anniversary tour. I think the shark has finally been jumped.
* Apologies for invoking Sting.