U2 proves young is a state of mind with Songs of Innocence

The veteran band continues to shine with a surprising iTunes release


Album: Songs of Innocence

Artist: U2

Label: Island Records

Release Date: Sept. 9

Grade: A

U2 fans rejoiced when the band’s new LP, Songs of Innocence, was released onto iCloud for all iTunes users to download for free. Apple announced the album’s free release alongside the unveiling of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Apple Watch.

Songs of Innocence is the band’s first album release in more than five years. The 11 new songs revisit and explore themes of youth as well as some personal moments in the early origins of the band. U2 has remained together for 37 years, creating a successful array of albums with a heavy melodic rock influence and pop-infused lyrics.

Songs of Innocence is filled with triumphant Bono vocals and synthesizer sounds reminiscent of the ’80s. It also has outstanding harmonies and melodies from The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.

The album connects the past to the future, with tracks that echo U2’s signature punk-rock sound, and others that provide a more new age feel with slower lyrics and smoother transitions. The title, Songs of Innocence, harkens back to when the band members were coming of age, a story that many music listeners can relate to.

The album opens with an electric single “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone),” an ode to the late lead singer of The Ramones. The track was performed at the 2014 Apple Showcase, introducing the album and giving listeners a taste of what to expect.

Bono sings, “I was young / Not dumb / Just wishing to be blinded,” setting the youthful spirit of the album. The song itself is fast-paced with guitar chords echoing one another and softer back up vocals that harmonize with Bono’s.

In “Song for Someone,” a heartfelt addition to the rock album, Bono croons, “You’ve got eyes that can see right through me / You’re not afraid of anything they’ve seen.” The slower track is accented by a cadence-filled drum beat and The Edges’ backing vocals provide the song with even more raw, intimate emotions for listeners.

In a different direction, “Volcano” erupts with a killer bass intro from Adam Clayton complemented by rhythmic clapping in the background and additional choir vocals. The engaging chorus is memorable and fun, making this track easily one of the most exciting on the album.

Songs of Innocence closes with “The Troubles” featuring guest vocals from Swedish singer-songwriter, Lykke Li. The heavy violin presence and melancholy tone give the final song it’s vulnerable, unique sound.

With Songs of Innocence, U2 has proved once again why they are one of world’s top bands with their authentic, personal lyrics and modern, creative productions.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com