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hope3702

This SOE is shaping up to be a gem

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My pattern with U2 for many years has been to give a listen to each new collection of songs, think "meh, couldn't they have put out anything better?", then force myself to keep listening until I think the songs are fantastic, upon which I find myself pressed up against the rail to two consecutive shows, transported to a higher plane through the new songs.  I expect it to hold true this time, even though I'm actually only listening to the album for the first time right now, and thinking "meh, these are just any old songs that anyone could have knocked out without much effort".  Such is my strange relationship with U2 and their music.  And I've been going to their shows since The Unforgettable Fire tour.

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4 minutes ago, Rich T. said:

My pattern with U2 for many years has been to give a listen to each new collection of songs, think "meh, couldn't they have put out anything better?", then force myself to keep listening until I think the songs are fantastic, upon which I find myself pressed up against the rail to two consecutive shows, transported to a higher plane through the new songs.  I expect it to hold true this time, even though I'm actually only listening to the album for the first time right now, and thinking "meh, these are just any old songs that anyone could have knocked out without much effort".  Such is my strange relationship with U2 and their music.  And I've been going to their shows since The Unforgettable Fire tour.

While I haven't heard the whole SOE album yet (just the 4 songs released beforehand), I'm quite concerned that I'll agree with you.  With SOI, for example, I gave it many listens, but ultimately concluded (excepting EBW--the live version, not so much the album version, Lucifer's Hands, and maybe The Troubles) that it's a mediocre album (which mostly doesn't even sound like them)--by far my least favorite U2 album.  What I've heard so far from SOE isn't encouraging, which is really disappointing.

Edited by mike7man

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32 minutes ago, newsman said:

This.

I don't know.  See the comment I just left before this.  U2 albums have always "grown" on me.   I typically don't particularly like them at first.  But after repeated listens, things change.  With SOI, I had to discard the attempts at "hits", and focus on songs like "Raised by Wolves", "Cedarwood Road", "Iris", etc., which were also ultimately great spiritual songs in concert.

I wanted to post this before I listen to the new album, which I am playing for the first time as I post this.  I've heard three songs in random order, and right now I find myself agreeing with Tobybezeke that the album is no good, with U2 having lapsed into a kind of "neither here nor there" type of songwriting, without the standout moments that make all the difference for Tobybezeke and the rest of us.   But I just know somehow that I will feel differently by May, when they come to San Jose.

Edited by Rich T.
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3 minutes ago, mike7man said:

While I haven't heard the whole SOE album yet (just the 4 songs released beforehand), I'm quite concerned that I'll agree with you.  With SOI, for example, I gave it many listens, but ultimately concluded (excepting EBW--the live version, not so much the album version, Lucifer's Hands, and maybe The Troubles) that it's a mediocre album (which mostly doesn't even sound like them)--by far my least favorite U2 album.  What I've heard so far from SOE isn't encouraging, which is really disappointing.

My point was that, while originally I was unimpressed with SOI, that I later came to much enjoy several of the tracks (almost the entire album as of Track 5 onward), and the SOI tour ranked right up there with the best U2 shows, in my opinion.  I expect that SoE will sound weak to me at first, but that then some tracks will rise to the top.  I have yet to give a listen to all the tracks.

Edited by Rich T.
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3 minutes ago, Rich T. said:

My point was that, while originally I was unimpressed with SOI, that I later came to much enjoy several of the tracks (almost the entire album as of Track 5 onward).  I expect that SoE will sound weak to me at first, but that then some tracks will rise to the top.  I have yet to give a listen to all the tracks.

I'm sorry, you're absolutely right--I quoted you misleadingly.  To clarify, I agree with you for all PRE-SOI albums (i.e., grow on me with repeated listens), but definitely NOT with SOI (unlike you), and I'm very concerned I'll also "not grow on" SOE.  The issue for me is that most of the stuff on SOI (and the pre-release stuff on SOE) sounds very undistinguished/unoriginal and even trite (with the exceptions I mentioned above).  It's weird--it's like anybody could have made these records/songs.

Edited by mike7man
Clarity

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5 hours ago, russpm said:

I stupidly pre-ordered the CD and deluxe box set, neither have turned up meaning I still haven't listened to the album yet.

I'm pretty damned p*ssed off ............WTF???

I'm still waiting for CDs that are coming my way for having purchased concert tickets.  So now I'm listening on YouTube, where people have posted all the tracks.

Edited by Rich T.
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13 minutes ago, mike7man said:

I'm sorry, you're absolutely right--I quoted you misleadingly.  To clarify, I agree with you for all PRE-SOI albums (i.e., grow on me with repeated listens), but definitely NOT with SOI (unlike you), and I'm very concerned I'll also "not grow on" SOE.  The issue for me is that most of the stuff on SOI (and the pre-release stuff on SOE) sounds very undistinguished/unoriginal and even trite (with the exceptions I mentioned above).  It's weird--it's like anybody could have made these records/songs.

I agree with you that the 2010s songs are generally unoriginal/trite, and even annoying sometimes.  On SOI, the song "Iris" came to life in concert, and "Raised By Wolves" and especially "Cedarwood Road" (Edge's simple solo somehow was very moving to me) stood out as well.  I am listening to SOE now, and can't get with the program, and don't know if I will.  I love "The Little Things" as performed live on the JT tour.  And somehow I kind of like "The Showman" so far, though probably not much of a live track.   I still have about 7 songs to go in my first listen....    "The Blackout" is pretty good too, because it's got some "U2" sounds in there.   The main question for each new U2 album, as far as I'm concerned, is "Did Edge create any memorable guitar parts, as opposed to only "rocky" generic stuff or retread U2 background noise?"

Edited by Rich T.
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I do agree that "The Little Things" is OK.  Regarding SOI, do you mean "Cedarwood Road"?  (Cedars of Lebanon is from NLOTH).  I also agree that Iris, RBW, and CR are OK songs--but to me, they're just not particularly interesting musically (OK, I'll give Iris a little slack here).  And geez, SOI had awful tunes like California and Volcano.  Bottom line (for me)--SOI had a few terrible songs, a bunch of OK ones (which, however, lack distinction, so they don't do anything for me over time), and a few genuinely excellent ones.

Edited by mike7man
Clarity

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My first pass at listening is complete.  As usual, U2's preferred pop/rock singles are not the songs I like best.  There is nothing to make them really stand out.   But I do like "The Little Things That Give You Away", which we all know from the JT tour, as well as "The Book of Your Heart", which is a "true" U2 mood piece.  "The Blackout" is my favorite from among the energetic songs.  I also like "The Showman", and (a bit less so) "Red Flag Day" (which has some of their "punk" side).   Then come all the songs which are obviously supposed to stand out as radio friendly and be the crowd favorites, but which to me are merely the baseline songs for the album, and are not bad but not especially good.   I think it's going to be like SOI, in that the back end of the album will come off better than the front-loaded "hits".

I was also interested to hear some snippets from SOI songs reprised in SOE songs:   "There is a Light" has a part of "Song for Someone", and American Soul has the "you are rock and roll" part from "Volcano" (or, I presume, the SOI songs "stole" those snippets from the already-written SOE songs at the time).

My verdict:   I liked SOI better, based on the songs, and based on the fact that the SOI vibe hearkened back to the "Boy" era.  The new album doesn't move me emotionally (yet).  I'll check back in after a few more listens and a few more days.

Edited by Rich T.
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