“U2” with new album “Songs of Surrender”: attitude, baby culture

“U2” with new album “Songs of Surrender”: attitude, baby culture

You want to be fair to a band you always liked, even if everyone else thought they were terrible. U2 So, who perfected the overpowering mechanisms of rock with “Joshua Tree”, who introduced the pedal point bass, which has been the rock music dominates, and whose stadium concerts are a frenzy. Their new album “Songs of Surrender” (Interscope) is something like that though Crystal Pepsi of rock history, in case anyone remembers how the lemonade company tried thirty years ago to get the purism zeitgeist under control with a transparent cola. It is the document of an overconfidence. They reduced 40 songs from their entire oeuvre to acoustic miniatures made up of guitars, pianos and a little bit of synth. It’s actually a quirk from the lowest depths of nostalgia that tried and tested rock tracks are played in folk, jazz or bossa nova versions. Wink and smile music. In the best case, this is good as a soundtrack for coffee roaster chains.

In the worst case, it’s just the new album of a band that is far too convinced of the devotion of their fans. Or does it have to do with the fact that the best U2 song was recorded by Johnny Cash? He transformed the power ballad “One” 23 years ago into a bloodcurdling hymn of despair and redemption via a few spartan guitars and a piano. The stars from Ireland never managed to go so deep themselves. It wasn’t her job either.

Her strength has always been that she likes the pathos and melodic flair of bands’ stadium rock Journey, Foreigner or Boston through those times when punk and hip-hop put an end to the bombast with do-it-yourself aesthetics and hot anger. U2 knew their instruments, they could write songs, and Bono had a voice he could raise to a fervor that left the competition somewhere in the back of the ever-expanding stadiums his band played.

U2 copied their grand gestures from the Holy Mass of the Catholic Church

The trick was easy. As Catholics, the four had grown up in Ireland with the overpowering mechanisms of Holy Mass. According to this pattern, their songs and shows were an endless succession of moments of immersion and monster crescendos, which they mastered so perfectly that one could hardly resist. This is how stadium rock was able to survive the destructive forces of punk, because the energy of such a communion can be as violent as jumping into the mosh pit. And now?

Bono’s voice is mixed all the way to the foreground with no reverb or effect. That sounds like he’s driving a Bugatti with the handbrake on on a go-kart track. The dynamic curve remains flat over the entire length of the 40 songs. The asceticism of Protestantism doesn’t work in the context of their grand gestures of Catholicism, which are the DNA of their songs.

There are also a few changes in the lyrics. “Walk On” was originally dedicated to Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, whose role in the Rohingya genocide gave a sinister turn to her role in the history of her country, Myanmar. In the new version, the anthem is the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (“And if the comic takes the stage and no one laughs. Does a dance on his own grave for a photograph”). They adapted the hit song “Where the Streets have no Name” to the climate catastrophe: “Every desert rose is a cry for rain”. attitude babe They have never lacked for that. But most of them didn’t listen to U2 because of that, they listened anyway.

If U2 wanted to prove with their new album that their songs are in the same league of resilience as Bob Dylan’s, the beatles or Elton John, it didn’t work out. After about three hours of forced minimalism, the main thing that remains is fatigue. Next, U2 will start a so-called residency at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, as the permanent guest performances are called there. Fits the album. Las Vegas has long been the hospice of pop culture, where stars leave their song catalogs to die.

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