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U2: Songs Of Innocence

Apple freebie falls flat.

The new U2 album: delivered in the manner of a miscreant breaking into someone’s house to take a dump on the carpet, as millions of iTunes users awoke to find it added – without their consent, just like spam – to their accounts.

Apple are apparently committed to a $100m royalty and marketing campaign to support the release, which explains the rather grubby delivery, but it’s an extraordinary financial coup for a band whose previous album (2009’s No Line On The Horizon) has sold as many copies in the UK over the last five years as Now That’s What I Call Music! 70 during the first week of release.

This lumpen collection lives up to the tawdry nature of the deal. Whatever happened to this band? Where’s all that fierce ambition? Where’s the fury, the focus, the fight? Songs Of Innocence is stricken with lethargy, with a level of aspiration that extends as far as Coldplay and never explores further.

Only the closing The Troubles, a spooky duet with Swedish indie-popstrel Lykke Li, is worth seeking out – but you don’t have to, do you?

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 35 years in music industry, online for 22. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.