Albums to watch

Songs Of Experience


Songs Of Experience

Album number fourteen from the Dublin rock quartet intended to be a companion piece to their previous record, Songs of Innocence (2014)

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  1. 9.0 |   Rolling Stone

    If experience has taught U2 anything, it is that a great new song can still feel like the first day of the rest of your life. Songs of Experience is that innocence renewed
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  2. 8.0 |   Q

    Songs of Experience will likely go down as a late-career classic. Print edition only

  3. 8.0 |   Mojo

    U2’s strongest album this century. Print edition only

  4. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    Three years and nine producers in the making, U2 unveil an album full of self-awareness, gravitas and humour – and enough great moments to forgive its clumsier touches
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  5. 7.2 |   Gig Soup

    An indication that the biggest band in the world may have finally rediscovered its sense of direction
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  6. 7.0 |   Clash

    Perhaps for the first time in their long and illustrious career, U2 are content with simply being themselves and right now, that appears to be more than enough
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  7. 7.0 |   No Ripcord

    By the end of Songs of Experience, U2 answers what their purpose is in the world today. It’s the same as it’s always been, to create music that’s uplifting, passionate, political and personal
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  8. 7.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    Writing the music they enjoy, about the things they care about, and it’s done them a world of good
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  9. 6.5 |   Under The Radar

    On Songs of Experience U2 ignore their past and instead saunter ahead with hooking melodies and sing-along choruses
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  10. 6.0 |   The 405

    As a continuation of U2’s work at this point in their career, Songs of Experience is a decent addition to their legacy that longtime fans should be generally pleased by
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  11. 6.0 |   Record Collector

    The band’s catchy, questing, swaggery (and slightly self-parodic) tunes lighten the vibe, hustled along by similarly typical riffing, and occasionally joined by some surprisingly metallic touches
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  12. 6.0 |   Slant Magazine

    When it works like Bono and company want it to, it's a reminder as to why U2's universalism can feel so aesthetically progressive
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  13. 6.0 |   Uncut

    It contains fleeting proof of a band still capable of making sparks fly. Print edition only

  14. 6.0 |   The FT

    Although overstocked with 13 tracks, the album has a strong spine of songs
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  15. 6.0 |   Evening Standard

    With its sparse verse and vaulting chorus, Get Out of Your Own Way is this album’s Beautiful Day
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  16. 5.8 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    The vocals sit uncomfortable high in the mix, to make sure grandpa can make out the words because he can’t read the booklet without his glasses he can’t find. The Edge plays like he is some spiritual successor to Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix when his riffs are closer to watered down Dan Auerbach
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  17. 5.4 |   Sputnik Music (staff)

    The truly gormless one-two of "Landlady" and "The Blackout" allows Bono to clean out his backlog of clunkiest rhymes, but it wouldn't be a U2 album without some filler clogging up the tracklist
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  18. 5.3 |   Pitchfork

    Years in the making, U2’s 14th studio album finds the band straining to reassert its relevance in a world where rock music has long since ceded its vanguard status
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  19. 5.0 |   All Music

    Songs of Experience feels diverse, its modernist moments - like Bono embracing pitch-shifted vocals - counterbalancing feints toward U2's arena rock past
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  20. 5.0 |   The Music

    A creative and experimental group who, on 'Songs Of Experience', prove once again that their best days are 20 years in the rearview mirror
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  21. 5.0 |   Exclaim

    Experience's existence was announced before the band had recorded a single note. They subsequently struggled to live up to their own hype, taking an extra year to hash out the finished product — and it very much feels like product
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  22. 4.2 |   Consequence Of Sound

    For the first time in decades, Songs of Experience finds U2 confused about what kind of band they want to be. It’s not for lack of inspiration, as they can still craft stunning compositions, but rather an unintentional discord
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  23. 4.0 |   The Arts Desk

    These tracks come to define Songs of Experience in the same way that excessive bloating defines IBS
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  24. 4.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    Another cliché from the U2 playbook
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  25. 4.0 |   The Observer

    Many fans will enjoy this album’s radio-friendliness, and its warm hugs. But these Songs of Experience lack William Blake’s moral fervour or rage
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  26. 4.0 |   The Independent

    Rarely has a band of such stature sounded quite so enervated and bereft of inspiration as U2 do here
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  27. 4.0 |   NME

    Overall, U2 have built a stadium rock cruise liner they’ve zero interest in rocking, and ‘…Experience’ is 50 minutes of very plain sailing indeed
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  28. 3.3 |   A.V. Club

    For the most part, Experience is heavy on empty sentimentality, packaged around lifeless hooks and trite melodies that few U2 fans will remember, let alone sing along to, in 20 years
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