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Songs of Experience Image
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 186 Ratings

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  • Summary: The 14th full-length studio release for the Irish rock band was delayed after recent political changes in the world caused the band to change it from being a planned companion album to the more personal Songs of Innocence to a more political one.
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Top Track

Ordinary Love
The sea wants to kiss the golden shore The sunlight warms your skin All the beauty that's been lost before Wants to find us again I can't fight you... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. Dec 1, 2017
    90
    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.
  2. Q Magazine
    Nov 22, 2017
    80
    Songs Of Experience will likely go down as a late-career classic. [Jan 2018, p.104]
  3. Nov 29, 2017
    80
    It’s not an album that courts new fans by radically changing U2’s style; instead, it reaffirms the sound that has been filling arenas and stadiums for decades.
  4. Dec 5, 2017
    60
    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. However, it still suffers from the same issues that have made U2 so polarizing in recent years, and is unlikely to change anyone’s mind about the band one way or another.
  5. Dec 5, 2017
    54
    For about nine songs, Experience is good.
  6. Dec 1, 2017
    50
    Retro-conning the existing Songs of Experience material to suit the political climate wasn't the easiest task and the album often shows its seams, particularly when Bono decides to tackle the crisis head-on.
  7. Nov 29, 2017
    33
    Songs Of Experience, U2’s 14th studio album, revs up the ambition, to embarrassing results. It finds the group desperately searching for a radio hit while pontificating on American exceptionalism, shoehorning the Syrian refugee crisis into not one but two love songs--and on consecutive tracks, no less.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 68
  2. Negative: 16 out of 68
  1. Dec 16, 2017
    10
    U2 is one of, if not, the most polarizing bands in history. They have made a few mistakes/rubbed people the wrong way but none of that shouldU2 is one of, if not, the most polarizing bands in history. They have made a few mistakes/rubbed people the wrong way but none of that should affect their music. People act like disliking them it the "cool" thing to do but why? Because they skirted their taxes around Ireland? Big deal, tons of celebrities do. They have done more for this world than any other band, their music is so positive and uplifting. Not to mention the One and Red Campaign for AIDS and Africa.

    U2 is EXACTLY what the world needs right now and this album proves it. Definitely their best since HTDAAB (and before that Achtung Baby). All they really want to do is make a difference with their music and this album is a perfect example. So happy they still make music and want to change the world. Keep it up boys!
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  2. Dec 6, 2017
    10
    The biggest issue with this album is the production, which partially strips the band of its 'U2ness' in pursuit of a more pop sound. PerhapsThe biggest issue with this album is the production, which partially strips the band of its 'U2ness' in pursuit of a more pop sound. Perhaps some of the lyrics are also a bit much. However, the songs here are still overwhelmingly U2, and written in the anthemic way only U2 can manage. I agree with a critic who cited this as a "late career classic"; the songs draw fittingly upon the sound that U2 has developed and perfected over the past 40 years. U2, and more particularly Bono, have no shortage of critics. However for the moaning that one hears about them 'selling out' theres an impressive lack of evidence. I have never seen a band stick more closely to it's guns after such a long career than U2. Expand
  3. Dec 1, 2017
    10
    U2 evolves from album to album, never settling to do quite the same thing twice.

    Songs of Experience is a slightly dark, but joyous and
    U2 evolves from album to album, never settling to do quite the same thing twice.

    Songs of Experience is a slightly dark, but joyous and thrilling experience. Qualities that endeared the masterpiece which is Achtung Baby to me. Songs of Experience has the same effect, achieved it in a new way.

    Another masterpiece!
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  4. Jun 4, 2018
    9
    A bit of a return to form, showing some of the energy they likely found in themselves while touring the anniversary of The Joshua Tree lastA bit of a return to form, showing some of the energy they likely found in themselves while touring the anniversary of The Joshua Tree last year. No real new ground, but a lot to please fans. Expand
  5. May 18, 2018
    8
    es muy mejor que su débil gemelo predecesor, no es un excelente àlbum, lejos de ser uno dos mejores àlbum de U2, ni es uno de los mejoreses muy mejor que su débil gemelo predecesor, no es un excelente àlbum, lejos de ser uno dos mejores àlbum de U2, ni es uno de los mejores álbums de U2 de este siglo, ATYCLB y HTDAB es los 2 mejores álbums de U2 deste siglo, y NLOTH es el tercero muy lejos, pero es bien mejor que SOI.

    Punto culminante
    LandLady
    The little things that give you away
    The Blackout
    You're the best thing about me
    Love is bigger than anything in it's way
    The Showman (little more better)
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  6. Nov 3, 2018
    6
    (Conor's Reviews & Stuff - Facebook)

    U2 is a machine. An industry all its own. An institution built up over 40+ years that has withstood
    (Conor's Reviews & Stuff - Facebook)

    U2 is a machine. An industry all its own. An institution built up over 40+ years that has withstood critical and commercial bashings of awesome proportions. From 1997’s epically overcooked (or undercooked, depending who you ask) ‘Pop’ which was the album equivalent of a car rolling over because it came into a corner too fast, to a miscalculation of a different sort, 2014’s ‘Songs of Innocence’, which will sadly be remembered more for the method by which it was delivered than for its moments of brilliance (sparse though they were). Yet still they have endured, seemingly quite effortlessly. U2 don’t care if you hate them. However insufferable you think they are, they are more than happy to play to the stadiums that they regularly pack for strings of nights, and if you never get it, it’s no skin off their nose.

    How peculiar then that a band who have become so adept at rumbling through outside opinion like an icebreaker have now released an album which could be considered their most self-conscious to date. In some moments, open examination of many of the traits that have so aggravated their nay-sayers (see ’The Showman [Little More Better]). But Bono has been a pariah to the ‘NME’ crowd for so long that he likely won’t even be given credit for agreeing with them.

    ‘Songs of Experience’ has been touted by some critics as U2’s best album this century. I remain of the extremely unpopular opinion that that honour rests with 2009’s ‘No Line On the Horizon’, the first of two consecutive albums which took five years to produce, the second being the aforementioned ‘Songs of Innocence’, which dealt, lyrically, with the band’s formative years and, for its faults, stuck faithfully and, in my opinion, effectively to its personal, introspective theme. ‘Experience’, on the other hand, can’t decide whether it wants to be personal or political. Much has been made of U2 writing politically over the years. Indeed, some reference to it can usually be found in the first few lines of any brief biography of the band. U2’s political peak came on November 8th, 1987 at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado. During a performance of ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’, Bono passionately condemned an IRA bombing which had taken place that day in Northern Ireland. That performance was recorded for the band’s ill-fated documentary/album ‘Rattle and Hum’ and I defy you to watch it without getting chills. Since then, nothing they have done in that sphere has had quite the same bite, though altruism abounds. I remain staunchly convinced that U2 are at their best when they direct their lens inward rather than out, the results being their gloriously inventive 90s decadence, best represented by their masterpiece, 1991’s ‘Achtung Baby’, which remains one of the most important albums in alternative rock music.

    The band’s decision to ‘rethink’ this latest album following Donald Trump’s election seems to have significantly muddied the thematic waters of ’Songs of Experience’.

    Musically, this album is certainly an achievement for U2. At times, U2 flex their considerable muscle at turning out some of the best stadium pop rock commercially available, as well as some uncharacteristic textures that work out rather well, most notable on the moody opener 'Love Is All We Have Left'.

    The heights that 'Songs of Experience' hits are as significant as any they’ve hit since ‘Beautiful Day’. Vibrant front half track ‘Get Out of Your Own Way’ may well be U2’s last great jewel, but the dips are too low for this album to be considered any great triumph.
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  7. Dec 4, 2017
    1
    Another cynical, joyless arena/corporate rock offering from a once inventive band. U2 have been steadily going down hill for years but this isAnother cynical, joyless arena/corporate rock offering from a once inventive band. U2 have been steadily going down hill for years but this is arguably a career nadir. Expand

See all 68 User Reviews