I love writing about U2 album anniversaries, and Songs of Innocence is no exception. Three years after U2’s surprise release of the long-awaited record fans have come to abbreviate as SOI (and as Ken Wong tweeted today, “Oddly the same day we learned about the existence of petty bitching about getting something for free”), what have we learned? I’m going to list one revelation per track, in order:
The Miracle: Joey Ramone made a big impression on the teens of the Irish club show scene, and four of them would go on to do something about it.
Every Breaking Wave: There is only one divorce among the members of U2, and yet it seems Every Breaking Wave is not about that. Bono has repeatedly said they don’t know who it’s about, but “I hope they make it.”
California: Edge likes Dad jokes a little too much. Case in point: “Ba-ba-Barbara, Santa Barbara.” If there’s one song off SOI that played better live, it’s California – because it didn’t include that cringy intro (I can say these things because I’m a Californian).
Song for Someone: Ali does not like to be mentioned by name in songs. And she’s not impressed yet.
Iris: Bono’s mom was a bad ass, period.
Volcano: Indeed, Bono does not see so well. Yes, he confirmed this in the Graham Norton interview as well – but this song has a big hint in the lyrics too. Thanks to both of these, many Bono haters have since removed “And he wears sunglasses all the time!” from their standard talking points and the Internet is better for it.
Raised by Wolves: The Rowen brothers are also bad asses. Andy Rowen especially.
Cedarwood Road: Guggi (another Rowen brother) was Bono’s saving grace, even before Ali – oh, and Bono grew up at 10 Cedarwood Road in Dublin and you can totally go there 😉
Sleep Like a Baby: Pedophile priests are disgusting – yeah, we already knew that.
The Troubles: Somebody stepped inside your soul.
Crystal Ballroom: Dublin nightclubs of the 50s were freaking fabulous.
Lucifer’s Hands: It is possible to recycle the Return of the Stingray Guitar riff (2010) and a lyric from Rejoice (1981) in a single song in 2014 and create pure magic.
And that, my friends, is what Songs of Innocence taught us. All of this, plus that thing about people being ungrateful for free music. They get so many things they don’t deserve!