U2 Spotlight – The Blackout

We are now officially in the age of Songs of Experience. That era began this last Wednesday when U2 streamed a video of themselves in Amsterdam playing the brand new song “The Blackout” on Facebook. This is not the article for my review of the song – I’m saving that for the official release of the studio version – but suffice it to say that I love the song. It rocks, grooves and uplifts all at the same time, and the chorus has one of the best hooks that U2 has ever written, in my humble opinion. The video for the song is also very interesting, with some interesting effects and some prolonged shots of Bono in the crowd, along with a shorter one of Adam in the same space. It reminds me a bit of the video for “Invisible”, which was also filmed in black and white in front of a small audience, but U2 videos throughout the band’s career have often (not always) focused on the band performing the song in question, so I’ll not complain too much about “the band running our of ideas” or some such nonsense.


In fact, that last sentence makes a perfect segue to a related topic that I wanted to bring up about the new song/video. I have read some overwhelming positive comments in forums and other similar areas on the interwebs, but I’ve also read a lot of negativity, and that bothers me. Now, before you start thinking that I’m opposed to the first amendment, I recognize and understand that people absolutely have the right to express any opinion they might have about any topic under the sun, regardless of whether or not I agree with said opinion, or even whether or not I want to hear it. I just think that this should be a celebratory time. Our supposed favorite band has just put out a new song, and  a new album is set to follow hot on its heels. I would think that more of us would be feeling positively about that. Instead, I see a lot of posts talking about giving up on the band, how awful Songs of Innocence was, and how the band should  give up trying to score chart hits and act more their age. Frankly, I think that’s a bunch of BS. I love that the band that has made such an impact on my life are still striving for relevance, and I hope that they are able to earn a new generation of fans with the new album. I also thought that Songs of Innocence was one of the four or five best albums that they’ve ever released, and I’m excited about the follow-up. It can’t come soon enough, as far as I’m concerned.


So, what’s the next step in this new epoch that U2 kicked off last week? Well, this Wednesday will see the release of the official first single, “You’re the Best Thing About Me”, to radio stations around the world. I don’t know whether or not Dave Fanning will get the first spin of the new record, as he has with other new U2 singles in the past, but it would be a nice touch if he did. Next Wednesday will also see the official announcement of details regarding the new album: tracklisting, release date, album artwork, etc. We think that we already know a lot of what the band will be firming up on Wednesday, but it will be nice to have confirmation. Things are looking up, from where I sit. Now bring on the single and the album.

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Ever since I realized as a kid, while poring over the liner notes of the Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom boxed set, that writing about music was a viable career choice, one of my greatest desires has been to write about U2. The band has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute a little something to the fantastic online community that's been built around the band.

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