Album Review – U2′s ‘Songs of Innocence’

The iTunes banner featuring info on 'Songs of Innocence.' (Apple)

The iTunes banner featuring info on ‘Songs of Innocence.’ (Apple)

I had become rather impatient.

No Line on the Horizon came out in 2009. That was the last brand new, official U2 release. Now, the band did tour behind the album extensively into 2011, so it was really only three years of “inactivity.” Turnover in album production, especially for a band like U2, can take some time. However, when one of your favorite bands is taking a particularly long amount of time, patience does indeed become a virtue.

We were teased in the winter with two songs – “Ordinary People” for a soundtrack at the end of 2013, and “Invisible” on Super Bowl Sunday — both of which were quite good. The band tossed and turned between “making an announcement in 2014″ and “not being ready until 2015.” It’s been a painful year to be a U2 fan.

It all paid off today. A decade after Bono was silhouetted on top of colorful backgrounds advertising new iPods to the “newest” U2 single “Vertigo,” the band returned to the forefront of Apple promotion. After performing a new song titled “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone),” Bono revealed that U2′s newest album would be given to every iTunes subscriber for free. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Anniversary to Rush’s “Signals”

Promo image from 'Signals.' (Wallpaper provided by Rush Korea)

Promo image from ‘Signals.’ (Wallpaper provided by Rush Korea)

How do you follow up your most commercially and critically acclaimed album?

Rush found themselves facing that very question when they began recording the follow-up to Moving Pictures from the previous year. I have yet to discover a “perfect” album in the classic rock lexicon, but there have been a select few “near-perfect” releases over time: Fleetwood Mac’s RumoursLed Zeppelin IV, and Genesis’ Selling England by the Pound are the first few that come to mind.

Moving Pictures falls under that very same category. Its entire first side is brilliant, and side two comes isn’t far behind in quality. “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” kept them on pop and rock radio, while “YYZ” earned them a Grammy nomination. It was the band’s eighth studio album, but the one that really brought them into the conversation.

Ever-indifferent towards public perception and fame, Rush made the key decision to avoid replicating Moving Pictures and instead ran forward to continue refining their overall sound. The result was 1982′s diverse and colorful Signals. Read the rest of this entry »