Without much fanfare the Irish stadium rock band U2 released an album yesterday (09/09/14) to well over half a billion people (iTunes customers and U2.com subscribers) for free. The eleven track album Songs Of Innocence will get a physical release on October 13 as well via Island.
U2 have released so many bad albums now that the idea of yet another one doesn't really cause me much concern. (I will listen to it with an open mind at some point soon by the way - I'm not going to judge it without hearing it at least twice but the titles - 'The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)', 'Every Breaking Wave', 'California (There Is No End To Love)', 'Song For Someone', 'Iris (Hold Me Close)', 'Volcano', 'Raised By Wolves', 'Cedarwood Road', 'Sleep Like A Baby Tonight', 'This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now', 'The Troubles' - really don't inspire much in the way of confidence. What is with this embarrassment of brackets? And didn't they already do a song called 'Sleep Like A Baby Tonight'? And 'The Troubles'... really?)
However before I even get to that questionable delight, I already have a deep and abiding problem with the album. By taking on the title of English mystic poet, painter and illustrator William Blake's Songs Of Innocence, U2 are indulging in laughable subterfuge. They are aligning themselves with pre-lapsarian mankind; those yet to be tainted by forbidden knowledge and yet to be banished from the Garden Of Eden. They are claiming to be naked and carefree in John Milton's Paradise, before original sin brings about The Fall.