Songs of Experience

U2 - Songs of Experience
Critic Score
Based on 30 reviews
2017 Ratings: #812 / 876
User Score
Based on 144 ratings
2017 Ratings: #546
Liked by 1 person
December 1, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Island, Interscope / Label
Pop Rock / Genres / Website
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Rolling Stone

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.

Entertainment Weekly
There is no “Sunday Bloody Sunday” or “Where the Streets Have No Name” here; how could there be? But the thread from scrappy Dublin agitators to graying superstars feels as organically drawn as it’s ever been: the enduring alchemy of a band who commit so wholeheartedly to long roads, American souls, and songs strong enough to heal the world that you almost believe in them again too.
The Telegraph
A little battered by time and bloodied by events, U2 remain defiantly unbowed, as determined as ever to make mass market music that really matters.
The Guardian

Despite its flaws, Songs of Experience is an audibly better album than either of its predecessors.

While ‘Songs of Experience’ manages to right most of the first instalment’s wrongs – being more musically adventurous and emotionally fulfilling – it works best when staying on message and sticking with the personal themes.
Drowned in Sound
The band have crafted what may be their least try-hard album, well, possibly ever.
No Ripcord

In their strongest outing since All That You Can’t Leave Behind, the four-piece writes both sweeping anthems as well as some of the most effortless songs of their career.


It may not even share the same ambition as ‘No Line On The Horizon’ however, it’s an undeniable improvement on their two misfiring predecessors, marking this collection as their most cohesive and heartfelt in almost 15 years.

Under The Radar

Over the years while their sound evolved and morphed and the band reinvented themselves a few times over, the glue that held it all together was the rock solid rhythm section, razor sharp guitars and of course Bono's rock star voice. They proved they could write and play any style or genre well. But on Songs of Experience U2 ignore their past and instead saunter ahead with hooking melodies and sing-along choruses.

The 405

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.

Slant Magazine
The new album generally rebalances the scales of the band's ambitions, resulting in an aesthetically riskier sound.
Pretty Much Amazing
Its about half as huge as it believes it is, but as big as any rock record I have heard this year.

Well, they've learned to make a slightly better Songs of Innocence, whose first half was so formless the audio files nearly dissolved into mist. This gained knowledge still can't bring us back to the level of No Line on the Horizon, where traces of The Unforgettable Fire's quietly experimental U2 poked their heads above the ground, bedraggled survivors having barely weathered the bland pop onslaught of 2000.


Songs of Experience is the shameless effort of four men in their late 50s to muster a contemporary, youthful sound.


Like Innocence, Experience neither recaptures past glories nor forges a new way forward, and while it's better than its predecessor, it nevertheless captures the sound of a legacy rock band stuck in neutral.


Typical to many modern records, Songs of Experience is the result of many cooks ... With all these hands, it's not much of a surprise that Songs of Experience feels diverse, its modernist moments -- like Bono embracing pitch-shifted vocals -- counterbalancing feints toward U2's arena rock past.

Consequence of Sound

For the first time in decades, Songs of Experience finds U2 confused about what kind of band they want to be.

Overall, U2 have built a stadium rock cruise liner they’ve zero interest in rocking, and ‘…Experience’ is 50 minutes of very plain sailing indeed.
The Independent
Rarely has a band of such stature sounded quite so enervated and bereft of inspiration as U2 do here, gamely struggling to reconnect with the youthful vitality that roused crowds across the globe, but reduced to hackneyed cheap tricks and tired old truisms barely worth the chords they’re strung on – which are themselves the limpest melodies of their career.
A.V. Club

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 ... It is the product of a band giving too many fucks.

just retire ok. Retire god damn it, retireeee
Rolling Stone continues to fuck up by being classic rock-centric and classic rock band-centric. Their views on music revolve around toxic white taste.
William Blake is rolling in his grave
oh BOYs, where do you come from
How far U2 has fallen is beyond me and rolling stone must be smoking some good shit. This album is so basic to the bone.
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Year End Lists

#3/Rolling Stone
#9/ABC News

Track List

  1. Love Is All We Have Left
  2. Lights Of Home
  3. You’re The Best Thing About Me
  4. Get Out Of Your Own Way
  5. American Soul
  6. Summer Of Love
  7. Red Flag Day
  8. The Showman (Little More Better)
  9. The Little Things That Give You Away
  10. Landlady
  11. The Blackout
  12. Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way
  13. 13 (There Is A Light)
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Added on: March 7, 2016