I’ve literally just finished listening to Songs of Surrender as I write these words. I am not letting my brain get in the way of my heart today. No overthinking, no rambling – as if, no sugarcoating my emotions or putting a leash on my feelings. Only the truth today, and just the bare truth.
Eh, I had to give the 0.1% haters of SOS that remains a little hope. And snatch it away. Payback for months of incessant whining and being pains in my arse. Yeah I can be a bitch if I want to.
Sorry not sorry for that little interlude – but it felt good didn’t it? Ha.
It’s not shite.
It’s far from being shite actually.
I knew from the first few songs that I was hooked. Not even halfway through disc one and I just couldn’t get enough of it, caught on a feeling I never wanted to end. Thank fuck for my sorry arse there were 40 of those to go through, and it literally took me the entire day to get to 40 – blaming the multiple repeats of The Miracle Of Joey Ramone and the obligation of maintaining the illusion I was actually getting some work done throughout the day.
I was not sure what I was expecting from this album. I was anxious about it, conflicted – just as much as I was excited to hear it in its entirety.
When they first announced the project – or dropped all the breadcrumbs to lead us home to it – I was all joy. All hype. All pure electrifying excitement. Because that was an album I knew I’d obviously fall for.
Acoustic? Oh yes.
Acoustic meant piano and I’m a piano whore through and through on a regular day, but when it comes to U2?
That’s my moment of bliss. My jam. My drug. Whatever you want to call it. Piano always works with their spirit, bringing even more soul into the songs than it should be even possible.
So there I was, all happy in my little bubble of purposeful delusion when the 1% (yeah it was 1% then) got loud. And louder. And eventually took over our shiny little joyful U2 land on the world wide web. And it got gloomy. Worst even, doubtful.
Was that album really going to be as good as I thought? A whole kinda-acoustic thing ? No loud guitars to drill the adrenaline deep in our brains, no thunder drums to kick our collective arse and not even the mighty vibrato of the electric bass to rattle our wet soaked bones from the turmoil of a not so distant end-of-the-world-era ?
Is it really what we need?
Isn’t it gonna get …. Boring ?
The power of 1% and a very nasty algorithm people.
Scary stuff isn’t it ?
Well, sorry to say but it got worse.
The singles started to drop, and I felt that surge of love and reconciliation with Pride. I lost my words in the flow of necessary tears with WOWY. And then One hit and… I wasn’t sure. And Beautiful Day hit and I waited for the colours after the flood to come out… but the dark clouds of doubt hovering over my happy place, my safe haven for so many years, got thicker, and darker, and more threatening than ever.
‘It’s not working for me’ the 1% were saying.
And I started to believe them.
I started to feel it.
I started to seriously doubt the band of my life.
Well, good for me (and good for you)(and good for them too), I’m a stubborn little thing. And as the 1% were yelling in my ears to surrender for all the wrong reasons, I chose to trust my guts and go with my survival instinct and took a step back.
A step back from all that incessant noise. A step back from the darkness. Pouring my thoughts and heart on drafted blogs that will never be published, trying as hard as possible to tear the corner of the darkness and hold onto the spark of light.
Keep the faith up.
For this is my band.
And they’ve never failed me.
Who still thinks it’s easy to be a U2 fan really?
The storm will pass…
And this morning it did.
The dark clouds of these past months cleared the moment the music started.
And guess what ?
The joy returned, not only to my ears and mind but all over our little virtual democracy. Most people voicing against the whole thing were praising it, pleasantly surprised it actually worked so well – of course it does, it’s them, duh – eh I never completely lost the faith, I’m not a hypocrite, maybe too honest for my own sake though.
The 1% were apologizing to the great big void that is the internet, and just like that the magic of three chords and the truth turned the tide and reduced the loud hate into an imperceptible annoying white noise of 0.1% Db.
Forgive yourselves little ones, but give yourself a good kick in the butt first and don’t do it again please.
Back to the musical journey : One to 40.
2 hours and 46 minutes.
And it took me less than one of those to fall head over heels about this album.
The smiles and the tears.
The laughter and the gasps.
The wonder and the shock.
All in all, a lot of swearing and invoking god’s name in vain.
Because sorry not sorry, there’s no salvation from that album of surrender, yet you’ll find plenty in it.
I was expecting to be surprised in many ways, but those songs went way beyond expectations really.
I can’t go song by song or you’ll probably have to spend the rest of the day here and hell no-one wants that when there’s a Bono and Edge to stream over and over again.
I could tell you about the ones that completely made my day. My year. My life? Who knows, it might. They’re good like that.
I could tell you about my biggest expectation : reconciliation. Reconciliation with songs I fell out of love with. You know the ones. A passion consumed leaving you with only the dust of what you once enjoyed. Could be too many plays on the radio, could be too many times you sang it to yourself. The ones you grew weary of and sometimes, often, always miss dearly.
I could tell you how I can’t put words on how grateful I am to have reconnected with I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – oh don’t start with the irony, trust me I know.
How It floored me, from the very first word. The tears, the smile, all the colours coming out at last. Feeling that spirit again grabbing me with all its might, as if God was walking in the silly little room that only exists between the walls of my head. Or someone, something, that sound and energy finally pushing the reboot button on that love that was broken beyond repair.
I could tell you about how they managed to make the hair on the back of my head stand up for the entire 4 minutes and 17 seconds with Streets.
I could tell you how I happily lost myself in the extraordinary suspended moment in time that is Stay and Bad.
I could tell you how finally owning the favorite version of my favorite song ever on a physical release made me cry hot tears of happiness.
I could tell you how insanely surprised I was to find not only songs but moods and vibes throughout the album. So many of them.
How they made me travel in space and time with The Fly grooving in a low lit cabaret that brought me so much satisfaction that my man kindly reminded me he’s the only one supposed to put that look on my face.
I could tell you how I had to find my party pants and invoke the funky chicken in me while listening – a fuck lot – to the new disco vibe of Two Hearts beat as one.
I could tell you how I finally forgave myself for only loving the Afrojack remix of Get Out Of Your Own way because I now have a version from them that works for me.
I could tell you how Desire gave me groove FOR LIFE.
I could tell you about how incredible both Bono and Edge sound on those songs, and how surgically accurate their art has become.
I could tell you about those songs I never liked that are now on their way to my heart.
I could tell you about the ones that I always adored and I get to have even more love for them because, eh, both is good.
I could tell you about the others that didn’t work for me, but it was just a first listen after all.
I could tell you all that.
Or you could listen for yourself.
Because see, that’s the one surprise I didn’t see coming today – there’s something for everyone in this album.
Out of those 40 songs I’m pretty sure you can hear that top line melody in the room – the one that resonates with you.
And if it’s not a song, then it will be a vibe, a mood, the beauty of a piano key, the soft strum of a guitar chord, the comfort of a bass grasp, the smirk in a low growl, the quiet power of a snare drum leading the way.
A simple joy.
I thought that Songs of Surrender was going to be an album very much directed to the fans but as I listened to it I realized there was something bigger than the songs, bigger than the band or us.
A closeness, an intimacy, a direct heart to heart connection.
A simple joy in it.
Something everyone can get. Everyone can feel.
Great songs are indestructible, Edge said, and it’s in the simplicity that it can reach every heart. No need for musical tastes or favorite genre, just music in its purest form.
Songs that will fill our hearts to the brim, but will also make our older relatives nod along and the little kids swirl around.
Because what’s not to love in this album?
The simple joys defying the complexity of our hearts.
And those songs are full of it.
What a gift. Seriously.
And tonight, I don’t know if I have just surrendered to those songs, but if I did then thank fuck, because, it’s so much more than just a rearranged catalogue of songs.
It’s not even nowhere near a simple acoustic album.
It’s beautiful and emotional and fun and joyful. It’s a whole new world of songs we thought we knew and we’re given the privilege to rediscover them all over again.
It’s experience and innocence.
Growth and maturity with a twist of boyish mischief.
Intimate and comforting like a warm hug or a burst of laughter.
A peaceful happiness.
A simple joy.
What a rollercoaster of emotions. Wow.
Yeah, it’s not a simple acoustic album.
It’s a freaking U2 album.
And honestly, If Songs Of Surrender doesn’t become your comfort album when you need that extra little support from your band, I don’t know what to tell ya.
Apart from put those headphones on and give it a try.
Let Bono whisper into your ear – it might well clear the dark clouds away.