U2 is back with their album Songs Of Experience, the band’s 14th album and their companion to their iTunes release Songs Of Innocence from 2014. While the album is receiving lukewarm reviews, the performances on SNL reminded some of the mid-90s version of the band in certain moments. It also helps that Kendrick Lamar’s spoken word opening to “American Soul” was accompanied by portions of the lyric video for the song and an animated Lamar. While “You’re the Best Thing About Me” is the album’s first single, “American Soul” is probably best for the audience of SNL given the cross-appeal and it has a little more grit for a weekend that followed such a tumultuous week around the world.
The band followed it with the album’s second single, “Get Out Of Your Own Way.” It carries the sound of some of the classic U2 songs thanks to the Edge’s guitar, but it quickly acts as a sort of counterbalance to the harder opening number. And harder is likely pushing it given the band we’re talking about, but it is correct. There’s plenty of firm statements in “American Soul,” where “Get Out Of Your Own Way” is more of an idealist version of the world that Bono and his bandmates feel would be better for the whole.
Still, this is likely better for fans of the band than Bono’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live from earlier in the week.