Who likes surprises? If I asked you last week, your answer might have something to do with Irish stadium-rockers U2, who simultaneously announced and released their new album Songs of Innocence for free on Sept. 9.
A Radiohead-esque release would have been uncontroversial. But it wouldn’t be a U2 release without a few people
getting annoyed — or, in this case, tens of millions of non-U2 fans who woke up with Songs of Innocence loaded on their iTunes via Apple’s iCloud, without their permission.
Touted as the widest album release of all time — 500 million digital copies — U2 and Apple’s stunt has become the event that ruined millions of perfectly crafted iTunes playlists. Imagine how many panicked hip-hop fans spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get this corporate-rock abomination off their iPhones.
Luckily, I have most U2 albums on my iPod already, but I’d like to thank our Apple overlords for sparing me the trouble of downloading the album the old-fashioned way. 2014 is so neat.
Since everyone knows if they like U2 or not, reviewing the album is easy. It skips the experimental grandiosity of 2009’s No Line on the Horizon for the anthemic, radio-friendly sounds that made 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb a commercial success. Album-closer “The Troubles” is the best of the bunch. Give it a listen, if you haven’t deleted it already.