It’s been a year of harsh extremes for The Edge. When U2’s thirteenth studio album, Songs Of Innocence, implanted itself in the iTunes libraries of an unsuspecting world, you could be forgiven for believing the response was a universal three-step-thought-process: How did this get here? How do I remove it? How pithily can I express my outrage on social media?
Rolling Stone, on the other hand, clearly enjoyed their “gift”. The magazine rather bafflingly made Songs Of Innocence their album of the year, sparking fresh bemusement and outrage online.
The over reaction is frankly tiresome; distracting attention from what should have been a banner year for The Edge. After struggling to find his place in this latest stage of U2’s career (he was happy to unfurl the sonic wallpaper on No Line On The Horizon while displaying some worrying Dad Rock traits) his guitar soared to the fore in 2014. Songs Of Innocence might be the closest approximation to a Bono solo album to date, but the star of the show is not the frontman’s frustratingly vague intimacy, but rather The Edge’s gorgeous tone, crafty flourishes and mainstream-attuned-arrangements (not to mention a fresh batch of stonking riffs).
There is something bizarre about hearing The Edge audibly aping the post-U2 youngsters who’ve topped the chart in the Irishmen’s wake. Then again, who could possibly have a better understanding of U2 inspired sonics than the man who invented them? The Edge might be an old dog, but in 2014 he thoroughly assimilated a decade’s worth of new tricks.
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