The Irish rockers return with a brand new single.
“When you look so good, the pain in your face doesn’t show.”
That’s the sort of an opening lyric that you don’t hear too often anymore but U2 has returned to fill that void. ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’ represents the sort of optimism the world could do with at the moment.
Musically, U2 plays it safe. With the typical arrangement of reverb-laden guitars, soaring vocals, pretty standard chord movements, and at times, cliched lyrics, U2 aren’t breaking new ground with this single. However, playing it safe works for U2. They’ve already innovated plenty in their 40+ years of existence and practically set the template for stadium rock. U2 guitarist, The Edge has single-handedly showcased the ability of a guitar with a delay pedal for 1000’s of guitarists to emulate over the years.
What ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’ offers is something that’s familiar yet fresh. They continue to do what they do best, which is respectable considering how easy it can be for artists to get caught up in musical trends and lose sight of their own identity. In a day and age where music is getting more and more homogenised by the day, credit needs to be given to U2 for not caring about popular opinion and sticking to their guns.
However, there are pros and cons to everything. While the pro here is that U2 have put out a song that their fans will definitely love, the con is that they will love it because it sounds exactly like what a fan would expect it to. I’m not trying to suggest that it’s a good idea to disappoint fans. I’m suggesting that it’s always good to surprise them. This is something that doesn’t apply only to U2. Over the years, bands like Metallica, Foo Fighters, and Green Day, that have stuck around for a really long time progress to become more and more predictable with every passing album. Maybe, these bands don’t need to surprise fans or do anything spectacularly new anymore. They’re genre-defying bands that have already influenced the course of popular music more than most artists do in their lifetime.
That being said, ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’ is at worst, still a good song. To me, it really sums up all the reasons why millions of fans continue to love U2. Hopefully, they won’t force us to download it with the next iTunes update this time around.