I took the opportunity to visit myself fifteen years ago. Here’s a transcript of our chat.
Old Jon: Hi younger Jon! I’m you from the future!
Younger Jon: Wow, that’s incredible! What’s the future like?
OJ: Things are different now. CDs are considered outdated, but record stores are stocking vinyl and cassette tapes again.
YJ: That’s… strange. What else has happened?
OJ: Guns ‘N Roses finally released “Chinese Democracy” and Brian Wilson released “Smile”. Chester Bennington is the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, Paul McCartney recorded a song with Nirvana and that kid from NSYNC is a huge movie star. There’s also a brand new U2 album. But get this: instead of having to go to the store to buy it, or having to use Napster, it’s just automatically loaded onto peoples’ computers! For free!!
YJ: A free U2 record magically loaded onto my computer?? That sounds like a dream!
OJ: Actually, people in 2014 are livid. They had to create special software to delete the U2 record to quell the backlash.
YJ: I don’t believe it! I don’t want your weird, dystopian future!
Normally I don’t like to trash records. It’s not what this blog is for and I have better things to do than run hatchet jobs. That being said, I wasn’t exactly given a choice regarding this album appearing in my iTunes library, so I’m making an exception.
I’m still undecided if it was intended to be a goodwill gesture from Apple to its consumers or a flagrant attempt to inflict the band upon them. Either way, this seems to be less of a gift horse and more of the trojan variety.
As far as music goes, it’s simultaneously inoffensive, uninteresting and somewhat mind-numbing. The opening track “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” is bouncy and energetic, but it makes little effort to invoke its namesake. “California (There Is No End To Love)” is kind of stupid, “Raised By Wolves” is really stupid and “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight” is so boring, I probably will after listening to it.
It’s not the worst record, but if I was going to give out an album to thirty three million people, I’d want it to be better than this. In this case, “Songs of Innocence” is worth exactly what I paid for it.