I could have written all the smacks this album gets myself. Definitely not as good as my colleagues because it would be so difficult for me, but I knew all the complaints before I read the first ones – right after U2 announced that they were re-recording 40 of their songs for “Songs Of Surrender”. have, acoustically and with a few different lyrics. What is that, who needs it? campfire music. self-adulation. And are they allowed to do that at all: simply change beloved hits? (Of course. They only belong to them after all!)

    That’s what U2 has been about for 47 years: community, solidarity, courage

    Of course, the “Songs Of Surrender” begin with “One” and end with “40” – U2 couldn’t miss such a punch line. (Bono’s autobiography, Surrender. 40 Songs, One Story, follows a different scheme, only 28 tracks overlapping.) A nearly three-hour journey through time with a few surprises. I, too, was a little strange at first with new lines like “Each desert rose is a prayer for rain” in “Where The Streets Have No Name”, but then Bono sings, after love has just burned down: “Can get through the fire/ If I go with you/ There’s no other way through.” That’s what U2 has been about for 47 years: community, solidarity, courage, right in the middle instead of on the outside.

    Four uncool Irish, if necessary against everyone else. And what I like best about these versions is exactly what will bother many people: They mixed Bono’s voice far forward – this sometimes rather battered, always touching voice. They age the songs, but at the same time expose the flaws instead of hiding them. (Although The Edge naturally tweaked the sound a lot, so it’s worth enjoying the details under the headphones.)

    It has long been clear that Bono can no longer reach the heights of “Pride”, for example

    It has long been clear that Bono can no longer reach the heights of “Pride”, for example. Perhaps the “Songs Of Surrender” are, among other things, a strategy to make the songs fit for somewhat quieter concerts, which they can still give at 70 or 80. “I got spirit, I got soul, I got some big ideas, I’m out of control,” claims Bono, although only three out of four sentences are probably correct. The man knows what he’s doing. And the band is acutely aware of their mortality – first Bono’s heart surgery in 2017, now the back pain that’s keeping Larry Mullen Jr. from touring in 2023. The time that remains wants to be used in the best possible way – “You can’t fight fate” has now become: “It’s never too late, you can always fight fate.”

    My colleague Sassan recently asked how I would rate “Songs Of Surrender”, he likes to see stars. Please: I give (*****) – four for these pared-down pieces and one for confidence. Once U2 have managed to come to terms with the past and soon the “Achtung Baby” shows in Las Vegas, which two years after the anniversary would actually no longer be necessary, then they can look back to the future – and us with their next one album. Walk on, Bono! For the time being, “Songs Of Surrender” is a bit like the big scar on Bono’s chest: Those who prefer it youthfully carefree don’t want to see it. Anyone who appreciates life with all its impact smiles gratefully – and maybe even thinks it’s beautiful.


    Rosemary & Garlic :: “A Room Of One’s Own”

    Gentle chamber music from Holland’s dream pop queen

    The Band Of Heathens :: “Simple Things”

    The songwriter quintet from Texas knows what they’re capable of.

    M83 :: “Fantasy”

    Pure joy, but less excitement


    The Edge and Bono cover ABBA’s “SOS”.

    U2 covered the ABBA song. Bono also spoke about his biography – and together with The Edge about “Songs of Surrender”.

    Birgit Fuss on U2’s “Songs of Surrender”: Walk On, Bono!

    Birgit Fuss asks herself: Why did U2 re-record their biggest songs in quieter versions? Maybe to future-proof them

    Bono: Everyone from U2 has thought about leaving the band at some point

    Bono talks about the exit option in the documentary Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, With Dave Letterman