At the end of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch unveiling event, Apple pushed U2â€™s new album Songs of Innocence to 500 million folks who have accounts on iTunes. Here are some reactions to what Apple and U2 did:
This looked like nothing so much as what it was, old farts using their connections to shove material down the throats of those who donâ€™t want it. Itâ€™s what we hate so much about todayâ€™s environment, rich people who think they know better and [are] entitled to their behavior.
Sasha Frere-Jones, The New Yorker:
Donâ€™t shove your music into peopleâ€™s homes. A U2 album that some would have taken seriously was instead turned into an album that seems as pointless as it probably is. Lack of consent is not the future.
Lewis Wallace, Cult of Mac:
But trotting out aging Irish rockers after youâ€™ve wowed the world with the first glimpse of the glorious Apple Watch? Thatâ€™s not thinking different. Thatâ€™s a pity-fuck for a band thatâ€™s lost its edge, and an unfortunate bum note for a company thatâ€™s rarely perceived as tone-deaf.
Perhaps it is not the company that is tone-deaf. Here are some reactions to Songs of Innocence:
Alexis Petridis, The Guardian:
Nevertheless, Songs of Innocence isnâ€™t a bad album as such. The only person whoâ€™d agree with Cookâ€™s suggestion that The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) amounts to â€œthe most incredible single youâ€™ve ever heardâ€ is someone who hasnâ€™t heard many singles.
Steven Hyden, Grantland:
Songs of Innocence isnâ€™t a bad album, exactly, but itâ€™s among U2â€™s bottom five records. […] It justifies its own existence, but just barely.
Tom Breihan, Stereogum:
For all that, Songs Of Innocence isnâ€™t an out-and-out disaster. The album has good moments, if youâ€™re ready to dig for them.
Lindsay Zoladz, Vulture:
[…] Songs of Innocence is an argument for the album-as-background-noise, or maybe just the album-as-accessory-to-technology, the forgettable prize drowning in the much-more-desired Crackerjacks.
I have not listened to Songs of Innocence, and I do not plan to. I have tried a few times to download the free songs I have been gifted by Apple but have not been able to; maybe that is a blessing in disguise. If you want to remove the songs from your iTunes music library and purchases this Apple support page shows you how.
U2 lost me at Zooropa, but I still enjoy listening to songs from Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum. I am certain there are some who are enjoying the new and free album from U2, but from where I am sitting it seems the giveaway and the music they gave away were both lukewarm.