I’ve been traveling for the past week or so, thus I haven’t been able to sit down and write anything that requires more than ten minutes of directed attention. But this Songs of Innocence thing.

Ever since I was old enough to know U2 existed, which was actually pretty darn young, I’ve always thought they were one of the worst. bands. ever – a passel of overrated crap drowning out one or two ok tunes. But that’s just me.

Recently I, like the rest of the iTunes-having public, was quite surprised to find a new selection of songs scrolling through my shuffle – U2’s Songs of Innocence. And I’m sure there were some people who were good-surprised by this recent addition, but I was annoyed-surprised. Like, by a lot.

There was an evil empire/big brother dimension to my surprise: how dare iTunes just give me something?! And not just give me some open-ended thing(s), like a nominal gift card. Instead, how dare they insert something into “my” storage section of the air/cloud/whatever without any indication of my interest or approval?! Because trust me, nothing in my purchase history indicates that I’d *ever* be receptive to receiving such garbage.

There was also the “Ugh U2, how pathetic…” dimension. Allegedly, there’s no such thing as bad press and everyone has been talking about this for like a week now, sooo… mission accomplished? But also ugh, how pathetic.

But I think the thing that annoyed me the most was taking in (some of) the public’s response to this whole gift-giving debacle. Many people were annoyed that their privacy and space had been violated. Ok, but isn’t U2/iTunes’ behavior in this instance just a strange morph of piracy? As a public, we often take things without paying for them – why do we think we can get so pissy about someone beating us to the punch?


Here is an interesting bit about “permission rage,” a phrase I love: U2 and the Irony of “Permission Rage” (9/18/14)

And here’s a one-click unistall tool from iTunes, in case you too (U2!) have been traveling, etc: Remove iTunes gift album “Songs of Innocence”

Finally, please enjoy the only good U2 song there is, which I admit I first heard via Reality Bites (1994), not Juno (2007) – “All I Want is You” off Rattle and Hum (1988).

(this video is actually really sad, but it cuts off before the end here, which is a bummer)

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