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Column: off the record..., vol. 14-604

@U2, February 03, 2014
By: Matt McGee


off the record, from @U2

Personally, I can't think of any way Sunday could've been better. I got a new U2 song, my Seahawks destroyed the Broncos in Super Bowl 48 and I finally started getting over the flu that hit me last Wednesday. 2014 has already been a terrific year.

So ... what about "Invisible"?

Here are a couple things I've found about U2 songs over the past few albums, especially: They sound better loud, and they sound better live. We won't get to experience "Invisible" live until later this year (assuming there's a tour, and unless you're lucky enough to be in Jimmy Fallon's audience on Feb. 17), so for now I spent Sunday morning relying on hearing it loud.

Here's what I mean: The first couple times I heard it over my computer speaker system -- which is pretty nice, to be frank; nice little subwoofer and two mid-sized stereo speakers -- it was pretty quiet and I was underwhelmed. Then I warned the family that I needed to turn the volume up to annoying-the-rest-of-the-house levels, and that's when I really got to hear "Invisible" the right way.

And I like it.

My favorite U2 song? Heck no. A classic U2 song? Probably not, but it's too soon to say -- gotta hear it live for a tour or two. But I think it's good. It's just the right blend of "sounds different" and "sounds like U2" for me. And after I get a chance to turn it up really loud while driving down the highway, I have a feeling I'll like it even more. Loud and live. Can't have the latter yet, so turn it up and see what you think.

As you'd expect, not everyone agrees with that assessment. The fans in our forum spent all day Sunday sharing their two cents. There are general discussions threads here, here, here and here. There are appreciation threads here and here. And there's also an "Invisible is GARBAGE" thread. All the bases covered, good to bad and everything in between.

The one response to "Invisible" that I don't understand goes something like this: "If this is what the new album sounds like, it's gonna be terrible." I've read more than a few comments like that, and I can't help but think: When has a single song from any U2 album sounded like every other song on the album? I've always felt that U2 albums have several different sounds, and I'm assuming the next one will, too.

Late Sunday night, (RED) tweeted an update on downloads/money raised: $1 million raised in one hour. Strange number to choose since the song was available for download much longer than one hour. It's actually immaterial because other companies/organizations hopped on board and the song will end up raising somewhere around $22 million.

What'll be interesting to watch is whether "Invisible" will qualify for the Billboard singles charts. It's not on the iTunes sales chart right now -- presumably because that chart is based on sales, and "Invisible" isn't being sold. (Clearly, with a million downloads, the song would be No. 1 on the iTunes chart if it was eligible.) But, as I understand it, the Billboard chart counts downloads, not sales ... those are two different things to me, but I'm not sure if the song will be eligible or not. I guess we'll find out in the next week or two.

See you next time.

(c) @U2, 2014.

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