U2’s New Album Cover Would Look Better in a Bathroom


U2 have forever championed punk rock and the roll that it played in their musical upbringings. Lately, it seems, Ireland’s U2_AlbumCoverbiggest band has really been playing with one of punk rock’s true capabilities: pissing people off.

First it was gifting their new album, Songs of Innocence, to all iTunes customers around the world, and now U2 could draw a fresh chunk of ire for said album’s cover art.

What you’ll see before you is an image of drummer Larry Mullen Jr. “protecting” (as U2 says) his 18-year-old son. Shot by Glen Luchford, the band says “the visuals reflect the new songs and their inspiration in the early years of U2 as teenagers in Dublin.”

It’s added that the artwork is supposed to resonate with the images seen on the front of U2’s 1980 debut album, Boy, as well as 1983’s War.

“We’ve always been about community in U2, about family and friends,” explains Bono. “Songs Of Innocence is the most intimate album we’ve ever made. With this record we were looking for the raw, naked and personal, to strip everything back.”

While it’s easy to grasp the concept that U2 is going for here, this photo is crossing into the weird territory. Or, at the very least, it’s crossing into the ‘didn’t I already see this in that Awkward Family Photos book?’ territory.

To that end, this is one of those family photos that should hang in a master bathroom or an upstairs hallway. If it’s meant to be that personal, shouldn’t it be kept, well, in a personal, not so overtly public setting?

Let’s say U2’s next album is an ode to love, dedication and fighting through the highs and lows of life. Would this mean that Bono’s favourite wedding photo would grace the cover? Not likely, but who knows? This is U2 we’re talking about here.

U2 is a pretentious band. We all know this. Some would argue that their pretentious is what makes them great, while others would say that such pretentiousness has provided them with reason enough to hate the band.

Yes, the bond between a father and son is a beautiful thing. But, in this case, it feels like U2 is exploiting that idea for some type of ambitious artistic statement designed to instigate opinions like mine, or to appeal to those who have long been attracted to Mullen’s biceps. (Sort of kidding with that last point…sort of.)

I don’t like it, and it has nothing to do with two men – related or otherwise – half-dressed and embracing on the cover of an album. I just think that U2 is reaching too far here and opening themselves to criticism that’ll distract from what should matter most: the songs.

Not everything needs to be a PR stunt.

-Adam Grant

Please be sure to follow us on Twitter @riffyou and at Facebook.com/riffyou.

RIFFYOU.com Home