‘Invisible’ Makes U2 Stand Out More Than Ever

February 5, 2014


The Super Bowl remained as frenzied an affair as ever on Sunday night, a gleaming manifestation of the culmination of the NFL’s year. The advertising space allocated during the game is considered some of the most profitable in the world, everyone is watching. Companies clamour to squeeze into a spot, musicians are keen to be a part of the show, it’s an opportunity they cannot afford to miss.

How refreshing, then, that among the profiteers stood a group of opportunists who grabbed the chance to use that perfect moment of power to sell compassion. With the heated interest in U2 and the possibility of a new album coming soon, the band teamed up with lead singer Bono’s charity RED, Bank of America and Apple’s iTunes to fight AIDS the world over.  RED’s chosen charitable recipient The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria provides HIV and AIDS treatment, along with testing and prevention services in some of the world’s poorest countries.

U2 debuted their latest song ‘Invisible’ as a stand alone track during the Super Bowl as part of the RED and Bank of America commercial with the opportunity to download the track for free on iTunes for 24 Hours. Bank of America donated one dollar for every download, contributing up to the value of $8 million. RED has estimated that it will be able to raise up to $10 million through its partnership with Bank of America.

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‘Invisible’ has strong U2 characteristics in places, The Edge dutifully provides a ubiquitous solo, the chorus explodes with typical urgency, but they’re moving out of their comfort zone, evolving. The electronic element is somewhat of a diversion from standard U2 behaviour but by the time we arrive at end of the track there’s still a sense of familiarity. It’s not an astonishing shift in texture to their normal sound, neither is it a ‘safe’ return to the Joshua Tree days. It serves its purpose as an experimental warm up act to the new music and it will be interesting to see how much of a shift in sound will be present on their forthcoming album. The band have been working with producer Danger Mouse and expect to release the album in the summer.

Leaving aside the pessimistic side of me that knows full well how marvelous a marketing campaign this will prove to be for U2, Bank of America and Apple’s iTunes, especially as U2 haven’t had an album out since 2009, there’s something quite endearing about Bono’s admission to USA Today: “We have another song we’re excited about to kick off the album,” he said. “This is just sort of a sneak preview – to remind people we exist.”

I’m pretty certain a band who have been around for 40 years and have sold upwards of 150 million records are not invisible. But it’s a tough world out there, there’s no guarantee of sales anymore and if you’re going to have a marketing campaign, what better way to kick off a comeback than by helping others in the process.  And, with fans already taking to every social media platform possible to voice their opinions on the track, fueling a rising desperation to hear the new album, it’s safe to say we can see U2 coming from a mile away.

-Lucy Jenkins.



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