All that you probably can leave behind
In a move that's either boldly contrarian or utterly clueless, Rolling Stone has gone ahead and crowned U2's Songs of Innocence the best album of 2014.
This is an interesting move for a variety of reasons. First, there was the band's controversial marketing strategy, which loaded Songs of Innocence directly onto the iPhones of all users who updated to the new iOS8 software. But all that spammy marketing can be forgiven if the music is good, right?
While the band's latest album isn't necessarily garbage, critical mass suggests it's not exactly a masterpiece: The Los Angeles Times called it "average-grade stuff with a couple essential songs," while Pitchfork called it "not even that interesting... just a blank message." Even Spin's favorable review was lukewarm, calling it a "satisfying side conversation" instead of a "triumphant return to form."
Songs of Innocence hasn't topped any other music publication's best of 2014 list yet, but at least Rolling Stone is marching to the beat of its own drum. Given the latest cyberattacks, though, perhaps we can hold out hope that this is all an elaborate prank: