Hear U2, Kendrick Lamar on Jagged New Song 'American Soul' - Rolling Stone
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Hear U2, Kendrick Lamar on Jagged New Song ‘American Soul’

Bono sees rock as force for unity on alternate version of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Damn.’ cut “XXX”

Kendrick Lamar makes a brief appearance on U2‘s “American Soul,” a buzzing, distorted new Songs of Experience cut that the rock band shared on Friday. 

The Edge’s guitar defines “American Soul,” pushing the song forward in spiky, barbed steps. Bono initially keeps his verses and hook short and punchy, returning to the shout-along refrain, “you are rock and roll.” But during a lengthy, digressive bridge, he forges a connection between the musical and the political: “Let it be unity/ Let it be community/ For refugees like you and me/ A country to receive us/ Will you be our sanctuary?”

Anyone who listened to Lamar’s Damn. album will be familiar with snippets of Bono’s lyrics from “American Soul.” His line, “It’s not a place, this country is to me a sound of drum and bass, you close your eyes to look around,” also appeared on the Damn. track “XXX.” Lamar’s contribution to U2’s latest comes in the form of an opening benediction: “Blessed are the bullies, for one day they will have to stand up to themselves,” he says. “Blessed are the liars, for the truth can be awkward.” The rapper previously appeared on U2’s new song “Get Out of Your Own Way.”

“American Soul” will appear on Songs of Experience when it’s released December 1st. U2 worked with a number of different producers on the album: Jacknife Lee, Ryan Tedder, Steve Lillywhite, Andy Barlow and Jolyon Thomas. “Since The Joshua Tree, I don’t think we’ve done an album with less than four producers,” Bono told Rolling Stone. “Four producers seems to be the way for us, one for each member of the band. By the way, that’s a joke. I think actually there’s five on this one.”

In This Article: Kendrick Lamar, U2


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