Invisible (U2 song)

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"Invisible"
Single by U2
Released 2 February 2014 (2014-02-02)
Format Digital download
Genre Rock, electronic rock
Length 3:47
Label Island
Writer(s) U2 (lyrics)
U2, Danger Mouse (music)
Producer(s) Danger Mouse
U2 singles chronology
"Ordinary Love"
(2013)
"Invisible"
(2014)
Music video
"Invisible" on YouTube

"Invisible" is a song by Irish rock band U2, believed to be included on the band's upcoming 13th studio album.[1] On 2–3 February 2014, it was available as a free digital download through the iTunes Store, with Bank of America giving $1 for each download of the track to (RED), an organisation co-founded by Bono, to fight AIDS. Since 4 February, it has been available as a regular download, with all the proceeds also going to (RED).

The electro-tinged rock anthem was met with generally favourable reviews from music critics. The song has also charted in several countries, and topped the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart in the United States. A music video for the song was directed by Mark Romanek and released on 11 February 2014.

Background and release[edit]

The song was produced by Danger Mouse, with whom U2 has been working on its 13th studio album.

U2 has been working on its 13th studio album with producer Danger Mouse since 2011.[2] In November 2013, the band released its first new song in four years, "Ordinary Love", recorded for the biographical film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. The second song released after the break, "Invisible", is reportedly the first track that the band has finished recording for the upcoming studio album, which is scheduled for release in mid-2014. However, the song is not the first official single to promote the album, but a "sort of a sneak preview — to remind people we exist," as Bono told USA Today.[1] The song also launches a partnership between (RED), an organisation founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver, and Bank of America to fight AIDS.[3]

On 16 January 2014, confusion was created when Dave Fanning announced the "first-time play" of "Invisible" live on The Dave Fanning Show on RTÉ 2fm. Instead, a 2012 release titled "Bad Machine" from St Albans-based rock band Dark Stares aired twice. Fanning's close relationship with U2 and an over 33-year history of the band's single exclusives,[4] caused many to believe the broadcast was legitimate and added further debate on U2 fan-forums.[5] Several media outlets also reported on the situation, namely Hot Press and radio broadcaster Alan Cross.[6][7] However, Fanning later hinted that he was partially behind the hoax, saying "We did point out that it was a spoof," when interviewed by The Sunday Times.[8] To date, neither U2 nor Dark Stares have officially commented on their respective knowledge or involvement in the stunt.

On 2 February 2014, a part of "Invisible" was unveiled in a form of a Super Bowl XLVIII commercial,[9][10] and made available as a free download from the iTunes Store for 24 hours, with Bank of America giving $1 for each download of the track to (RED) and its recipient, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.[11] According to the band's website, the period of time in which the song was available for free was eventually extended to 36 hours, and the total sum raised was $3,138,470.[12] On 4 February 2014, the song was made available as a regular digital download,[13] with all the proceeds also going to (RED).[12]

Writing and composition[edit]

Ramones performing in Toronto in 1976
Kreftwerk performing in Kiev
Bono cited the Ramones (left) and Kraftwerk (right) as influences on the song.[14]

According to Bono, "Invisible" is a song about him "leaving home with just enough rage to see it through and this feeling of arriving in London, sleeping in the station and coming out into the punk rock explosion that was happening." In a radio interview with BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe, he explained that "there were really wild, extraordinary people and then you feel deeply not extraordinary. You feel invisible and you're screaming to be seen and you've got your band and this is your whole life. It's that feeling of getting out of town."[15] Bono also said that during the process of writing material for the new album they "went back to why we wanted to be in a band in the first place. It opened up a whole valve for me writing and it was a dam burst of sorts. Punk rock and electronic [music] was when it started for us. We were listening to the Ramones and Kraftwerk and you can hear both of those things on 'Invisible'."[14]

"Invisible" is an electro-tinged rock anthem. It begins with a "brittle, electronic passage," reminiscent of Joy Division.[16] Simple keyboard movements[17] and chiming guitars lead to a "sky-scraping chorus,"[16] and lyrics "harnessing notions of self-respect, both the personal kind and the universal-struggle kind."[18]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

In a positive review of the song, Randall Roberts of Los Angeles Times called the track "a pleasant surprise and a fairly typical track by the world's biggest rock band," commenting that it "features the kind of grand, aspirational chorus that Bono and buds were born to birth and flies on the wings of a typically sticky guitar melody courtesy of the Edge," and that lyrically, the song conveys "some sort of grandly unified message that speaks truth to power without being too political about it," also typical for U2.[18]

Spin magazine's Marc Hogan called the "founded in togetherness" song "a ringing stadium-rock anthem in All That You Can't Leave Behind mold," with Bono singing "like he's posing for a 21st-century Mount Rushmore."[19] Michael Cragg of The Guardian wrote of the song, "There's a more textured, characterful feel to it all. By the final coda...you sort of feel happy to have them back."[16]

Chart performance[edit]

"Invisible" entered the Irish Singles Chart at number 31,[20] and reached number 24 in its second week.[21] It debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number 65.[22] In the United States, the song debuted at number 28 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, with U2 reclaiming the record for the most Alternative Songs appearances in the chart's 25-year archives with 39 songs, passing Pearl Jam (38), Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers (both 30).[23] As of March 2014, the single has sold 64,000 copies in the United States.[24]

Music video[edit]

A music video for "Invisible" was directed by Mark Romanek, and shot in black-and-white in a Santa Monica airport hangar in January 2014. It shows the band performing the song in front of a captive audience, against a massive screen with multiple video effects, with Bono singing to a circular hangdown microphone.[25][26][27] Footage from the video was used in the 60-second Super Bowl commercial, which aired on 2 February 2014. The full-length video premiered on 11 February 2014.[28]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[13]
  1. "Invisible" ((RED) Edit Version) – 3:47

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[29] 39
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[30] 43
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[31] 9
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[32] 44
Denmark (Tracklisten)[33] 28
France (SNEP)[34] 11
Germany (Media Control Charts)[35] 48
Hungary (Single Top 20)[36] 3
Ireland (IRMA)[21] 24
Italy (FIMI)[37] 6
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[38] 38
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[39] 41
Portugal Digital Songs (Billboard)[40] 2
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[41] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[42] 22
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[22] 65
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[43] 8
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[44] 1
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[45] 28
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[46] 15
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[47] 27
US Rock Airplay (Billboard)[48] 12

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gardner, Elysa (31 January 2014). "U2 thanks fans -- and taxpayers -- with new track". USA Today. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Grow, Kory (13 November 2013). "U2 Eye Spring Release for New Album: Report". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Invisible - Free For (RED)". U2.com. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  4. ^ McBride, Caitlin (21 November 2013). "Bono's best friend Dave Fanning lands exclusive". Irish Independent. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  5. ^ McGee, Matt (16 January 2014). "Dave Fanning Didn't Play New U2 Today, He Played Dark Stares". @U2. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Dave Fanning 'first time play from U2' turns out not to be them". Hot Press. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Cross, Alan (17 January 2014). "Irish DJ Duped into Thinking He Played a New U2 Song". A Journal of Musical Things. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Mysterious ways of Dave Fanning hoax". The Sunday Times. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "U2 "Invisible" - Bank of America in support of (RED)". YouTube. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "U2 Unveil New Song, 'Invisible,' During Super Bowl XLVIII". MTV. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Grow, Kory (2 February 2014). "U2 Offer Free Downloads of New Track 'Invisible' to Help Fight AIDS". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Three Million And Counting". U2.com. 4 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Invisible (RED) Edit Version - Single by U2". Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Bono shares concerns that U2 'were on the verge of irrelevance'". The Guardian. 4 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Newman, Jason (3 February 2014). "9 Biggest Revelations in Bono's 'BBC' Interview About U2". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c Cragg, Michael (3 February 2014). "U2 – Invisible: New music". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  17. ^ Kaye, Ben; Young, Alex (2 February 2014). "Download: U2′s new song "Invisible"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Roberts, Randall (3 February 2014). "Review: U2's 'Invisible' presents band at its aspirational best". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  19. ^ Hogan, Marc (2 February 2014). "Download U2's Windswept 'Invisible' for Free and Help Fight AIDS". Spin. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  22. ^ a b "15th February 2014". UK Singles Chart. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  23. ^ Trust, Gary (10 February 2014). "Chart Highlights: U2 Makes History On Alternative Songs With 'Invisible'". Billboard. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  24. ^ Hampp, Andrew; Halperin, Shirley (7 March 2014). "No U2 Album, Tour Until 2015 (Exclusive)". Billboard. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  25. ^ Gundersen, Edna (12 February 2014). "U2 unveils full video for 'Invisible'". USA Today. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  26. ^ Rutherford, Kevin (11 February 2014). "U2 Premieres Black-and-White Video for 'Invisible': Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  27. ^ Kayeon, Ben (12 February 2014). "Watch: U2′s video for "Invisible"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  28. ^ "U2 - 'Invisible' (RED) Edit Version". YouTube. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  29. ^ "U2 – Invisible – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  30. ^ "Ultratop.be – U2 – Invisible" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  31. ^ "Ultratop.be – U2 – Invisible" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  32. ^ "U2 Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for U2. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  33. ^ "Danishcharts.com – U2 – Invisible". Tracklisten. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  34. ^ "Lescharts.com – U2 – Invisible" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  35. ^ "U2 – Invisible". Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  36. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 10 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  37. ^ "Classifica settimanale WK 6 (dal 03-02-2014 al 09-02-2014)" (in Italian). FIMI. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  38. ^ "U2 Album & Song Chart History" Japan Hot 100 for U2. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  39. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – U2 – Invisible" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  40. ^ "Portugal Digital Songs - February 22, 2014". Billboard. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  41. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – U2 – Invisible" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  42. ^ "U2 – Invisible – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  43. ^ "U2 Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for U2. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  44. ^ "U2 Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Alternative Songs for U2. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  45. ^ "U2 Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for U2. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  46. ^ "U2 Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Rock Songs for U2. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  47. ^ "U2 Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for U2. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  48. ^ "U2 Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Rock Airplay for U2. Retrieved 4 June 2014.

External links[edit]