Songs of Experience Promotion Starts (Blackout Map)
Original story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-08-21)
While much of North America was watching the sun blacked out by the moon during a total eclipse, letters started arriving in the mail of U2 fans in the USA which looks to be the start of the promotional campaign for Songs of Experience. These are actual physical letters, consisting of black print on a single sheet of white paper, mailed to the fans with no return address. We have pictures of two of the letters below, but more fans have also reported receiving them.
We do have confirmation that the fans who have received this mailing today did NOT send mail to the address in the Record Store Day booklet. That booklet contained an address in the back. These letters seem to be unconnected to those Record Store Day booklets. Those receiving letters however, have all been subscribers to U2.Com.
The mail out includes information on William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, the works from which U2’s last album and the next take their name. The letter starts, “Blake published Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul in 1794. A collection of forty-six poems has a…” and at that point it becomes difficult to make out the text due to it being covered with an image.
Over top of the text is a silhouette of two figures, a man and a woman holding hands. U2 fans attending recent shows on The Joshua Tree 2017 Tour will recognize these figures, as we’ve seen the photograph in concert, it’s Bono’s son Eli and The Edge’s daughter Sian holding hands. Sian is wearing an army helmet.
Inside the silhouettes are some words which are not blacked out. These read…
The final part of the letter, separated from the main paragraph says “U2 will announce —— on ——” with two large pieces “blacked out”. We believe this line reads “U2 will announce their new album Songs of Experience on 09/08/17” based on recent rumours.
The letters were mailed from Los Angeles on Friday August 18 and Santa Clarita on Saturday August 19, based on the cancellation notices on the letters. The letters first started arriving in Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina, but have since started to arrive in other areas such as Portland Oregon, Chicago Illinois, and reports of others arriving in New York state and Boston. Some have theorized that the letters were sent to subscribers in the path of Monday’s eclipse. For fun we have mapped these locations below, and have included the path of the eclipse over top.
The full text of the letter appears to have been taken from here in the section “Songs of Innocence and Experience”:
Blake published Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul in 1794, and this collection of forty-six poems has a unique position in English literature. Some of them—The Tyger, for example—are among the best-known poems in the English language.
The book combines two sets of poems: Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.
These two sets of poems have generated much critical discussion as to how Blake intended them to be understood. But there is general agreement that the two sets of poems are related by the principle of contrast; a contrast between the state of Innocence—to be understood as childhood, idealism, hope—and that of Experience—to be understood as adulthood, disillusionment, social criticism, and despair.
The poems were also meant to be interpreted on another level; that of the world before and after the Fall of Man, and of the struggle within the soul itself. Blake came to see these two states as “contraries in the human soul!”. At first, Innocence is the world of the Lamb, the world of the true God of Love and Understanding, or Jesus, while Experience is the work of the false God, or the great negative influence. But if we can see this, then Experience can also be a means of achieving true insight.
Blake does not tell the reader how these poems should be read, nor is he trying to say that one state is better than the other, but rather leaves it up to the readers to draw their own conclusions.
Last Monday we were pleased to share some of the rumours we had heard about the new album, which is expected to be released on December 1, 2017.
(Photographs of letters courtesy of Amiee Stubbs and Christopher on Twitter, photograph of cover live from concert courtesy of Kami Fuller.)
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