American Soul
by U2

Album: Songs of Experience (2017)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This track is an alternative version of "XXX.," U2's collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, which featured on the Compton MC's DAMN album. Bono repeats the "XXX" chorus early on in this song.
  • The song starts with a spoken word segment by Kendrick Lamar inspired by the Beatitudes, eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

    Blessed are the bullies
    For one day they will have to stand up to themselves
    Blessed are the liars
    For the truth can be awkward

    U2 and Kendrick Lamar also teamed up for the Songs of Experience track "Get Out of Your Own Way," which again features some rhymes by the Compton MC inspired by the Beatitudes.
  • Bono's three verses are a more political take on his "XXX" chorus where he sings:

    It's not a place
    This country is to me a sound of drum and bass
    You close your eyes to look around

    In this track's second verse he sings:

    It's not a place
    This country is to me a thought
    That offers grace
    For every welcome that is sought
  • Speaking to Stereogum about U2's relationship with Kendrick Lamar, The Edge said: "It was really just that we were fans. We were just thinking about artists we really respect and like, and he was on the top of our list. We look for artists that we feel have a similar spirit."

    "There's a righteous anger that is hard to argue with," Bono added. "I asked him would he rap about where America is at, his reply was to rap about where America isn't at. Smart dude."
  • Directed by the Broken Fingaz crew, the video mixes performance footage of U2's pre-taped performance of the track on The Hudson River in New York City for the 60th annual Grammy Awards with animation - Lamar's cameo features in cartoon form.
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