At the end of last week, Kendrick Lamar and U2 dropped their reworking of their collaboration 'XXX', that track off Kendrick's DAMN; 'American Soul', from U2's upcoming record Songs Of Experience, inverts 'XXX's' state of the nation premise by shifting the primary driver towards Bono and co, and saccharine riffs and hollow platitudes about disunity abound.

Okay three things; when DAMN's tracklist was announced the internet was bewildered by U2's presence on 'XXX', but Bono's sideline accreditation worked pretty well in the end, harmonising and stabilising Kendrick's torrential cynicism. 'XXX' is a very good song, and U2 are intrinsic to that. Secondly, as masterfully self-parodic as they've become, U2 were also a Good band at one point. Joshua Tree, War, and Achtung Baby are sagging with great hooks and not-awful lyrics. Lastly, Kendrick has iterated his affection for U2 before, and their thematic sprawl has more in common with Kendrick's than a superficial comparison would produce; political approximations; theological imperatives and paradoxes; didactic, mythological plotlines.

Them working together does make sense, but 'American Soul' and its predecessor 'Get Out Of Your Own Way' aren't great. In fact, they're pretty bad. The natural assumption is that because Kendrick's taken a backseat there's absent any production flair or lyrical barb across these two tracks. They're more vanilla than store-value ice-cream.

TL;DR, Kendrick and U2's continuing collaborations are interesting but not always worthwhile, as 'American Soul' demonstrates.