Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

Can you be angry without being cynical? Discouraged without being depressed? Optimistic without being unrealistic? If you're U2, the answer to all of these paradoxical questions is an unabashed yes.

The Irish rock icons' 14th studio album, Songs of Experience, boils and churns with rage at points. Yet—again, paradoxically—it also brims with light and hope throughout 13 tracks that sound exactly like … U2.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Album opener "Love Is All We Have Left" repeatedly voices that titular message. We also hear, "Nothing to stop this being the best day ever." Near album's end, another song voices a similar sentiment: "Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way." "Landlady" pays poetic tribute to a man's faithful wife: "Every wave that broke me/Every song that wrote me/Every dawn that woke me/Was to get me home to you, see."

One repeated motif contrasts light and dark. On "Lights of Home," Bono tells us, "I can see the lights in front of me/I believe my best days are ahead." He also says that the home that he's really singing about here is, it would seem, his wife: "In your eyes alone/I see the lights of home." "The Blackout" and "13 (There Is a Light)" likewise deal with finding light in the darkness.

"You're the Best Thing About Me" ponders why we sometimes flee from those who love us most. Bono also recognizes that our most important relationships can sometimes be the most fragile ones, too ("The best things are easy to destroy"). Similarly, the melancholy "The Little Things that Give You Away" ponders the quiet grief of a relationship that's ending: "When the painted glass shatters/And you're the only thing that matters/But I can't see you through the tears."

"Get Out of Your Own Way" (one of two tracks featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar) counsels independence and determination: "Nothing's stopping you except what's inside/I can help you, but it's your fight." That song also layers images of slavery, freedom, Lincoln and the Old Testament when the band sings, "The slaves are lookin' for someone to lead them/The master's lookin' for someone to need him/The Promised Land is there for those who need it most/And Lincoln's ghost said/Get out of your own way." Speaking of Scripture, the end of that song offers a satirical take on the beatitudes, with Lamar skewering the rich, famous and influential, "Blessed are the arrogant/For there is the kingdom of their own company/Blessed are the superstars/For the magnificence in their light/We understand better our own insignificance."

"American Soul" delivers more such "beatitudes": "Blessed are the bullies/For one day they will have to stand up to themselves." This philosophically dense song compares America to a dream—"a dream the whole world owns." Bono says he's looking for "American soul." And even though he believes these days are grim, "we still gotta try." Later, we hear that this dream is "a call to action, not a fantasy," in which unity and compassion rule: "Let it be unity, let it be community/For refugees like you and me/A country to receive us." Bono then asks, "Will you be my sanctuary?" and somewhat cryptically adds, "Refu-Jesus"—perhaps prompting us (albeit in a way some might disagree with) to consider how Jesus would treat refugees. Elsewhere, this track also critique the human cost of war: "Too many mothers weeping."

"Summer of Love," while seemingly referencing that season of American cultural upheaval in 1967, is actually about Syrian refugees fleeing their home in search of a safe place. There's mention of "the rubble of Aleppo," and suffering refugees fleeing their homeland ("We're freezing/We're leaving/Believing/That all we need is to head over somewhere/ … So we run"). "Red Flag Day" also addresses that difficult subject matter, this time talking about refugees getting in boats in search of freedom, even though not everyone will make it out alive ("So many lost in the sea last night").

In classic U2 style, "The Showman (Little More Better)" playfully mocks narcissistic artists: "The showman gives you a front row to his heart/The showman prays his heartache will chart." Bono also hints how the paradoxical gap between art and real life is closed when we sing together: "I lie for a living/But you make it true when you sing along."

Objectionable Content

"Lights of Home" puts a reference to Jesus in proximity with a profanity in the next line: "Oh, Jesus, if I'm still your friend," Bono asks, "What the h---/What the h--- you got for me?"

Some could hear a curious reference to being "born again" as suggesting that a metaphorical (and perhaps spiritual) rebirth is a matter of own effort: "One more push, and I'll be born again." And lines in "Get Out of Your Own Way" could be heard as inciting violence amid our current cultural struggles: "Fight back/Don't take it lyin' down, you got to bite back/The face of liberty's starting to crack."

Finally, a stray lyric on "The Showman (Little More Better") could be a reference to being drunk or high: "When I am all lit up, I can't make a mistake."

Summary Advisory

In the Introduction, I talked about how U2 manages the tough task of holding opposites in tension. Bono—like so many entertainers these days—delivers some sharp, political criticisms of America.

Unlike so many other celebrities who feel compelled to critique the current state of things, however, U2 clings to a bigger perspective. The proceedings rarely devolve into a cynical, sarcastic, mean-spirited screed. Yes, in some ways the band looks out across America and finds reason for deep concern, for anger, for grievance. But Bono mostly calls us to a bigger vision of what we can be, to be better versions of ourselves. Hope is all over this album, despite its more pointed moments.

Sonically, Songs of Experience is unmistakably U2: Bono's raspy, tired, riveting voice is as instantly recognizable as Edge's jangling, echoing guitars. Personally, I didn't find the songs here as engaging, musically speaking, as some of the band's previous efforts. That said, the lyrics on offer here are as incisive, poetic and beautiful as ever as U2 insistently calls us to be people of light amid encroaching darkness.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range









On track for a top five debut.

Record Label





December 1, 2017

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!