I "heart" No line on the horizon - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:36 AM   #1
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I "heart" No line on the horizon



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"No Line on the Horizon" was first developed the recording sessions in Fez, Morocco, and was recorded in one take. "No Line on the Horizon" stemmed from drummer Larry Mullen Jr. experimenting with several different drum beats; producer and co-writer Brian Eno sampled and manipulated the patterns, and the rest of the band began to play over it. The guitar in "No Line on the Horizon" was developed through a Death by Audio distortion box; the idea to use it was suggested to guitarist The Edge by Ben Curtis of the Secret Machines. After hearing the song Curtis noted that it "blew my mind... he's using that pedal in a textural way that it wasn't intended to be used at all."
Lead singer Bono was inspired to write the lyrics after seeing a photograph of Lake Constance titled Boden Sea; the image had taken by Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. Bono had the idea of a place "where the sea meets the sky and you can't tell the difference between the two". When it came to recording the song, producer and co-writer Daniel Lanois stated that "the vocal happened very early on, that whole - a-whoawhoawhoawhoa! - that little hook. The vocal delivery, the vibe was there right from day one." Bono noted that the overlying theme behind the song was infinity, and that the track was inherently optimistic. The Boden Sea image would later become the album's cover art.

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"Magnificent" originated from the band's improvised recording sessions with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois in Fez, Morocco in June 2007. The track was created out of a series of chord changes in the midst of a jam. The Edge noted that "The basic chord progression had a power that got everyone inspired. I think we all knew that it was inherently joyful, which is rare." A group of Moroccan percussionists played along with the band, and the result quickly became a band favorite during the sessions.
Bono noted that the lyrics were influenced by both Cole Porter and Bach, and that the song is about "two lovers holding on to each other and trying to turn their life into worship." Lanois described the song's origins: "We wanted to have something euphoric and Bono came up with that little melody. And he loved that melody, and stuck with it. Almost like a fanfare. And then I was involved in the lyrical process on that, because we wanted to talk about sacrifice that one makes for one's medium or one's art. I thought it had for a setting New York in the 50s; looking out a small bedroom window. Maybe a Charlie Parker kind of figure."

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"Moment of Surrender" was developed during recording sessions in Fez, Morocco within a few hours, and it was recorded by U2 and producers/co-writers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois in a single take. Eno began by creating a percussion loop of a "rolling hand drum" so that the band would have something to improvise along with when they joined him for songwriting and recording. However, Eno had not arranged the loop properly and the result was a strange, uneven beat that he compared to "a wheeled carriage that had one of the wheels a bit cracked" or "the way a camel moves". Although Eno was trying to fix the loop, drummer Larry Mullen Jr. began playing along to it; the loop would remain as-is in the song's introduction. Eno then asked guitarist The Edge to play some chords. After a quick discussion about the chord changes and the meter (in which they decided to have a "funny layout" that was not based on "eighths or sixteenths"), the six of them improvised the entirety of the piece.
Bassist Adam Clayton developed a bass part as they began to play. Vocalist Bono created some melodies and sang over the music. During the album's recording, Bono had become tired of writing in the first-person and he began writing lyrics and singing from the perspective of different characters. For "Moment of Surrender", Bono took on the character of a drug addict having a crisis of faith. Eno called Bono's singing in this character as "so heartbreaking agonized and vulnerable", creating a feeling like "a knife to the heart". Lanois contributed by developing the gospel-like chorus. The uneven hi-hat from the drum part stems from Mullen's electronic drum kit malfunctioning during the song's recording. Eno was amazed by each performer's ability to develop and play their part without any instructions or cues. After the song's recording completed, everyone in the studio, including a gathering of production personnel and visitors, was completely silent, and Eno suggested it was as if they gone on an "emotional adventure of some kind". He called the song's recording "the most amazing studio experience I've ever had", and he believes the "emotional crescendo" heard in the song properly captures how they felt as they improvised the piece. Bono stated "it was a spell and we were in it".
The song was played only once and received minor treatments afterwards, with the addition of a cello part in the introduction and some editing, which included removing a verse or two to reduce the song's length. Eno was adamant that the band not alter the original track too much, saying, "These fucking guys, they're supposed to be so spiritual -- they don't spot a miracle when it hits them in the face. Nothing like that ever happened to me in the studio in my whole life." The band's original concept for No Line on the Horizon was to create an album of future hymns; "Moment of Surrender" is the closest the band came to reaching that concept, according to Eno and Lanois.

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The No Line on the Horizon sessions began with two weeks of recording in Fez, Morocco. Recording took place in rented the courtyard of a hotel Riad, which the band turned into a makeshift recording studio. "Unknown Caller" was recorded in a single take in this time, along with the songs "No Line on the Horizon", "Moment of Surrender", and "White as Snow". A few iterations of the track had previously been developed, but the "definitive version was only ever played once." Guitarist The Edge noted that they "were songs that pretty much came together in the space of a couple of hours, and therefore probably were played in the final incarnation maybe once or twice." Co-writer and producer Daniel Lanois noted that the song "pretty much had its personality intact from day one." The open-air Riad allowed the band to hear the overhead birdsong during their sessions; this was taped and included in the introduction of the song.
In an interview with The Guardian, lead singer Bono stated that he became tired of writing in the first-person, noting that "I'd just worn myself out as a subject matter"; as a result he created several characters, including a traffic cop, a drug addict, and a soldier serving in Afghanistan. The drug addict character appears in "Unknown Caller", as well as in "Moment of Surrender", when the character is having a crisis of faith and is suicidal. In an altered state, the character attempts to use his phone to buy drugs, when he begins receiving cryptic text messages with technology-inspired directions. Mojo noted that the drug addict was "not unusual in this record in being lost, spiritually broken." Some of the lyrics reference Jeremiah 33:3.

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The band collaborated with will.i.am in the creation of the track. It was first developed by Brian Eno under the title "Diorama" during a break in the recording sessions. The band reworked the track under the new title of "Crazy Tonight" before retitling it again as "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight". Several of the song's lyrics were influenced by Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Bono stated to Q magazine that the lyrics "[sound] like a T-shirt slogan to me", also noting that it was No Line on the Horizon's equivalent to "Beautiful Day".

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Originally known as "Four Letter Word" and later as "Sexy Boots", "Get on Your Boots" originated as a demo that guitarist The Edge recorded at his home with the software GarageBand. The song went through many iterations, and at one point the main guitar riff was dropped, leading producer Steve Lillywhite to describe it as "a Beck B side" that could have been cut from the album. Throughout the documentary It Might Get Loud, The Edge is shown working on the song's guitar riffs, while experimenting with their sounds and effects.
"Get on Your Boots" was one of several songs recorded by a fan outside of Bono's house during the No Line on the Horizon sessions. The clip was subsequently uploaded to YouTube, but removed at the request of Universal Music.
Thematically, the song is about Bono taking his family on vacation to France and witnessing warplanes flying overhead at the start of the Iraq War; some of the lyrics are from the perspective of a man writing a letter to his first love as he relates witnesses the same event. The "let me in the sound" chant was developed comparatively late in the recording sessions. It was used in several other parts of the album, including the opening section of "Fez – Being Born". "Get on Your Boots" was one of three songs that the band were considering to open the album with, along with "Fez – Being Born" and "No Line on the Horizon". "No Line on the Horizon" was eventually chosen.

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"Stand Up Comedy" went through several different iterations throughout the No Line on the Horizon sessions. It was originally developed during the first two weeks of recording in Fez, Morocco. In its original concept, the track contained mandolins playing in a Middle Eastern beat. The riff was altered and the lyric "for your love" was introduced as a chant in the chorus. However the band felt that the new guitar part was too similar to that of The Kinks song "You Really Got Me", and the lyrics too reminiscent of The Yardbirds song of the same name, so this version was discarded. U2 redeveloped the song with a new riff, melody, and lyrics, with only the "for your love" vocal remaining. Guitarist The Edge's collaboration with Jimmy Page and Jack White on the 2009 film It Might Get Loud resulted in their influence being felt in the new guitar part. The Edge felt the guitar riffs were one of his best. The band continued struggling to finalize the song during the final recording sessions in December 2008, 16 months after it was first developed in Fez. The lyrics were rewritten again during this time. At this point the song had been renamed several times, with various album pre-release interviews calling it "For Your Love" and "Stand Up".
Producer and co-writer Daniel Lanois noted the track had been recreated so many times that six different songs had been written as a result. He likened "Stand Up Comedy"'s creation to the popular YouTube video Evolution of Dance, noting that it had been rewritten so many times that it was "a study in itself". Producer and co-writer Brian Eno felt that the band had taken the song and "work[ed] it into the ground, then work[ed] it back to life again," noting that it was a "frustrating" process. U2 believed that the completed result at the end of the recording sessions was "a great song", but they also felt that the end result would seem too "crafted" to listeners. An older mix was ultimately chosen for inclusion on the album instead.
The lyrics of "Stand Up Comedy" were inspired by the Stand Up and Take Action campaign, an event in 2008 where 116 million people from 131 countries reminded the leaders of countries of their promise to reduce poverty by 2015. Bono noted that the theme is "not a 'let's hold hands and the world is a better place sort of song.' It's more kick down the door of your own hypocrisy." Several of the song's lyrics stem from Bono mocking his sense of hubris and his fear that his activism and campaigning will go too far, making him unable to measure up to his ideals. Time noted that the song was "explicitly told through Bono's rose-colored specs." The lyrics "Stand up to rock stars" and "Beware of small men with big ideas" reflect this inner doubt; Bono believed that the latter line was the funniest on the album.

Quote:
"Fez – Being Born" was first developed in the No Line on the Horizon recording sessions with producer Rick Rubin in 2006. The symphonic guitar sound from the experimental "Fez" piece, the opening minute of the song, was created by guitarist The Edge during the recording of "The Saints Are Coming" with Green Day. When the band decided to work with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, most of the material from the Rick Rubin sessions was shelved. Lanois found the part and edited it into a tempo, adding in one of the beats developed by Eno before playing it for the band. After hearing the piece, Bono noted that "it was almost something coming to life. Like a flower opening or coming into the world."
Another song, "Being Born", was being worked on concurrently. The guitar in this was developed through a Death by Audio distortion box; the idea to use it was suggested to The Edge by Ben Curtis of the Secret Machines. Lanois suspected that the slow-tempo "Fez" would work well alongside the more energetic "Being Born". He edited "Being Born" so that it would be in the same key as "Fez" and placed the two together, creating the one song. At this time it was provisionally titled "Chromium Chords", and it was later renamed "Tripoli" before the band changed the name again to "Fez – Being Born". The "let me in the sound" chant from the song "Get on Your Boots" was edited into the "Fez" section at a low volume, serving as the song's opening lyric. By June 2008, the song was almost finished.
"Fez – Being Born" was originally planned to open the album, but the band eventually decided that the higher-energy "No Line on the Horizon" was a better selection.

Quote:
In an interview with The Guardian, Bono revealed that he became tired of writing in the first-person, noting that "I'd just worn myself out as a subject matter"; as a result he created several characters, including a traffic cop, a drug addict, and a soldier serving in Afghanistan. The soldier's character appears in "White as Snow", which focuses on the soldier's last thoughts as he dies from the wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Bono came up with the idea after reading Pincher Martin, written by William Golding.
U2 were asked by Jim Sheridan to write a song for his 2009 war film Brothers. Bono noted that Sheridan wanted a "complex song for a complex character" and so the band wrote two songs: "Winter" and "White as Snow". While "Winter" is a "more universal song about the experience of the armed forces in Afghanistan", "White as Snow" focuses more on the relationship between the Cahill brothers. The band preferred "Winter" for the film, but as they also wanted to include the track on No Line on the Horizon they struggled to complete it in time for the film's planned release date. "White as Snow" was selected to be used in its place, though the push back of the film's release date meant that the band could finish "Winter" and it was ultimately used instead.
The melody of "White as Snow" is based on that of the traditional Advent hymn "Veni, veni Emmanuel". Stemming from a conversation on hymns with Bono, producer Daniel Lanois began to study the subject with Newfoundland musician Lori Anna Reid and asked her for some suggestions of hymns U2 could play. Reid came up with several suggestions, one of which was "Veni, veni Emmanuel"; Lanois recorded a piano rendition of the hymn for the band and laid down a vocal arrangement, noting "Bono had this "white as snow" idea. It just slowly came together." Lanois later stated that it was "no accident Reid's suggestion made the album."
The song was recorded in one take during two weeks of recording sessions in Fez, Morocco in 2007, though it received some minor editing in the final sessions in December 2008. At this time, it was taken out of the 'Maybe' pile to balance out the rockier tunes present earlier on, with Adam Clayton noting that "it gave the listener a break." The original plan was for the track to start with an explosion, though this was later scrapped. Richard Watkins played the French horn in the song. Bono noted that, with the exception of "White as Snow", the band had tried to keep the theme of war out of the album.

Quote:
The song was initially developed by The Edge, with co-writer and producer Daniel Lanois noting "he had that pretty intact without our involvement." Several of the guitar riffs were influenced by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Jack White of The White Stripes, who The Edge collaborated with in the 2009 film It Might Get Loud. The band worked on one version of the song with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois for a long time before the band scrapped and recreated it. After rewriting the song, U2 asked Steve Lillywhite to mix it. Eno estimated that the song was remixed 80 times during the album sessions. Two sets of lyrics were worked on during the song's many various incarnations. The first version was about Nelson Mandela, and the second was "more surreal and personal". The band eventually decided on using the latter for the song.
"Breathe" was one of five songs, along with "Magnificent", "Get on Your Boots", "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight", and "Unknown Caller" recorded by a fan outside of Bono's house during the No Line on the Horizon sessions. The clips were subsequently uploaded to YouTube, but removed at the request of Universal Music.
Lyrically, "Breathe" is set on 16 June, an intentional reference to James Joyce's novel Ulysses. When writing the lyrics, Bono wanted the song to "become more intimate... I want to get away from subject and subject matter into pure exchange. Not even conversation. Often, it's just like grunts or outbursts." He noted that on "Breathe" the listener is "right there in the middle of this outburst." During the No Line on the Horizon sessions, he developed several characters to tell the song's stories for him. The narrator within "Breathe" is one of the few of these characters who ultimately finds redemption.

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"Cedars of Lebanon", written from the perspective of a journalist covering a war overseas, was created in a similar manner to "Fez – Being Born". The song's melody was based on a sample of "Against the Sky", a track Eno and Lanois had collaborated on with Harold Budd for the 1984 album The Pearl, with the band noting that the ambience of the song was "like a direct throwback to the early 80s". The final verse is, in part, a condemnation of the Iraq War.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:17 AM   #2
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win
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:23 AM   #3
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I "heart" No Line On The Horizon
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:39 AM   #4
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The last post of that thread.
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Old 01-24-2010, 03:20 AM   #5
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Also, well done including that last track. Well done! :respects:
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:13 AM   #6
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I agree

I NLOTH
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:15 AM   #7
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NLOTH is incredible.
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:19 AM   #8
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:37 AM   #9
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In my top Three
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:58 AM   #10
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wonderful, wonderful, wonderful album!
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:14 AM   #11
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:14 AM   #12
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NLOH
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:34 AM   #13
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wonderful, wonderful, wonderful album!
But do you it? Because I'm pretty sure this thread is only for people who it.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:14 AM   #14
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And the description of the song NLOTH is further proof of how great the band's work is when they do it quickly. Odds are if you have a truly great idea/concept, you know it instantly.

If you're unsure and have to play with it and tweak for weeks on end, odds are you're forcing something that isn't quite there.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:31 AM   #15
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Waynetravis... I love the avatar

I'm sooooo pissed about Conan
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:59 AM   #16
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:59 PM   #17
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I it too! Very much. It's my favorite U2 album now.
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:21 PM   #18
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Love it, love it, love it, love it, love it!!!
Specially because it was my first album release as an actual fan
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:31 PM   #19
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Great album.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:16 PM   #20
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I'll add mine Sometimes I just leave it in my car for days and let it repeat. Still not tired of any of it.
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