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Old 02-10-2009, 02:18 PM   #1
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NLOTH Album Reviews Pt 3

Pretty self explanatory

U2 Swiss Home - No Line On The Horizon

This week, I had the privilege to hear the new U2 album. I got to listen to the full album once, and to the designated singles a second time.
If I had to describe this album in one word, I would say it’s dense. There is a lot going on and it’s definitely the kind of record one has to hear at least a dozen times to fully understand, if not more.
Generally, I liked what I heard very much. There are some great, classic U2 songs (Magnificent, Breathe, Unknown Caller). And there are songs that break new sonic territory for U2 (Being Born, White As Snow), although less electronic than I expected. Many songs, especially during intros, have heavy electronic elements, but there is no Lemon or Mofo on the record. However, the odd cello, trumpet, organ or french horn is thrown in! The overall feeling is much more atmospheric than the last couple of records, with some songs - or at least some passages - heavily leaning towards The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby style-wise, with some hints towards the early albums, although none of the new songs sounds like they could actually fit on one of U2’s past records. To give you an idea, some old songs that came to mind while I heard the new record were Lady With The Spinning Head, So Cruel, Pride, Beautiful Day, In A Little While, Bass Trap, Love And Peace Or Else, Bullet The Blue Sky, Ultra Violet and Acrobat. And Passengers! There are some very dark passages on this album, some interesting and unusual chord sequences, and possibly more minor chords than on any other U2 album. "Delicate" is another word that pops up a few times in my notes, meaning an overall feeling of some songs reminiscent of, say, Velvet Dress. There are many layers in the production, especially in the beats, which are frequently mid-tempo and syncopated. The rhythm section has some great moments, with some very smooth and dynamic bass playing (Moment Of Surrender!). The Edge is definitely on fire on this one - there are so many signature Edge guitar parts, too much to take on one listen, and right now I can’t reasonably remember a single one. Bono’s voice sounds very good, the best since Pop. He plays with it a lot - sometimes maybe too much? No fade outs if I remember correctly. Overall, this is probably one of U2’s more interesting albums, very ambitious, and its great strength will probably be that it works as a whole, unlike the last two efforts. The quality of the songs remains on an equally high level throughout the album, the real gems possibly even in the second half.

Here some random, track-by-track bits taken from my notes. The further into the album, the fewer notes i took - probably a good sign as I really go lost in the music...

1. No Line On The Horizon The title track starts with a low synth intro, which then turns into a wall of sound with shouting vocals. In contrast, the chorus is very atmospheric. There are some high processed guitar sounds going on towards the end, reminiscent of Beautiful Day just before the middle part. There were apperently two versions of this song recorded, a heavy distorted one, and a more atmospheric version. It’s difficult to say which one this is, as it kind of fits both descriptions (maybe it’s a mix?).
2. Magnificent After a short eletronic intro, is U2 in full stadium rock mode. Pretty uptempo. Stomping beat and fast snare drumming, similar to Where The Streets Have No Name. This will be the 3rd single.
3. Moment Of Surrender This song has Brian Eno written all over it, from the intro to the chorus (think A Different Kind Of Blue, but a little more melodic). Some fine bass playing by Adam. Rhythm is similar to "So Cruel" and builds up massively over the whole song (7 minutes?).
4. Unknown Caller The most Lanois-esque song. This song was recorded in Fez (it’s the one with everyone singing together in Lanois’ documentary). A lot of tom-tom drumming. Overall feeling reminds me of The Joshua Tree. The middle 8 goes off somewhere else, with an organ (hello Arcade Fire?) and french horns, leading to a nice guitar solo.
5. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight Classic U2. Mid tempo. This will be the 2nd single
6. Get On Your Boots This song fits perfectly here. The most uptempo track.
7. Stand Up Comedy Very 70s rock, kind of an extension of Bullet The Blue Sky (verse of Popmart version!) and Love And Peace Or Else. Uptempo.
8. Fez / Being Born Two separate songs. Fez is a short, experimental, mostly electronic instrumental Eno tune. Being Born is more uptempo, but has the slowest singing ever by Bono. Can’t remember much more, but I absolutely loved this experimental track.
9. White As Snow Short piano intro, but the rest of the song is based on an acoustic guitar. A very delicate downtempo tune.
10. Breathe This is a 3/4 or 6/8 rhythm, similar to Acrobat. A big stadium rocker. Some very fast singing by Bono, not as fast as The End Of The World As We Know It by R.E.M., but going there (is this to make up for Being Born?). Mid/uptempo. Big guitar solo.
11. Cedars Of Lebanon Midtempo, very delicate and atmospheric arrangement. Bono in narrating mode (voice similar to One Step Closer). Ends quite abruptly.

For those who have heard the 2008 beach clips, #1 is Unknown Caller, #2 is Breathe, #3 is GOYB, #4 is Magnificent, and #5 is Crazy Tonight, although a quite different version. None of the 2006 beach clips are included on the new album.

WaltDisney’s review

No Line - best opener since Zoo. The chorus is really a hushed version of the verse until the last 30 seconds when the song erupts into a punk rock death chant. Sonically brilliant, like an Eno junkyard full of space age trinkets. Fast, yet slow, yet fast. Ending sounds like of all bands, pixies, yes, pixies, madness.
Magnificent - more familiar territory here with some brilliant oh oh's that sound like a choir of Bonos and Edges, very lemon in parts but easier to swallow. Huge lush ending that will bring stadiums of peole to tears. Will be big big single. Anthem etc
Moment of surrender - softer moment after the hugenrss of the first two songs. Not as sonic but has a weird vibe. Will require further listening but sounds promising.
Unknown caller - Bono at his existensial best. Best lyrics since the fly and a guitar break that had every hair on my body stand on edge. You can really hear Eno at work here, sounds like it was written in space. Glorious madness, and an ending that sounds like Bono as a wolf, yelping his way to the end of the world. Drool.
Crazy - sounds a bit weak next to UC but a glorious I songs. Reminds me of something from the brill building days in the golden age of pop. Great lyrics, will be a huge single. Happiest song since BD
Boots - weakest track, why first single?
Stand Up - huge, huge and not in a contrived way. Sounds like a war march and then flips it all upside down in the chorus. Bono in self deprecating mode, I'm not a lover or a fighter, failed at both he sings over the biggest edge riff ever. Pure anarchy.
Fez - a nice break. A definite ZooTv feel to it, sounds harrowing and claustrophobic on parts but then spreads it wings like a sonic eagle. 2 songs in one, will tale a few listens but ends lime a funeral march, very gloomy.
White - another eerie moment when the guitars seem to melt into orchestrations only to burst out again. Bono sounds creepy on places, come get me ghosts he sings (I think) over a johnny cash like aocalyptoc ballad. Very depressing second half so far. Bono sounds like a character, like macphisto on his death bed. Very surreal, gosh, this is cool.
Breathe - save the best til last. One of the most uplifting choruses I can remember. Breaks the recent gloom in a profound way. Just a testament to how cohesive this album feels, like a musical journey, ha! I'm serious though.
Lebanon - back to the darkness with glimpses of light. Like the end of the horizon is just another beginning. So many profound lines, where did this Bonp go?

So after 1 listen, I couldn't be more excited to own this darn thing. Quote a gloomy album but sums u the times beautifully...

Perfectly Cromulent - First Impressions of the New U2 Album, No Line On The Horizon

First Impressions of the New U2 Album, No Line On The Horizon

As we enter the DEFCON 1 environs of Universal Music (not really, just hand over your mobile please. And your soul), I can only think that teenage me would really be freaking out right now to be hearing an advance copy of a new U2 album a full month before it becomes ubiquitous out in the world (maybe sooner, if a copyfight happy employee decides to leak it. C’maaaaaan, chumpy!)
Adult me is also pretty excited.
Focus! We were only permitted to hear it through once, and the sheer joy I felt afterwards over it not being searingly terrible has forced a lot of critical faculties out of my brain. Still, I would characterise No Line On The Horizon overall as falling firmly near the Achtung Baby/Zooropa/Pop triumvirate (OF AWESOME) with a sprinkling of Boy (also, excellent) and very far from the All That You Can’t Dismantle You Leave Atomic Bombs Behind, or whatever they were called twinset (OF TERRIBLE), with only a few nods to the later 80’s with a lot of OH OH OH OHHHs that surely this band can take a patent out on now.
In due time I will collect my thoughts for a real review closer to the release date, for now I’ll just transcribe my notes:

No Line On The Horizon
U2 have been listening to Kings of Leon. Dirty big Fly-like riff tears out of speakers, masses of percussion upfront in the mix. First of several Boyesque choruses, Oh-oh-oh-oooooh! This song is incredibly loud. Phwoar, good start.
U2 have been listening to the Killers. Oh wait, only a bit. Stomps along at maybe U2’s quickest ever clip, (they’re aren’t really for fast ones though, are they?) a neat 4/4 disco rock beat. THIS is the guitar album they have been banging on about for a decade. Huge riff. Some Real Thingish slide guitar choruses. Is this one of Bono’s God songs? Could definitely be about a woman (very good at that trope now, Bono.) “Only love can leave such a scar.” This is incredibly aptly titled, clever U2. Stadium ready “You and I will make a fire!” This will be a single.
Moment of Surrender
A downtempo, Eno-heavy gospel thing, a soul ballad built on a heavy bass figure and prominent, processed drums. Ok, so everything is on fire (“We’ll set ourselves on fire.”) Right, U2 own this Ohoh oh ooh OOHHHH thing, I got it. “I’ve been down every dark road”, I love it when Bono gets existential, this is my favourite Bono mode. Then he’s on his knees in a revery in the street, “I did not notice them, they did not notice me” perhaps the only time Bono has vocalised a desire for anonymity. “ATM machine”. Well, we all call them that.
Unknown Caller
Birds?? A Morroccan drone. Guitar figure sounds a lot like… Walk On? (AGAST I AM. Still sounds pretty great.) Is this about someone getting mugged? Some kind of tech nightmare, “you know your password, key it in.” Something about making it out alive. “3:33 in the morning and the numbers dropped off the clockface” (here I have double underlined, LOVE THIS. I am glad Bono uses concrete imagery.) Urgent sounding church organ, a horn section (whoa.) First-ever instance of double tracked lead vocals. Double the Bono! (Again I have underlined LOVE THIS.) “Escape yourself and gravity.”
(I am trying very hard to not stare too long or obviously at the photos in the press pack, which is hard because U2 look very handsome in them, especially Adam “Silverfox” Clayton. Edge looks in one like he might punch the photographer. Edge is very good looking. Bono, it is Edge who has a beard. And for God’s sake GET SOME NEW GLASSES. Or a new stylist. Or are you dressing yourself? Stop doing that. I am thinking of starting you a PayPal account.)
I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
Awesome in spite of immensely stupid title. Bono hits crazy high notes in chorus (see what he did there?) Is this song addressed to anyone in particular? A party girl who longs for a quiet life, but we want her to perform, part of us wants her to go crazy! She’s a rainbow! Leave her alone. A Beatlesque guitar figure, building a very sweet, pop melody and into a rousing “Baby, baby, baby” chorus (love when Bono says ‘baby’ without being ironic.) Will absolutely kill live, “I think I’ll go crazy if I don’t go crazy tonight!” Stomping again. Good good.
Get On Your Boots
Here’s the Elvis Costello song. This is so damn catchy. The tried and tested U2 trick of a lead single not really indicative of the rest of the album. Still love that glam rock riff.
Stand Up Comedy
Dreading this, the worst of the superbad titles. Then, huge Led Zepplin riff, into Stone Roses groove. Most Achtung-like track, big celebratory rock song, amazingly good. We’re at a peace rally. “Stand up for your love!” A big crunchy bass line and McCartney-infused melodies. “Stand up to rock stars!” A pattern emerges: the worse the title, the better the song.
FEZ-Being Born
Sounds like a crowded marketplace, phones are ringing. Recycles ‘Boots’ “let me in the sound!”, underwater. Eno all over. Flat out, exceedingly weird. EXCELLENT (double underlined.) Blips and noise, Passengers return. OK! New song. A militaristic shuffle propels uptempo rock. No discernible hook but instead weaves a sound, layers of keyboard and chiming notes. Many voiced chorus. ENO (circled, underlined.) Totally out there.
White as Snow
Piano playing a lullaby. Spare, Johnny Cash guitar. This is what the Wanderer might have been like had he recorded it. Intro sounds like the Necks. I deeply love this. Bono does Nick Cave. A murder ballad, “my brother and I would drive for hours.” “The water was icy, the road refuses strangers.” “They were hunting in the woods.” Hypnotically slow narration. I can see this rapidly becoming one of my favourite ever U2 songs. Like nothing they’ve ever done. Please make a bare-bones country album one day.
Wacky time signature, 16/9? Band and Bono come crashing in, Bono is trying to out-Dylan Dylan with free-form rapid fire choruses (“A cockatoo!” WHAT.) Time straightens out into massively catchy 3/4 chorus (“Walk out, into the street/ See your heart, see my heart out”). Huge guitar line, Achtung Baby x Joshua Tree. Strings and piano join, Bono reaching his upper register in an unabashedly uplifting chorus up there with U2’s best melodies. I wish this would go forever. I can see Bono belting this with his face up to the sky and that beatific grin, as 60,000 people join in. Crazy if this isn’t a single.
Cedars of Lebanon
Bono is in deep-talking sexy mode, like Velvet Dress (actually this is my favourite Bono mode.) Bluesy keys and guitar build a very sombre mood, this album is ending on a heavy, downbeat note as the best U2 albums always have (even heavier than Wake Up Dead Man/Love is Blindness which are equally a little like being hit in the head with a shovel.) A war correspondent recalls a litany of shit and his now disjointed senses, but “the shitty world sometimes produces a rose” bringing small note of stubborn optimism. Bono neatly slays the entire profession of journalism: “the best of us are masters of compression.” Yikes. Definitively proves “crap title equals killer track” rule.


In conclusion:

I’m dying to hear this album again. And again many times over. Definitely U2’s most challenging record, with the band hitting previously unheard of straps. Bono especially sounds far better than he has over the last decade, or longer, and never sounds like he’s pushing to hit notes he can’t reach, instead totally flying.
In closing: Thankyou U2, for not sucking. I will not be ending our relationship on Facebook.

Track by track: how the new U2 album rates - Music - Entertainment -
I've had one listen to the new U2 album No Line On The Horizon.
It sounds adventurous and there are bits of very old U2 and bits of not so old U2, in league with sounds more common in Brooklyn at the moment than Dublin.
You can easily hear the influence of producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Definitely an improvement on How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Here is a hurried first response and don't hold me to the lyrical references.
Track one: No Line On The Horizon
Buzzy guitars and offkilter Enoesque noises vie for attention while Bono strains for effect as he reflects both the tension and the intensity of the song. The chorus (not a big one; more a devolving of the verse) retains the tension but puts it in a gentler setting. Bono seems to be singing to, or about, a girl, not for the last time on the album, but it's not easy to decipher.
Track two: Magnificent
More of those odd sounds behind treated guitars and synthesisers and the song opens in two or would now be called "classic U2", the familiar 80s quick marching rhythm and the Edge's exploratory guitar lines. The most traditional sounding song on the album has Bono declaring that "I was born to sing for you/I didn't have a choice" before confessing that "only love can leave such a mark".
Track three: Moment Of Surrender
A moodier track with irregular hand percussion (or a loop, or both) picking away at the edges of a bed of synthesisers and violin. The emotional tone is late '80s U2; the musical palette, with hints of electronica, is more early '90s. Before those richly layered Eno/Lanois-signature backing vocals arrived late in the piece Bono goes from enigmatic: "I tied myself with wire to let the horses run free/playing with fire till the fire plays with me" (I think) to matters closer to the heart: "it's not if I believe in love but if love believes in me".
Track four: Unknown Caller
Some really interesting ambient sounds in a late, late night setting more concerned with atmosphere than asserting itself. It's 3.33am "in a place of no consequence or company" and he's "speed dialling with no signal at all". The lyrics seem more impressionistic, disconnected and with a touch of David Bowie in the chanting underneath. And is that French horns at the end? Not usually heard on a U2 album.
Track five: I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
Mixed marriages don't always work, but should, seems to be the theme. "She's a rainbow and she likes the quite life/I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight." This is a straight out pop song with reverb guitars and Bono in high croon. It's also a U2 track they could do in their sleep, but no less attractive for that. The question is will it last as long as some of the others?
Track six: Get On Your Boots
The first single and perplexing some already. A mess of dirty guitars and urgent energy play through electronic bibs and bobs. You can hear Fly-era U2, with a little less edge, but here something niggling through earlier songs becomes clearer: they have been listening to Brooklyn's art rockers TV On For Radio. It makes some sense: TV On The Radio spent their youth listening to Eno and Bowie too.
Track seven: Stand Up Comedy
A strutting 70s guitar finds the Edge channelling his inner Marc Bolan while that Brooklyn fractured dance of rock feels returns (and then becomes almost pure Madchester ecstasy nightclub). The "song" runs out a little earlier than the groove does but it doesn't seem fatal at all.
Track eight: FEZ - Being Born
This seems to be two songs hooked together, one a collection of odd sounds and shapes, the other a pulsing rock number which becomes something else again when the sonic oddness returns prior to a drifting away ending.
Track nine: White As Snow
A ballad not just inspired by but evoking wide spaces and open skies. There are low rumbles and darting sounds, brass even. Could this be U2 aiming for Bruce Springsteen in his solo tales-of-the-desert mode?
Track 10: Breathe
This is pushier at immediately, coming with a bit of attitude. Did Bono really just say he is "not somebody's cockatoo"? He definitely says "I'm running down the road like loose electricity while the band in my head plays a striptease" and it's an apt description of this land of atmosphere and aggression.
Track 11: Cedars Of Lebanon
Lyrically and musically strongly reminiscent of a film noir narration (Bono as Walter Neff? Why not?), the central character is a man cut off from affection and life in general. Some really interesting harmonies - Eno at work again - and a closing set of lines worth pondering for implications. "Choose your enemies well for they will define you ... they are going to last with you longer than your friends".

Time Out Sydney
U2's new album reviewed
U2 return with a new album. Sadly, it's Brian Eno's.

By Andrew P Street

Disclaimer: This review is based on a single listen at the Universal Music offices rather than a week or so living with the album and being able to explore its nuances.
First impression is this: bully to U2 for trying. Here is a band that could plonk out any old bunch of songs secure in the knowledge that it would sell like sexy, sexy hot cakes regardless of quality. But no: after the longest break in their career, they've tried to incorporate some new sounds and textures into No Line on the Horizon, including Middle Eastern percussion and loads of squiggly keyboard sounds.
That said, they've also brought in their three most frequent producers – Steve Lillywhite, Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno – so any envelope-pushing is being done in very circumscribed areas. Eno is all over the album: damn near every song begins with some of his burbling mono synth action, which usually has a barely tangential connection with the song that follows. And for all that's new, there's no way that you'll mistake it for another band. The Edge has evidently found the bag of effects pedals he used circa The Unforgettable Fire and everything's covered in sustain and delay. Bono's still howling wordlessly away in most of the choruses. Larry Mullen, Jr pumps out his searingly competent drum work and Adam Clayton... well, he plays bass. As much as he usually does, anyway.
(Note for musical types: in fact, with everyone apparently so worried about the dangers of irresponsible drinking at the moment, why not use this opportunity to play the Adam Clayton Root Note Drinking Game? It's simple: take a shot every time that Adam plays anything that's more than two frets from the root note of the chord. You could play it with vodka filtered through absinthe and still be sober enough to pilot a commercial airliner.)
First impressions aside, let's get on with the tracks:
1. 'No Line on the Horizon'
A Bo Diddley beat heralds the beginning of Brian Eno's new album, featuring U2. In fact, the cluttered production and layers of keys sound not dissimilar to what Eno did with James circa Whiplash. And then they staple some ethnic percussion to the thing for no good reason.
(Clayton Root Note Drinking Game: No drink)
2. 'Magnificent'
Kind interpretation: this harkens back to Zooropa, especially in the electro introduction. Less-kind version: hey, it's REM's 'Orange Crush', as rewritten by short-lived 90s synth darlings Republica! It's here that Bono's lyrics come to the fore and you realise that he's followed Bruce Springsteen into the late-period creative cul-de-sac where he's incapable of speaking in anything other than clichés and meaningless waffle. "Only love can leave such a mark," he declares, leaving the listener to answer the question, "what the bloody hell is he on about?" for themselves.
(CRNDG: No drink)
3. 'Moment of Surrender'
After the Vangelis-via-Eno synth intro, Bono delivers a husky, passionate vocal for the album's first ballad, including what an early contender for Dumbest Line of 2009: "Playing with the fire, 'til the fire plays with you." The Edge pulls out a rudimentary slide guitar solo and then there's an oh-ah-oh wordless singalong that should be a hit at the half dozen shows where they try this one out before never playing it again.
(CRNDG: No drink)
4. 'Unknown Caller'
Eno has a good old fiddle until The Edge remembers what he did for 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' – which will make a sweet segue during the tour. There's some genuinely great tasteful fingerpicking here, but it's about this point you'll start thinking "Hold on, aren't U2 best known for their stick-in-your-head choruses? What happened? And how did the last song go?"
(CRNDG: Don't be fooled: that's some down-tuned Edge guitar you're hearing for the first third of the song, not bass. No drink for you)
5. 'I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight'
There are two ways that a song with this title should go. The first and most obvious is a Bon Jovi/Poison good time blues-rock party anthem, with a kick-ass guitar solo (preferably heralded with Jon Bon Jovi/Sebastian Bach screeching "Guitar!") and maybe some sweet harmonica in the coda. The other, less obvious but equally suitable way would be as a Bryan Adams/Aerosmith power ballad, which would also have a kick-ass guitar solo but would be less about partying and more about how crazy the love of a woman can drive a man, which would be a thinly-veiled sex metaphor. "I'm not perfect baby, as anyone can see," Adams/Steven Tyler would sing just before the chorus, "And though you drive me crazy, I'm still as crazy as a man can be." See? The song writes itself. The third option, which is the one that U2 went for, is to do an unmemorable mid-paced song with lyrics like "She's a rainbow, she loves the peaceful life" and a guitar riff lifted from Altered Images' 'I Could Be Happy'. My versions are so, so much better.
(CRNDG: No drink)
6. 'Get on Your Boots'
The first single, and oh, Escape Club – how wonderful you must be feeling at this moment! Ever since 'Wild, Wild West' vanished from the charts in 1988 you've been waiting for a sign that you were something more than just another one hit wonder, so hearing U2 re-write the song must warm the cockles of your heart. And Elvis Costello must be smiling too, humming 'Pump It Up' under his breath as he dials his lawyers and wonders what sort of settlement to demand.
(CRNDG: It's a repeated riff bassline, so take a few much-needed shots)
7. 'Stand Up Comedy'
Sorry, Red Hot Chili Peppers: just in case you were thinking of recording a version of The Stone Roses' career-ending 'Love Spreads', be advised that U2 have beaten you to the punch. Bono says something about the Twin Towers and falling down and standing up, and then drops the line "Cross the road like a little old lady". You'd think that a band of U2's status could extend a deadline so that their lead singer could write some lyrics, surely?
(CRNDG: Sure, take a drink. Who cares?)
8. 'FEZ - Being Born'
Starts off like incidental music from the last Prince of Persia video game, then snaps into a prog rock section while Bono sings about fire. Dammit, we should have started a drinking game based on references to fire. Too late now, I suppose.
(CRNDG: No drink)
9. 'White as Snow'
The absolute highlight without any doubt: a superb country lament. Bono makes a decent fist of it with Edge's down-tuned guitar the perfect accompaniment, but it would have been utterly perfect for the late Johnny Cash to wrap his weathered voice around (and would be one hell of a companion piece to the Cash/U2 collaboration 'The Wanderer'). Bono's nature references – seeds, earth, snow, fruit – make perfect sense in this context. See, Bono, you can do it when you try.
(CRNDG: No drink)
10. 'Breathe'
Frantically bowed strings hit harmonics over Mullen, Jr's thundering tom toms, before the rest of the band burst in at cross-rhythms and Bono starts up a scansion-free declamatory vocal like a third-rate Bob Dylan. Still, once it locks in the chorus it all makes sense. Either the album's picking up towards the end or I'm undergoing some sort of musical Stockholm Syndrome in which I fall in love with my captors as a coping mechanism. That said, Edge does pull out a three-note guitar solo that suggests he's never even seen a guitar before, and it's nice of Tears For Fears to let U2 use their keyboard sounds.
(CRNDG: Yeah, Edge and Adam lock on a riff. Have a quick one)
11. 'Cedars of Lebanon'
Yep, they close on a ballad – and it's about world suffering. "Squeeze a complicated life into a simple headline," Bono sighs, and we all agree. "Yes, Bono," we weep, as one. "Oh media, when will you learn?" Then we go to a different perspective, that of a displaced person in a warzone. "A soldier brings oranges," Bono sings, "he got out of a tank." And with that clanging line the magic is dispelled, like the unexpected slam of a toilet door. It's a nice idea, and the tune's a good one, but honestly: some sort of lyric editor would have been wise.
(CRNDG: There's a breakdown where Edge and Adam play a riff with slightly dodgy intonation. Have a deep, last drink)

New U2 album "No Line on the Horizon" confirms Bono's majesty | The Australian
ALL the talk of U2's first album in more than four years has been of new direction and bold innovation. That's partly true.
Certainly Get Your Boots On, the current single, pushes new buttons, for them at least, with the Edge's heavy metal guitar riff and Bono's semi-rap leaving it sitting oddly, but rewardingly, somewhere between Red Hot Chili Peppers and Elvis Costello.
Elsewhere, however, the bombast, the clever use of dynamics and the rhythm section's funk-fused rock groove are strikingly familiar.
The title track is perhaps the best example of these elements' collective power, with Bono milking a huge anthemic chorus. It has stadium written all over it.
Produced by seasoned U2 campaigners Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, with additional contributions from Steve Lilywhite, No Line On the Horizon sounds epic.
On Moment of Surrender and Unknown Caller church organ underpins a more soulful approach, although the latter song fails to deliver on its early promise.
A couple of others are U2 by numbers, such as FEZ - Being Born (that's one song) and Breathe. That track contains all of the album's recurring themes - love, hope, seizing the day, celebrating life.
Both White as Snow and Cedars of Lebanon adopt a more sombre tone, with the former providing an acoustic contrast to the electrical storms on either side.
As to what you'll be hearing constantly on the radio for the next six months or so, the slightly funky Stand Up Comedy, the Edge-heavy I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight and the vaguely Where the Streets Have No Name-sounding Magnificent are prime contenders.
The most striking development on this follow-up to How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is Bono's voice. Always commanding, even when being melodramatic, Bono pushes, kicks and screams himself into territory more soulful, more emotional and more rock god-like than he has been to before. Imagine how that's going to sound in a stadium.

No Line on the Horizon

U2 has returned to top form

Preview: Metro has listened to the group's new album coming out February 27th
After two more more conventional albums All that you Can not Leave Behind and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, Bono and his colleagues have recovered a taste for new experiences by recording No Line on the Horizon in Morocco, New York and London, with a trio of producers who knows them by heart: Brian Eno, Steve Lillywhite and Daniel Lanois. Like the first single, "Get on your boots, the result is comforting on the ability of the Irish heavyweight to explore new territories.
Darkness and melancholy
The opening song, which also gives its title to the album, features a distorted guitar riff, the most exciting since "Zoo Station" on the classic Achtung Baby. The urgency in Bono's Voice are happy evidences that the singer has lost none of his motivation more than thirty years after the creation of the group. The song that follows, "Magnificent" sounds thoroughly modern, full of appliances and arrangements punctuated by dark moods and melancholy found on several tracks, presumably those from the recording sessions in Morocco as "Fez - Being born "or" Unknown Caller ". Bono on the latter is aimed at the listener like a great rock shaman: "Restart and reboot yourself / You're free to go," sings the Dalai lama's friend. We are ready to follow him again!

The new U2 album: track by track - Music -

Thursday January 29 2009
The first U2 album since November 2004 received an exclusive first play in Dublin last night.
The Residence private members club on St Stephen's Green in Dublin hosted a playback of the eagerly awaited album.
It has been the longest gap between releases in the band's entire career.
Media and record company personnel gathered to hear 'No Line on the Horizon' in full in the club's luxurious surroundings. The quartet's 12th studio album will be released in Ireland on February 27, a full weekend before its worldwide release.
Sessions for the album were recorded in Fez, Morocco, before moving on to the band's Dublin studio on Hanover Quay, New York's Platinum Sound and Olympic Studios in London.
The album will be available in five different formats, including vinyl, standard CD, a deluxe box set and a special edition with a limited 64-page magazine.
The lead single 'Get On Your Boots' will be available both as a digital download and on physical formats from February 13. The download, CD and 7in vinyl will all be priced at 99 cent, a first for a single release in this country.
The accompanying video for 'Get On Your Boots' will receive its world premiere exclusively here on Irish Independent News in Ireland & Worldwide | Irish Newspaper | News Stories Online?-? tomorrow at 4.55pm.
1 'No Line on the Horizon'
The opening title track kicks off with a crunchy, distorted guitar riff from the Edge.
2 'Magnificent'
Dancey electro flourishes introduce an atmospheric track with moody leanings.
3 'Moment of Surrender'
This particular moment of surrender sees a slowing down of the tempo and some delicate, bluesy guitar playing from the Edge.
4 'Unknown Caller'
More intricate guitar fretwork that builds into a mid-tempo rocker featuring an organ and one of the album's lushest productions.
5 'I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight'
Chiming guitar intro, a rousing Bono falsetto and the lyric, "Every generation has a chance to change the world".
6 'Get On Your Boots'
The belting single that shot straight to the top of the Irish airplay charts here stands as the halfway tune. The video will be premiered tomorrow on Irish Independent News in Ireland & Worldwide | Irish Newspaper | News Stories Online?-? from 4.55pm.
7 'Stand Up Comedy'
Grungy pop with strident drumming from Larry Mullen.
8 'Fez -- Being Born'
On first listen, easily the album's most adventurous and challenging track with ambient synthy hooks.
9 'White as Snow'
A stark, stripped back and striking tune with imploring vocals.
10 'Breathe'
Starts off with a trip-hop beat and cello playing before transforming into an all-out rocker.
11 'Cedars of Lebanon'
A reflective parting glass for album number 12, finishing on the line, "Choose your enemies carefully because they will define you".

U2TOUR.DE - U2 News, Berichte, Photos, U2 Forum, Setlists, U2 Kalender

Björn had the opportunity under a Prelistening session for the first time the new U2 album 'No Line On The Horizon' to hear. The whole took place - as it belongs - in the legendary Hansa studios in Berlin. His first impressions are here to read - lots of fun!
To put it quite clearly anticipated to take: I have the songs of the new record belongs exactly two times, that's too little to a review of "New Line On The Horizon" to write, which of these highly complex plate only rudimentary needs. Hence sketch the following lines just my first impressions: it is explicitly not a definitive review and therefore neither the individual nor the whole song a rating plate.
I have the CD as part of an organized Universal Music Pre-listening to the legendary Hansa studios belongs. That alone is a clear statement. Finally, the Hansa studios the place where baby was respect. But - that I venture even after listening twice to say - this panel will meet this demand. This album is different, this record is a brave one - and this record is definitely The Edge "on fire".
The overview of the individual songs:
is a clear statement for the new direction, heavy guitars, a slow sectionin the middle, atmospheric and dense, a lot of different vocal parts
- Magnificient
Beach Clip 4, loud drumms, loops and riffs in the beginning, you can hear Bono singing "Magnificent" first (yes! it's also in bc4), very melodic, one of the best songs on the album, but also very close to "classic" U2. Many layers, very strong ending.
- Moment of Surrender
One of the slowest songs on the album, very strongly influenced by the Fez-sessions, strings, keyboards, sounds a little like Passengers, Bono sings with a scratchy voice first, than very melodic, many sound layers, Edge has an expressive, but slow guitar solo, the song has an oh oh oh chorus.
- Unknown Caller
Known as Beach Clip 1: Birds chirping, electronic noises, keyboards in the beginning, a mixture of classic and more "broken" sounds, sung with two voices (don't know if it means only Bono or Bono and Edge). Chorus: "Restart and reboot yourself" and: "I was lost between the midnight and the dawning". Edge has a very strong guitar solo, Bono singing over calm keyboard sounds. Lyrics: "Escape yourself and gravity"
-I'll go crazy if I don`t go crazy tonight
It's one of the shorter songs on the album, carried by Larry's strong drumming, but also interrupted by calm sequences. Resembles SYCMIOYO in some parts, the end is very similar to Ultraviolet. Political lyrics, Bono sings: "There's a part of me that wants to riot" and, later: "Every generation get's a chance to change the world". Would be a good second or third single.
- Get on your boots
First single, placed perfectly on the album, more light-hearted after all the dense and complex songs.
- Stand up comedy
Clearly influenced by Edge's sessions with Jack White and Jimmi Page. Sounds very 70s and would fit on the "Across the universe" soundtrack. Very rocking, catchy, Edge is "on fire", sounds like a single.
- Fez – being born
First you only hear a collage of electronic noises like phone ringing, a sample of GOYB, then, after about a minute, the song starts. Classic Edge guitar, keyboards, Bono singing very restlessly first, then more melodic. Fast beats. U2 sounding raw like during their very early years. In the middle the song sounds more synthetic and reminds the listener of Depeche Mode. Strong guitar and not so much singing.
- White as snow
Very calm song, short. Begins with atmospheric electronic sounds, then accoustic guitar, Bono sings like Johnny Cash, very intensive vocals. The song is about forgiving and about estranged brothers. Sounds a bit like Springhill Mining Disaster.
- Breathe
Beach Clip 2. Loud drums in the beginning, Bono's muffled singing, the chorus sounds like classic U2. Strings, but always broken by Edge's guitar. Intense and complex sound, a little bit like UTEOTW.
- Cedars of Lebanon
Dark song. Keyboards, minimalistic guitar parts, Bono talks more than he sings, is very dominant on the track. Strong bass line, sounds a bit like "Velvet Dress". Bono takes the perspective of a war correspondent in Lebanon. Edge sings the repeated part: "Return the call to home".

One of major newspapers here in Finland called Iltasanomat had track by track review of the album in today's printed version.
Article says...
- the album is going to take the band into new direction
- artful but catchy
- sounds and arrangments are experimental
- Edge's guitar is mixed front in many songs
- Moment of Surrender, Magnificent and White as Snow are going to be future classics
...about the songs...
No Line On The Horizon
- really rough sound, but not heavy like metal music
- sounds great from very first listen
- keeps up the energy level after NLOTH
- going to be 3rd single release from the album (!!??)
- perhaps the most important song on the album
- going to be great in concert
- slower than the first two songs but passion makes it up
- Bono's singing is great
- soundscape reminds UF era
Unknown Caller
- long intro
- Edge's playing is "bold"
Crazy Tonight
- fast song
Get On Your Boots
- one of the most challenging tracks on the album
Stand Up Comedy
- another fast song
- good guitar riff
- sounds are from AB-era
Fez - Being born
- African influences can be heard clearly on this one
White As Snow
- new 'One'?
- beautiful track
- pompous song that reaches in for many directions
Article doesn't mention anything about Cedars.

France invited by Universal, we were able to listen on Friday for the first time the new U2 album. First impressions ...
A small room, a few seats, mostly journalists, the stage is set. It leaves everything to entry, bag, laptops, coats, no question of allowing anyone to record what will be released. A notebook, a pencil, and the first notes of "No Line On The Horizon" which resound. And what footnotes!
It starts strong
The album opens with what will probably be the title U2 2009, No Line On The Horizon is a great rock song, heavy, unusually fast for U2, whose sounds and vocals are reminiscent in many respects to more titles rhythmic Kings Of Leon. The chorus, very short and very quiet, allows impressive change of pace typical of U2. This title will undoubtedly be a must on the tour, and could even see the opening song of any designated.
Magnificent continue the momentum "rock" of the previous title, with the help of electronic sounds that seem straight from all the Passengers. The intro to slowly take us back to a pace intense. The chorus is again a break with no real melody, a chorus plan based on the voice of Bono and a discreet presence of The Edge on guitar. The title alone represents the entire album: a mix of rock and planants moments, revealing sparingly multiple electronic sounds
It will be quiet ...
After two titles very rhythmic, U2 opens a triptych lighter. Moment Of Surrender is the designated ride any of the album. Every album the group is trying to find a successor worthy of the name to One and Stay, with varying degrees of success. This time may be good, Moment Of Surrender happens to provoke emotion, through the tortured vocals of Bono, and a beautiful vocal chorus. The Edge offers a remarkable solo air sound may remind some of Pink Floyd.
Unknown Caller begins with chirping birds. The time of the intro, it thinks in a garden beside a river and we Bono sussure "Sunshine, sunshine" in his ear. It's fresh. The rest of the title is a journey, combining a big guitar and a chorus almost spoken. " The end to The Edge allows us to fill a new and long guitar solos, to lead us slowly under the pop album: Crazy Tonight. Light, leading, and refreshing, this title takes the torch from Wild Honey but no other comparison as it is higher. Bono sings "Baby, baby" and takes us back to the days of Achtung Baby. The catchy chorus will easily in the mind.
... To spread
Get On Your Boots concludes pause "pop / walks and back where it began: the rock. Taking this as everyone knows now, and interested us following Stand Up Comedy, which is his natural brother. It is an extension clear: even typical guitar riff, even the heavy, even how to sing just "spoken" Bono. Throughout the song, it really become as a result of Get On Your Boots.
Fez - Being Born surprises. More than a title, it's almost two titles butt: Fez on one side (intro) and being born on the other. Plan, the intro seems straight out of the album Zooropa and contains sounds like "zapping radio, it surprised by the resumption of" Let me in the sound "Get On Your Boots. Following the song starts abruptly. Halfway between the ride and the rock under the title slip pleasantly, without any real structure.
Controlled landing
The album landed slowly. As Snow White and Breathe are two titles of classic U2. The first starts slowly as did The Ground Beneath Her Feet at the time. The guitar of The Edge is like a stroll written by a group of hard-rock. As a breath, it starts with an introduction by Larry Mullen messy, and leave quickly up to the inspiration of The Edge, whose guitar innonde the pieces, which still provides us a solo final.
Cedars Of Lebanon happens then, as the UFO of the album, just as were The Wanderer on Zooropa or Wake Up Dead Man on Pop. The title is built around Bono who speaks more than he sings, with music very slow tempo that closes an album perfectly exciting.
Exciting is the word that might best describe the album. Let us be clear, if you expect a classic U2 of the 2000s, you'll be disappointed. Same thing if you think back to U2 and resume 90 years after Achtung Baby. No "No Line On The Horizon" is unlike anything U2 has done so far. But that does not stop it from being simply enormous. This is an album dense, heavy, offering the bribes of a U2 rock that had perhaps never proposed, while retaining the key that is so specific. It is surprising to many times to hear sounds that remind us Zooropa and Passengers, but this disc is a new material, in many ways unique to the previous ones.

Get on Your Boots is a good overview, but not the top. And we like to tell you all at once: the first part of the album is a real slap!

U2 return to form with new album :

U2 return to form with new album

U2 are back.

Four years after their last album, How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, the Irish supergroup return with No Line On The Horizon, which will be released on February 28.
Musically, they're back with their most experimental, exciting work in a decade.
The first single, Get On Your Boots, had a mixed reception when it was released last month. But now the first reviews of the album have started to trickle in from around the world, and they're glowing.
The News of the World called No Line On The Horizon a cracking return to form, while The Glasgow Sunday Mail said it was U2's most complete album, ranking it with their classics Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree.
On Monday, media in Sydney gathered to hear all 11 songs on No Line on the Horizon, after surrendering mobile phones and recording devices.
The album opens with the title track, a raw groove that echoes The Edge's guitar playing on The Fly.
Magnificent lives up to its name, and is sure to be an instant U2 anthem, as Bono sings: "I was born to sing for you, I didn't have a choice."
The singer calls Moment Of Surrender the best song the band has ever written, and at seven minutes long it's an epic. It's also one of a number of songs in which The Edge's guitar playing shines.
On Stand Up Comedy, U2 get their swagger on with some big Led Zepplin-esque riffs, and there's a little Middle Eastern flavour on a couple of the tracks.
The band's longtime producing team of Brian Eno and Danny Lanois are back on board and Eno's influence can be heard particularly on FEZ - Being Born.
It's their most adventurous moment, and it's impossible to get its measure on one listen.
U2 strip it back on the striking White As Snow, while Cedars Of Lebanon is a reflective closer told from the perspective of a war correspondent.
The same old U2 themes of love, forgiveness, joy and beauty are evident on their 12th studio record, but the sentiments are less obvious and cheesy than they have been on recent albums.
The band hasn't delivered a straight forward rock album, but the boys haven't forgotten what they're good at.

Stepping out, with a touch of adventure - Music - Entertainment - Home

AS MUCH as can be discerned from one listen, U2 no longer feel the need to sound like "classic U2", the imperative which energised the 2000 album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, but stymied their last album, 2006's more ho-hum How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.
Producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois bring their characteristic touches to the backing vocals, the scurry of background sounds (this will be a great headphone experience) and the creation of atmosphere even in almost punkish rock songs. The oblique album cover in one sense represents this album's regular avoidance of the obvious.
But Eno in particular also brings his preference for not repeating tropes and it seems the band are ready to play, taking excursions into wide open road desert songs, cocky denim rock and moody dark corners as well as the odd distortions of tracks such as the first single, Get On Your Boots.
Now it's not as if U2 have re-imagined themselves: there are familiar, stadium-ready rock numbers and there are electro-influenced numbers. But there's an oddness to many tracks which speak of adventure rather than comfort.
The Edge takes centre stage with a mix of aggressive and tuneful guitars and Bono's lyrics seem occasionally to have been put through the random mixer, which is no bad thing when it comes to someone with very familiar pathways. It is indicative of an album which may reward long-time attention rather than seek immediate affection. Zuel
February 3, 2009
SUPERSTAR bands don't just release an album any more - that's so 20th century. There is too much at stake to simply put out a press release and distribute advance copies of the disc. Just ask EMI, whose share price dropped when it was revealed that the release of Coldplay's X&Y had been delayed.
Now, when a major international act has some new music to share with the world, the record company does all it can to create an event. Rather than hand out copies of the new album - an approach that may lead to internet leaks or piracy - it invites music journalists to "listening parties".
Conducted in an atmosphere of tight security - journalists must surrender their phone and any recording devices before entering the room - these private playback sessions are designed to generate advance buzz.
This week selected media are being given one advance hearing of No Line On The Horizon, the new album ofthe self-proclaimed "best band in the world", Ireland's U2, before the album's release on February 28.
Not all the tracks will be unfamiliar. Poor quality sound recordings of four songs have been available on the internet since the middle of last year, apparently recorded by a young U2 fan who heard the music being blasted out of Bono's holiday home in the south of France.
The schadenfreude that followed this inadvertent leak was indicative of Bono's ability to polarise people. Some see him as a socially committed artist who campaigns for human rights and the eradication of poverty. To others he is a bumptious, self-aggrandising man in stack heels.
A version of No Line On The Horizon will be available to suit every level of devotion. The album is available in two types of CD packaging, an 180 gram vinyl version and a box set with a 64-page magazine featuring an interview and photos by the band's favourite photographer and video-clip maker Anton Corbijn. Those who pay for the deluxe versions will have access to a "companion film" also made by Corbijn.
It all seems like a lot of trouble and expense at a time when album sales are allegedly in a terminal tailspin. But at this end of the industry it is still worth it.
Consider the figures for U2's past two albums alone: 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind sold more than 12 million copies and won seven Grammy awards; 2006's How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb sold more than 9 million and won eight Grammys. The band's 2007 world tour sold more than 4½ million tickets and grossed more than $400 million, including subsequent ticket sales for three tour-related films.

U2 back on track with new album
Live News, February 02, 2009

U2 are back.
Four years after their last album, How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, the Irish supergroup return with No Line On The Horizon, which will be released on February 28.
Musically, they're back with their most experimental, exciting work in a decade.
The first single, Get On Your Boots, had a mixed reception when it was released last month. But now the first reviews of the album have started to trickle in from around the world, and they're glowing.
The News of the World called No Line On The Horizon a cracking return to form, while The Glasgow Sunday Mail said it was U2's most complete album, ranking it with their classics Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree.
On Monday, media in Sydney gathered to hear all 11 songs on No Line on the Horizon, after surrendering mobile phones and recording devices.
The album opens with the title track, a raw groove that echoes The Edge's guitar playing on The Fly.
Magnificent lives up to its name, and is sure to be an instant U2 anthem, as Bono sings: "I was born to sing for you, I didn't have a choice."
The singer calls Moment Of Surrender the best song the band has ever written, and at seven minutes long it's an epic.
It's also one of a number of songs in which The Edge's guitar playing shines.
On Stand Up Comedy, U2 get their swagger on with some big Led Zepplin-esque riffs, and there's a little Middle Eastern flavour on a couple of the tracks.
The band's longtime producing team of Brian Eno and Danny Lanois are back on board and Eno's influence can be heard particularly on FEZ - Being Born.
It's their most adventurous moment, and it's impossible to get its measure on one listen.
U2 strip it back on the striking White As Snow, while Cedars Of Lebanon is a reflective closer told from the perspective of a war correspondent.
The same old U2 themes of love, forgiveness, joy and beauty are evident on their 12th studio record, but the sentiments are less obvious and cheesy than they have been on recent albums.
The band hasn't delivered a straight forward rock album, but the boys haven't forgotten what they're good at.

(c) Live News, 2009

U2 set to release twelfth studio album - and we have the lowdown - The Sunday Mail

Billy Sloan

U2 finally unveiled their new album No Line On The Horizon behind closed doors and under the strictest security.
But first again with the big music exclusives... Email were there to hear it.
We were invited by Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr to get a sneak preview of their eagerly awaited 12th studio album - not released until March 2.
And it's a cracker, up there with U2 classics such as Achtung Baby, The Joshua Tree and All That You Can't Leave Behind.
The Irish supergroup took the wraps off No Line On The Horizon in the chic Saatchi art gallery at the famous Chelsea Barracks in London.
It features hot new single Get On Your Boots, which is being played to death by radio stations across the UK.
Before hearing the killer tracks, the select guests had to give up all belongings - including mobile phones and any recording devices. They were only returned when the playthrough was over.
But it was worth it to get the first listen to amazing songs such as Magnificent, Moment Of Surrender and Cedars Of Lebanon.
On first hearing, it sounds like U2's most complete album - to be listened to from first track to last. It's also full of brilliant lyrics and Bono's vocals have never sounded stronger.
Here is my pick of the key cuts on No Line On The Horizon.

This opens with a loud sonic drone before Bono sings: "I knew a girl who's like the sea/I watch her changing every day for me."
Then Larry's drums kick in and the song lifts off. It could be their best live stadium opener since Zoo Station.
A future single choice which more than lives up to its bold title. The Edge's driving guitar gives the song a New Year's Day-style mood.
Bono is in great form when he sings: "I was born to sing for you/I didn't have a choice but to lift you up."
He's dead right because, just two numbers in, the album already has a classic feel.
Bono reckons this is one of the best songs U2 have written - and with their back catalogue, that's saying something.
It opens with a guitar sound reminiscent of Where The Streets Have No Name and features a great Edge solo.
In one of his most personal lyrics, Bono says: "I've been in every black hole/At the altar of the dark star/My body's now a begging bowl/That's begging to get back."
Astunning song Springsteen or Dylan would be proud of.
An epic with double-tracked vocals, wailing Edge guitar and pounding Adam bass.
It's a musical feast with so much going on it's initially tough to take it all in. In the chant-style chorus Bono sings: "Hear me/Cease to speak/That I may speak/Shush now."
If nothing else, that's got to be another first for U2 - a pop song with "Shush" in the lyric.
Thumping drums, pulsing bass and piano get this potential single off the launch pad.
Musically, it has all the trademarks of a U2 classic with another soaring Bono vocal and great "woo-oo" hook on the chorus.
This proves the group are huge Led Zeppelin fans because Edge's guitar riff has a real Jimmy Page feel.
In terms of being musically adventurous, it's not for the faint-hearted and definitely up there with Exit from The Joshua Tree in 1987.
Bono almost speaks his vocal over a more hymnal, hypnotic backing which leads to a beautiful, almost choral, hook.
Some atmospheric Edge guitar creeps in and builds the mood. This song is so good you don't want it to end.
A fitting finale to a classic U2 album.

(c) Sunday Mail, 2009.

U2 On the Horizon reviwe | Celeb XS | Showbiz|xs | News Of The World

U2 - On The Horizon - First review

By Dan Wootton, 31/01/2009
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. . .
. . . well I have BONO, because the record of the year is On The Horizon — and I’ve had an XSclusive first listen to it.
The biggest band in the universe U2 are back and, I’m pleased to say, at their best.
This week I’ve been loving their stomping new album at CelebXS HQ.
Two years in the making, this one and despite recording in Morocco and adding a hint of middle-eastern influence, I can report that the Irish lads remain instantly recognisable.
No Line On The Horizon marks a cracking return to form, something the whole music industry desperately wants and needs.
It’s been (a long) four years since their last album, the underwhelming How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.
But believe me, it’s been well worth the wait. The band recorded 60 songs which they then whittled down to a stellar final 11 for this their twelfth studio album.
Overall, the band have made an effort to tone down their usual big rock sound for something a little bit more bluesy.
But there are still loads of great moments — like THE EDGE’s cracking guitar. Magnificent will end up a No1 hit and yet another trademark U2 stadium anthem.
According to Bono, the seven- minute slow paced Moment Of Surrender is the best thing the four-piece have written.
But for me, the most upbeat (and brilliant) pop moment is the danceable I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight. Bono has decided to write in the third person for the first time on this disc, not out until March.
So on the closing ballad Cedars Of Lebanon, the frontman imagines he’s a war reporter. It’s stirring stuff and a great way to end a great comeback album.
Bono said: “It’s not like anything we’ve ever done before. We don’t think it sounds like anything anyone else has done either.”
He added: “We’ve hit a rich song writing vein and we don’t want to stop. This is our chance for us to defy gravity once again.”
Track by Track
1. NO LINE ON THE HORIZON — punk rock epic
2. MAGNIFICENT — er, says it all
3. MOMENT OF SURRENDER — seven-minute wonder
4. UNKNOWN CALLER — Middle-East taster
6. GET ON YOUR BOOTS — kickin’
7. STAND UP COMEDY — Bono message
8. FEZ: BEING BORN — least-fave track
9. WHITE AS SNOW — simple. Breathtaking
10. BREATHE — happy chorus
11. CEDARS OF LEBANON — ballad to end the album


Eclectic and Ambitious

Electricity, contemplation, some risk and letters in the third person. Thus, the first hearing, "No Line On The Horizon", the new album's from the most exciting rock group of the planet, the U2, in stores March 2.
Eclectic, running some risks but with the right impact , with each song to function as a synthesis of three decades of career.
Apparently, nothing new. We heard each of the songs and recognize all the elements that constitute it. But there is something new: the very fact that these elements are combined within a single song.
The impetuosity of the early years - "Boy" (1980) and "October" (1981) - was recovered when the group returned to the basic fundamentals of rock in the last two albums - "All That You Can not Leave Behind" (2000) and "How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (2004).
Now they channel that energy and precision to most abstract themes, recovering the panoramic rock of "Unforgettable Fire (1984) and" The Joshua Tree "(1987) and the sonic risk of" Achtung Baby "(1991) or" Pop "(1997).
The new disc is an ambitious synthesis of all that, combining the taste for ambient definition of the producer Brian Eno, the electricity of the guitar from The Edge and the density of the rhythmic sound organization, with Adam Clayton on bass and Larry Mullen on drums.
Another novelty is in the fact of Bono adopting fictional characters, like a war correspondent in "Cedars of Lebanon."

The album track-by-track

1. "No line on the horizon"
Characteristic of the U2 song, the epic sense in growing, guitars sometimes quiet, sometimes strident, with Bono singing "i know a girl who's like the sea / I watch her everyday changing for me / Oh yeah." Originally had a very environmental treatment, through the production of Brian Eno, but in the end it became a abrasive rock song.
2. "Magnificent"
One of the songs that promises immediate membership. "Only love can reset your mind" Bono sings, among the environments that lead to the U2 album "Unforgettable Fire", in combination with the most direct route rock of recent albums. There are electronic effects, orchestral arrangements that evoke the period "The Joshua Tree" and a balance of typical song of love - "I was born to sing for you / I did not have a choice but to lift you up / And sing whatever song you wanted me to / I give you my voice back. "
3. "Moment of surrender"
Promises to be a classic in many concerts in the line of what happens with ballads like "One". Melodic song of seven minutes, starts slow, with lyrics about "dark stars" and with Bono's voice a little hoarse evoking existential crises - "I myself tied with wire / To let the horses free / Playing with the fire until the fire played with me. " The pace and syncope, the blues guitar of The Edge line of low and delicate environment, creating a hypnotic effect general.

4. "Unknown caller"
It is one of the songs where Bono is in a fictional role, someone in an altered state that is faced with a phone that speech. On the sound could belong to "All That You Can not Leave Behind," the half-time pace, silky, with light body and The Edge to leave its mark in an intricate guitar break.
5. "I'll go crazy if i do not go crazy tonight"
As the title suggests, is one of the most daytime, and markedly festival pop along the lines of classics like "Beautiful Day", with some echoes, reverberations, refrain effective (I'll go crazy if i do not go crazy tonight " ), guitars and falsetto loose from Bono to proclaim "every generation gets a chance to change the world."
6. "Get on your boots"
It is the single in advance, the subject most virulent of the whole disc and one of the most powerful and fastest-ever of the quartet, mixed strident guitar rock & roll, and a synthetic elements that Bono shouted: "Get on your boots / Sexy boots / You do not know how beautiful you are. "
7. "Stand up comedy"
Another rocker, noisy and powerful. Bono pulls the voice, but it's the guitar that dominates. The fact that The Edge has participated in a documentary with Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) seems to have left marks, so the guitar evokes the Zeppelin of other times.To the original title - "Stand up," alluding to the humanist movement The Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty - was added "comedy" and listening to the song it is perceived why, what seems to be a moment of self-irony of Bono: " On a voyage of discovery stand up to rock stars, Napoleon is in high heels / Josephine, be careful of small men with big ideas. "
8. "Fez - Being born"
The African experience - recorded in Fez, Morocco - is the subject, one of the best and most adventurous. "Six o 'clock on the autoroute / Burning rubber, burning chrome / Boy of Cadiz and ferry home / Atlantic sea cut glass / African Sun at last" Bono launches, through a compact sound architecture. It is perhaps the one that best summarizes the album, combining the spirit of direct rock and recent rib adventurous 90s.
9. "White as Snow"
Atmospheric acoustic ballad, about a soldier lost in snow in Afghanistan. "Where I came from there were no hills at all / The land was flat, straight highway and the wider / My brother and i would drive for hours" recalls Bono, travel by the mind of a soldier lost in their memories, in an epic track.
10. "Breathe"
Eastern slow start with allusions to the level of the arrangements, but then there is a growing continuum of intensity, what is the favorite song of producer Brian Eno. It is indicative of a more complex disc - each song integrates various dynamics - that his two predecessors.
11. "Cedars of Lebanon"
Bono wears the role of a war correspondent for atmospheric evocation not far from songs like "With or without you." The tone is confessional, the reflective verses end: "choose your enemies carefully 'cos they will define you / Make them interesting' cos in some ways they will mind you / They're not there in the beginning but when your story ends / Gonna last with you longer than your friend. "

From U2Achtung:

Review from Bedoc
How to aprehend this first listen, in a context so unique. A fan in the middle of journalists… not knowing with which sauce he will be eaten.
Let’s get straight in the heart of the matter:
No Line On The Horizon : First song on the album. First song, first slap in the face ! A huge slap. The one I was waiting for since Pop, the one I thought I had heard with Vertigo. A heavy atmosphere with Edge omnipresent. Bono’s signing is also very surprising, since he is screaming during the whole song, but in a totally controlled manner, a delight and a future great moment live !
Magnificent : Kicks open the door already opened by NLOTH. The omnipresence of the drums is obvious, and Edge is very sharp, especially on his solo.
Moment of Surrender : The rhythm falls down a bit (the longest song on the album, maybe a bit too long). This song sounds like a prayer with a quite sad atmosphere. Edge is at the piano, well complemented by the bass and the drums.
Unknown caller : The beginning did not totally convince me, but the build-up is super-efficient, because of the drums first, and then supported by the Edge’s guitar, who is offering us another great solo (Jimmy Page influence in the sound ?) that I am looking forward to hear in concert.
I’ll Go Crazy If I don’t Go Crazy Tonight : A fairly classical rythm, with a more scattered signing. Bono even tries to go in the very high notes (with a certain success). The chorus is quite catchy.
Get On Your Boots : Obviously already heard, therefore I was looking forward to see how it fits on the album. Answer: perfectly.
Stand Up Comedy : The guitar reminds me of another song, but impossible on the spot to remember which one (doesn’t really help). We will remember a bridge mixing electro and drums quite efficiently. The song takes a bit of time to get going, but Edge becomes more and more powerful (taking over the bass on the second part of the verse), to give a very convincing result in the end.
Fez – Being Born : 2 songs into one. The first part includes quite a nebulous atmosphere, mixing the « Let me in the sound » of Boots (in the background) and a north african woman signing (going back to the beginnings of the album ?). Then the second part starts with Larry with a sound close to Daddy’s Gonna Pay. This song is mostly instrumental and could be used to close concerts.
White As Snow :From what I can remember, the one I least hooked on. It’s the calmest song on the album, and a good ballad, with an Irish spirit, and Bono signing in a more relaxed way. The second part of the song includes a mix of guitar and trumpet (in the background, rest assured) that is quite interesting.
Breathe : We get back to serious business with a drums/keyboards intro and a quite fast rythm, especially in the lyrics (a response to the title ?) where Bono alternates between talking and signing. There is a second guitar in support which gives quite a heavy sonic atmosphere. The guitar bridge is followed by violins which brings the mood back down, before being picked up again with a final Edge flight.
Cedars of Lebanon : What was going to be the last song ? Everything here is about simplicity: calm drums, Bono who is talking with a slightly modified voice and an echo effect at the end of sentences. The mood is confessional (story of a soldier in a war), with added noises of rain, radio, helicopter, in the background. The chorus is quite unexpected, very high (in fact I’m not sure it’s Bono, I though I heard two voices…). This one ends the album perfectly.

These details on the songs are obviously personal and coming from notes taken during the listening. One listen is too little to remember everything, to keep the tunes in my head. Therefore it’s the global point of view which is I think the most revealing. Personally, after a first listen, I was completely blown away by this album. Bono and Edge were selling it to us like their best, and frankly they are not far from being right. In any case, it’s the most finished and consistent since Pop (and maybe even AB, I dare say). Too bad we don’t have the lyrics in hand.
The album is much more homogenous, much more refined (the transition between NLOTH and Magnificient is to die for), and there are no throwaway songs. We can feel a real overall structure, every song has its place and the order is coherent. Every band member makes himself heard when necessary, and Bono’s voice is at the top! He seems to have improved himself, with a voice that he is mastering in my opinion a bit better than for the last 2 albums, alternating between power, going in the high notes, and quasi-talking signing. There is however a slight abuse of “ohohoho”, present on almost all the songs.
Edge is not left behind, offering us a heavy sound, with a omnipresent guitar, and with some solo’s having the ‘AB touch’ (MW, EBTTRT). I say this for those who think he didn’t give it all on GOYB ;-)
Larry and Adam complete perfectly the overall, and I felt they had their part in the construction of the songs, contrary to the previous albums. Like on GOYB, they know how to be THE rhythm and THE central piece of some of the songs (NLOTH, MOS, GOYB, Stand Up)
To finish, I tried to hear what the journalists were saying: in general very good, and some even admitted being surprised! I’m not the only one saying it

From U2Achtung:

Lucile ‘s Review
The context is unsettling… for me, the first listen of a new U2 album is alone at home, after having put the CD in the reader with a slightly trembling hand, both excited and anxious to hear the new effort of my 4 favourite Irishmen. How will it be? As good as announced by Bono and Edge?
So here I am today, a fan among journalists, waiting for the beginning of the session, my ears and my heart probably more anxious than theirs, so long was the wait, with a note pad and a pen, ready to receive my impressions.
55 minutes later…. I say to myself that I have found U2 back. What I heard pleased me, and for once in a (very) long time, everything ! There was no 'more or less', 'so-so'… My feet moved, my head rocked, my heart vibrated… even the pen served more as a beat marker than a note taker.
The album starts with 2 big slaps in the face: NLOTH, which gets us right into the heart of the matter, and gives the tone of the album: powerful; and Magnificent, which is a rock rhythm well calibrated, my favourite following this first listen.
Back to calm with MOS, is the 3rd spot the one of the ballad ? Edge is very present, and gives us several solos. This one seems to me in continuity with the ballads of the last 2 albums, reminding me in spirit of the ‘live Sydney 2006’ version of Kite.
Unknown Caller starts with birds signing, and Bono signing high notes. A song which starts as a ballad but becomes more and more powerful, with a great chorus.
I’ll Go Crazy If I don’t Go Crazy Tonight : another song becoming progressively more powerful.
We arrive in known terrain, here is GOYB: the rhythm is kick-ass, so is the chorus. Personally I’m a fan of this first single, which fits perfectly on the album!
Stand Up Comedy : guitar, bass and drums give a heavy sound, and an electro twist to this piece. I noted on my note pad: we are getting our ass kicked… it will probably mean more on the next listen!
Fez – Being Born starts with the sound of a crowd with a mix of the ‘Let me in the sound’ of Boots. First song where I can feel the Morocco influence, there is piano, string instruments that give even more power to this song.
White As Snow : the title is also a clue, this song being the softest on the album, the least charged, the more settled.
But we don’t stay calm for long, as Breathe brings us back to the catchy rhythms and rock sounds of the first few songs, with this time Moroccan violins. The chorus is catchy, and like for the previous pieces, the construction is more sophisticated.
Cedars of Lebanon ends this album beautifully, a song where Bono talks, recites more than he signs. And here I am brought back (with happiness) to the universe of Passengers. The drum gives a calming beat to the song, with the guitar and the bass more in the background, joined by noises of helicopter and radio…

No Line On The Horizon is a dense, heavy, sometimes contrived album, but definitely rock in its construction. A coherent album, sometimes unsettling (in the structure) and therefore an album with a soul. Some titles had the effect of a bomb (don’t see a reference to the previous album) and I can’t wait to listen to it again. I also can’t wait to have the lyrics, as they are so important to really understand a U2 song.
Of course these are on-the-spot impressions, after only one listen. Hard to distinguish the emotions due to the songs themselves, or to a first listen and meeting with U2 again. Hard also to transcribe what I felt from my notes which made no sense.

U2 apresentam No Line On The Horizon -

U2 presents No Line on the Horizon
U2's new album, No Line on the Horizon - which was presented today to the press in Madrid - is filled with influences from the sound of the band on the 80's. It's a return to roots, withou forgetting the present.
U2 has a new sound. In this new album stronger tracks, they combine the rock that characterized them in the 80's and jump for a dark celebration, with a strong choral component to oscillate between liturgy and an epic-difuse environment.
The album is heard clearly. Sets up easily and marks a new stage in the Dublin band's career. The guitars, the keyboards (less used previously) and an rhytimic evolution that transforms each one of those 11 songs since its beginning until the last chord are the keynote.
Citicism aside, in a moment where no one has can hear the album, it's worthwhile to tell the story of the first hearing for the iberian press. The secret was always the soul of the business. To this popular saying Universal Music, Bono band's record company, hanged on.
At the entrance of the room, equipped with Coke, juices, beers, water and snack for everyone's taste, in the company's HQ in Madrid, at 6:05 PM there was an Universal employee asking for the cellphones of the 40 journalists invited and collected them into a box.
Of couse, recording was forbidden. Already in the hearing room, another employee distributed copies of the lyrics of the new songs and asked in english that we did not wrote in those cause we would have to return them at the end. The secret had to be manteined. Only after the irish group put online, in their official website, the new album available to the public we will be able to disclose in detail its content, which may happen in 15, 20 days maximum. The official release will happen on Feb 27 only in their home country, then following there's Europe on March 2 and on March 3 comes the american market's turn. Everything planned in detail.
The first song, No Line on the Horizon, finally starts to play. Sitting around a table, not big enough for everyone, the notebooks are been filled up. Many try in a hurry to copy the lyrics. Others just listen and shake their heads at the sound of the rhythm.
The unexpected happens next. Magnificent, maybe the album's best song (still needs some listens) is stopped abruptly. The disc stops playing. The equipment failures for a moment. Back to the music, but it stops again. For ten minutes the audience doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. Seven persons around the stereo can't solve the problem. The CD won't play. The technicians do not understand why and the record company's team start to get nervous. Comes a new disc, nothing. Comes another one, non-U2. It works. New attempt. Uf! The thing goes. And goes all the way until the end. In apotheosis.
The general consensus is: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. have anything new to say and they say it well. The satisfaction is great. The dominant sensation is that of sharing. That old thing, to which we're not used anymore: listen to a disc, with people that don't know each other and that are simultaneously feeling the pleasure of music and dissecting it professionally.
Leaving the fisrt group from Universal's HQ, it's already possible to see the second. The spanish press will enter. Will they be able to hear it until the end? Will the equipment work? Anyway, the experience will be worthwhile.

BLITZ: A BLITZ j ouviu o novo disco dos U2: saiba ao que soa No Line On The Horizon

BLITZ already heard U2's new album: know what No Line on the Horizon sounds like.
Spanish and portuguese journalists watched yesterday the premiere of U2's new album in Madrid.
More than a band, we know that U2 is a multinational when for the very first hearing of their new album we're conducted to a room in Universal Spain's HQ where 30 iberian journalists acommodate around a table.
On this table there are snacks and drinks, but it's clear that No Line on the Horizon, U2's new and awaited album, is the main dish of the matinee.
The 12th album in the irish's career open with the title-track: U2 in epic mode, with explosive chorus and some atmospheric moments.
After that, in the recent Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, Coldplay tried to emulate U2, there's on this new No Line on the Horizon - where Brian Eno left his mark too - passages where seem to sound like Coldplay when trying to sound like U2. Something that doesn't maculate this band that firstly patented this idea of good-hearted epics.
The second song, Magnificent is a ballad that left a good impression on the journalists present. Asked to leave cells on a box at the entrance of the room, to prevent recordings, reporters accompanied the hearing with the lyrics of the songs. At the end, we're again asked to return those, but that didn't stopped us from note the emotional lyrics in Magnificent: "Only love, only love can leave such a mark / I was born to sing for you.", sings Bono, which through No Line on the Horizon risk frequent falsettos.
One of the new album's highlights, Magnificent is a strong candidate to next single and it seems to recover some spirituality from U2's early days combined with the vocation that the four of Dublin improved: rock stadiums.
Not even on purpose, Moment of Surrender is known by synthesizers that resemble organs of church, crossed with a soft electronic beat that does not threaten the calm of the song.
Also in the lyrics "Moment of Surrender" is introspective, with references to God, altars and... ATMs.
Unknown Caller coninues the quiet tone, with twitter of birds as intro and the outro "sunshine, sunshine" to set the tone for another song with reflective lyrics and dynamite chorus.
With I'll Go Crazy If Don't Go Crazy Tonight some of the strong points of this album are repeated: Bono's falsettos, the guitar - unmistakable and idiosyncratic - from The Edge and a chorus with everything to take songs where U2 inhabits: the top of the world.
The already known first single, Get on Your Boots, with its "garage" boot is perhaps the most atipical song in the record and shows a hip sway away from the first half of the album. The heavier riff is mainteined in Stand Up Comedy, whose lyrics point again to the spiritual: "God is life and love is evolution's very best day," was heard in the offices of Universal Madrid.
Then comes the duo Fez-Being Born; after an instrumental piece with electronic beats where, in the distance, you can hear "let me in the sound" from the single Get on Your Boots; starts a song relatively atmospheric with references to the Bay of Cadiz, the Atlantic Ocean and the sun of Africa, gifted with less explicit chorus than the other songs on the album.
Equally calm, but closer to folk and acoustic is White as Snow, with melancholic lyrics where Bono sings "If only a heart could be white as snow."
Almost ending, Breathe is a new bet on the tougher riffs, like Stand Up Comedy or Get on Your Boots. Bono, in his turn, delivers that which is, possibily the most descriptive lyrics in the record, in a curious style that is less sung and most recited, almost "dylanesque"
No Line on the Horizon leaves with Cedars of Lebanon, song perhaps too discrete to close the album with an exclamation point. "This shitty world sometimes produces a rose" is, equally, one of the most strange lyrics in No Line on the Horizon.
Between rockers with strong choruses, some heavy riffs and almost psychedelic (see Queens of the Stone Age) and intimate songs, often devoided of the usual power of U2's ballads, comes No Line on the Horizon in the end. At the exit, opinions were divided but most journalists were excited with U2's return. As for future concerts to promote No Line nothing was, as yet, announced.

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Old 02-10-2009, 02:19 PM   #2
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Damn, you beat me...

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Old 02-10-2009, 02:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by .:MrMacPhisto:. View Post
Damn, you beat me...
Don't worry you can make Part Four, if I don't get their first
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:20 PM   #4
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^Thanks, but now I'll have to be the first to find a leak!!!
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:22 PM   #5
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I was just thinking, IF the album should get lukewarm reviews, is the band partly to blame for calling it a return to their 90s form in so many words? I know a lot of it has been Lanois and others outside of the band, but the hype that preceded it and they way it's sounding, at least in the WM clips, may be causing people (certainly many here) to not like it at first or not give it a chance that it might otherwise have. Does that make sense?
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:23 PM   #6
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6th post!!
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by coemgen View Post
I was just thinking, IF the album should get lukewarm reviews, is the band partly to blame for calling it a return to their 90s form in so many words? I know a lot of it has been Lanois and others outside of the band, but the hype that preceded it and they way it's sounding, at least in the WM clips, may be causing people (certainly many here) to not like it at first or not give it a chance that it might otherwise have. Does that make sense?
If the album gets lukewarm reviews, yes, I'd say its the band's fault.
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:24 PM   #8
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:24 PM   #9
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I want to hear the album.

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Old 02-10-2009, 02:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BoyOnTheHorizon View Post
I want to hear the album.

Hey, what a coincidence, so do I!
LEAK, dammit!
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by nirniva View Post
Hey, what a coincidence, so do I!
LEAK, dammit!
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by coemgen View Post
I was just thinking, IF the album should get lukewarm reviews, is the band partly to blame for calling it a return to their 90s form in so many words? I know a lot of it has been Lanois and others outside of the band, but the hype that preceded it and they way it's sounding, at least in the WM clips, may be causing people (certainly many here) to not like it at first or not give it a chance that it might otherwise have. Does that make sense?
At first no, cause I read it too fast...

But yeah, the hype can make people have expectations that when not met, make those people hate the thing, even if it's good or great. A lot of people here are expecting this to sound like AB (I'm not saying better or worst), and if the album doesn't sound like that, even if it's better than AB, some of those people won't like the album.
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:30 PM   #13
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So.. is anyone going to post some reviews?
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:31 PM   #14
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I think if it gets lukewarm reviews, it's because the album truly is challenging to listen to. We've had nearly 10 years of U2 music that has been very easy on the ears, very upbeat, and very different than the music they have made in the previous decades.

The climate has changed in the music biz, and as it seems as social norms as well. Everything has to be EASY. If it's not a big hit, if it's something that makes you THINK, then it's a failure until the times change and you can reflect back on it.

Look at the music climate now compared to AB. A lot of rock, less rap, and for what it seems, less sugar coated stuff. Now if you're some chick from Disney, you will have a top hit without really trying to hard. The music sells more because of the artist rather than the music. I know this has gone on for a long time, but it really seems to be at a peak right now.

From all reviews so far, both positive and negative, it sounds like U2has made something different. Those that are positive love the departure, those that are negative seem to hate it. Either way, it's something that will probably take many listens, which to me, is the best U2 album.

It may get slammed in some reviews, but down the road it may come back to be one of the best efforts. Only time will tell.
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:32 PM   #15
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I want NLOTH

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nloth, nloth reviews, no line on the horizon

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