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Old 08-17-2005, 02:49 PM   #1
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Thoughts On Atomic Bomb

I am well aware that I have been hard on HTDAAB and have been one of its more vocal naysayers on this forum. But today I felt like listening to it, did so all the way through, and for once am able to share some positive thoughts about the record. Listening to it today, I enjoyed probably more than I have since Christmas Time when the record was still brand spanking new. I still think it's overrated on these forums and I still think saying it's the third best U2 record is silly, but I do think it's quite an enjoyable record. I think a lot of us, myself included, tend to want to categorize records as either 'masterpiece' or 'crap', and sort of forget about the middle ground sometimes. In my view, Bomb is on the top end of that middle ground. It's good, even great at times, but it's not a masterpiece imo.

Every song here is very enjoyable, except for maybe Yahweh, which I find to be nothing special at all. Vertigo is great for what it is, it really is, but it shouldn't be compared to The Fly or UTEOTW or Bullet etc etc when talking about U2's great rock tracks. Miracle Drug is a song U2 could do in their sleep but it's enjoyable nontheless if I'm in the right mood. The final minute and a half or so, the bridge/solo/edge singing/final chorus, is great regardless of mood. Sometimes is a great ballad, but I don't think it's in the same league as WOWY or One or Stay. LAPOE is my favorite song on the record, I think it kicks ass. COBL is very overrated on these forums but it is still quite good. ABOY is a bit boring but is enjoyable nontheless if you just stop longing for it to be something it's not. AMAAW is one of record's best tracks, a lovely ballad. Crumbs is one of the record's stronger tracks and it is a pity that it hasn't been played live yet. OSC is a very enjoyable ambient piece with underrated lyrics, but I think something like 'The First Time' is better. OOTS is a very good song in and of itself but I have always felt and still feel that the album version is just a little too cluttered, it needed to subtract an instrument or two. Hopefully the rumored upcoming single version does this. I think Yahweh would've been much better had it been like the live acoustic versions. Fast Cars should have been on the record. There was enough space on the CD, and the theme of the song's lyrics fits with several of the other songs(Sometimes, OSC, etc), in that it is about Bono's father, so I don't see any valid reason for it being only included on international versions of the record.

All in all, it's a strong record, but, like many of the songs it parents, I think to say it's the same league as established classics(like UF or JT or AB) is to overrate it. Just my opinion.

Finally, I'd like to address what I think is the weakest aspect of the record: Its front cover art. It seems a little lazy to just take a photo of the band, especially where they don't seem to have much facial expression, and call it the front cover art.

I have this idea for what it could have been, and I think it would have worked very well. Since the record, including its title, is very much about the death of Bono's father and how Bono has dealt/is dealing with it, I was thinking that the cover art could just be Bono standing in front of a mirror on a black background, but the reflection in the mirror, instead of being Bono, would be Bob Hewson - to go along with the lyric, 'it's you when I look in the mirror'. Perhaps in the bottom corner of the front cover, there could be a small dedication: "For Bob Hewson". Just an idea.

Thank you for reading.
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Old 08-17-2005, 03:04 PM   #2
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I agree with most of what you said, but too tired to go on with what i disagree with, but I agree it is no masterpiece, no TUF,TJT,AB, but it is still great.
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:00 PM   #3
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I was listening to Metamorphosis One by Philip Glass yesterday, and happened to switch directly to A Man and a Woman. It surprised me- I actually got into the acoustic guitar. I think the problem was that it was right after ABOY, and poor tracklisting put me in the wrong mood for the song.

Now I rank it with OOTS as having the foundation of a great song.
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:10 PM   #4
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I'd have to agree with namkcuR's analysis, although I think I like the album slightly more than he does. I also think that Yahweh is a great song.

Also namkcuR, ahve you ever heard COBL live? It is a fantastic song live, although I admit that the album version is a bit sterile and over produced. It's still good though.
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:45 PM   #5
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I disagree with almost everything except:

Quote:
Finally, I'd like to address what I think is the weakest aspect of the record: Its front cover art. It seems a little lazy to just take a photo of the band, especially where they don't seem to have much facial expression, and call it the front cover art.
And I still think the album is too overrated here. Unfortunately...
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:47 PM   #6
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Sorry, not overated but... UNDERATED.... it was my error, sorry!!!
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:15 PM   #7
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fast cars about bono's dad????
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Old 08-17-2005, 06:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by marik
fast cars about bono's dad????

"All I want is a picture of you
All I want is to get right next to you
All I want is your face in a locket
Your picture in my pocket
Can I take a pill to stop it. . . "
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Old 08-17-2005, 07:26 PM   #9
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My Take on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of HTDAAB, 9 months in:

Vertigo-
Good:One of Edge's best moments on the whole album, Bono sounds really strong vocally
Bad: Bono, besides belting out the vocals very well, is disposable to me lyrically
Ugly: Native Son is just a stronger idea and better overall song.

Miracle Drug-
Good: Edge singing a verse, the first half of the chorus is great
Bad: Just auto-pilot IMO. This song doesn't move me at all.
Ugly: Probably wold have benefitted from more studio time on this one

Sometimes-
Good: Well, Bono hits a fabulous note in a sweet crescendo
Bad: after the 1,000th listen that falsetto bit grates on my ears
Ugly: Overall a good song, pushed into the realm of being too calculated for me

Love and Peace or Else
Good: well, sonically it's tbe most interesting thing on the album
Bad: Bono lyrically does nothing for me
Ugly: Overall a good song, Bono is less than inspiring for me

All Because of You-
Good: the solo, the "I'm alive" bit is the best part of the whole album
Bad: Bono again, on the verses singing as if he's lying in bed on an all out rock tune
Ugly: The alternate version devastates the album version, musically and Bono

City of Blinding Lights-
Good: Edge is great in the chorus, overall the song flows well
Bad: The sound of the album cut is really messed up
Ugly: A good song live, a worse song on the album, overall it's a pretty good one

A Man and a Woman-
Good: U2 doing good Sting pretty well, at the very least unique to U2
Bad: Just not my cup of tea
Ugly: Other than not being my style, it's not a bad track at all I guess

Crumbs From Your Table-
Good: Edge, Edge, Edge, really sweet verse guitars, Bono's best moment on the album
Bad: I guess the production could have been better
Ugly: I think for a song that was supposedly "B-side" material, it's a winner

One Step Closer-
Good: Nice sentiment, nice touches sonically, Bono holding up his end
Bad: Just boring. Not because it's soft, because it doesn't go anywhere at any point
Ugly: Really despite the sentiment for Bob, this is a throwaway track, especially in light of Mercy

Original of the Species-
Good: Really one of U2's best all-out tunes/melodies. Edge in a great moment
Bad: A good tune/melody is not always a great song. too much in places
Ugly: Overall it is a good song, which should have been scaled back a bit at the first. Petty gripes really.

Yahweh-
Good: The intro is pretty cool, and the "ocean" bit is pretty sweet
Bad: just the ABOY disease on this one, Bono singing on a sofa, writing half asleep
Ugly: The alternate version is far superior, sonically and Bono sounds stronger

Fast Cars-
Good: well, by far the most intersting lyrics, fun verses, pretty cool guitar
Bad: the chorus is lazy, the music is almost novelty
Ugly: Xanax shits all over this song, both of them are album worthy nonetheless

How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb-
Good: better than ATYCLB, which is always progress. In moments, it is really good
Bad: Hit and miss, might be Bono's worst album, In moments, it is pedestrian
Ugly: overall, it's a good effort and a lot of bands should be proud of this kind of album, IMO for a band like U2, they can do much better doing something different, but for doing what they choose to do, right now, they can't do Beatlesy U2 better than this.
I say Beatlesy for lack of a better term.

so, I still basically see it as a 3 1/2 star album on my scale.
For perspective, I'd give R&H and Pop 4 stars and ATYCLB and Boy 3 stars. Probably my 8th favorite U2 record.

I basically see 5 U2 albums as untouchable and fully acknowledge nothing short of channeling Jesus on the record would make it hard for me to put it ahead of those 5. AB, JT, Zoo, UF, and War. So I just realistically hope and pray for a #6. Pop didn't do it for me, half-brilliant, half-filler. ATYCLB was half-pretty good, half-filler. HTDAAB is somewhere in the middle, I guess. The biggest distinction I could make might be that POP as brilliance amon it's flaws and I see no brilliance on HTDAAB. Competence abounds, but nothing that blows me away.

If I reviewed my favorite 11 track HTDAAB era album, added ABOY alt, Yahweh alt, Native Son, Smile and Mercy. and took out my least favorite tracks, I'd be willing to say I think it's
a stronger album than POP and possibly even Rattle and Hum. and I think it would be a much much stronger effort for me personally. Honestly, among those songs left off are 4 of my 5 favorite songs from this whole period.

It could have been #6, possibly. After all this time,
I think that's all I really want. Something great enough to add to my favorites and realistic enough to know that in all likelihood, I'll never like anything as much as I like those other 5 albums.

My last hope is that this album stands the test of time. My first inclination is that it won't because it's too pop-oriented and that over time it will be like skipping over Angel of Harlem and Mysterious Ways for the 8,000th time. I hope I am just being pessimistic. I have grown more affectionate towards COBL and OOTS lately, which is a good sign.
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Old 08-17-2005, 07:34 PM   #10
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damn that was long
sorry
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Old 08-17-2005, 07:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2DMfan

Love and Peace or Else
Good: well, sonically it's tbe most interesting thing on the album
Bad: Bono lyrically does nothing for me

All Because of You-
Good: the solo, the "I'm alive" bit is the best part of the whole album
Ugly: The alternate version devastates the album version, musically and Bono
Good post!


Quote:
Originally posted by U2DMfan

Pop didn't do it for me, half-brilliant, half-filler.
whaaaat...???

Thought you were a 90s nut like namkcuR and I!
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Old 08-17-2005, 08:38 PM   #12
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In retrospect I think that HTDAAB is a very good record. I loved it initially and have put it aside recently. Which unlike Achtung Baby which I listened to for a year straight and that's no lie.

Once the tour hits Stateside again it'll find its way back into my CD player and/or my iPod playlist...sooner than later.
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Old 08-17-2005, 08:43 PM   #13
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I am a 90's nut, no more than I am an 80's nut.

Anyhow, I don't get into the whole "decade fan" debate.
I think it's silly and often an easy defense to a legitimate criticism that a person takes offense to.

I think a lot of us like the whole catalog to a certain extent, some songs more than others, some albums more than others.
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2DMfan
I am a 90's nut, no more than I am an 80's nut.

Anyhow, I don't get into the whole "decade fan" debate.
I think it's silly and often an easy defense to a legitimate criticism that a person takes offense to.

I think a lot of us like the whole catalog to a certain extent, some songs more than others, some albums more than others.
Amen.
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Old 08-17-2005, 11:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by marik
fast cars about bono's dad????
Yes, didn't you know Bob was a psycho stalker as well as an opera lover.
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