A couple of new "Bomb" reviews from Oz - U2 Feedback

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Old 10-21-2004, 02:14 AM   #1
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A couple of new "Bomb" reviews from Oz

"Explosive U2 sound"

A copy of U2's eleventh studio album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, was pinched out of The Edge's bag while the Irish megastars were doing a photo shoot earlier this year. So, you can understand their label, Island, and parent company Universal being a tad cautious with the finished product.

A copy was hand-delivered last Monday to Universal Music Australia's Sydney HQ in The Rocks by Island UK's international marketing manager Chris Dwyer for an exclusive listening party. As a red light flashed outside the boardroom, mobile phones were confiscated as one of the company's staff half-jokingly patted us down for recording devices.

The CD was theatrically brought to the boardroom by another staffer dressed in a radiation suit, the message being that U2 have delivered their most explosive album in years. The fake bombs and missiles positioned around the room drove home the point.

So, what's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb like? Well, keeping in mind that I've only heard it once - on the day after the ARIAs - bloody good.

The album opens up at full throttle with first single Vertigo; pure, fist-pumping riffage built for speed and fun, much like Elevation from 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind. Apple's latest iPod commercials will borrow the song; the first time U2 have licensed their music for an advertisement.

The most obvious feature of Atomic Bomb is the proud return of The Edge's clanging guitar; a trademark of classic albums The Unforgettable Fire (1984) and The Joshua Tree (1987).

This sound is apparent on the rumbling City of Blinding Lights and highlight Crumbs From Your Table, a song about the AIDS crisis.

Aside from politics, the album dwells on the death of Bono's father in 2001. The singer recently told Q Magazine that he was the titular bomb emotionally dismantled by the loss. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own and the excellent One Step Closer are specifically about the late Bob Hewson.

Love ballads Original of the Species and A Man and a Woman sit neatly next to those spiritual numbers. The album closes with Yahweh - the Hebrew word for God - a song about Jerusalem that manages to be catchy as hell while pondering another big issue.

Bono says the main theme of the album is the "journey from fear into faith".

Chris Thomas (Sex Pistols, Pulp) worked on How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb for a year before being replaced by long-time collaborator Steve Lillywhite, who helms seven tracks. All That You . . . co-producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois team up for the fuzzed-out stomp of Peace and Love or Else, while Thomas, Flood, Jacknife Lee and Nellee Hooper also contributed in the studio. Despite the many hands, Atomic Bomb doesn't feel forced or over stylised. Bono's lyrics are disarming and his vocals fresh. Some songs lose the listener at the mid-point but usually have a killer hook or lyric to bring you back in for the finale.

Making a U2 album is never an easy task. When asked how he knows when the record is finished, bass Adam Clayton deadpanned: "When it's in the shops."

Atomic Bomb hits record stores on November 21, preceding a huge 2005 for U2. They start their world tour in Miami next March and the smart money is on them dropping into Australia next October.

(c) West Australian Newspapers Ltd. 2004
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Old 10-21-2004, 02:17 AM   #2
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Atomic Reaction

Herald Sun, October 21, 2004

Cameron Adams


Take an early look inside U2's new album with CAMERON ADAMS

U2 USED an interesting tactic to motivate themselves during the recording of their 11th studio album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. They pretended it was their debut.

"This is our first album," Bono says on a video to promote the record. "It has taken us 20 years, but this is our first album."

That explains the energy (in the strident rock songs and intimate ballads) and the personal lyrics.

Drummer Larry Mullen says the album was made from "a mixture of deep depression and a lot of fun" -- indeed the death of Bono's father looms over the record.

Bono calls the record "a journey from fear into faith" and as well as the spectre of death, there are some possibly too-honest love songs -- particularly A Man and a Woman.

The album is also in love with rock. While the Edge has flirted with other instruments in the past (during those periods, Mullen says, "it's like f . . ., he's into keyboards, we'll never get a rock song out of him now!"), he relies on guitar for the energy of this album.

"Rock tunes don't always survive," bassist Adam Clayton says. "Sometimes there's an anti-rock sentiment in the camp -- this time we had free rein to work the rock tunes in."

The band abandoned early production with Chris Thomas for longtime cohort Steve Lillywhite, but even dance act Jacknife Lee is credited with additional production, as well as the usual suspects.

Overall, it's another consolidation album like All that You Can't Leave Behind; an instantly familiar U2 album from arguably the world's most reliable rock band.

VERTIGO

Storming first single is an ideal introduction to the sound of Atomic Bomb: it's familiar U2 with a big nod to the past but an eye on the present. Bono admits they have hidden references to Stories for Boys, from the first U2 EP, in the song for "trainspotters". The song -- about being in a rock band -- was originally called Native Son. U2 have owned up to an Echo and the Bunnymen influence in the rhythm section, interestingly the same band that inspired the last Coldplay album. This song also features in a new iPod ad.

Key lyric: "The boys play rock and roll, they know that they can't dance, at least they know."

MIRACLE DRUG

An obvious single -- and anthem-in-waiting -- this powerful yet understated ballad could have come from The Unforgettable Fire. Like most of the ballads on the record, it has a huge finish and even bigger heart. Bono has said the lyrics refer to treatments for AIDS.

Key lyric: "The stars are in your eyes, I see them when you smile, I had enough of the antidote to give it up for a miracle drug."

SOMETIMES YOU CAN'T MAKE IT ON YOUR OWN

Sure to be a single -- this may well be U2's most touching ballad since One. It's written about Bono's late father and when you hear lyrics such as, "You don't have to put up a fight, you don't have to always be right, let me take some of the punches for you tonight" and learn Bono sat by his dad's bedside most nights as he was dying, it's spine-tingling. Bono sings the chorus in falsetto, and the lyric is highly autobiographic: "You're the reason I have the operas in me" relates to his dad's love of classical music, while he notes similarities to his dad in the line, "It's you when I look in the mirror, it's you when I pick up the phone."

Key lyric: "You and I fight all the time, that's all right, we're the same soul -- if we weren't so alike you'd like me a whole lot more."

LOVE AND PEACE OR ELSE

One of the record's stranger tracks, it starts with a dose of distorted feedback before moving into a weirdly funky groove -- the same kind of grimy swagger Nick Cave has on his records. Always sounds like something's trying to burst out from underneath.

Key lyric: "Lay your love on the track, we're gonna break the monster's back."

CITY OF BLINDING LIGHTS

Written as a love song to New York, it once again has that trademark Edge guitar running throughout and is a very big, very 1980s-sounding (again very Unforgettable Fire) downtempo tune. Bono states, "You look so beautiful tonight in the city of blinding lights".

Key lyric: "Can you see the beauty inside of me?"

ALL BECAUSE OF YOU

Another future single, this is a surprisingly simple U2 rock song -- punchy riffs with a spiky chorus and a live feel. A love song with a raucous finale, in which Bono sings, "I'm not broke but you can see the cracks

-- you can make me perfect again."

Key lyric: "I like the sound of my own voice, I didn't give anyone else a choice."

A MAN AND A WOMAN

Bono says the inspiration was to mix the Clash and Marvin Gaye, which creates a very warm feel; there's more falsetto at the end and a great bass line. It's a love song to Bono's wife, with telling lyrics like, "I could never take a chance of losing love to find romance, I could never understand the mysterious distance between a man and a woman".

Key lyric: "The only pain is to feel nothing at all."

CRUMBS FROM YOUR TABLE

More trademark Edge guitar graffiti all over the place on the kind of driving rock song commercial radio will wet its pants over. Impassioned lyrics about the AIDS crisis (Bono mentions by name a Sister Anne he met in a Ugandan AIDS hospice) heighten the mood with a chorus that runs, "I'd believe it if I was able, but I'm living on the crumbs from your table". Big ending too.

Key lyric: "Where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die."

ONE STEP CLOSER

Another song about Bono's father (Noel Gallagher inspired the title when he told Bono his father was "one step closer to knowing", this slow-burning track could have slipped on to Rattle and Hum; a mixture of guitar and strings that never kicks in, despite threatening to.

Key lyric: "A heart that hurts is a heart that beats."

ORIGINAL OF THE SPECIES

Interesting arrangement -- this keeps building to become a traditional U2 epic, complete with strings, an anthemic feel and some "do do do's" for good measure. The Edge says the song is partially about his daughter Holly; Bono is her godfather. Bono sings, "I want a lot of what you've got, I want nothing that you're not" and "Everywhere you go you shout it, you don't have to be shy about it".

Key lyric: "Some things you shouldn't get too good at, like smiling, crying and celebrity."

YAHWEH

Once again, very Unforgettable Fire. It's your big rock song (very U2) albeit with a folky edge (very U2) taking its title from the Hebrew word for God (very U2). Bono says in religious history, Yahweh isn't meant to be spoken but hopes he got around it by singing it. The final line runs, "No man can own, no man can take, take this heart and make it break".f

Key lyric: "Take this soul stranded in some skin and bone and make it sing; take this mouth so quick to criticise and give it a kiss."

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (Universal) out Nov 22.

FANS should keep an eye out for a limited-edition Atomic Bomb box set, which comes with a 48-page book full of Bono's drawings, a bonus track (Fast Cars), and a DVD with documentary footage plus live acoustic performances of Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own and the Edge and Bono playing Vertigo on a banjo.

The album's third single will be released in May on the same day their first single for Island Records was released 25 years ago -- to celebrate that record's silver jubilee.

Oh, and they have included Australia on their next world tour -- expect them here this time next year.


Couple of comments:
- the mystery that is Crumbs From Your Table. I don't get it. Some reviews say that it is one of the weakest tracks of the album, some say that it is the highlight
- Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own lyrics sound amazing
- Edge and Bono playing on banjo???
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Old 10-21-2004, 02:22 AM   #3
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whoa thanks dude! This is gonna be huge! (like I say after every review)
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Old 10-21-2004, 02:40 AM   #4
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Original of the Species!

I've heard 10 seconds of this song on a 60 minutes interview from Australia. I love this song! I noticed it from the lyrics "Everywhere you go you shout it, you don't have to be shy about it." Ahh what a great ballad this will be......
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Old 10-21-2004, 02:45 AM   #5
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bono and edge playing Vertigo on a banjo!

Wow this album is going to be huge, I like all the lyrics, very AB!
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Old 10-21-2004, 03:02 AM   #6
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I've got heart palipatations I'm so excited! I don't think I'm going to make it to the 23rd....good lord.
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Old 10-21-2004, 03:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by AussieU2fanman
Original of the Species!

I've heard 10 seconds of this song on a 60 minutes interview from Australia. I love this song! I noticed it from the lyrics "Everywhere you go you shout it, you don't have to be shy about it." Ahh what a great ballad this will be......
Did you only hear OOTS or did you here more samples?
Is the interview online? I want to hear it to!
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Old 10-21-2004, 03:31 AM   #8
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so how many of you have already ordered the limited edition for amazon? Vertigo+banjo? that is totally worth the extra money - not to mention fast cars
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Old 10-21-2004, 03:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by AussieU2fanman
Original of the Species!

I've heard 10 seconds of this song on a 60 minutes interview from Australia. I love this song! I noticed it from the lyrics "Everywhere you go you shout it, you don't have to be shy about it." Ahh what a great ballad this will be......

Yeah, that clip that we looked at in a recent thread has turned out to be OOTS after all..excellent
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Old 10-21-2004, 03:55 AM   #10
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what clip?
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Old 10-21-2004, 03:58 AM   #11
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Look for a thread in one of the U2 album forums entitled "Everywhere You Go" there is a link to an interview, and a clip of OOTS is played, about 15 secs or so.
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:05 AM   #12
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Could you provide a link to that thread? I can't seem to find it. Thanks!
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:07 AM   #13
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City Of Blinding Lights downtempo? Then the uptempo songs must be ass-kicking!!!
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:13 AM   #14
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sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/sixtyminutes/stories/2001_03_04/story_297.asp

Copy and paste the URL. At 4:20 of the clip Bono starts playing Original of the Species in his car. Very nice, but a little too ATYCLB-ish for me. The riff is great, though. Although Edge said he had to rewrite the chords for the chorus.
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:15 AM   #15
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Thanks a lot
Also thanks for putting down the reviews here djerdap!
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:22 AM   #16
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Perhaps it seems a little ATYCLBish because that interview is from 2001
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:34 AM   #17
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The stars are in your eyes, I see them when you smile, I had enough of the antidote to give it up for a miracle drug

So this is what he sings in the beach-clip nice....
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:42 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Herco
The stars are in your eyes, I see them when you smile, I had enough of the antidote to give it up for a miracle drug

So this is what he sings in the beach-clip nice....
Guess that puts an end to the "Miracle Drug lyrics are stolen from Lionel Richie" speculation. Good.
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:43 AM   #19
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Wow, i heard that clip that was mentioned.......
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:44 AM   #20
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'I had enough of the antidote to give it up for a miracle drug?'

Listen to the Beach clip, it really doesn't sound right at all! It must be a slightly different chorus.
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