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Old 11-06-2004, 07:27 PM   #1
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I need a Michael G. review

Are ya gonna post soon or what ?Write us a poem about that wonderful album.

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Old 11-06-2004, 07:29 PM   #2
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I'm also looking forward to hearing his take on the new album.
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Old 11-06-2004, 07:32 PM   #3
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I'm sure he took couple of hours just to write a few lines about it...we'll have it in 4 years I always like his reviews.

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Old 11-07-2004, 04:04 AM   #4
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Where are you Michael???

I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the album too
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Old 11-07-2004, 05:57 AM   #5
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I eagerly await as well
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Old 11-07-2004, 06:24 AM   #6
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I'm on pins and needles waiting for it.



No seriously, who would put all these pins and needles on my chair......
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Old 11-07-2004, 02:30 PM   #7
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Hey everyone, I haven't written a review or anything, but thanks for the request! Wow, now the pressure of it all.... Here are my impressions so far...

This is perhaps the best album a band over 40 has ever put out. Let's get a few things out of the way first: First, in a few years, possibly a few months, and maybe even in a few weeks from now, 'One Step Closer' will be regarded as the album's 'Heartland', its 'Running To Stand Still', its hidden treasure. This is Bomb's secret masterpiece. This is probably the most honest and certainly the most couragous song U2 has ever recorded. It sounds like The Smashing Pumpkins' 'Thirty-Three' meeting 'The First Time'. It has something that today's mainstream bands lack: Gut wrenching vocals, evocative imagery, and a stripped rawness that hasn't been ruined by heavy production. This is a song Johnny Cash would have been proud to sing. The only brush strokes that have been added are there only to add colour and dimension. Edge's soft arpeggios have Daniel Lanois written all over them. "Can you hear the drummer slowing...", combined with the stubborn kick back of Larry's drums, evokes a silent hope and determination in spite of the ominous finish. The light might be flickering out, but we don't know if it's gone forever or whether we just can't see it anymore. That's why the song is so honest. We are left without an answer, despite the temptation for the band to have not restrained themselves and gone for a tradional U2 explosive finish.

Second thing: 'Crumbs For Your Table' reveals its genius gradually. This song would be a big commerical radio hit, but you'd never guess that on first listen. It's got an arrangement that shows itself brighter and more vivid with each listen. The way Bono sings "You speak, of signs and wonders...." burries itself into the psyche and bursts with a light that seemingly breaks out of nowhere. It catches off guard. Listening to this song is like chipping away at a new rock until you find the shape of an old figure inside that you always knew was there, a carving that reflects something that eventually looks so familiar yet was once hidden.

Third thing: This album has manged to accomplish the unthinkable: Despite being largely derivative, it hasn't compromised itself musically. Only U2 could pull such a thing off. At least I have never witnessed it in any other band. There are pieces of 'Electrical Storm' here, parts of 'Ultraviolet' there, beats of 'Where The Streets Have No Name' and slide guitars from 'Tomorrow'. This is like a U2 best of album, but the songs are brand new. How do you take something old and make it new? It's like dismantling an atomic bomb and putting it back together even after the explosion; like putting the atom back together which has already been split. This could be one of their most innovative albums simply for this reason.

Fourth thing: The track running order is the best of any album not called Achtung Baby.

'Mirracle Drug' starts with lyrics that are both brilliant and a little clumsy ("I want to trip inside your head / Spend the day there / To hear the things you haven’t said," brilliant; "Freedom has a scent / Like the top of a new born baby’s head," clumsy), but it simultaneously redeems itself with a burst of drums and Joshua Tree cinematography. Edge's broad splices of panorama wide screan really make this song, which is why I wish they had repeated the final outro once more. That's where the song could have reached the heights of a 'With or Without You' or an 'All I Want Is You'. Some restrain is good, but here it was a little too much for an otherwise great song.

'Sometimes You Can't Make It...' is nothing like 'One' or 'Stuck' despite the comparisons. I'm not sure if this is an obvious single. It could go either way. I think it's a brilliant song in any case. Bono at his most emotional without coming across as sentimental. A tricky business, to be sure. 'You're the reason why the opera is in me." is part of the same DNA of a line which later appears in 'Yahweh': "Take this soul / Stranded in some skin and bones / Take this soul / And make it sing" Here, Bono is indeed stranded in skin and bone. But he can sing. A very personal song, again extremely honest, a song that may be a big single or might be too sparse for commercial radio.

I believe 'Love and Peace or Else' is the best sure fire bet for a chart topping hit on this album, if that sort of thing really matters. I can picture this song being played in night clubs across the world. The thumping animal bass is a bit sinister...and this is a song that sounds like it came together organically in the studio, which cannot be said of 'Sometimes', which sounds as though Bono wrote it on his own and then brought it in for reshaping. 'Love and Peace' is by far the most adventurous song. Just U2 allowing themselves to be serious in a playful sort of way.

'City of Blinding Lights' is the song the tour will be remembered for. This song could also be a chart topping hit, much the same way as Coldplay's 'Clocks' was, as it has a near combination of melody, urgency, and a killer falsetto in just the right place. The melodic bass guitar is also an essential quality to this track, something that U2's best songs have always had. This song might be the best song on the album, but it has some tough competition. It's certainly the most dynamic.

'All Because of You' would only be another Who-type cover song if it weren't for Edge's Achtung Baby guitar splicing and slicing its way through the underbelly of Bono's imagery. This combined with Bono's stunning lyrical work makes for a superb track - and a denoument to the best first six songs ever placed on a U2 record.

I actually quite like 'A Man and a Woman'. It's perfectly placed after 'All Because of You'. An acoustic refreshment. To give an idea how great I think this album is - most bands would release a song such as this as their first single. It's a good, 7/10 song. It would be a great sountrack song for a big hollywood movie. Yet it is the weakest song on this record in my opinion, which goes to show the album's greatness.

'Original of the Species' pefectly follows 'One Step Closer', and it serves to remind ourselves that this song could be a huge single, yet it is found near the very end of the album. This is U2's best 2nd half of an album ever. Every track matters. This is a song that reminds me of Billy Joel's 'She's Always a Woman' and a number of the Beatles' classic songs due to its production. I think it would be even better if it were stripped down, but it's still great. "Everywhere you go, you shout it / You don't have to be shy about it," reminds me of some female classic rock singers of years past, strangely...but this is a good thing. I hear this song as something Bono wrote from Bob Hewson's perspective about a young Bono. I don't think it's simply about Edge's daughter. U2 is never simple though! In any case, another classicu U2 song.

'Yahweh' is the only song on the album that sounds a bit forced to me. It is uplifting and has a chorus that gets more and more infectious on repeated listening; the lyrics are great, but it sounds almost embelished. It's not a weak song at all, though, and by any other band's standards, it's a beautiful closer. By U2's standards, I was expecting a touch more for this one. Nonetheless, 9 great to classic songs on an album isn't exactly something to complain about!

The classic tracks off How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb:

1. One Step Closer
2. City of Blinding Lights
3. Love and Peace or Else

The rest of the songs approach classic status, minus 'Yahweh' and 'A Man and a Woman', both of which are great songs in their own right. Thus, this might be their best album overall, or maybe just shy. It's definitely in the top 3, with Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree. It manages to surpass The Unforgettable Fire, which to me is just amazing. Of course, I may have a different view in a year from now.

In summary, How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb, U2's third masterpiece, has the best first six songs ever placed on a U2 album. Moreover, 'Crumbs for your Table', 'One Step Closer', and 'Original of the Species', arguably make it the best 2nd half of any U2 album ever made. So you do the math (ah, if only it were actually that simple). For a band to accomplish this feat 25 years into their career is in itself beyond an appropriate superlative.

Okay, I guess that was kinda' a review, wasn't it?

Now everyone go and by the album the day it comes out!
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Old 11-07-2004, 02:33 PM   #8
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ooops, nm. you already posted.

*goes to read it*
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Old 11-07-2004, 02:48 PM   #9
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Thanks, Michael. As usual you have said it better than I ever could.

I'm definitely planning to buy the album the day it comes out. I would have waited if I didn't need to hear this so very badly right now. I've been having such a crappy time lately, what with the election and the encroaching darkness of winter. This is food for my soul and it gives me hope that I can make it through this sad time.
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Old 11-07-2004, 03:13 PM   #10
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great critique MG...I'm in complete agreement on the 3 classic tracks, but I'd add 'Original of the Species'.
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Old 11-07-2004, 03:19 PM   #11
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I think your fandom is showing a bit.

This album will be primarily remembered for Vertigo.
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Old 11-07-2004, 03:23 PM   #12
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Who the fuck is this guy anyway? *shrugs*


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Old 11-07-2004, 03:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by RobVox
Who the fuck is this guy anyway? *shrugs*

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I hope you're talking about zig zag...
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Old 11-07-2004, 03:33 PM   #14
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Hey, glad (some of ) you blue-crack-heads liked the review. Zig Zag, fair enough. But that's to be expected, being a U2 fan forum. Besides, I can't be that unobjective: 'I rate 'Miracle Drug' on the same level as 'Crumbs for your Table' - both great songs, but 'MD' is certainly not the next 'With or Without You' everyone seems to be claiming it to be!

And Calluna, thanks for the kind words. Yeah, it's been a bit of tough going the past couple weeks, hasn't it? Thank God for this album!
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Old 11-07-2004, 03:37 PM   #15
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I liked your review MG, especially your thoughts on OSC.
That's one of my favs early on...
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Old 11-07-2004, 03:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by mofo82
great critique MG...I'm in complete agreement on the 3 classic tracks, but I'd add 'Original of the Species'.
Yeah, 'Original' is a terrific song. If it weren't for all that production, I would have definitely included it as a classic. I think the piano Apple conference version was incredible.

Oh, and Zig Zag, forgot to say.... I think if you took any of the best songs off the album and used it as the first single, this album would have been remembered for that song. Don't forget, The Unforgettable Fire is primarily remembered for 'Pride', since that was the big single from it. But generally from a fan's perspective, it is remembered for 'Bad'. That's all I was getting at (with 'One Step Closer').
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Old 11-07-2004, 03:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by tkramer
I liked your review MG, especially your thoughts on OSC.
That's one of my favs early on...
Hey, thanks tkramer. I think it's a song that really needs to be stepped inside of to appreciate. Listening to it on headphones as I went to sleep last night....haunting.
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Old 11-07-2004, 03:47 PM   #18
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Michael - your review, your reflection on One Step Closer, thank you for sharing your gift of insights and writing. Thank you!
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Old 11-07-2004, 03:58 PM   #19
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thanks for the review michael. i'm gonna try to wait to listen to sometimes you can't, one step closer, crumbs, and man and a woman. not sure why but i don't want too much of a good thing all at once i guess.
regarding miracle drug, i agree there might be a weird lyric or two but i think that the choruses/ stunning guitar solo with the background moaning and the part that comes right after it (ie the beach clip section) has to be amongst the most absolutely beautiful - awe inspiring - celestial moments of any band or music ever!!
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Old 11-07-2004, 04:13 PM   #20
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Love the review, completely agree re: AMAAW.

However, One Step Closer is a dull and repetitive song. Most certainly not one of the top 3, and IMO, drags the second half of the album down. I'd rather listen to Yahweh than OSC. So there.

It's all good.
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