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Old 11-24-2004, 06:36 AM   #1
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Not so glowing review of HTDAAB

So I open my newspaper this morning and there is a review of the new album. It is by a music critic that actually knows good music and therefore has earned my respect.

I know her to give praise to artists when warranted and to callout artists who put out less than stellar work.

Well, she is one of the few brave critics that aren't clammoring to say that HTDAAB is the "best album ever."

Before you go on a rampage read the review ... it's a well thought out piece and from what she writes, it's clear she is quite familiar with U2. And before you go on a rampage, remember it's a review . It's one person's opinion ... and aren't we all entitled to our opinions.

U2's new album can't save the world
But 'Atomic Bomb' is pretty good anyway

By GEMMA TARLACH, Journal Sentinel pop music critic

News flash: The new U2 album does not cure cancer.

The latest disc from Ireland's Fab Four will not thin your thighs, cover your bald spot or help you refinance your home at a rock-bottom rate.

"How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" doesn't quite stand up to the hype tsunami that accompanied its release Tuesday. But the album should satisfy U2 fans - and there are millions of them - who like their Bono stirring, not shaking things up.

Creatively, "Atomic" is a step back from 2000's brilliant "All That You Can't Leave Behind" - itself largely a return to form after the band wandered too far off the uplifting guitar-rock road.

Lacking "All That's" reflective cohesiveness, "Atomic" moves instead in many directions, all of them familiar to fans and none of them as daring as anything that found its way onto 1997's "Pop" experiment.

The lead single "Vertigo" and "All Because of You" recall the sexy-frenetic rock U2 perfected on 1991's "Achtung Baby."

"City of Blinding Lights" is a less impassioned variation of "Where the Streets Have No Name," from the band's late-'80s world domination peak.

"Miracle Drug," "One Step Closer" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" strongly evoke "All That's" yearning, restless introspection, a near-contradiction that U2 pulls off better than any other act.

The album's most out-there track, "Love and Peace or Else," flip-flops lyrically between U2's signature white-flag politics ("Lay down your guns/All your daughters of Zion/All your Abraham sons") and a messy personal relationship ("It's just me and you/You can call or I'll phone"), but the metaphor comes up short. Musically, however, the song swaggers with bluesy bravado, at times reminiscent of "Daddy's Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car," from 1993's "Zooropa."

While Bono is still capable of letting loose a melodic yelp of youthful indignation, the singer spends most of the album sounding a little more world-weary. That's a good thing - too many of his peers posture like they're still 21, but Bono's delivery makes the material more intimate and, on wistful songs such as "A Man and a Woman," more credible.

Bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. perform solidly, content to leave the spotlight to Bono and The Edge's omnipresent but tasteful guitar - and why not? It's the formula that has done best for the band over the last quarter-century.

Clocking in at a mere 50 minutes, "Atomic" still feels a bit padded, particularly toward the end with "Original of the Species" and "Yahweh," two songs chock full of U2 trademarks - chiming guitars, hushed verses and soaring choruses.

Yet neither song - and, arguably, "Atomic" overall - advances U2's already formidable legacy as the longest-running rock quartet that matters.

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Old 11-24-2004, 07:50 AM   #2
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I agree the album moves in a lot of directions at once. and to make this U2's greatest ever, that's a problem. but Vertigo and ABOY is nothing like AB. Boy, maybe. COBL is only like Streets in that it has a big build up. otherwise it is more pop. One Step Closer and Crumbs is arguably more AB than ATYCLB, but honestly I think those are newer stylistically than anything else on the album.

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Old 11-24-2004, 07:57 AM   #3
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so this guy's saying they should be more like pop, which all the critics hated... ponderous... f'ing ponderous... i hate critics
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Old 11-24-2004, 08:16 AM   #4
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'original of the species' is hardly *padding*. it's my favourite of the bunch.

oh well, can't please everyone all the time.
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Old 11-24-2004, 08:31 AM   #5
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to be honest, its a fair review and an intelligent one.
i'm not saying i agree with her (too much of a comparison to the "brilliant" ATYCLB, i think its good - not a hater here - but HTDAAB is far superior all round) but its not a ravaging or overly critical review either.
each to their own i say
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Old 11-24-2004, 08:54 AM   #6
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I actually like reading the critical reviews. It makes me listen MORE to the songs, to try and find if there's any truth to what they're saying. Rather than maybe being blinded by the fact that im a die hard fan!
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Old 11-24-2004, 09:05 AM   #7
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I'm sorry but she described ATYCLB as "brilliant"? If anything out there is brilliant, it's AB. Atomic may prove to be as brilliant very soon!

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