Sunday, April 12, 2009

Review: No Line On the Horizon

I was born to sing for you, I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up and sing whatever song you wanted me to... (U2-Magnificent)

I was in college in 1983 when I first heard U2 and the album War. Back then MTV actually introduced us to music and the video to New Years Day got allot of air play. I loved the video, their sound and the way the band was clad in coats and fingerless gloves playing that great tune in the snow and cold. I quickly purchase War and fell in love with the band's music. I remember listening to the CD through headphones in a study room with other fellow students. The song Like a Song came on and a fellow student also listening through his headphones played air drums perfectly to the beginning of the song. It's funny the things you remember.

Since the early days have I been a fan following the band throughout the various stages. I've only got to see them twice through the years; once on each tour for The Joshua Tree and All That You Can't Leave Behind. The band has been solid throughout with only missteps in the mid-90's with Zooropa and Pop. The former had some very good moments, but the later didn't work for me at all. The band has been particularly strong this decade with now it's 3rd strong release.

I had been looking forward to hearing No Line on the Horizon, in particular when I saw the producers were Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite. These guys have directed and sculpted the U2 sound and seem to be able to bring out the best in the band. In particular, I have always been a big fan of Daniel Lanois's work. I love the work he did on Bob Dylan's Oh Mercy and Time Out of Mind; Robbie Robertson's self title debut; The Neville Brothers' Yellow Moon; Emmylou Harrison's Wrecking Ball; Peter Gabriel's Us and So; and of course U2's various albums.

As I said previously, this CD is the third solid release of the decade. No Line On The Horizon stands well beside both All That You Can't Leave Behind and How To Dismantle An Automic Bomb. This is my favorite release of the year so far.

  • No Line On the Horizon - A great opening song, upbeat with classic U2 sound; the lyrics comparing a girl to the sea; a great line "I hear the universe in her sea shells"

  • Magnificent - A perfect pop song; great dance floor/disco beat; excellent lyrics and vocals by Bono.

  • Moment of Surrender - A mid-tempo spiritual song, with very soulful singing.

  • Unkown Caller - Another classic whose lyrics seem to be about surviving those early hours when you are alone with no one to talk with

  • I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight - Another perfect radio friendly song, along the lines of Stuck In a Moment

  • Get On Your Boots - As an introduction single for the album, I admit I was skeptical; the song is not near as a good single as Vertigo and sounded like it could have been on Pop; However I think the song works better listening through the whole CD

  • Stand Up Comedy - A strong upbeat song

  • FEZ-Being Born - U2 - After a very dreamy, atmospheric beginning the song really kicks in;

  • White As Snow - A slower mid-tempo song.

  • Breathe - Another powerful classic U2 sounding song.

  • Cedars of Lebanon - A dreamy landscape

U2 - Magnificent (Letterman)

U2 - I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Letterman)

Rolling Stone Review

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