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Start at the beach and end at a graveyard

  • Mar 23, 2009
  • by
In the seventeen years (and counting) that I have been a fan of U2 I have noticed that all U2 fans do not stand united with regards to the style of music they enjoy to hear from U2. Allow me to elaborate, U2 music can fall into two different categories (and these categories have subtext and layers), rock and roll is the first category and outlandish experimentation is the second category. It is then a safe assumption to claim that there are two different types of U2 fans the ones that prefer straight up rock and roll or the ones who are totally open to musical experimentation. Of course there are the fans that don't care one way or the other what type of music U2 makes as long as it is good.

"No Line on the Horizon" is the twelfth album from these Irish boys and this collection of songs definitely falls into the category of musical experimentation. When I first listened to this album I felt mildly disappointed because it seems like there was no variations from one song to the next. Upon every listen afterwards I noticed that each song began to take life of its own. My pseudo-disappointment has now metamorphosis to a devotion of this album. I truly believe that this is the best work U2 has done in almost ten years and on it's way to becoming an all time classic.

Their last two albums All That You Can't Leave Behind and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb I loved, but I wasn't "in love" with them. In other words there were some classic songs, but I felt like the collections of work/albums had no theme. "No Line on the Horizon" has this thematic quality about it touching love, devotion, spirituality, death, silliness and satire. This album really falls into the same realm of Achtung Baby, Zooropa and even Pop. Now realm doesn't translate to "sounding the same", rather it is a step into musical experimentation, which all the prior listed albums represent. NLOTH leaves me tranquilized and energized.

As for the songs on NLOTH they fluctuate in sound. There is a rock and roll element to the music but there is also an "alternative-electronic" sound going on. Perhaps this is due to the production aid of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Perhaps this is due to U2 wanting to shake things up. In addition, some of these tunes don't follow a typical song format, "Fez-Being Born" (amazing song) and "Cedars of Lebanon" are perfect paradigms of this. Another thing I like about this album is Larry and Adam are a force to be reckoned with on their performances.

"Cedars of Lebanon" has a "Love is Blindness"/ "If You Wear that Velvet Dress" feel to it, dark, moody and haunting. This is one of my favorite songs on the album, very deep and moving and features a sample from "Against The Sky" off of The Pearl. As for the lead single "Get on your Boots", I don't know why the reception to this song was so poor. I think this is a fun song in the same vein as "Vertigo" and "The Fly". However GOYB isn't a good representation of NLOTH, because the album really is very deep and thematic where GOYB is a silly electro-rock song. The song on this album that really showcases The Edge is "Magnificent", great guitar.

I have also read and heard lukewarm acclaim about NLOTH and I am not sure why. Do U2 fans really want this band to remake The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby or War? The day U2 starts repeating themselves is probably going to be the day they quit. After their last two albums, it was time for a change. If the band isn't challenged then what is the point of making music? U2 is much bigger a band that just pumps out radio hits. NLOTH took five years to make and I feel the wait was well worth it.

In conclusion, I want to make a reference about how Bono described the 1997 album "Pop" (I can't believe many fans hated this album). He said that the album starts at a party and ends at a funeral. This statement was made with regards to the album starting very jovial and ending very morose. So I would describe NLOTH as starting at dawn at a beach and ending at dusk in a graveyard.

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More No Line On The Horizon reviews
review by . March 12, 2009
posted in Music Matters
Pros: "Magnificent," "Stand Up Comedy," "Breathe"     Cons: Studio magic overwhelming at times     The Bottom Line: Please, no more war songs told from the soldier's point of view.     At this point, the praise for any new U2 record being their best since the legendary Achtung Baby album is redundant. It's been done to death. First they released Zooropa, which was their best since Achtung Baby mainly because it couldn't possibly be false. …
review by . March 05, 2009
posted in Music Matters
Title: No Line On The Horizon  Band: U2  Producer: Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois  Label: Interscope  Parental Advisory: No  If You Can Only Buy One Song Make It: No Line On The Horizon    Unlike most music lovers I'm only an average U2 fan. Oh don't get me wrong: They write great music, but it's not like I've been a loyal fan for their whole career or anything. It's only fairly recently I've gotten into their material, and even then …
review by . March 04, 2009
posted in Music Matters
I've been looking forward to the release of U2's latest album since I first listened to their last album, HOW TO DISMANTLE AN ATOMIC BOMB, about five years ago. U2 is one of the few rock bands that is able to make music that is not only good to listen to, but that is full of spiritual and philosophical meaning and I enjoy most everything of theirs that I've heard.    After having purchased the album and listening to it several times, I admit that I'm a bit disappointed by NO …
review by . March 04, 2009
U2 definitely cares what listeners think of their albums--based on listener reactions, the band corrected "Rattle and Hum" with "Achtung Baby" and "Pop" with "All That You Can't Leave Behind." "No Line on the Horizon" corrects the too-close-to-home "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" by leaving home and then setting up on Mars. Accusations that the result is too airy or hollow miss the point: just as "Achtung Baby" arose from the nowhere-bound aggresso-alienation of the Nineties, "No Line on the Horizon" …
review by . March 04, 2009
Standard U2 brilliance.     Way above average cd, compared to the rest of the world, but only slightly above average in U2-land. It's no "Joshua Tree," but that was just amazing kizmit coming together. NLOTH is still a great cd, though I don't see any "stand-outs" right off-- maybe I need to get back after I listen to it a while. It will be interesting to see what floats to the top of popularity. Powerful music - they are just the kings of the music world. Worth a listen.
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Joshua E Hoppock ()
Ranked #102
It is rather brisk in this field. The leaves are descending like a tapestry of aloof dreams. The wind entices these leaves into a plume of whimsical billowing ontological paradox. Then I recall that I … more
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No Line On The Horizon, the new studio album from U2, will be released on Tues, March 3, 2009. The band’s 12th studio album calls on the production talents of long-time collaborators Brian Eno and Danny Lanois, with additional production by Steve Lillywhite. The album will be available in 5 different packages.

This version is the standard album CD in a plastic jewel case w /24 page color booklet.
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Label: Interscope Records
Artist: U2
Genre: Pop
Release Date: March 3, 2009
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