So the new U2 CD is titled No Line on the Horizon but the band’s 12th studio release is anything but fuzzy and unclear! They are back on top of their game and coming out to reclaim the World’s Biggest Rock Band title. Radiohead and Coldplay gave it a good run last year. However, In Rainbows took forever for me to settle into and Viva La Vida instantly became my favorite CD but NLOTH does something something special: it gets increasingly better each time I listen to it. I had the thought my 2nd time through that was: This set of songs are going to be ridiculous live! U2’s performance of Breathe tonight on Letterman is a definite indication that they think so too!
I keep hearing it over and over again, that this CD is much more experimental than ATYCLB and HTDAAB and that got me uber-psyched but what I found was really surprising. U2 definitely comes out with some surprises but they do it in a way that keeps their identity in tact. I compare it to Achtung Baby and not so much Pop and Zooropa. The latter felt pushed and yet Achtung felt like an evolution. This feels stretching so there are some pains here but well worth it in the end. Overall, this CD feels much more fluid and a complete work than HTDAAB did and perhaps even ATYCLB. I think longtime fans will be happy of the throwback sounds of Unforgettable Fire and glad for the change up. Others are going to hate it.
- No line on the horizon – Instantly I hated this song. Then I fell in love with it. What an incredible opener! Sets a beautiful pace for the CD and that you’re in for something a bit different here!
- Magnificent – Again, such an odd and surprising opener here for a song that ends up immediately as a recognizable U2 staple!
- Moment of Surrender – Trade in the guitar for big key/pads/synth yummy goodness. Begin ballad.
- Unknown Caller – I love the slow build, very Joshua Tree-ish then again with a twist.
- I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight – This will be a big sing along live! It does sound more ATYCLBish but better.
- Get On Your Boots – Yeah you’ve heard this one!
- Stand Up Comedy – Gnarly, funky, one of my favorites. This will be an arena live wonderblast your face off! Try not to nod along to it or hit those high lines! I dare you!
- Fez – Being Born – This one is a bit confusing. I’m still trying to makes sense of it.
- White as Snow – Absolutely stunning. My heart rate slows. My mind settles. I breathe a little easier. I’m on my back porch swing in the cool of the day in October. Totally unexpected!
- Breathe – Played Monday on Letterman. Again, I get the sense that this CD was written to be played. 1st time around and I’m kind of like, ‘So what.’ More and more though I’m just impressed and really wanting to be there live as they play it! I thought tonight’s performance was stellar!
- Cedars of Lebanon – A spoken floetry-esque calm period at the end of an impressive piece of work!
Overall, I like the return to clean delay guitar and big pads and insane vocals. I’m pleased with the production quality. My biggest gripes with HTDAAB was that it sounded like the finished product was just overall poor. Not that the songs or the actual music content was bad but the ‘finishing’ of the CD was poor. That’s not the case here!
Don’t make the mistake of passing up on No Line On the Horizon.