Album Review: U2 'No Line On The Horizon'

February 19, 2009


Before I introduce you to the new U2 album and my opinions, I feel that I must first share this with you.

I am a child of the 80's.

When I was young and impressionable, I was hypnotized by the glorious waves of Jon Bon Jovi's hair.

I was submerged in the 80's Hair Metal of the time, and there was no room in my cassette collection for a band from Ireland named U2. They weren't pretty, they didn't use Aquanet and there was not spandex to be found. If you asked me about U2, I just said... "They SUCK".

I realize it's not the most educated answer, but I was young and stupid (kinda like A-Rod ;>)

Over the years, I have opened my eyes and ears to all types of music.

When I was a roadie, I worked for everyone from B.B. Kind to Tito Puente, and being exposed to so many various types of music really opened my eyes to a world that I never knew existed. I grew up in Leominster, listening to Slippery When Wet until my ears bled, I was sheltered!

Now that I've been on the air at WAAF for almost 11 years, and the Music Director for over 5 years...

I can finally appreciate U2 for what they are, and what they have achieved. They are, the biggest band of our generation, and they didn't get there because 'they suck'. They are always trying new things, sometimes it's good, sometimes not... But, you have to applaud their willingness to experiment.

I feel like I owe them a big "I'm sorry" for all of the times that I blurted out "They SUCK"

However, just because I can appreciate their music, doesn't mean that I am their biggest fan. I, like many people, sometimes wish Bono would just 'shut up and sing', but at the same time, I commend him for his commitment to the issues that are important to him. They are not my favorite band, and to U2 fans, I sound like an idiot... I know. But they do have some songs that I really like.

I'm listening to the new album 'No Line On The Horizon' for the first time, right now. While I am no expert on U2, here's what i think:

1. No Line On The Horizon- It grabs you from the first bar. The drums are hypnotic. Right away I can tell that this album has been produced, mixed and mastered by the best. It sounds full, it's interesting. It will sound WAY better in my Bose headphones than on the old speakers in my office. I love the bass drum sound, I hate a bad drum sound. You just have to listen to St. Anger to know what I mean.

2. Magnificent- At first it reminds me of Puscifer 'Queen B', but that soon fades to reveal the true sound of U2. You can't mistake The Edge's guitar sound for anything else. You can tell this song is going to sound great LIVE.

3. Moment of Surrender- This song was meant for some psychadelic visuals. I can picture Hsu at home with his favorite bong, listening to this song... over and over again. It's over 7 minutes long, plenty of time to pack the bowl twice. It's an introspective song and Bono managed to sing about an ATM machine and make it sound cool. Not an easy thing to do.

4. Unknown Caller- Â Not my favorite song on the album. It's ok, but the chorus is a bit weird. Like I said in my disclaimer... Some of this goes over my head.

5. I'll Go Crazy If I don't Go Crazy Tonight- There's something familiar about this guitar part, and I can't figure it out. Bono better get on the treadmill, some of these verses are long and there really isn't any place for him to breathe. He's going to need to be in tip top shape to pull this song off live. He's a pro, he'll figure it out.

6. Get On Your Boots- This is the first single, and the most 'mainstream' of all the songs. It's very polarizing... You guys have been split right down the middle, half love it, half don't. I'm still convinced Bob Hannah wrote this song for Maria Stephanos.

7. Stand Up Comedy- I like this guitar from the start. It's cool. This song has a great groove, you can't not move something when you listen to it. I'm still amazed at how good this album sounds 'production wise'. Every little sound is crystal clear, and it's layered with great details. My headphones are going to love it.

8. Fez-Being Born- You gotta love any song that referances the Fez... It's the underrated, 'ugly kid' in the hat family. It doesn't get the love it deserves, except from the Shriners. I'm not really sure where this song goes, but... like I said... You gotta love a good Fez.

9. White As Snow- Bono is telling a story about his childhood. While I usually don't like their slower stuff, this song has something about it that I really like. It talks about hunting, Sarah Palin will love this one, But she probably hates Bono, I wonder if she is still listening to Slippery When Wet?

10. Breathe- This is one of my favorite songs on the album. It's got another great vibe to it. The chorus is sweet sounding, and it just flows. While I'm listening, I get a text from my friend Smitty, with a joke... "Stoner asks his Grandma, have you seen my pills? They are marked LSD. Grandma says "F*ck the pills, have you seen the dragons in the kitchen?" It made me laugh, I thought I would share. I really like this song.

11. Cedars Of Lebanon- If I were listening to this on my headphones I would think Bono was sitting next to me, his vocals are way up front, he's almost whispering. It's soft, the chorus isn't my favorite, but the verses are interesting, like... "this sh*tty world sometimes produces a rose"... and, "soldier brings oranges he brought from a tank"

Overall, if you like U2... you'll probably like this album. If you don't, you may like a couple songs, but it's not a far departure from what they do best. Listen to it with an open mind, or you can just crank up 'You give love a bad name!"