Sunday, 1 March 2009

U2 New Album

On the eve of the new U2 album No Line On The Horizon it would be wrong to ignore it and disrespectful not to talk about it.

U2 has been such a massive part of my life, from late night car journeys singing along to every part of Rattle & Hum, to walking into Live 8 hearing the band launch into Beautiful Day, to queuing outside HMW from 7am to get my vinyl copy of Actung Baby, to the horrible world-shattering lows of Zooropa and Pop.

U2 is a band of incredible contrast; never cool yet acceptable, with a like-him or loathe-him front man Bono. I haven’t heard most of the new album but already I’ve heard enough. How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb has some good tracks. I listened to it for three weeks on and off and have never gone back to it. I feel the same way about No Line On The Horizon. I think it will be another one of THOSE albums. U2 always seem to write one cracking single and a few surprises for each album. It keeps you going back for more. The problem this time is Get On Your Boots is NOT that song. Bad vibes from the start.

When R.E.M. released Drive ahead of Automatic For The People, who knew it would be such a wonderfully diverse album? I hope for the same. U2 need a really great album. Not that they need it, they will sell anyway (although the single hasn’t - they are an album band after all so that explains that one?). Strangely then, there seems to be a lot of hype and urgency surrounding the new album, as if the band know they have to work to get people to like it (and them). Maybe it is an album worth fighting for.

The band played a ‘secret’ ‘unplanned’ and ‘unpublicised’ rooftop gig in the London. That explains why 7000 people turned up, including music journalists who had rooms in the hotel opposite with a live sound feed. And the BBC filmed the whole thing from a helicopter. They just happened to have one lying around. U2 has appeared on the BBC a lot in the last few weeks and are now labelled ‘the biggest band on the planet’. I thought that was Coldplay. Or was that yesterday? Anyway you are only as good as your last album and this one with prove it.

The NME has given No Line On The Horizon 7/10 but that is no surprise. The music industry is at odds these days. It is just too obvious to slag off an unfashionable band so the trend is to do the unfashionable thing and not give it 1/10. Call me a cynic (and I like to think I am not - a realist maybe but not overtly cynical), but I do hope NME are at last ‘growing up’ and U2 are (getting) back to some kind of best.


Ultan said...

Ok Im not sure what you were trying to get accross on the New U2 album.
like you, I've been a Fan as long as I could actually listen to music so your Review (if thats what you'd call it) doesn't actually review anything musically.

You didn't mention the new departure the band have taken who they worked with during the making of the new Album and what that brought to the Album.

It is my Humble opinion that you are stuck in past hoping that another "Actung Baby" be produced.

Well as a Fan you'd know that that will never happen as that is not how the Band work.

Tell me what you didnt like about the Music not the PR setup!!!!

"You don't know, you dont get it do you?"

Frankly I like this album alot more than their previous offering and I would go as far as to say that yes indeed possibly since Actung Baby but unlike you I'll mention the tracks that I think are a worth listen.

The album opens up with the title Track which in fairnes hooks me in wondering what else they have in store for me the listener.

Magnificent has great potental as a anthem with the use of Keyboard and a beautifully crafted Guitar Riff which breaks into a fantastic Solo its a stadium tune and it will suit U2s Media pefectly.

Moment of Surrender is the next track and at over 7 minutes long I was worried that it might end up dying, it didn't and it flows so naturally as a track on its own that it only feels like 4 minutes your average duration. Its slower in pace to the first two but that doesn't take from the Vocals in fact it adds something, the chorus is classic U2 and almost comforting The bass line is subtle there is a string section also playing which adds a little twist to the track.

Unknown caller is slow to get off the ground its a bit like they are just messing around with the instruments but it builds up to a great Tune with a Chanting which sticks in your head well after the
track is over.

I'll go Crazy is more from the "all that you cant leave behind" but saying that is a good track and again the strings add something positive, an average U2 track.

Get on your boots: As much as I like this Track its 4 years to late if you go back to "Atomic Bomb" the last track on that Album would have been a great starting point on this Album and listening to Get on you Boots its a very Atomic Bomb esq. I think that its probably the poorest track on the Album why the band decided to realease that as the teaser I'm not sure but mabe they figured that if they can sell that one then the rest will stand over Boots and make a different statement.

I was not crazy about "stand up Comedy" but am giving it time to possibly grow on me I'm no sure it will.

"Fez" I loved It had a reminising quality about it which blew me away like a residual memory, and then takes on a life of its own and is possibly the strongest track on the album. You can almost feel Morocco as you listen and also something which is missed by alot of the CRITICS,that U2 dont find it easy making an Album and that can be felt here almost tangably, a bit like "ONE" when something beautiful happens.

White as snow is definitly a story and u2 are known to have produced some very interestng music,(with or without you) the use of horns here is moving, it could be the influence of Brian Eno who for the first time got involved with the actaul writing of the music.I really liked the harmonies in this.

Breathe is again a classic U2 song with blasting Guitar.

Cedars is experimenting with simple sounds the voice almost spoken a very faint riff of a guitar a millitary Drum beat and a falsetto of a chorus, nice interesting and different which is what we should come to expect from U2, because nothing stays the same.

One of my hang ups is that the Lyrics are a either a little to abstract or maybe just I'm being picky but they dont seem to resonate the power of the songs as a whole but all in all a good album well worth at least 4 listens before you throw it out and by the fourth you'll have fallin for it so it will never be chucked out.

Chris said...

Great comment. Thanks. One of the best on my blog so far...

Just to make things clear, my post is not a review of the album, and it was never intended to be. I have heard some of it but not got a copy yet. All my *reviews* do actually talk about the music.

I thought that I would preview the release of the album and talk about all the events leading up to it, since I haven't heard it fully. I never review albums I haven't listened to. Kind of a rule of mine :)

Anyway, I don't have to now - you reviewed it for me :p