I mentioned a while back that I had bought the new U2 album "No Line on the Horizon" and would give my thoughts on it at some point. I finally give it here in the hopes that the flood of email to my Inbox requesting it will cease.
I'll end the suspense with the unsurprising verdict that it's very good. I've always really liked U2. "The Joshua Tree" is on my all time list of favorite albums. Like it, most of U2s albums I find to be high quality and very consistent from start to finish. "War," "The Unforgettable Fire," "All That You Can't Leave Behind," "Achtung Baby" are all great to the finish. Try to find a better 10-11-12 finish than Ultraviolet-Acrobat-Love Is Blindness. Good luck.
And so it is with "No Line On the Horizon." Terribly original? Not really. I notice some good Clayton bass lines carrying songs more than i have in the past. But, truth be told, both the Edge and Mullin, Jr. stay pretty close to what they've always done. The thing is, if it ain't broke...
The interesting part, as it always seems to be with U2, is Bono. His voice continues to get weaker as the years go by. Maybe it's all that hard singing over the years. He certainly gives it is all both in the studio and on stage, where he's got a solid legacy as one of the industry's best frontmen. But he doesn't hide from the weakening voice. In "Elevation" from "All that you can't..." he sings "Can't sing but I've got soul, the goal is elevation."
So Bono cranks it up and lets it crack. He knows it's the ooomph that makes him and it's what his fans want from him. He gets some help in the studio, but not from the style of songs the band continues to record and perform.
It took me a few listens through before I warmed to "No Line On the Horizon" but I've grown to really like it. At first I mentioned to someone that it was at least better than just about anything else being put out which drew the response "that's not saying much." But I think it is. How many albums do you find in a year that you buy and want to listen to repeatedly, not just skipping through for one or two songs?
So there it is: I like it. Just like I figured I would.
This is my favorite song on the album: "I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight." Great energy. Lots of fun to listen to. Makes me want to jump around. And it has one of my all time favorite lyrics: "the right to be ridiculous is something I hold dear."
This is my second favorite tune on the album: "Magnificent." It's got all that passion and soul that has made U2 a fan favorite for all these years. nice work by The Edge, too.