Author Topic: Defamer Australia's U2 Expert Delivers Her Verdict On 'No Line On The Horizon'  (Read 14303 times)

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nolinehumper69

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As we enter the DEFCON 1 environs of Universal Music (not really, just hand over your mobile please. And your soul), I can only think that teenage me would really be freaking out right now to be hearing an advance copy of a new U2 album a full month before it becomes ubiquitous out in the world (maybe sooner, if a copyfight happy employee decides to leak it. C’maaaaaan, chumpy!) Adult me is also pretty excited.

Focus! We were only permitted to hear it through once, and the sheer joy I felt afterwards over it not being searingly terrible has forced a lot of critical faculties out of my brain. Still, I would characterise No Line On The Horizon overall as falling firmly in the Achtung Baby/Zooropa/Pop triumvirate (OF AWESOME) with a sprinkling of Boy (also, excellent) and very far from the All That You Can’t Dismantle You Leave Atomic Bombs Behind, or whatever they were called twinset (OF TERRIBLE), with only a few nods to the later 80’s with a lot of OH OH OH OHHHs that surely this band can take a patent out on now.

In due time I will collect my thoughts for a real review closer to the release date, for now I’ll just transcribe my notes:

No Line On The Horizon

U2 have been listening to Kings of Leon. Dirty big Fly-like riff tears out of speakers, masses of percussion upfront in the mix. First of several Boyesque choruses, Oh-oh-oh-oooooh! This song is incredibly loud. Phwoar, good start.

Magnificent

U2 have been listening to the Killers. Oh wait, only a bit. Stomps along at maybe U2’s quickest ever clip, (they’re aren’t really for fast ones though, are they?) a neat 4/4 disco rock beat. THIS is the guitar album they have been banging on about for a decade. Huge riff. Some Real Thingish slide guitar choruses. Is this one of Bono’s God songs? Could definitely be about a woman (very good at that trope now, Bono.) “Only love can leave such a scar.” This is incredibly aptly titled, clever U2. Stadium ready “You and I will make a fire!” This will be a single.

Moment of Surrender

A downtempo, Eno-heavy gospel thing, a soul ballad built on a heavy bass figure and prominent, processed drums. Ok, so everything is on fire (“We’ll set ourselves on fire.”) Right, U2 own this Ohoh oh ooh OOHHHH thing, I got it. “I’ve been down every dark road”, I love it when Bono gets existential, this is my favourite Bono mode. Then he’s on his knees in a revery in the street, “I did not notice them, they did not notice me” perhaps the only time Bono has vocalised a desire for anonymity. “ATM machine”. Well, we all call them that.

Unknown Caller

Birds?? A Morroccan drone. Guitar figure sounds a lot like… Walk On? (AGAST I AM. Still sounds pretty great.) Is this about someone getting mugged? Some kind of tech nightmare, “you know your password, key it in.” Something about making it out alive. “3:33 in the morning and the numbers dropped off the clockface” (here I have double underlined, LOVE THIS. I am glad Bono uses concrete imagery.) Urgent sounding church organ, a horn section (whoa.) First-ever instance of double tracked lead vocals. Double the Bono! (Again I have underlined LOVE THIS.) “Escape yourself and gravity.”

(I am trying very hard to not stare too long or obviously at the photos in the press pack, which is hard because U2 look very handsome in them, especially Adam “Silverfox” Clayton. Edge looks in one like he might punch the photographer. Edge is very good looking. Bono, it is Edge who has a beard. And for God’s sake GET SOME NEW GLASSES. Or a new stylist. Or are you dressing yourself? Stop doing that. I am thinking of starting you a PayPal account.)

I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight

Awesome in spite of immensely stupid title. Bono hits crazy high notes in chorus (see what he did there?) Is this song addressed to anyone in particular? A party girl who longs for a quiet life, but we want her to perform, part of us wants her to go crazy! She’s a rainbow! Leave her alone. A Beatlesque guitar figure, building a very sweet, pop melody and into a rousing “Baby, baby, baby” chorus (love when Bono says ‘baby’ without being ironic.) Will absolutely kill live, “I think I’ll go crazy if I don’t go crazy tonight!” Stomping again. Good good.

Get On Your Boots

Here’s the Elvis Costello song. This is so damn catchy. The tried and tested U2 trick of a lead single not really indicative of the rest of the album. Still love that glam rock riff.

Stand Up Comedy

Dreading this, the worst of the superbad titles. Then, huge Led Zepplin riff, into Stone Roses groove. Most Achtung-like track, big celebratory rock song, amazingly good. We’re at a peace rally. “Stand up for your love!” A big crunchy bass line and McCartney-infused melodies. “Stand up to rock stars!” A pattern emerges: the worse the title, the better the song.

FEZ-Being Born

Sounds like a crowded marketplace, phones are ringing. Recycles ‘Boots’ “let me in the sound!”, underwater. Eno all over. Flat out, exceedingly weird. EXCELLENT (double underlined.) Blips and noise, Passengers return. OK! New song. A militaristic shuffle propels uptempo rock. No discernible hook but instead weaves a sound, layers of keyboard and chiming notes. Many voiced chorus. ENO (circled, underlined.) Totally out there.

White as Snow

Piano playing a lullaby. Spare, Johnny Cash guitar. This is what the Wanderer might have been like had he recorded it. Intro sounds like the Necks. I deeply love this. Bono does Nick Cave. A murder ballad, “my brother and I would drive for hours.” “The water was icy, the road refuses strangers.” “They were hunting in the woods.” Hypnotically slow narration. I can see this rapidly becoming one of my favourite ever U2 songs. Like nothing they’ve ever done. Please make a bare-bones country album one day.

Breathe

Wacky time signature, 16/9? Band and Bono come crashing in, Bono is trying to out-Dylan Dylan with free-form rapid fire choruses (“A cockatoo!” WHAT.) Time straightens out into massively catchy 3/4 chorus (“Walk out, into the street/ See your heart, see my heart out”). Huge guitar line, Achtung Baby x Joshua Tree. Strings and piano join, Bono reaching his upper register in an unabashedly uplifting chorus up there with U2’s best melodies. I wish this would go forever. I can see Bono belting this with his face up to the sky and that beatific grin, as 60,000 people join in. Crazy if this isn’t a single.

Cedars of Lebanon

Bono is in deep-talking sexy mode, like Velvet Dress (actually this is my favourite Bono mode.) Bluesy keys and guitar build a very sombre mood, this album is ending on a heavy, downbeat note as the best U2 albums always have (even heavier than Wake Up Dead Man.) A war correspondent recalls a litany of sh** and his now disjointed senses, but “the sh**ty world sometimes produces a rose” bringing small note of stubborn optimism. Bono neatly slays the entire profession of journalism: “the best of us are masters of compression.” Yikes. Definitively proves “crap title equals killer track” rule.

______________

In conclusion:

I’m dying to hear this album again. And again many times over. Definitely U2’s most challenging record, with the band hitting previously unheard of straps. Bono especially sounds far better than he has over the last decade, or longer, and never sounds like he’s pushing to hit notes he can’t reach, instead totally flying.

In closing: Thankyou U2, for not sucking. I will not be ending our relationship on Facebook.



Offline JuniorEmblem

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2 very positive things really stand out for me:

"the tried and tested U2 trick of a lead single not really indicative of the rest of the album"

"very far from the All That You Can’t Dismantle You Leave Atomic Bombs Behind, or whatever they were called twinset (OF TERRIBLE)"

Given that I don't care for 'boots', atyclb or htdaab, seems the reviewer has the same excellent taste I do for the most part

 ;D

One more good sign:

"I would characterise No Line On The Horizon overall as falling firmly in the Achtung Baby/Zooropa/Pop triumvirate (OF AWESOME)"







Offline eddyjedi

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'the worse the title, the better the song' can't help but laugh at that quote!

Reaction to reading this: Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Offline onetreehill

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WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING TO ME!!!!!!
 :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

Why do I keep reading these kinds of posts?  I CAN'T WWWWWWAAAAAIIIIIIITTTTTT!!!!

"you can reach, but you can't grab it, you can't hold it, control it, you can't bag it"

I want to grab it!!  I want to hold it!! I want to bag it!!


(thank you so much for the post)





Offline Nagrom99

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This is by far the most positive review.  Obviously, she had her reservations, seemed very ready to hate this album.........and she was completely blown away.  Am I the only one that thinks, based on the reviews in the last 48hrs....that this could be a u2 masterpiece?  She gives me every indication that it is.  I believe her.  More so then some of the others.  I really believe her.  She sounds genuinely blown away.  I didn't think I could get more excited, but...I am now.....I feel like I'm 16 again.  Thank god for U2.  God bless everybody, I'm f'in pumped.




Thanks noline.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2009, 04:09:47 PM by Nagrom99 »

Offline eddyjedi

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Yep completely agree with you, thanks so much for posting this story

Offline ProofThatThisIsReal

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well...based on these awesome descriptions, which songs are you looking forward to the most?

And thanks for being VERY informative-

Mine would be-

Magnificent,
Breathe,
Moment of Surrender,
Unknown Caller,
Crazy Tonight,

In no particular order---

Offline eddyjedi

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The whole thing sounds brilliant and positive

Offline JuniorEmblem

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Breathe

Wacky time signature, 16/9? Band and Bono come crashing in, Bono is trying to out-Dylan Dylan with free-form rapid fire choruses (“A cockatoo!” WHAT.) Time straightens out into massively catchy 3/4 chorus (“Walk out, into the street/ See your heart, see my heart out”).

I anxiously await the post that criticizes Bono for "recycling lyrics" from 'where the streets have no name', 'walk on' and '2 hearts beat as one' all in the same song......


Offline ProofThatThisIsReal

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Breathe

Wacky time signature, 16/9? Band and Bono come crashing in, Bono is trying to out-Dylan Dylan with free-form rapid fire choruses (“A cockatoo!” WHAT.) Time straightens out into massively catchy 3/4 chorus (“Walk out, into the street/ See your heart, see my heart out”).

I anxiously await the post that criticizes Bono for "recycling lyrics" from 'where the streets have no name', 'walk on' and '2 hearts beat as one' all in the same song......



 ;D - I thought about people criticizing streets lyric plagiarism when I first heard this verse in the beach clips.


I think Unknown Caller is going to be really good...

Offline ProofThatThisIsReal

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wow, a lot of visits to this thread since I first looked at it.


Offline Shaky1

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That really does sound like a true fans review!!
I think i'd b the same, the excitement everytime one new song finishes & another starts!!
Bring it on!!!!!!!!!!

Offline silkenskies

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 :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Glad to hear Bono is in great form.
I think I'm most excited about the slower, more Eno-infused songs.

What a titillating post!

Offline Nagrom99

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man....this thread is smoking hot.

Offline silkenskies

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Nolinehumper...best. name. ever.