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Offline Nagrom99

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You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« on: February 17, 2009, 07:03:20 PM »
Review: U2 – No Line On The Horizon
By Johnnie Craig on Monday, 16 February 200911 Comments | Print this post
Review: U2 – No Line On The Horizon

(Interscope)

The commentators are saying that Ireland needs an Obama-like icon to lift us out of our current economic and social gloom; a figurehead to inspire celebration, to provide a pointer to a new and promising horizon. Well, wherever there’s a cause, there’s usually Bono and co. providing the timely, rousing, crowd-pleasing soundtrack. They’ve got the whole world in their hands, after all. Could U2’s 12th studio album be that flagship of hope, sailing us bravely away from these troubled waters?

Sadly, it just doesn’t sound that way. If anything, it’s as hesitant and directionless as the rest of us; in that sense, they’ve hit the zeitgeist square on the head. But, as an entity, No Line On The Horizon may be U2’s most disjointed album yet.

Perhaps too many songwriters and producers spoiled the broth (Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois have their hands in practically everything here); maybe jumping from studio to far-flung studio got in the way of continuity; or it could be that the world and all its woes provided Bono with too many distractions from the day job. Whatever the reason, this plays like a record without a real master plan.

It certainly begins positively enough. The title track cries “we are back” from the rooftops with its cinematic bravura, kitsch 1960s’ piano, rumbling bassline and its shoulder-shimmying, air-punching rhythm, which distantly recalls ‘The Fly’; if only this had been the last Bond theme. Better still is track two, ‘Magnificent’, an archetypal U2 thriller/stomper with one of the best riffs The Edge has produced in aeons, complete with Chris Rea-like guitar solo. It’s a mighty opening brace, but it’s also the point at which the plot starts to lose its way.

The effortful ‘Moment Of Surrender’, at over seven minutes long, is a strained ballad with gospel aspirations that suffers badly from delusions of grandeur and cod-religious preaching. The similarly grandiose ‘Unknown Caller’ also thuds along under swathes of worthy lyrical emptiness: “On the edge of the known universe where I wanted to be/ I had driven to the scene of the accident / And I sat there waiting for me”. Quite.

There’s momentary respite on the Steve Lillywhite-produced ‘I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight’, a Joshua Tree-era standard where, despite his cringe-inducing falsetto, Bono gets almost charmingly self-deprecating: “The right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear”. He repeats the trick on the otherwise banal ‘Stand Up Comedy’, with the line “Napoleon is in high heels/ Josephine, be careful of small men with big ideas”.

But it’s the album’s latter half where the big ideas fail to reach constructive conclusions, and where production appears to plug the staggering dearth of melody. First off, the clumsy and hasty lead single ‘Get On Your Boots’ is easily amongst U2’s most forgettable moments. However, far more aggravating is the presumed notion that the wearisome, Eno-centric filler ‘FEZ – Being Born’ is somehow overtly experimental. It’s certainly spacey and dreamy but it’s completely without context on this album. And, with Bono’s relentless “ohs” becoming more emphatic and, as a consequence, less meaningful, it raises more awkward questions than it wants to ask. ‘White As Snow’ takes a traditional melody into pleasantly explorative territory, with some success; but ‘Breathe’, the other Lillywhite production on here, is a messy piece of stadium-rock melodrama, which only menaces the listener into indifference.

Finally, ‘Cedars Of Lebanon’, a semi-spoken, Lanois-produced mood piece with obliquely political aspirations, falls prey to some woeful rhyming-dictionary couplets – who will fail to wince each time they hear “Now I’ve got a head like a lit cigarette/ Unholy clouds reflecting in a minaret”? As an album closer, it leaves something of a sour taste.

There’s no doubting that U2 devotees will still lap this album up and that it’ll fly off supermarket shelves like freshly baked doughnuts. But after a four-year wait, is this really the best record the world’s biggest band can make? If No Line On The Horizon had been the ‘difficult’ follow-up to an NME-hyped band’s over-achieving debut, we’d be gleefully dismantling their atomic career and waiting for them to bomb. The truth is (and ‘Magnificent’ proves the will is still there), U2 need to take a “never mind the bo****ks” approach and rediscover their knack for memorable, timeless classics. At least until then, there’s no end of filled stadiums on the horizon.



Offline Nagrom99

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2009, 07:07:50 PM »
I just remembered something......the other negative review stated the only thing that saved the album was the second half.  This guy is saying that it's the first half of the album that's strongest.  Even with the negative reviews, it's producing extremely varied opinions......still, the positive far out weigh the negative.

Offline zoo3d

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2009, 07:09:35 PM »
He doesn't speak too highly of the album.

shockdocta22

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2009, 07:09:46 PM »
Dang

Offline ABloodRedSky

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2009, 07:09:58 PM »
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I just remembered something......the other negative review stated the only thing that saved the album was the second half.  This guy is saying that it's the first half of the album that's strongest.  Even with the negative reviews, it's producing extremely varied opinions......still, the positive far out weigh the negative.

You know, you are quite right. Hmm...

It seems strange that he seems to dislike "Cedars of Lebanon" so much when so many sing its praises. Oh well. To each his own, I suppose.

Thanks for posting =)


shockdocta22

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2009, 07:11:32 PM »
Now im worried

Offline zoo3d

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2009, 07:12:57 PM »
Still, bono says it's great. Who are we going to trust?

Offline theocean

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2009, 07:13:15 PM »
Havent you ever heard the dumb reviews of movie critics on tv and then you already saw the movie and thought it was great? I dont listen to anyone but myself. He prob has no taste in music anyway, ha ha.... :P

shockdocta22

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2009, 07:14:50 PM »
magnificent WILL be the song of the year

Mysterious Ways

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2009, 07:17:16 PM »
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Still, bono says it's great. Who are we going to trust?

Umm....

Offline Nagrom99

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2009, 07:18:01 PM »
This album, more so then others in recent memory, if my memory serves correct, has people all over the place when it comes to what tracks are good/best/worst/so so..it's really odd.  I think some of the reviewers take Bono's lyrics much too seriously.  Probably because he does but, people have a hard time separating the two Bono's.  It would be naive of us to think that some of Bono's actions don't taint the band.  I love the guy, the band as a whole more but.....sometimes people can't get past the arrogance and pomposity.  I got by it a long time a go. Other people should do the same.....they're really missing out on some great music....and Bono's a hoot really.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 07:19:44 PM by Nagrom99 »

Offline B

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2009, 07:19:13 PM »
this person probably loves Goldfrapp ... or someother wanna special band of the month. uh, it drives me nuts.

From the clips I can deduce that this album is far more cohesive than Bomb and POP, far more interesting than ATYCLB and far deeper than Zooropa. But that's just me, I presume.

An Cat Dubh

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2009, 07:20:07 PM »
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Now im worried

Why? because of one poor review (which really wasn't all that bad).

Offline theocean

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2009, 07:20:54 PM »
Totally! You are so write. A lot of people who dont like U2 wont stop and listen because of Bono's activism or proudness in what he believes in. But to me, that spirit is what I like, stand up for what you believe in. I'm an older fan and he gives me strength everyday knowing how strong he is in life, God Bless him....

Offline Nagrom99

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Re: You may NOT want to read this review......you've been warned!
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2009, 07:21:41 PM »
I tend to agree B.  Musically, the music sounds much more complex, diverse and .......interesting.  Now, I haven't heard the entire album.  But the clips sound encouraging.