Monday, 4 June 2018

U2 - No Line On The Horizon (2009)

I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight....


Released February 2009

Recorded in France, USA,  Morocco, Germany and London

Funny things, U2 albums. They come out every four years or so, ten to thirteen tracks or so of stodgy, somewhat muffled, metallic, thrashy stuff with that instantly recognisable drum sound and bass line underpinning The Edge’s searing guitar parts while Bono wails on about mobile phones, ATM machines, passwords and other huge problems that “modern, global life” brings. Every track around four to five minutes in length. That is the formula then, a formula that, I have to admit, means that while I bought this album in 2009, I haven’t listened to it properly until today, nearly ten years later!


1. No Line On The Horizon

2. Magnificent
3. Moment Of Surrender
4. Unknown Caller
5. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
6. Get On Your Boots
7. Stand Up Comedy
8. Fez
9. White As Snow
10. Breathe
11. Cedars Of Lebanon                                        

I like it in many ways. Taken individually, a lot of the tracks are impressive. Despite many people appearing to disagree, “Unknown Caller” is a favourite of mine, and similarly, I enjoy the “Subterranean Homesick Blues” feel of “Get On Your Boots”

The title track is instantly accessible, as is “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” and “Stand Up Comedy” has a killer riff. “Fez” is interesting with its echoes of David Bowie’s “Berlin” phase. “White As Snow” is rather beautiful. “Breathe” has a staccato feel and a nice keyboard/guitar interplay with a good hook chorussy bit. Bono does go on about a “Ju Ju Man” and Chinese stocks and shares and Asian viruses” in a paranoid Paul Simon-esque lyric though. I do like this one, however. “Cedars Of Lebanon” is one of those classic sparse bass and drum backed U2 slow burners to end things off, for the next four years. A very evocative song though.

I have to admit to enjoying it, surprisingly, when giving it my full attention. Although there is a “same-iness” to listening to it in full, the stodgy feel I mentioned earlier, there is a way it just sort of insinuates itself into your consciousness. Dear me, I am beginning to sound like Bono.

I guess my main point is that it is easy to dismiss these later period U2 albums as lazy product from multi-millionaires whose mojo left them long ago. Not so. Give it a chance, as I did, however late. It is a good album. Maybe in a few years, I’ll listen to “Songs Of Innocence”.


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