Tuesday, March 10, 2009


So U2 released their 12th studio album last week, called No Line on the Horizon. Obviously I downloaded it promptly on iTunes and have been playing it pretty much all the time around the house (Much to Benevolent Dictator's consternation. She doesn't care for the new single Get On Your Boots, despite the fact that her mother loves it).

Well, I've been alternating it with the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack from Youtube, so yes, things are getting weird musically around here. But that's how we do.

Anyway, it took me a little bit to figure out the new album. It's not something that gave me an immediate gut reaction like How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. To me, No Line on the Horizon is a little more challenging, and that's a pretty good thing.

Even though the first single "Get On Your Boots" is a nice hard rocking tune, the rest of the album doesn't have that fast-paced sound to it. Instead, it feels a bit meditative, mixing the spiritual issues with modern day. "Moment of Surrender," reminds me a bit of "Playboy Mansion" from Pop with its references to ATM machines and the search for redemption.

"Unknown Caller," also plays with the modern and the spiritual using shouted lines like "Force Quit/And Move to Trash." While that can veer into pretentiousness, that, mixed with rest of the song creates this evocative image of someone wrestling with faith and spirituality as modern life goes whizzing by at the speed of the Internet.

Sonically, this album is a different direction than How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Some of the sound, especially "Fez-Being Born" reminds me of the experimentation that occurred with Achtung Baby. The title track's intro builds up in a way that reminds me of "Zooropa." It's definitely more experimental than the typical U2 sound you see other bands mimicking now.


Overall, it's hard for me to say what my favorite tracks are. I like them all for different reasons, but I will confess that the weaker one for me is "Breathe," but that could be because I don't care for Bono basically doing spoken word over the band. I think overall, it's a nice solid move that shows progress in the band's sound, while giving fans some of the same things they've come to expect.

Oh, and in other related U2 news, the band finally annouced their tour, which appears to be a very ambitious stadium tour. The three big thoughts I have are:

1. ONLY CHICAGO FOR A MIDWEST STOP? BOOO! BOOO! What about the other people in the Midwest. Why not Madison dammit? I hope more dates are announced for their second leg.

2. I'm surprised to see that they took a sponsor -- Blackberry (What? No Apple?) -- on for this tour. For awhile, they've been known to pay for their tours on their own. However, this does look to be a bit of a technological behemoth, so I wonder if that's the reason why.

3. How much are tickets going to be? I guess I tend to equate stadium shows with big bucks, so I'm hoping that it isn't that expensive. Even though I'd LOVE TO, I can't be like K. and follow the boys everywhere or go to all their shows. Well, maybe I could. If I sold the kid.


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