No Line On The Horizon, the new studio album from U2, will be released on Tues, March 3, 2009. The band?s 12th studio album calls on the production talents of long-time collaborators Brian Eno and Danny Lanois, with additi... more »onal production by Steve Lillywhite. The album will be available in 5 different packages.
This version features the album CD in a cardboard folded sleeve w/ a 36-page color booklet and fold-out poster, as well as a new film from Anton Corbijn featuring the music of U2, available as exclusive downloadable content.« less
No Line On The Horizon, the new studio album from U2, will be released on Tues, March 3, 2009. The band?s 12th studio album calls on the production talents of long-time collaborators Brian Eno and Danny Lanois, with additional production by Steve Lillywhite. The album will be available in 5 different packages.
This version features the album CD in a cardboard folded sleeve w/ a 36-page color booklet and fold-out poster, as well as a new film from Anton Corbijn featuring the music of U2, available as exclusive downloadable content.
Lance G. Augustine | The Midwest, USA | 03/03/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While it's far too early to be making definitive judgements of U2's No Line On The Horizon, a few conclusions about what this album is and is not can be drawn after only limited listening. I'll have to qualify myself as a 'casual' fan, however; through the years I've found myself connecting mainly with songs in the same vein as the first three tracks of The Joshua Tree, and other than "One", from Achtung Baby, U2 fell off my radar until the last two albums gave me "Stuck In A Moment...", "Walk On" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It...". There are, of course, other styles and songs much to my liking, but when a new U2 record comes out, the midtempo, beautifully melodic, more in the mainstream-type gems are what I listen for. So, if you have similar tastes, my thoughts on NLOTH are geared toward you.
> This is NOT a 'commercial' record. That's not to say this album won't sell, but that the producers' attempts at churning out a few radio hits didn't work, IMO. There are plenty of 'catchy' parts of songs, especially in the first five tracks, but in general these songs just aren't set up to become mega-hits.
> The Edge is in top form on this record. The guitar work here is nothing short of brilliant.
> Most of the big 'music critics' and fans of some of U2's more experimental efforts should find lots to like, especially when comparing this to the band's previous two albums. This is quite the artistic endeavor...U2 did not 'play it safe' here. This is a record that combines a bit of 'classic' U2 sound with a heavy dose of fresh, exploratory music.
> On the flip side, if those last two albums (or even The Joshua Tree) are your favorites, you may be disappointed. I think you'll find the first half of the record to have some redeeming qualities. For example, the chorus of "Moment Of Surrender" is outstanding, with beautiful harmonies and melody. It's perhaps the strongest song of all, but its length of over 7 minutes would call for major editing to get it into radio-shape...likewise with "Unknown Caller", my favorite from a musical standpoint. The guitar/bass combination is spine-tingling, but while there's good melody in the 'verse', the vocal chanting in the same note wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear, and it's 6 minutes long (radio edits required). "Magnificent" is fairly decent all around and could be a radio hit, but it still doesn't stack up well when compared to the songs I mentioned in my introduction.
> Many of the songs have moody, pulsating and/or atmospheric instrumental intros, most of which are very sonically interesting.
> For the more casual U2 listener who favors 'mainstream' sound, the middle and bottom half of this record doesn't have a lot to offer. I thought the choice of putting out "Get On Your Boots" as a first single to be quite strange...it's mainly groove-based and not melodic at all. "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" is one of those 'in-between' type songs...you want to like it, you kind of like it, yet it sounds a little 'forced' and not genuine to me. Bono goes a little crazy when he throws in a couple of odd-sounding falsetto notes about 30 seconds in...that certainly doesn't help matters. On many of the songs toward the end Bono does more talking than he does singing, and while they are somewhat interesting sonically, the beautiful melodies are missing. "White As Snow" is a laid-back hymn with sparse instrumentation reminiscent of songs from a Western...it's kind of nice but I'm not sold yet.
> At least the album starts strong. The opening title track is a high-energy rocker with an aggressive vocal and a memorable chorus. Throughout the record Bono's vocals are loose, ragged and edgy as opposed to controlled and pure.
With a band as diverse as U2, you won't always find what you're looking for (pardon the pun). For some, NLOTH will eventually be considered a masterpiece. But for more casual fans like me hoping to hear fresh takes (not remakes) of the classic, midtempo, melodic, memorable mainstream stunners that U2 has delivered before...well, we're kind of left in the dust with this release and will have to wait for the next one with fingers crossed.
U2's Masterpiece for this Generation: No Line on the Horizio
The Headphone Transmissions | USA | 03/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Expectations stem from many conditions, including informative past events and extensive prior knowledge. Most importantly though, expectations are born from first impressions.
My first impression of U2 was The Joshua Tree; an album so perfect, so inventive, that every pop act following it would reference its artistic and musical beauty. The sounds, the consistency, the innovation.. It was all there. It was my first concept of what a real album looks, sounds, and feels like.
Needless to say, as a long-time, avid U2 fan, I have been searching for that second Joshua Tree, that follow-up that would make me remember hearing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" for the first time. I found great material in older recordings, War and Rattle & Hum, but everything after those was too difficult and different to make me feel satisfied with their releases.
No Line on the Horizon is an invention of a new U2; an energetic, imaginative U2 that we've missed for the past 15 years or so. This is the U2 that broke barriers, had no musical limits, and was considered one of the greatest rock bands around. This U2 is ALIVE.
Let us disregard the newest single, "Get on Your Boots," for the moment- It's a poor representation of the album. Instead, I will begin with what the band truly wants the listener to begin with; track one- "No Line on the Horizon."
"No Line" is a busy, mid-tempo surge of contrasting verses and choruses; the first being muddy and strained, and the second being smooth, clean and cleverly melodic. Bono's vocals are the obvious highlight here- It's as if he's suddenly rediscovered his youthful inspiration to sing with passion again. His legendary vocal range is again utilized to a legendary extent in second track, "Magnificant." The song itself is reminiscent of The Unforgettable Fire era, with its anthemic drums and its powerful lyrics ("Only love / Only love can leave such a mark"). Can't wait to hear this one live.
"Moment of Surrender" is seven-and-a-half minute groove that rests comfortably on an angelic musical aura and a dreamy bass line, which slowly builds to a gripping refrain. "We set ourselves on fire!" cries Bono. It's very contained, while somehow being so wild and emotional. The Edge tests out some new techniques, surprisingly not relying on his signature moves for this track. This arrangement is perfect though; just enough of everything to fill the song structure out while keeping it raw. It's beautiful.
It's phrases like "I was lost between the midnight and the dawning" and "[It was] 3:30 when the numbers fell off the clock face" in fourth track, "Unknown Caller," that make me idolize a lyrical narrator such as Bono. He's not just admirably sincere or modestly convincing or intriguingly straightforward; he's a master of the voice, the sultan of the story, molding the plot and the narration until it becomes a palpable reality. He's confidently complimented by The Edge's always creative guitar sound streaks, as well as Larry Mullen Jr.'s percussion shuffle and Adam Clayton's silky bass drive. Overall, it's another lengthy, but great one.
The next track, "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight," is reminiscent of the sound of the past few records (All That You Can't Leave Behind and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb); however, it still boasts the new U2 energy and feel. The chorus and bridge are the biggest parts of the songs, banking on more key Edge guitar manuevers and solid arrangement. Let's just say, it's definitely a U2 creation. "Get on Your Boots" is next, and as mediocre as it may be as a single, it surprisingly makes much more sense as part of the album. If you haven't heard it, it's basically a revamped "Vertigo" with high-voltage verses, a rollercoaster chorus, and a mad bridge. The lyrics are a bit scattered, and the "sexy boots" line seems a litte out of theme with the album. It is still very inventive and, like I said, works better as a part of the album than as a lonely single.
Track seven, "Stand Up Comedy," is another strong rocker from the group, overflowing with contagious melodies and smart lyricism. The chorus tune vaguely resembles "In a Little While" (from All That You Can't Leave Behind) with its partially wordless structure, but the arrangement and surrounding melodies are something completely different. There's not much else to say about the track; it's just a straight up great song. "Stand Up Comedy" is followed by the über experimental "FEZ-Being Born," a track whose title is more than fitting. Bono moves between wordless cries and obscure lyric fragments while the band pulls off an incredible collage of colorful, passionate soundscapes. It's groundbreaking, captivating, and appealing all at once.
Next is a spell-binding rendition of a traditional tune, but with a U2 twist. "White as Snow" is a deep, chilling track treated much like a poem set to music. In no way is this a negative approach; the production on this track by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois is absolutely flawless, and the band's presentation is inimitably imaginative. Especially noticable are the Edge's unorthodox guitar parts and impressively fine-tuned tones.
After a song like "White as Snow," the listener feels the need for something upbeat, and "Breathe" is the answer. Beginning with a jingling percussion intro, "Breathe" moves quickly through fiery verses into a controlled chorus and back out into a brief, but mesmorizing interlude, only to wrap itself up neatly at the altered end chorus. It's best described by one of its own lines- "Like loose electricity."
"Cedars of Lebanon," the closing track on No Line on the Horizon, is an intellectual, dreamy sensation of storyplot and ominous uncertainty. It's mostly quiet and uninvading, leaving the subtle, haunting lyrics to do most of the talking. It's difficult to describe the track; throwing adjectives and descriptions at the reader is ultimately pointless and falls short of truly representing the musical experience. It's nothing less than a masterpiece, and could easily be one of U2's best compositions.
After admittedly falling into a "doubting Thomas" state of mind after hearing "Get on Your Boots," I am relieved to announce that No Line on the Horizon has renewed my hope in the future of U2, and music in general. The album surpasses all expectations and finally gives the fan a reason to believe in the band again. In essence, No Line is U2's modern Joshua Tree; a bold, brilliant, fulfilling, faultless and edgy (no pun intended) record for this generation. It's accessible at it's core, but is still certainly durable and additionally artistic. Don't hesitate to spend your ten on No Line- You'll have finally found what you're looking for."
C. Jacob | 03/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you want to nit-pick that this album isn't Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby, and is thus by default a steaming pile of cow manure, go right on ahead and live in your own pool of negativity. No this isn't those albums. Those are masterpieces, pure and simple.
OK, for this album just sit back, put on the head phones and soak it in. Like any U2 album, it plants a seed, sprouts, grows and matures if you listen to it more than a simple fast forward on your ipod like many shortened attention span detractors probably did. I believe it lives in the top 5 of the band's compilations. Sonically, the Edge continues to expand his boundaries. The man has given us a lifetime of musical gifts. How many other musicians can continue to create interesting music after 30 years! Bono continues to spew his classic Bono-isms. The words, poetry, and one-liners that stick in your head and make you think. I find his lyric effort the best since 1991. As usual, Clayton and Mullen Jr keep things tight and round out the experience.
My favorites? 1) Magnificent - might place in their top 10 songs. Made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Like Streets have No Name did when I first heard it. 2) Being Born - Interesting direction in sound that I hope they explore more in the upcoming sister album. 3) Unknown Caller - Vintage U2 take on things. your personal interpretation necessary 4) I'll Go Crazy - Yeah, its got to be the first song played at the live show 5) Moment of Surrender - Might live long as one of their best. Like "One" did after AB.
I've loved this band since the War days. I can't believe they are still pumping out great music! Thank you U2!"
What's not to like? Go U2! Go Bono!
Let S Listen | TN | 03/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Aah, those U2 fans. It used to be you had the critics who were hard to please. Now you have over 100 reviews on Amazon one day after it's out, and all of the reviewers think they're right. As a non-U2 fan, but someone who likes their music among much else that's out there, this new CD strikes me as a pleasant surprise. The songs are catchy, joyeus even. U2 fans will crave the searing vocals of yore, but to my ears Bono sounds better than ever. And the band seem to have fun. The information will make you believe that the album is "experimental" and may require repeated listens to be enjoyed. That's only for hitparade crowd. Every song is well crafted, readily accessible, and well delivered. The band deserve credit for coming out with an album like this, which bears the indelible U2 stamp, but nonetheless covers new ground. I hope they keep going."
Fantastic album... it will grow on you!
J. Chrisman | New York, NY | 03/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Except for Magnificent, most of this album will not be an instant hit. But it will grow! The more I listen, the more I'm tappin my feet to the beats of these songs. Moment of Surrender is probably one of the most touching songs U2 have come up with. I've been an avid U2 fan for almost 15 years and it's amazing to see albums of this caliber still coming out.
Can't wait for their other album to come out this year!"