U2 - No Line on the Horizon (Interscope)
Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009 @ 11:34:05 CDT
Topic: Music Reviews

“My ego’s not really the enemy,” Bono confides on the new U2 album. “It’s like a small child crossing an eight-lane highway/On a voyage of discovery.” Eight lanes? Keep counting, boyo. All over this record, he paves whole new interstates of ego, with exit ramps darting in and out of every verse, and that’s exactly how it should be. The days are gone when U2 were trying to keep it simple—at this point, the lads have realized that over-the-top romantic grandiosity is the style that suits them, so they come on like the cosmic guitar supplicants they were born to be. No Line on the Horizon is U2’s third killer in a row—by now, it’s bizarre to remember that just 10 years ago, everybody thought they were headed toward the dinosaur band tar pits. But ever since they went from midlife crisis to midlife rejuvenation, with All That You Can’t Leave Behind, they’ve been on a roll.

Here, they go for the abstract, Euro vibe of Achtung Baby or The Unforgettable Fire, piling on the cathedral-size keyboards. Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois are back on hand, giving the production a dub-like reverb without quashing the momentum. One song (“Fez—Being Born”) rolls along on the melodic pointillism of minimalist composer Steve Reich; while another (“I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”) bites the piano hook from Journey’s “Faithfully,” and that gives a rough picture of how far U2 range on Horizon. “Moment of Surrender” is the high point—seven minutes of Bono in gospel mode, lost in the late-night city (“I was speeding on the subway/Through the stations of the cross”), questing for salvation and finding it in Adam Clayton’s bass. The Edge fleshes out the yearning with some piercing crazy-diamond guitar. It’s the kind of gimme-divinity anthem that U2 cut their teeth on, except it really does seem like they’ve gotten better at these songs now that they’ve picked up some bummed-out adult grit. Bono actually sounds scared of something in this song, and whether his nightmares are religious or sexual, the fear gives his voice some heft. Compared to “Moment of Surrender,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” just sounds like a callow kid trying to snag a date at Bible camp. “Unknown Caller” is another vivid picture of spiritual jet lag—usually when rock stars use their cell phones as metaphors, it seems like they got bored at the airport, but this one truly puts on the chill. Bono reaches Bowie-in-Berlin levels of arty alienation (“I had driven to the scene of the accident/And I sat there waiting for me”), while the guitars crackle in the album’s finest Edgemanship. “Get On Your Boots” is a manic low-end rocker a la “Vertigo,” with phased ’70s-style synths, buzzing guitar and a breathless vocal from Bono that brings back fond memories of the days when the Edge tried to rap. (All the talk about “sexy boots,” community, joy, war, Satan and bomb scares—well, it’s typical of the jumble of eroticism, politics and spirituality that defines this album, and, probably, Bono’s BlackBerry. ) The songs get slower and less compelling toward the end; that’s how U2 always pace things. Yet they achieve liftoff in the rockers, especially “No Line on the Horizon” (yet another lonely party girl who wants more than a party) and “Magnificent” (yet another hymn to the powers of love). You can hear Eno’s touch all over: “Moment of Surrender” opens with an organ solo straight from “The Big Ship,” on his 1975 classic Another Green World. But it’s Bono who dominates. He hasn’t crammed in this many words per song in over 10 years—to be specific, since the least-loved item in the U2 catalogue, Pop, the grim, slow, morbid flop they tried and failed to sell as their ironic techno statement. The difference now is that they’re no longer apologizing for their messy emotions or their lofty ambitions. Ego really isn’t their enemy—it’s their instrument, and on No Line on the Horizon they just plug it in and play.

Reviewed by Rob Sheffield for Blender.com

Released on March 2nd (March 3rd in the US), the album will come in a standard format with 24 page booklet and in digipak format. The digipak includes an extended booklet and the album's companion film "Linear" by Anton Corbijn. A limited edition 64 page magazine will also be available, featuring the band in conversation with artist Catherine Owens, and new Anton Corbijn photographs. No Line On The Horizon will be released on 180gm vinyl. (More on the formats below)

The album cover artwork is an image of the sea meeting the sky by Japanese artist and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Here's the full tracklisting:

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 - Being Born
9. White As Snow
10. Breathe
11. Cedars Of Lebanon

No Line On The Horizon will be available in five formats;

- Standard jewel case - with album CD and 24 page booklet

- Digipak format - limited edition with album CD, 32 page colour booklet and fold out poster. Features access to exclusive downloadable Anton Corbijn film.

- Magazine format - limited edition with album CD, with 64 page magazine. Features access to exclusive downloadable Anton Corbijn film.

- Box format - limited edition bespoke box containing digipak format album CD, DVD of Anton Corbijn's exclusive film, 64 page hardback book, plus a fold out poster.

- LP vinyl - limited edition with 2 black vinyl discs, gatefold sleeve, and a 16 page booklet.

"No Line on the Horizon"

The title track's relentless groove began as a group improvisation. "It's very raw and very to the point," says the Edge. "It's like rock & roll 2009."

"Get On Your Boots"

The likely first single, this blazing, fuzzed-out rocker picks up where "Vertigo" left off. "It started just with me playing and Larry drumming," the Edge recalls. "And we took it from there."

"Stand Up Comedy"

Another hard rock tune, powered by an unexpectedly slinky groove and a riff that lands between the Beatles' "Come Together" and Led Zep's "Heartbreaker." Edge recently hung out with Jimmy Page and Jack White for the upcoming documentary It Might Get Loud, and their penchant for blues-based rock rubbed off: "I was just fascinated with seeing how Jimmy played those riffs so simply, and with Jack as well," he says.

"Crazy Tonight"

"It's kind of like this album's 'Beautiful Day' — it has that kind of joy to it," Bono says. With the refrain "I know I'll go crazy/If I don't go crazy tonight," it's the band's most unabashed pop tune since "Sweetest Thing."

"Unknown Caller"

This midtempo track could have fit on All That You Can't Leave Behind. "The idea is that the narrator is in an altered state, and his phone starts talking to him," says the Edge.


This strikingly experimental song lurches between disparate styles, including near-operatic choral music, Zooropa-style electronics, and churning arena rock.

"Cedars of Lebanon"

"On this album, you can feel what is going on in the world at the window, scratching at the windowpane," says Bono, who sings this atmospheric ballad from the point of view of a war correspondent.


"Only love can leave such a mark," Bono roars on what sounds like an instant U2 anthem. Will.i.am has already done what Bono calls "the most extraordinary" remix of the tune.

"Moment of Surrender"

This seven-minute-long track is one of the album's most ambitious, merging a Joshua Tree-style gospel feel with a hypnotically loping bass line and a syncopated beat.

"Every Breaking Wave"

A swelling soul-pop song, with bright synth sounds influenced by OMD and, Bono says, "early electronica." "You don't hear indie bands doing blue-eyed soul [like this]," he adds.

excerpt from U2.com and Rollingstone

This article comes from United Music Organization

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