Words and code and rock and roll

U2 – No Line On The Horizon

Published 2009-3-21 (Modified 2009-3-21)

Me and U2 goes way back. It’s a relationship that has lasted since 1993. It started with curiosity, developed into a crush, then a honeymoon, followed by a stable and lovely relationship. But as many relationships, it turned sour. Love turned to hate. But I wouldn’t let go. I have felt abused, but I wouldn’t leave permanently. You know… they could change. They could start loving me back… So as always when I heard they were going to record a new album, I became quite giggly. Could this be the love-letter I had been waiting for the last 8-9 years? Would this album make me forget the last two? Forget they didn’t include Norway for the Elevation-tour? Is this how it is to be a little school girl? Should that make me worry?

And then; 2nd of March was finally there. Launch day. I went to my record shop to buy the record. I’ve actually stopped buying Cd’s. The last couple of years, I’ve only bought my music on-line. But since I kind of collect U2, I wanted the box-edition. But that was sold out, but they would re-stock in a couple of days. So the dilemma arose: buy another edition? Download, then buy the box? I went home, considering my options. And in this mortal dilemma, I ended up listening to the snippets of the album in Itunes. And those snippets made the butterflies in my stomach rapidly disappear. This was shit, wasn’t it? This was the U2 everyone hates, wasn’t it? Big, stadium songs. Choruses with loooong words. Thatguitar sound. I had been screwed over once more. Feck! Then the tour was announced, and no Oslo. Feck! (Got tickets for Göteborg, though. Since I’ve just paid the annual U2.com-membership fee, I felt it would be stupid to give up the pre-sale possibility.)

But no record for me. Until this Monday. Then I faced my fears. Took the bull by the horns. And download the album.  The reviews of the albums have read from below average to “their best”. I read the glowing Q-review. But since Q has a history of being way up U2’s butt, that wasn’t to be trusted. So I listened in fear and remorse. And what can I say? Their best? No. Their worst? No. One of their best? Actually possibly. It is still very much U2. So much U2, that don’t think they will win over any sceptics with this album. It is as new and experimental as any other new U2-album. Wichmeans not so much, really. But what hit me, was that you will find snippets of other U2-songs in the new songs. I don’t know if they pay tribute to themselves, or if it is just coincidence. And the rhymes in the songs are not so desperate this time around. But I find the album a bit overproduced. Very many string-parts, and some of the song takes forever to start. I know it probably is there to build mood, but there should be a legal limit for this.

The album starts with No Line on the Horizon. I know a girl, and this time she’s like the sea. So no party. Chorus quite catchy. And with the epic lyric line “Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh”. I think this is a great opening cut, and a very good indications on how the album will turn out. Next in line is Magnificent, a song that will make the U2-haters hate some more. Love song with a nice drive to it. A bit to much love and magnificents (what the heck is plural of magnificent) for my taste, though. Bonus for slide guitar. You go, The Edge!

Moment of Surrender. One of the best songs on the album. My body’s now a begging bowl / That’s begging to get back, begging to get back / To my heart / To the rhythm of my soul / To the rhythm of my unconsciousness. Classic U2. Desperation and pain, who doesn’t love it? A bit long, perhaps, clocking in on over seven minutes. Could it have been edited down? Anyway, Unknown Caller reminds me of The Hands That Built America melody wise, except for the funky chorus. And that chorus is enough for me to think the song is cool.

I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight is a new The Fly with some Ultraviolet, when it comes to the lyrics. Now as daft as it cold have been with that title. But hey, it’s time to Get On Your Boots. And yes, I think it is quite groovy. I can’t wait to hear it live. And the groove is still there in Stand Up Comedy. Be careful of small men with big ideas. Some very cool guitar on this one.

Fez – Being Borndoesn’t start until one minute into the song actually. And then continues with never taking off. Not much lyrics or melody, just the sound of U2, the Unforgettable Fire-years. White as Snow‘s melody is based on a hymn, and slows the pace down even more. The song is the view of a dying soldier in Afghanistan, and is very moody without being over-sentimental.

The pace is picked up again with Breathe. From the soldier to the junkie. Very talky lyrics, with catchy chorus. Haven’t decided on this one yet. The albums then slows out with Cedars of Lebanon, sung from the view of a war correspondent. Probably political incorrect to think this is kind of boring.

And there you go. Not crap. Better than the two previous, but not a new Achtung Baby. I would say it relates most to Pop of the old albums. And Pop is horribly underrated, so not a bad thing.

So I’ll give the relationship another go. Can’t hurt, can it? Or can it?