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U2 – No Line on the Horizon: My First Impressions

3rd March 2009

NLOTHI have had a chance to listen to U2′s new album, No Line on the Horizon, a number of times. I’m not sure if this will be my favourite U2 album, but I quite like it. Some songs remind me of All That You Can’t Leave Behind, while others could be off of U2′s more experimental albums like Pop or Zooropa. Here are some of my initial impressions on the individual tracks:

  1. No Line on the Horizon (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 4:12). I really like sound and feel of the title track — especially Bono’s soulful raspy voice (although the refrain is a bit awkward).
  2. Magnificent (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 5:24). This is perhaps my favourite song of the album. It is a faith-filled rock anthem that will no doubt become a U2 classic. “Only love / Only love can leave such a mark
 / But only love / Only love can heal such a scar.”
  3. Moment of Surrender (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 7:24). The haunting lyrics and soulful sound of this song will make it grow on you, as it has me. “I was speeding on the subway / Through the stations of the cross / Every eye looking every other way / Counting down ’til the pain will stop.”
  4. Unknown Caller (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 6:03). This song is kind of catchy, though the lyrics are a bit banal.
  5. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (U2; 4:14).  A light-hearted song; kind of catchy.
  6. Get on Your Boots (U2; 3:25). As I said in my previous post, this song is a fun romp with Bono taking a break from his political activism (”I don’t want to talk about wars between nations”) and calling us to live in the joy of the moment together (“here’s where we gotta be / love and community / laughter is eternity /if joy is real”).
  7. Stand Up Comedy (U2; 3:50). This song starts out as if it could have been on Zooropa, but then quickly becomes  something that would be at home on How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
  8. Fez – Being Born (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 5:17). No quite sure what to think of this one yet.
  9. White as Snow (traditional, arranged by U2, Eno and Lanois; 4:41).  This quiet and intimate song stands out from the rest of the album. According to Bono it is supposed to elicit the feelings of a soldier dying from a roadside bomb in Afganistan. A very moving song.
  10. Breathe (U2;  5:00). No sure what to think of this one.
  11. Cedars of Lebanon (U2, Eno, and Lanois; 4:13). This Pop-eque ballad grows on you.

All in all there is much to like about this album. Like most U2 albums, some songs resonate with you right away, others grow on you as you ponder their lyrics and appreciate their sound.  As I mentioned, the album is being released in a number of different packages:

If you are in North America you can pick up your copy today.


One Response to “U2 – No Line on the Horizon: My First Impressions”

  1. Loren Rosson III Says:

    Tyler,

    I expect I’ll have mixed feelings about it, if it’s a cross between Zooropa and Pop (the miserably low point of U2′s career) and All That You Can’t Leave Behind (their re-attainment of greatness). It sure sounds like a schizophrenic album!