It’s definitely been a while since U2 released their last album in 2004, but I’d say it’s been worth the wait. It’s taken me a few listens to get into it, but I’m really diggin’ it now, and I’d say it’s just as good if not better than their last two seminal albums.
You can hear shades of the hard rock sound U2 displayed on the hit single “Vertigo” with songs like “Stand Up Comedy”, and the single “Get On Your Boots”. I really like the way that they incorporated this heavier sound with this sprawling, epic sound that shows U2 trying to make their sound just as enormous as ever. Where as their last two albums showed their more expansive, anthemic songs mixed with some more reflective ballads, it seems that on this album they’ve kept most of the album in a more anthemic vein.
The classic U2 production team of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, certainly help to give the album a very cohesive sound, while also playing off of U2’s strengths as a band. No Line On The Horizon features the same interesting guitar work that you’d come to expect from The Edge, and I like the fact that he emphases even more on a guitar rather than his heavy use of piano on their last few albums. And of course there’s plenty of Bono’s soaring vocals, but it’s nice to see him not taking himself too seriously with some of the lyrics.
U2 have always been at their best when they’ve been going for that grandiose sound that they pull off so well, and that’s definitely what they’ve accomplished here. No Line On The Horizon, certainly displays many of the attributes that make U2 a great band, but I’d say it’s also filled with plenty of surprises. And although it may not have any huge hit singles like “Vertigo” or “Beautiful Day”, I’d say it’s among their best work yet. Anyways, it looks like it’s shaping up to be a pretty good year for aging rock stars with this album in addition to the great album Bruce Springsteen released last month, and I guess Bob Dylan has a new album coming out in April.
Favorite Tracks: “Unknown Caller”, “Stand Up Comedy”, “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”