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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Let Me in the Sound


My iTunes play count reads 17. That is how many times I have listened to No Line On the Horizon, U2's most recent release.

I actually had the pleasure of seeing U2 last Tuesday on the day of the album's release. They did a few promotional moments (including this image above) and wrapped up the afternoon with a performance on The Late Show that Taryn and I attended. While I have seen U2 a number of times previously, it was fun to see them in such a small venue while playing material that I had only heard earlier that morning.

I could do a track by track review of this album or say more about my borderline obsession with Bono, but that has been done. Rather, I wish to highlight the creativity of this album. Daniel Lanois, whom U2 has been working with for decades, describes the work of this album to be creating "future hymns and spirituals". Lanois also mentioned that while the band intended to work with Rick Rubin (producer with a closet full of Grammys), the band decided against it because they did not want to settle for "meat and potatoes" but rather wanted to make "soul music".

This album is not an easy listen. It's not for the casual U2 fan. Which is why I love it. What band, 30 years into their existence, with a struggling music industry and a plummiting economy, would take an artistic risk in the name of "soul music"? Very few.

Songs like "Magnificent" and "Breathe" will remind you of their greatest hits while "No Line on the Horizon" has clear undertones of "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me". There are a few songs that will need to grow on you. As a friend of mine put it, "it's like they got too creative at points."

Too creative? Really? Sorry buddy, but not every CD can be Joshua Tree. Nor should it.

Do yourself a favor and go pick up the album if you haven't already. And make sure that you buy tickets to the upcoming stadium tour (what in the world are they going to do with that giant spider?). If they are playing in your city, you should buy me a ticket and I'll come for a visit. I guarantee it.

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