There is No Line On The Horizon

So, U2’s thirteenth album, No Line On The Horizon, was released yesterday.

U2 - No Line On The Horizon

The first thing to say is that this is a grower and that the first single release, Get On Your Boots, isn’t really very representative of the rest of the album.

The second thing to say is that this is an album about faith. More mature than Boy and War and much deeper than Elevation and Vertigo. This has echoes of the Joshua Tree in it’s depth and sounds deceptively complex and complicated like Achtung Baby.

The third thing to say is that, like all U2 albums, God is right there if you want to see him. I love how people can listen and hear lyrics about God… or not. I have no problem with that kind of duality.

No Line On The Horizon
I’ve been listening to this track for a couple of weeks as it’s the second song on the single. It has something of Fez where the record was made about it. Big guitars from Edge and a pounding bass-line from Adam state the intention but perhaps more interesting is the layering that gives away Brian Eno’s influence.

I like this track. Lots. Kind of slow to start but builds into a classic U2 riff with soaring guitars and gospel lyrics. ‘Only love can leave such a mark, but only love can heal such a scar’. Fantastically uplifting.

Moment of Surrender
There’s an organ on the start of this track which maybe seems to point towards church but an ambiguous lyric about a wedding seems to leads elsewhere. Don’t be fooled. This is a man wrestling with the monster of celebrity and publicity, yearning to get back to the only relationship that really matters to him. ‘I was speeding through the subway. Through the stations of the cross.’ It’s time to put it down. A moment of surrender indeed. Beautiful.

Unknown Caller
Birds song and computer language. What’s going on? I think this is an Easter song wrapped up in code. Go, shout it out, rise up/oh, oh/escape yourself and gravity’… ‘I had driven to the scene of the accident/and i sat there waiting for me/restart and re-boot yourself’ ‘You’re free to go’ Sounds like redemption to me… and more organs!

I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
Talk of a long climb up a mountain not a hill, change of heart coming slow, seeing truth… All wrapped up in an upbeat package of bright guitar riffs and harmonies. ‘The right amount of ridiculous is something I hold dear’. Couldn’t agree more. We are gong to see the light!

Get On Your Boots
Is this a song about the state of the world with a diverting chorus? ‘I don’t want to talk about war between nations’… but I’m going to. Marching boots. With guitar sounds from Love And Peace, Or Else. Boots goes into the ‘war’ section of the show for me. It’s deeper than you think… and has nothing to do with high heels.

Stand Up Comedy
‘Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady!’
Stand up for love… while being a rock star playing at politics maybe?

FEZ- Being Born
This sounds like the show opener for me. I can hear the chilled out beats with the echoes of Get On Your Boots creeping over the PA and the lights go down and then Edge takes to the stage with that distorted chord sequence and Adam’s pounding bass… But what’s it about? It’s about giving birth to music. Setting it free for it to set you free…

White As Snow
A soldier’s tale. Where do you find forgiveness and peace in a place torn by war? Where do you find forgiveness when your job is to kill? A fragile song of longing.

An joyous audio assault after the tranquil torment of White As Snow. Breathe talks about what’s important. Markets? Stocks and shares? Not so much. Hope is where it’s at. A hope found in grace. So breathe… My favourite track I think… for now anyway.

Cedars of Lebanon
A downbeat and reflective song that seems to deal with the middle east, again from a soldier’s point of view. Haunting questions and thoughts. ‘Choose your enemies carefully ‘cos they will define you’.

So there you go. My first thoughts on a great album which I think is going to grow on me even more. Buy it. Listen to it and I’ll see you at a gig sometime in the summer… maybe Cardiff in that fabulous Millennium Stadium with the roof closed…

5 thoughts on “There is No Line On The Horizon”

  1. You may have convinced me to buy this album, or at least listen to it. I’m not a massive U2 fan, nor do I not like them, but such a glowing review begs a listen at least from me!

  2. Instrumentally, I absolutely love it!!! It engages me and I’m hooked … then Bono starts to sing and I find that, in parts, I’d rather he didn’t. Come back to me in a few weeks.

  3. I’m not the biggests U2 fan, but am listening to the album just now. It is growing on me, but sounds similar to Atomic Bomb and All You Can’t Leave Behind. A good enought set of songs but not really moving forwards from previous albums.

  4. I think that’s probably fair comment Gordon. It’s not the same scale of directional change as Actung Baby was, more a continuation along the path they were on. That said, I think it’s more complex than the last two albums and more of a ‘grower’. I like it more with every listen.

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