michael gallucci


In Uncategorized on 02/23/2009 at 5:25 am


No Line on the Horizon


U2 are the planet’s last Big Rock Stars. They’re multimillion-selling giants among faceless Frays and overreaching Coldplays. They pack stadiums with a huge repertoire of great songs that spans three decades. And they still make event albums that purport to be about something. Ever since 2000’s back-on-track All That You Can’t Leave Behind, U2 have soaked in their own mythical stature. Their last album, 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, was pretty much U2 Mad Libs: “inspiring adjective,” “persuasive verb,” “something that causes damage” — not bad, familiar sounding but ultimately forgettable. No Line on the Horizon, their 12th album, is a bit more inspired, reaching back to 1984’s moody The Unforgettable Fire for motivation. And it’s right there from the start, on the opening title tune, where the guitars ring large, the words are quasi-mystical (“You can hear the universe in her sea shells”) and the sound is that of a band with vital things on its mind, even if those things are kinda vague at times. Producers Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite – vets behind U2’s best albums – layer the songs with oodles of atmospheric texture, as Bono gets all solemn and the Edge picks out weighty guitar lines. No Line on the Horizon is filled with this self-importance. Only the fizzy, fuzzy “Get on Your Boots” cracks a smile, but it sounds labored, especially within the context. Better are those Big Rock Star moments that made U2 big rock stars: “Magnificent”’s systematic buildup, the chiming “Unknown Caller” and “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”’s sweeping grandeur. It’s classic U2, toiling in the landscapes of hope, glory and messy messianic proclamations. — Michael Gallucci


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