Friday, February 20, 2009
My Review of No Line on the Horizon
It's hard to describe NLOTH in any sort of pithy way. It's a definite departure from the sound that they had starting with All That You Can't Leave Behind and ending with the U2:18 Singles songs. If you've been listening to U2 long enough, you can hear bits and pieces of their sound from Achtung Baby, some from Zooropa, Pop, Joshua Tree, and even Boy. There's also a healthy smattering of some new sound in there as well. It's an extraordinary album, easily the best thing they've put out in the past 15 years. I would also say that it's the best complete album put out in that timeframe too. There are songs that are better, perhaps even albums with multiple better songs. At the same time, those albums tend to have strong material and weak material. Take Gwen Stefani's The Great Escape. There are 4 songs on there that I think are phenominal, but there's an additional 7 that are absolutely hideous. It's the most bipolar album I've ever heard. That's what's so amazing about NLOTH. The a-side is great, but the b-side might be just as strong...something that I haven't heard since Achtung Baby. You would be doing yourself a great disservice if you didn't go out and grab it or download it as soon as it is actually released. Is it their best album ever? Not upon 5 listens in 24 hours. It has the potential to get close to Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, but I don't know that it will ever pass them. It's definitely the third best U2 album ever though.
How the songs rate (best to worst)
3. FEZ - Being Born
4. White as Snow
5. Unknown Caller
6. No Line on the Horizon
7. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
8. Stand Up Comedy
9. Moment of Surrender
10. Cedars of Lebanon
11. Get On Your Boots
Except for Get On Your Boots, this is tough to do, because they're all great songs. I'm seriously shocked at how much I love it. It's like no album I've ever picked up on release. With everything before 1996, I got to the albums after they'd been picked clean of singles, so I knew what to expect. Since I became an active music collector though, I've never popped something in and wanted to listen to it again and again - without knowing where I want to start. It's truly a revelation.