Thursday, April 23, 2009

U2; No Line on the Horizon

Finally I have finished my review of No Line on the Horizon, the new U2 album that I think is fully worth the time. It is an album that is much like the Joshua Tree in the way that it is a journey. Bono said that this album is "a more meditative album on the theme of pilgrimage" I believe that is the best nutshell description of it… now for the longer song by song description;

1.No Line on the Horizon
Best Lyric; I know a girl, she’s like the sea/ I watch her changing every day for me/ one day she’s still, the next she swells/ you can hear the universe in her sea shells.

Time is irrelevant, it’s not linear…

Strong throughout, great lyrics, the instrumentation is hot, catchy lyric, it’s a travel anthem

Best Lyric; This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue/ only love can leave such a mark

Somewhere between The Joshua Tree and the better songs from POP is this song. Catchy, lyrical, vague in a grasping way.

Edge shows off his signiture 16th note riffs and a fine solo. While Larry drives the beat on in a steady journey.

3. Moment of Surrender
Best Lyric; At the moment of surrender of vision over visibility I did not notice the passers by and they did not notice me.

Somewhat lacking, seems more like a B-side. The lyrics are somehow reminescent of my junior high poetry. Bono has some interesting vocal lix in here though. It’s an ok song but not one I’m going to scream “Oh Yes!” if they play it live.

4. Unknown Caller
Best Lyric; I was lost between midnight and the dawning/ In a place of no consequence or company
It sounds like morning. The sun comes up, the birds start to sing, the world comes alive… the feeling of nature is juxtaposed with a more marching technological chorus; it’s beautifully evocative. It’s the feeling of travel alone, jumping out into the unknown, discovery… the simple beginning grows into organ music, french horn, guitar solos… full sound that burgeons out into the world.
This song grows on me more every time I hear it.

5. I’ll go Crazy if I don’t go Crazy tonight
Not going to choose a “best” for this song;

It’s lyrics are too sing-song, the chorus is like a bad movie soundtrack… it very well could end up on some obnoxious Oprah pick movie in the midst of a montage. The melody is repetitive and simplistic… I can’t even begin to say how much I hate it.

6. Get on Your Boots
Best Lyric; women of the future hold the big revelations… you don’t know how beautiful you are.

Strong track! It’s catchy, it’s all filled with girl power and makes me want to put on some tall stomping boots and dance around. It’s flattering (“you don’t know how beautiful you are” repeated over and over) It’s positive and sexy and fun and I cannot wait to hear this one in concert. Am I wearing sexy boots to the show? You betca I am!

7. Stand Up Comedy
Best Lyric; stop helping God across the road like a little old lady

I am still undecided about this song. The tune is fairly familiar U2, but it seems a little more complex somehow, the lyrics are all over… usually when I feel this way about a track it’s because it’s a new format, a new lyric, just something that is somehow foreign. I felt this way about Thom Yorke’s solo album until I had heard In Rainbows and went back to it. After hearing this a few more times I think I’m going to like it. Right now it seems a bit dischordant…

8. Fez – Being Born
Best Lyric; head first, then foot, then heart sets sail

Ah a Passenger’s track meets an Achtung Track… eerie instrumentation meets the Edge and Larry driving a flying car through the desert. An odd buzzing whirrs through the headsets. I Love this track. It’s a journey in itself.

9. White as Snow
Best Lyric; who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not?

This is by far one of Bono’s best poems. It’s the searching for Grace, the coming short of it, and looking again. The music has a vague hamered dulcimer feeling, quiet piano… but still played with guitar and bass. Bono’s vocal work is longing and lilting, as Irish as it ever gets within the pop music format.

10. Breathe
Best Lyric; the forest fire that is fear so deny it, walk out into the street, sing your heart out!

This is quintissential U2. It’s got that heavy rhythm with soaring guitar and vocal work; it’s going to be amazing in concert. The lyrics are vague, but have enough catches that you can latch your own meaning onto that everyone will think they know what it means. It is independence, freedom, a brave journey into the ether… I love this track.

11. Cedars of Lebanon
Best Lyric; I’ve got a head like a lit cigarette/Unholy clouds reflecting in a minaret/ you’re so high above me, highter than everyone/ Where are you in the Cedars of Lebanon?

I’m still not sure of what I think this one means. Clearly it’s a story of someone far from home seeking truth. There are images of war-torn places, there are decisions to stay or leave… and the enigatic lyric that closes the album;
“Choose your enemies carefully ‘cos they will define you/ make them interesting ‘cos in some ways they will mind you/ they’re not there in the beginning but when your story ends/ gonna last with you longer than your friends”

I Think it’s a song about choosing your battles, and choosing the noble path in life, but still I admit I’m not solid on it.

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