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Friday, February 22nd
The Critics Corner: Albums
U2- No Line on the Horizon

New U2 release gets poetic and contemplative
No Line on the Horizon Name: "No Line on The Horizon "
Label: Interscope/A&M
Release Date: March 3, 2009
My rating: 2.8/5

Review written by: Ann Frohoff
A Poet’s dream. A Lyricist’s reverie - this is the silver lining. U2’s new album “No Line on the Horizon” was hard for me to swallow the first several runs through. I sat contemplating, in all disappointment, thoughts going back to “Joshua Tree”. ‘What happened?’ I asked myself. Thinking of “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” and dreaming of the “Vertigo” tour. Song after song, I tried to make sense of the 11 tracks on the album.

I had heard rumors the reviews weren’t great, mediocre at best. I have always reserved the right to form my own opinion. I mean, how many times have you read something negative and thought, ‘I didn’t think it was bad’? So, there I sat in all eagerness, scoffing at those who tried to force my hand. I didn’t dare read any other review. I pushed play, the first song, the title track “No Line on the Horizon” blared loudly with the familiar, signature upbeat U2 sound, and Bono’s voice pumped me up. The lyrics had me in the beginning, and then quickly lost me. “I’m a traffic cop”…what? I held on to the beat…was satisfied. To the second track “Magnificent”, an old school 80’s synthesized tempo reminded me of old times, the lyrics however had me duped – now more solidly especially after “…from the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise”. I’m not sure “Joyful” and “Noise” should be used in the same sentence.

Willingly, moving onto the 3rd track “Moment of Surrender”, with its celestial, spiritual measure at start, transitioning to soft hums, lasting a little too long for my liking. At first I couldn’t grasp the meaning of this song. What I did take away was it must be a song of reflection and representative of a higher state of being “At the moment of surrender, I folded to my knees”, this is a thoughtful chorus.

I moved quickly through the 4th track “Unknown Caller”, a chanting diatribe of nonsense, I found nothing to hang on to; then through the 5th track to the 6th “Get on Your Boots”, excitement came back to me. “Get on Your Boots” was the savior, it gave me meat to hang on a little longer. Starting with a catchy guitar rift continuing on with a groovy beat, you could say it ‘got me out of my seat’. I definitely breathed a sigh of relief. I was able to get into it and sing along to “…let me in the sound”. “Get on Your Boots” is the best song on the entire album in my opinion.

The rest of the album was pretty much one in the same for me. I couldn’t take hold of this album like the U2 of the past. I stared at the written lyrics looking for their vision. I was challenged to look for a deeper meaning, hoping that I wouldn’t walk away thinking it being a contrived mess.

Now, know that I’m not a poetic person, but I have been to my share of poem readings and it dawned on me that these lyrics, the message of this album is much deeper than the average ‘story’ telling song. This album, the lyrics read like a verse or sonnet; but the average person will not take the time I have to find a reason to make sense of it all. The tone of the entire album is a bit slow and measured.  I longed for more up beat rhythms with lyrics I could relate to with out wracking my brain.

The average U2 fan, like me, may be turned off at first and the disenchantment may remain. After listing to the songs over and over again, I have to admit, I have not been bitten. This album however breaths truth, life, and the soulfulness from a group of guys who strive for a better world; who want to bring passion, mercy and awakening to the masses; with this album, it's their attempt to challenge us, charge us, the fans to look deeper into ourselves. I must reiterate, the silver lining for “No Line on the Horizon” is it’s a versifier’s aspiration.

Cristina CarrazzaAnn Frohoff is a staff writer in the West/Southwest region at Musiqtone.com. You can contact her at annfrohoff@musiqtone.com or fill out this feedback form below.
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