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U2 – No Line On The Horizon

10 11 2010

Listened: Thursday October 7

Let’s get it out of the way now – similar to Vertigo from How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, Get On Your Boots from No Line On The Horizon is  throwaway single.

That said, the rest of the songs on this album are as good as anything U2 did on Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby, just with a maturity they couldn’t have brought to the game back then.

Moment of Surrender brings me to my knees every time I hear it (fittingly enough). Lyrics like “The stone was semi-precious. We were barely conscious. Two souls too smart to be, In the realm of certainty. Even on our wedding day” touches me and makes me want to know what’s going on in that scene. Similarly “I was speeding on the subway, Through the stations of the cross. Every eye looking every other way, Counting down ’til the pain would stop” rips my heart out at the thought of being alone and struggling in a big city, surrounded by strangers.

In FEZ-Being Born, the modern rock gospel style of producer Brian Eno leaps off the album and pulls you up to its level. Bono’s classic ecstatic screams help you reach up there, too. White As Snow has some gospel tinges too, but is more of a song painting, full of vivid imagery that makes me think of kids growing up, years ago, in both Ireland and Afghanistan. The Edge’s guitar adds bursts of color to the scene.

Cedars of Lebanon is probably the most perfect song on the album – another beautiful painting in sound, ending with a kind of invocation that fades to black: “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.”

Despite all of Bono’s globetrotting and stumping, when U2 get together, they still put out beautiful music with its finger on the pulse of what’s going on at the time. This is why I continue to keep my ear open, waiting for the next one.

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