Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Friday, April 3, 2009

U2 - No Line On The Horizon (2009)

Based on my mild savaging of The Joshua Tree, one would expect that I harbor some infantile hatred of everything U2. Not so, Mssr. Pangloss. I actually love early U2 and find most of their remaining output to be beautiful little musical gems surrounded by middling corporate schlock. Case in point: No Line On The Horizon, yet another album that I and many people have bought at this point, out of nostalgia, awe, completionism, or just a simple pining for a good song. But make no mistake, this is no better an album than anything in recent years. "Get On Your Boots," by merits a sequel to "Vertigo," is okay, but what really gets me is "I got a submarine / You got gasoline / I don't want to talk about wars between nations / Sexy boots." Sexy boots? Sexy boots? Yep. It's actually more annoying when heard.

Anyway, that's my only real gripe. Everything else is business as usual: long boring filler ("Moment Of Surrender," "Unknown Caller"), excellent Edge guitar textures ("No Line On The Horizon" and "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight") and my favorite song -- which every U2 album has -- the gorgeous "Magnificent." I love the the vintage tinkling guitar and chord sequences. It's a definitely a keeper and probably will sound great live. Otherwise, file it with the rest of their stuff and make sure not to kill yourself in trying to see them when they come around. C-


The RIpple Effect said...

You know, I agree with you completely on the Joshua Tree album. I think it is vastly over-rated with "Bullet the Blue Sky" one of the few remarkable songs. Early U2, Boy, October, War were phenomenal. Then the fade and slide began. Unforgettable Fire (is that even the title, I can't remember) was forgettable except for pride. Then Joshua. Actung Baby had it's moments, but only moments.

Thanks for calling it like it is.

By the way, my favorite U2 is probably War for overall strength, but I think October is vasty under-rated and unfairly berated by fans.

The Mad Hatter said...

That's pretty much my feelings as well. I love War, but I might have to say October is still my favorite. They're an enduring band and they obviously have something left in the kettle, but only a little bit. I know I can count on them for one great song per album, and I guess that's why I come back. That's a lie. It's the Edge. Simply.

Jeff said...

I think it's a pretty solid album. "Get on Your Boots" is ridiculous of course, but I think beyond the stupid lyrics and such it's a decent song. I love "Breathe", "White as Snow", "Magnificent" and "No Line on the Horizon".

All in all I think their past three albums are all really solid and come relatively close in terms of greatness to their 80s albums. No Line on the Horizon is probably a B+ album for me.

Starrlight said...

Oh you get mad props for loving October. No one loves October but me it seems.

The Mad Hatter said...


Well, you, me and Ripple are three. There has to be more. Has to be. Not everyone who likes U2 cites the Joshua Tree as the be-all end-all of music.

Starrlight said...

I adore JT but that has a lot to do with the time of life it came out in. But I don't think it is their best album. I think AB is probably their best with Boy and UF close seconds. And my all time favorite U2 song lives on Rattle and Hum.

The Mad Hatter said...

Really, UF? That's a snoozer for me, hehe. What's your fave on Rattle and Hum?

Starrlight said...

All I Want Is You. And on JT my favorites are Running to Stand Still and One Tree Hill. I mean I love the hits and all but those two are my favorite. The lyrics of Running To Stand Still are some of his best.