U2 – No Line on the Horizon (CD)

For awhile there it looked like U2 were finally back on track. Starting in 2000, when the band atoned for their past sins and, in Bono’s words “Reapplied for the job… of the best band in the world” with the fantastic All That You Can’t Leave Behind, followed by 2004’s almost as stellar How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, the Irish stadium rockers had nearly made up for past experimental missteps like the tacky Zooropa and the sample-heavy Pop.

With their latest, No Line in the Horizon, the band has decided to once again test the faith of their followers. Much more experimental (read: pretentious) than their last two rock focused releases, this 12th release from the band is challenging to say the least. It’s certainly not an awful record (that label will always be reserved for Pop), but there’s not a whole lot to love about the songs either. U2 have stuck with longtime collaborators Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno on this outing, but don’t expect to hear much of the band’s traditional arena rockers.

The overall vibe of No Line is much mellower than previous efforts and starts off almost with a crawl. The strongest tracks (“I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy” and “Stand Up Comedy”) are all relegated to the middle of the record, bookended by some of the band’s weakest work in a decade. I certainly understand the need to stretch musically to keep from re-recording the same album again and again, but not one stadium rocker from the band that perfected stadium rockers? Note to U2: If you ever decide to reapply for that greatest band in the world gig, we’ll be here waiting to look over that resume again.

Top Tracks: “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy” and “Stand Up Comedy”

Rating: 7 out 10

For awhile there it looked like U2 were finally back on track. Starting in 2000, when the band atoned for their past sins and, in Bono’s words “Reapplied for the job… of the best band in the world” with the fantastic All That You Can’t Leave Behind, followed by 2004’s almost as stellar How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, the Irish stadium rockers had nearly made up for past experimental missteps like the tacky Zooropa and the sample-heavy Pop. With their latest, No Line in the Horizon, the band has decided to once again test the faith of their followers. Much more experimental (read: pretentious) than their last two rock focused releases, this 12th release from the band is challenging to say the least. It’s certainly not an awful record (that label will always be reserved for Pop), but there’s not a whole lot to love about the songs either. U2 have stuck with longtime collaborators Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno on this outing, but don’t expect to hear much of the band’s traditional arena rockers. The overall vibe of No Line is much mellower than previous efforts and starts off almost with a crawl. The strongest tracks (“I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy” and “Stand Up Comedy”) are all relegated to the middle of the record, bookended by some of the band’s weakest work in a decade. I certainly understand the need to stretch musically to keep from re-recording the same album again and again, but not one stadium rocker from the band that perfected stadium rockers? Note to U2: If you ever decide to reapply for that greatest band in the world gig, we’ll be here waiting to look over that resume again.

Top Tracks: “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy” and “Stand Up Comedy”

Rating: 7 out 10

U2 – No Line on the Horizon (CD) / Interscope Records / 11 Tracks / http://www.U2.com

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