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No Line on the Horizon
     

No Line on the Horizon

4.0 45
by U2
 

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Marx's dictum about history held that its repetitions degenerate from tragedy to farce. Apparently no one told Bono and company, whose phoenix-like rebirth since 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind has been heavily indebted to innovative sonic reproductions of the band's back catalog. Indeed, like seasoned jazz performers, U2 have opted to trade headlong

Overview

Marx's dictum about history held that its repetitions degenerate from tragedy to farce. Apparently no one told Bono and company, whose phoenix-like rebirth since 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind has been heavily indebted to innovative sonic reproductions of the band's back catalog. Indeed, like seasoned jazz performers, U2 have opted to trade headlong exploration for refinement of technique, and there's nothing farcical about it. Even an album like No Line On the Horizon, which owes its more searching sound to the itchy period that began with 1991's Achtung Baby carries itself with a maturity and, yes, world-weariness that speaks to experience, not repetition. Much as Achtung fed off the energy of post-wall Berlin, No Line draws inspiration from Fez, Morocco, with its mix of arid desert vista and teeming, chintzy souk. "Magnificent," with its synths echoing a Cairo soundtrack orchestra, and "Moment of Surrender," whose looped percussive hiccups recall Gnawa trance music, seem particularly indebted to North African aural architecture. This richness comes courtesy of classic collaborators Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who make a peace with the kicky garage-rock ("Get on Your Boots") and the more spacious vibes of '80s U2. (Steve Lillywhite, credited with additional production, completes the Achtung reunion - but where's Flood?) The result is simultaneously new and vintage as a pair of factory-distressed blue jeans.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
A rock & roll open secret: U2 care very much about what other people say about them. Ever since they hit the big time in 1987 with The Joshua Tree, every album is a response to the last -- rather, a response to the response, a way to correct the mistakes of the last album: Achtung Baby erased the roots rock experiment Rattle and Hum, All That You Can't Leave Behind straightened out the fumbling Pop, and 2009's No Line on the Horizon is a riposte to the suggestion they played it too safe on 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. After recording two new cuts with Rick Rubin for the '06 compilation U218 and flirting with will.i.am, U2 reunited with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois (here billed as "Danny" for some reason), who not only produced The Joshua Tree but pointed the group toward aural architecture on The Unforgettable Fire. Much like All That You Can't and Atomic Bomb, which were largely recorded with their first producer, Steve Lillywhite, this is a return to the familiar for U2, but where their Lillywhite LPs are characterized by muscle, the Eno/Lanois records are where the band take risks, and so it is here that U2 attempts to recapture that spacy, mysterious atmosphere of The Unforgettable Fire and then take it further. Contrary to the suggestion of the clanking, sputtering first single "Get on Your Boots" -- its riffs and "Pump It Up" chant sounding like a cheap mashup stitched together in GarageBand -- this isn't a garish, gaudy electro-dalliance in the vein of Pop. Apart from a stilted middle section -- "Boots," the hamfisted white-boy funk "Stand Up Comedy," and the not-nearly-as-bad-as-its-title anthem "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight"; tellingly, the only three songs here to not bear co-writing credits from Eno and Lanois -- No Line on the Horizon is all austere grey tones and midtempo meditation. It's a record that yearns to be intimate but U2 don't do intimate, they only do majestic, or as Bono sings on one of the albums best tracks, they do "Magnificent." Here, as on "No Line on the Horizon" and "Breathe," U2 strike that unmistakable blend of soaring, widescreen sonics and unflinching openhearted emotion that's been their trademark, turning the intimate into something hauntingly universal. These songs resonate deeper and longer than anything on Atomic Bomb, their grandeur almost seeming effortless. It's the rest of the record that illustrates how difficult it is to sound so magnificent. With the exception of that strained middle triptych, the rest of the album is in the vein of "No Line on the Horizon," "Magnificent" and "Breathe," only quieter and unfocused, with its ideas drifting instead of gelling. Too often, the album whispers in a murmur so quiet it's quite easy to ignore -- "White as Snow," an adaptation of a traditional folk tune, and "Cedars of Lebanon," its verses not much more than a recitation, simmer so slowly they seem to evaporate -- but at least these poorly defined subtleties sustain the hazily melancholy mood of No Line on the Horizon. When U2, Eno, and Lanois push too hard -- the ill-begotten techno-speak overload of "Unknown Caller," the sound sculpture of "Fez-Being Born" -- the ideas collapse like a pyramid of cards, the confusion amplifying the aimless stretches of the album, turning it into a murky muddle. Upon first listen, No Line on the Horizon seems as if it would be a classic grower, an album that makes sense with repeated spins, but that repetition only makes the album more elusive, revealing not that U2 went into the studio with a dense, complicated blueprint, but rather, they had no plan at all.
Rolling Stone
...No Line on the Horizon, [is] U2's first album in nearly five years and their best, in its textural exploration and tenacious melodic grip, since 1991's Achtung Baby.
Spin Magazine
1/2 With coproducers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois explicitly included in the songwriting, it’s an effort to tinker and rough up and refine anew their music’s essence--with nobly sketchy results.
Entertainment Weekly - Jeff Jensen
No Line on the Horizon is an eclectic and electrifying winner, one that speaks to the zeitgeist the way only U2 can and dare to do. [A-]
Los Angeles Times - Ann Powers
No Line on the Horizon partakes of that romance by trying to expose its inner workings. It's risky to expose those delineations; as the band said long ago, it's like trying to throw your arms around the world. But the effort has its payoffs.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/03/2009
Label:
Interscope Records
UPC:
0602517960374
catalogNumber:
001263002
Rank:
68164

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

U2   Primary Artist
Edge   Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Bono   Guitar,Vocals
Adam Clayton   Bass Guitar
Caroline Dale   Cello
Brian Eno   Synthesizer,Vocals,Loops
Larry Mullen   Percussion,Drums
Cathy Thompson   Violin
Richard Watkins   French Horn
will.i.am   Keyboards
Sam O'Sullivan   Percussion
Terry Lawless   Piano,Keyboards,fender rhodes
Louis Watkins   Vocals,Soprano (Vocal)
Danny Lanois   Guitar,Vocals

Technical Credits

U2   Arranger,Composer
Edge   Lyricist
Bono   Lyricist
Brian Eno   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Lyricist,Producer,Rhythm Loops,Audio Production
Steve Lillywhite   Producer,Audio Production
Cenzo Townshend   Engineer
Carl Glanville   Engineer
Tony Mangurian   Programming,Engineer
CJ Eiriksson   Engineer
Cheryl Engels   Quality Control
Florian Ammon   Engineer
Paul McGuinness   Management
Richard Rainey   Engineer
will.i.am   Producer,Audio Production
Traditional   Composer
Sam O'Sullivan   Studio Manager,Drum Technician
Dallas Schoo   Guitar Techician
Declan Gaffney   Engineer,Audio Production
Dave Emery   Engineer
Hiroshi Sugimoto   Cover Photo
Danny Lanois   Arranger,Composer,Lyricist,Audio Production

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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No Line on the Horizon 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
MusicLover1056 More than 1 year ago
U2 has always been my favorite band but this album is really good, especially Get on Your Boots. I hope everybody else likes this album, too! I LOVE YOU BONO!
glauver More than 1 year ago
The sonic textures on this CD rival those of Achtung Baby or The Joshua Tree; if only I could say the same thing about the songs. Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois usually bring out the best in U2, but the songwriting seems to be lacking here. The songs are deficient of any vision and idealism and, even with the lyrics in front of me, I'm not sure what they are about. It's as if you got a gorgeously wrapped Christmas package, but the box was empty. I will give No Line On The Horizon 3 stars on sound alone, but U2 need to beef up their composing skills or face becoming irrelevant.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
booklover224 More than 1 year ago
They've done it again! Adam, Larry, Bono and the Edge have made a masterpiece. "No Line on the Horizon" is an album that requires more than one listen to fully appreciate its many layers. The first single that they released off the album "Put on Your Boots" while catchy and fun is actually the weakest track on the album. "Magnificent" is the show stopper and you when you listen to it you can already hear how well it's going to go over live. Some reviews of this album have been mixed but that's because whoever wrote them either is not a U2 fan to begin with or is a poser who claims they're a fan but only likes "Joshua Tree". If you don't already own this album, I'll forgive you if you run out and buy it right now!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No major changes - nice U2 experience. This album is a bit slower than the others, after a while you just feel like turning it off not to fall asleep. But there are some nice songs which make it worth.
GinaS13 More than 1 year ago
They rarely disappoint. This album is consistently good. Some songs sound a bit familiar but overall it is a great album.
MacReady82 More than 1 year ago
The 1st U2 album I've purchased since Zooropa ('93). Moody rock mixed with a world beat... their best period remains 1987-1993 in my humble opinion... but this new set of songs is deserving of inclusion into your collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love it
DOB More than 1 year ago
My passion for U2 has been steadily declining for the last 15 years or so, and I wasn't sure what to expect from this album when I first got it. I had high hopes but low expectations. On my first listen, I declared it to be "terrible," and hated it. It SLOWLY got better with repeated listens, but it took about 12 times all the way through before it really caught on. I think I would now put it up there as the best of their last 3 or 4 albums. It still has some clunky moments that don't work, but on the whole it's a very solid album. A nice blend of commercial and "experimental."
Perika12008 More than 1 year ago
I like the new CD, although is not their best work, is really enjoyable!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Attention: Please disregard the unbelievably clueless, misguided, and retarded comments from Christopher (who I'm betting is the president of the Justin Timberlake Fan Club) and "Bad." Clearly, they have no idea of greatness when it appears before them. U2 are easily the most significant, gifted, and relevant rock and roll band on the planet--fact, not opinion. Every track on this CD is exploratory and exciting. No one, not any band or solo artist, can summon the passion that Bono, the Edge, Larry and Adam conjure up with every new batch of songs. If you truly care about great music, pick up a copy of "No Line on the Horizon" today.
monizooma More than 1 year ago
I have yet to take it out of my cd player in the car. It goes with me wherever I go.
CatRey More than 1 year ago
I'll make my review short and sweet and take a cue from my favorite song on the cd to describe my opinion of U2's latest work --- "MAGNIFICENT"!
ManCityFan More than 1 year ago
but not great ...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The thing I would say to potential buyers is that this album has many layers. And it is not an album meant to be listened to as individual pieces, but as a whole, all-encompassing, true album. So take it as such. The sonic architecture and the use of house influences on "Magnificent" as well as a little R&B / Hip-Hop that can be heard on "Get On Your Boots" and "Stand Up Comedy". It is one of their most honest and introspective albums, and I truly enjoy every second of it. So listen to it several times before making up your mind. It is a brilliant masterpiece that will have incredible longevity as a whole.
RCN61 More than 1 year ago
For perspective, I am a huge fan of Atomic Bomb, Achtung Baby, All That You Can't, and War. I am much less a fan of Joshua Tree (other than Bullet the Blue Sky, which is one of their best). This album falls into the later grouping. It lacks the powerful, emotional tracks like New Years Day, Vertigo, Love or Peace or Else, Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, Elevation, etc. Most are mid-tempo songs that are somewhat monotonous. Just average, in my opinion.
PlotTwister More than 1 year ago
I think I will split my review for two different listeners: those that are already fans and those that are not. Now if you are a true fan I feel that you would have bought this already and wouldn't be waiting on somebody's review to help you make the decision, but if you are lukewarm I encourage you to buy this album and as has been mentioned, listen to the album as a whole. It really speaks for itself from the genesis of the first four tracks which escape into dusk and all of its possibilites to the end that calmly walks away in the foggy morning. The album is complete and whole, cosmic in its scope and intimate in nature. Now I tire of all those people that constantly compare any of their work to the 'Joshua Tree test'. For crying out loud that was twenty years ago with different technology, a different world, different talent and skill. I would say though that like Joshua Tree which is complete in its story this is the album that takes second in wholeness. Many of the reviews coming from Rolling Stones etc do a much better job than I could of describing the musical texture of "No Line" but I was pleasantly surprised to find this album met my expectations. It fills my head full of sonic sustenance and I find myself constantly thinking of when I will listen again. The Edge is as sharp as ever. (I couldn't help the pun) and he restrains and focuses his guitar so fluidly that even I as a music igno-ramous can tell that genious is at work. It is 'life soundtrack' music as U2 can only do best. Now for those that have never listened to a U2 album before, you can not fail with this album, Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby. Then transition into the rest. At the last concert I noticed how many different colors and shapes, and ages of U2 fans there are now. I think their music is becoming quite relevant and 'moves' people to action or purpose. To invent and create something so original with each of their albums is an accomplishment that I as a writer recognize as quite the feat. No Line on the Horizon is as sonic and reverbrating as Achtung Baby and unrestrained as The Joshua Tree. Stop reading my review and listen for yourself already!
mariemusic More than 1 year ago
I have been a U2 fan for a very long time and this album delivers the high level of great music we have come to expect from this world famous band. It flows nicely from one song to the next and I think this album, much like their others, will last for a long time to come. The title track is fantastic, and of course "Get on your Boots" just rocks! "Stand Up Comedy" get an oddly dark start and then goes into a direction you don't expect. "Fez" is a little weird but just let it get going before making an opinion about it. It has a great bass line to it and anchors itself nicely into the overall feel of the album. To put it simply, the A-sides (first half) are very much in the U2 style with the open amp and soaring Bono vocals. The B-sides (second half) tend to push the sound more, just past what they did on the Joshua Tree album and into something new, beautiful, and often contemplative. I have listened to the album daily since I bought it and it is well worth the purchase. Enjoy!
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