Something Big on the Horizon

It’s called  NO LINE ON THE HORIZON and it’s the new U2 album that will be out on March 3rd. What follows in this post is a list and brief descriptions of the rumored songs that might make it on there. The sources are: Interference (U2 Fan Site), Rolling Stone magazine, and Q Magazine. I’m really looking forward to this release. I’ve been listening to Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree a lot recently which always leads me to a massive internal debate about which of those albums is better… Just today Achtung Baby won that debate… Just two days ago The Joshua Tree won the debate… it rages on… From what’s been said this new album looks like it’ll be a broad range of the best vibes of the band.

1. “Magnificence
– Q-source: “classic U2-isms”; “echoes TUF’s opening track A Sort Of Homecoming in its atmospheric sweep”
– Q-magazine: “slow building anthem with the ambience of TUF and laced with the wide eyed wonder of U2’s earlier albums. Edge here is at his most dynamic. Features the line:”Only love can reset your mind””
– RS-source: “”Only love can leave such a mark,” Bono roars on what sounds like an instant U2 anthem. Will.i.am has already done what Bono calls “the most extraordinary” remix of the tune”

2. “Crazy Tonight
– Q-source: “straight up pop”; “the track Will.I.Am was taking a pass at”
– Q-magazine: “upbeat pop track with distinct echoes of 60’s era Phil Spector, particularly the moment when its chorus disappears into a wash of reverb. Centres around the line: “I’ll go crazy If I dont go crazy tonight””
– RS-source: “It’s kind of like this album’s ‘Beautiful Day’ — it has that kind of joy to it,” Bono says. With the refrain “I know I’ll go crazy/If I don’t go crazy tonight,” it’s the band’s most unabashed pop tune since “Sweetest Thing””

3. “Stand Up
– Q-source: “swaggering”; “wherein U2 get in touch with their, hitherto unheard, funky selves – albeit propelled by some coruscating Edge guitar work, a signature feature of a number of the tracks”; “home to the knowing Bono lyric, “Stand up to rock stars/Napoleon is in high heels/Be careful of small men with big ideas.””
– Q-magazine: “rousing groove-based rocker with shades of Led Zep and Cream. Edge mentions that they’re trying to keep Stand Up in a rough state and not overproduce it by putting it through Pro-Tools which cleans up imperfections”
– RS-source: “Stand Up Comedy”; “another hard rock tune, powered by an unexpectedly slinky groove and a riff that lands between the Beatles’ “Come Together” and Led Zep’s “Heartbreaker.” Edge recently hung out with Jimmy Page and Jack White for the upcoming documentary It Might Get Loud, and their penchant for blues-based rock rubbed off: “I was just fascinated with seeing how Jimmy played those riffs so simply, and with Jack as well,” he says”

4. “Get Your Boots On
– Q-source: “among other instantly striking tracks”; “a heaving electro-rocker that may mark the destination point the band had been seeking on POP”
– Q-magazine: “formerly titled “Sexy Boots”, this demented electro grunge employs a proto-rockn’roll riff, but propelled into the future, with a hip-hop twist in the middle. Features Bono in flirtacious, self depreciating mode: “I dont wanna talk about wars between nations””
-RS-source: “the likely first single, this blazing, fuzzed-out rocker picks up where “Vertigo” left off. “It started just with me playing and Larry drumming,” the Edge recalls. “And we took it from there””

5. “Winter
– Q-source: “featuring a fine Bono lyric about a soldier in an unspecified war zone, surrounded by a deceptively simple rhythm track and an evocative string arrangement courtesy of Eno”
– Q-magazine: “6 minute ballad. Echoes of Simon & Garfunkel in this poignant, acoustic string laden ballad about a soldier in the snow of Afghanistan. Will appear in the new film ‘Brothers’ starring Tobey Maguire about the emotional fallout of the war. Edge on backing vocals with Bono for Winter””

6. “Unknown Caller
– Q-source: “stately”; “was recorded in Fez and opens with the sounds of birdsong taped by Eno during a Moroccan dawn”
– Q-magazine: “opens with the sound of birdsong recorded live in Fez. A middle eastern flavoured percussion loop drives this tale about a man”at the end of his rope” whose phone bizarrely begins texting him random instructions: “Reboot yourself”,”Password, enter here”,”You’re free to go”.
Dallas Schoo describes the song as “one of Edge’s major solos in his life – you wont hear better than that on any other song””
– RS-source: “this midtempo track could have fit on ATYCLB. “The idea is that the narrator is in an altered state, and his phone starts talking to him,” says the Edge”

7. “Moment Of Surrender
– Q-source: “particular excitement was reserved for”; “a strident seven-minute epic recorded in a single take”; “sounds like a great U2 moment in the spirit of “One””
– Q-magazine: “georgiously melodic 7 minute song that already has the air of the U2 classic about it, with lyrics about dark stars and existential crises:”I did not notice the passers-by/And they did not notice me”. Recorded in one take. This album’s “One””
– RS-source: “this seven-minute-long track is one of the album’s most ambitious, merging a TJT-style gospel feel with a hypnotically loping bass line and a syncopated beat””

8. “Breathe
– Q-source: “particular excitement was reserved for”; “still a work in progress”; “Eno suggests, this is potentially both the best song the band had written and that he had worked on”
– Q-magazine: “Arabic cello gives way to joyful chorus. Brian Eno says this is U2’s best ever song. It’s 8pm and Eno, Bono and Will.i.am are on Olympic Studio 1 writing a cello part for a song called Breathe that U2 – a touch ambitiously – are only beginning to record in ths final fortnight, never mind mix – the singer belts out a rollicking vocal featuring door-to-door salesman, a cockatoo and a chorus that begins “Step out into the street, sing your heart out””

9. “No Line On The Horizon
– Q-source: “further unfinished”; “two versions were extant: the first is another TUF-esque slow burner that builds to a euphoric coda, the second a punky Pixies/Buzzcocks homage that proceeds at a breathless pace”, “Bono very excited about the second version”
(- Q-magazine: “began life as a slow paced Eno-esque ambient treatment, before being dramatically reworked in the Olympic Sessions into an abrasive punk-rock tune akin to Vertigo, with its “No! Line!” chorus chant”
– RS-source: “the title track’s relentless groove began as a group improvisation. “It’s very raw and very to the point,” says the Edge. “It’s like rock & roll 2009″”

10. “Every Breaking Wave
– Q-source: “further unfininished”; “emotive Bono vocal and an appropriately grand swell of a climax”; “something special”
– Q-magazine: “Lillywhite cues up the track, a slow burning track called “Every Breaking Wave” that gradually builds to a climax brimming with passion and intensity. Bono begins to sing rocking forward and backwards on his studio chair – he performs a note perfect vocal that employs the movement of the ocean as a metaphor for the human struggle, before building to the plaintive line “I dont know if I’m that strong”. Two takes and 10 minutes later its done. Key line “Every Sailor knows that the Sea/Is a friend made enemy””
– RS-source: “a swelling soul-pop song, with bright synth sounds influenced by OMD and, Bono says, “early electronica.” “You don’t hear indie bands doing blue-eyed soul [like this],” he adds”

11. “Cedars Of Lebanon
– Q-source: not mentioned …
– Q-magazine: “Daniel Lanois instigated closer that finds Bono imagining himself as a weary, lovelorn war correspondent “squeezing complicated lives into a simple headline”. Ends with the possibly telling line “Choose your enemies carefully cos they will define you””
– RS-source: “”On this album, you can feel what is going on in the world at the window, scratching at the windowpane,” says Bono, who sings this atmospheric ballad from the point of view of a war correspondent”

12. “Tripoli
– Q-source: not mentioned …
– Q-magazine: “Bono talks about a song called “Tripoli”, which is a guy on a motorcycle, a Moraccan french cop, whos going AWOL. He drives though France and Spain down to this village outside of Cadiz where you can actually see the fires of Africa burning”
– RS-source: “this strikingly experimental song lurches between disparate styles, including near-operatic choral music, ZOOROPA-style electronics, and churning arena rock”

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