No Line On The Horizon : LEAKED (Album Review)

The new album from U2 has leaked and since I have no self control…

What follows in this post is my first time reaction to the new album (aside from Get On Your Boots – which has already been released). Again, as I type this, this is the first time listening to the CD. Expect it to be quick thoughts and impressions since it’s in “real time”. My impressions surely will change over time so take what I say here with a grain of salt. Here it is for what it’s worth.

Track 1: No Line on the Horizon

     A sonic boom opens the song. A minor chord (strings?)… nice touch… Bono is channeling the Who’s Roger Daltrey (which is a good thing ). Refrain (?) nice break as the “noise” is turned off for a moment. Holy crap this is a hell of a song so far… Drums have kicked in and fits like a glove. Bridge: “oh oh oh oh” That’s all Bono (and Edge) says but it’s all that is needed. His voice? You can hear some strain (age) but overall… wow. If this album is like this song then we are in for a freakin treat. Some keyboards during the refrain. Drums are unreal in this song (Larry is on FIRE!).

     Rating: 8/10 (Could EASILY become a 9)

Track 2: Magnificent:

     Starts off with an ACDC (TNT) sound with drums. Weird instrument comes in. Eclectic sounding with synth now. EDGE comes in and potentially saves the song. “Magnificent” Bono sings… Verse seems a little mediocre. Refrain comes in and is much better. Bono sounds good in this one. Bass and Drums really stand out in this song. The very beginning of the refrain along with the guitar riff makes this song. Edge solo – sounds like he’s using a slide. Solid ending. Good but not “great”.

      Rating: 7/10  *note: I just listened to it for the second time and it is OUT OF THIS WORLD!  I now rate it 9/10

Track 3: Moment of Surrender:

     Drums open the song with synth strings. Great opening. Sounds like it could be on Achtung Baby. Strange chord change there (but really good). Bass again is driving this song. Sounds like it may be mediocre now…? Bono comes in and over-sings a line (a bad thing). Bono sounds old (it could be the Middle-Eastern influence that the song has for it’s vibe) in this one. Refrain: It’s all over the place. Sounds like there 4 different singers that aren’t quite “together”. Piano comes in for background for the instrumental bridge. This is quickly becoming a snooze-fest. It’s not horrible by any means… just a let down because the instrumentation is great (except the bass line).

     Rating: 6/10

Track 4: Unknown Caller:

     Simple piano – distant sound… guitar simple notes… drums come in. Bono sings “Sunshine” almost like “Lemon” but better. Guitar comes in and is awesome. Now the song sounds directionally challenged. Verse: nothing memorable. “Group” singing again. Not liking that too much… Was that just the refrain?! If so then it was not good at all… The group singing reminds me of the Talking Heads for some reason. Yep, that was the refrain and it was not good. The bridge is great and it’s just instrumentation (brass included?). Leads into a good solo by Edge. Fades out to end the song. Not impressed.

     Rating: 5/10

Track 5: I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight:

     Good intro with great drums and vibe. Bono comes in and sounds good but he doesn’t hit a good note with that “Crazy”. Refrain: Solid and Bono sounds good. The drums make this song. Bono can’t seem to hit the “high notes” in this one but it’s only a few thankfully. Bridge: “Baby baby baby I know I’m not alone” great. Edge is on fire with a sweet simple little ditty riff that leads into the last refrain. This song is not bad at all. A very solid song.

     Rating: 7/10

Track 6: Get on Your Boots:

     This song has grown on me a little since I’ve rated it. The part that bothers me about the song is that the refrain is so weak. The “You don’t know and you don’t get it do you” just seems disjointed and not strong at all.

     Rating: 6/10

Track 7: Stand Up Comedy:

     Very strong opening – good riff by the Edge. Bono comes in – very funky verse. Bono sounds really good. The verse ties well with the riff though. Bono hits some good falsetto leading into the refrain. Bono is awesome in this one. This song is very solid. I never thought I would like this song considering the “funkiness” of the verses but it’s great. The end of the refrain: “Come on you people and stand up for your love” Bono sounds Oasis-like (very awesome). The bridge is outstanding. This songs rocks.

     Rating: 7.5/10

Track 8: Fez – Being Born

     Very atmospheric. Voices in the background. “Let me in the sound” from Get on Your Boots in the background (just vocals). Sounds like soundtrack material. Song ? kicks in around the 1 minute mark. Keyboard and guitar riff then guitar kicks in with Bono wailing. Awesome sounding. Verse has a simple melody with driving riff. Then refrain comes in with keyboard (think City of Blinding Lights) and guitar and the “wailing”. Refrain has no words. It has a great feel to it – other worldly…

     Rating: 7/10

Track 9: White As Snow:

     Backwards noise with simple piano. Simple guitar comes in. Bono comes in with the first verse. Reminds me of “O Come O Come Emmanuel”. I think the melody is too close to Emmanuel for it to be by mistake – I think there may be a connection to the song lyrically. The song is solid with a solid message (a Christian one I gather)… I’ll have to read the lyrics closer though. Bono is sounding great on this one.

     Rating: 7/10

Track 10: Breathe:

     Erratic drums come in. Guitar comes in an is very “punchy”. Verse: Bono says “cockatoo”… interesting… must be a first in music history. The verse is reminds me of something… Helter Skelter? not sure… no, not that… something else… Refrain: nothing memorable. The song really could have been something special if the refrain was stronger. Piano based bridge. Guitar solo is very good in this one. This one I think could be a “grower”. It just doesn’t hit me right now.

Rating: 6/10

Track 11: Cedars of Lebanon:

     Atmospheric opening (like most of the rest of the album). Verse sound like a poet spouting whatever comes to their mind in a coffee shop. “Return the call to hope” (I think) what the? Sounds very strange… The song is very odd. Not sure if I like it. It’s weak. Bono isn’t even singing. It sounds like he’s poet-rapping (but not really rapping) to the melody. No bright spots in this one.

     Rating: 5/10

Overall I think this is a pretty good album. It’s definitely one that you should go out and buy…

*** note: I think I made a mistake doing this… I’m now listening to this for the second time and this album rocks. Some songs that I gave a 6 to I now would give an 8! Those were my first impressions though… This just goes to show that you need to listen to this album a few times. I guarantee you will love this album!

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5 thoughts on “No Line On The Horizon : LEAKED (Album Review)

  1. Bono used to be the filet mignon. But this new album and its failed to attempt to be relevant unlike a Hungryman dinner leaves leaves me unhappily in a state of esurience.

  2. Eric, you can’t be serious… Daltry was good but Bono was great (in their primes). Playing the part of the sophist I presume? Much like your comment on It’s a Wonderful Life a while back?

    Marc, listen to “Magnificent”. It’s one of their best songs in a very long time. Then once that’s grown on you listen to “Crazy Tonight”. Once that’s grown on you go to either “No Line” or “Stand Up Comedy” or “Being Born”. Then the rest of the album…

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