No Line on the Horizon (2009)

1. No Line on the Horizon 2. Magnificent 3. Moment of Surrender 4. Unknown Caller 5. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight 6. Get On Your Boots 7. Stand Up Comedy 8. Fez-Being Born 9. White as Snow 10.Breathe 11.Cedars of Lebanon


Continuing their streak of brilliance, U2 returns to the mainstream five years later with yet another masterpiece. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), they're not shaking things up too much on this release. Throughout the band's history, even though it's been filled with brilliance, the guys have proven time and time again that you could never quite know for sure what they were going to unload on you. Fortunately, though, for the majority of the masses, their work stayed consistent, but when you listen to an album such as this, you can't help to be somewhat relieved that they elected not to fix anything that wasn't broken.

Whether or not it was intentional, the band seems to incorporate just about every style that they've ever attempted (and there have been many) into this one record. Whereas something like this could have turned into a jumbled mess, they pull the whole thing off quite flawlessly. Although some of the earliest styles of the band's history may not be quite so apparent, you could easily see where they took bits and pieces from their entire career, starting with 1984's The Unforgettable Fire, and assembled into one epic release.

This may seem a stretch when first listening to find elements of their techno 90's heydey, but songs such as Get On Your Boots, I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight and Stand Up Comedy seem to have many elements of the 'Zoo tours' styles, yet the overall production is tamed down somewhat as to not alarm those who wish that that phase of the band's career not make any type of reentry.

In addition to the upbeat dance-ish tunes, the band wisely chooses to tackle many styles, from the direct rocker Breathe to the beautiful gospel tinged Moment of Surrender and they manage to pull the whole thing off quite well, making the record and eclectic mix of styles without ever losing continuity. They do drag themselves down a bit by some of the heavier themes on such tracks as Cedar's of Lebonan and Fez - Being Born (Fez, Morocco being where much of the album was recorded), but this is pretty much customary for any U2 record, so nothing really seems that much out of the ordinary.

The album didn't quite sell as well as its last few predecessors, but then again, they toured, of course - a stadium venue that featured the band in the center of the stadiums playing 'in the round'. This, of course, as expected, erased any doubts in anyone's minds that the guys weren't in top fashion anymore. It figures.

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