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Album Review: U2’s ‘No Line on the Horizon’

By Michael Walsh / Asst. Entertainment Editor

U2, love them or hate them, must be given credit. Since their first album in 1980, the band has had the same four-man lineup and has stayed successful keeping their sound fresh and ever-changing.

The band’s latest album, No Line on the Horizon, is their first album since 2004 and another example of how U2 tends to make things different.

For me, U2 has always been a band that sits in the middle ground of my musical taste. Rarely do I ever find myself listening to any U2 albums from start to beginning before finding myself wandering away from it to something more pleasing to my ears. In fact, outside of songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Where the Streets Have No Name”, most of their work strikes me as unmemorable and simplistic sounding mainstream rock.

No Line on the Horizon is a bit different. It by no means is a perfect album or an album that has made me become a U2 fan, but it is most certainly an enjoyable listening experience. Brian Eno, whose latest critical achievement in producing Coldplay’s Viva la Viva or Death and All His Friends, joins U2 once again to produce and add his touch to the new album. If the first few tracks are any indication, the touch paid off. The album, which opens with the title track “No Line on the Horizon”, impresses from the get go.

The opening title track is an energetic barrage. Bono still has a voice. The album proceeds to “Magnificent” which at first doesn’t sound like a U2 song at all. The guitar at the beginning is mean and angry. Bono’s vocals add a lot to the second song.

No Line on the Horizon is an album that grows on you. When I first listened to the album a few weeks ago I wasn’t sure what to think. The songs are catchy, enjoyable and fun. The Eno touch is alive and well on tracks like the first single “Get on Your Boots”, “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” and “Stand Up Comedy”. The industrial and electronic vibe on “Get on Your Boots” seems to be a first for the band.

For a band that has released 12 studio albums in nearly 30 years, it’s hard to ask for more than what we’ve received here. As a non-fan of U2, I greatly appreciated and enjoyed their newest effort. It might not have made me become an Edge-head, but I do have new respect for the group that just won’t go away.