This summer, diehard fans of the Irish superband U2 will be happy to know that Bono and the boys will hit the road in support of their newest studio album, “No Line on the Horizon,” bringing back the production team of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Kicking off the 360 degree tour in Europe and coming to the states in September and October, the rock stars from Dublin will no doubt swoop in to share their latest super album with the world. “No Line on the Horizon” is the highly-anticipated follow-up to “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” U2’s self-declared “first rock album,” released in 2004 and marking the longest gap between albums in the band’s history.
Rolling Stone notes that “U2 open(s) up their sound and make(s) their best album since ‘Achtung Baby.'” “No Line on the Horizon” is the best album since “Achtung Baby” because basic elements from their seventh studio album are rehashed to make up U2’s twelfth studio album. The title track stands out as one of the highlights of the album, but this is something we’ve heard before from U2. The echo of “Ultraviolet, (Light My Way)” from “Achtung Baby”, can be heard behind Bono’s silky-smooth delivery. The song continues to conjure “Achtung” with the almost-identical guitar riff from “The Fly,” while Bono coos “I know a girl/ with a hole in her heart.” The first single to be released off the album, “Get on Your Boots,” tries hard to be next “Vertigo,” but probably would have done better as a second or even third string release. The song lacks the likeability and power that true U2 hits like “Beautiful Day” and “Pride (in the Name of Love)” practically overflow with. The lyrics in “Boots” may not really resonate with U2’s usual audience, where Bono is trying to empower women to strap up and make a difference. The lyrics are possibly directed towards women in Africa and further pushing his political agenda of equality. The return to women rising up in the face of destruction was also visited in “Miss Sarajevo,” a breathtaking collaboration with Luciano Pavarotti roughly based on a beauty pageant documentary during war-torn Sarajevo.
Not all of “Horizon” falls into the copycat trap. The hard-hitting piano pulsates into a dizzy twirl of lyrics in “Breathe,” a song about not falling for anyone else’s rendition of grace and salvation but your own and finally being able to breathe in catharsis. The witty line “wasn’t going to buy anyone’s cockatoo” is a clever calling-your-bluff response to a sales pitch from a preaching stranger at the door. “I’ll Go Crazy if I don’t Go Crazy Tonight” is a refreshing poke at not being satisfied with just staying still. This simple message of chaos breeding chaos might have better served as the first single for “Horizon.” Bono whispers the haunting “Cedars of Lebanon” lyrics, narrating from the view of a journalist or maybe even a soldier longing for home. The quiet, eerie guitar contrasts the bold closing statement of the song: “choose your enemies carefully / because they will define you.”
While a few tracks off their latest effort offer us some textbook U2 staples we’ve heard before, the album overall is sure to win over fans thirsty for more soul-searching, deeper melodies and uplifting ballads in times of uncertainty.