Tag Archives: U2

Initial Reaction to U2’s No Line on the Horizon

U2’s new album, No Line on the Horizon, debuted today on MySpace (you have to choose NLOTH from the playlist dropdown in the player—easy to miss). They streamed the entire thing. So below I offer my very first reactions to hearing the album. I did this with How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and it’s kind of fun to record the initial response and see how horribly wrong I am.

No Line on the Horizon
Very first thought: Wow, Bono’s voice sounds ragged. He’s certainly not protecting his voice as he gets older. The Oh-oh-ohs are catchy.

The intro felt very not U2, but then the guitars came in. Now it actually feels like very early U2. Interesting lines: “Only love can leave such a mark. / Only love can leave such a spark.” and “I was born to sing for you.” Reminds me of the Magnificat (I image that’s intentional).

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Get On Your U2: New Single & Pre-Order No Line on the Horizon

No Line on the Horizon by U2The first single from U2’s new album, No Line on the Horizon, is now available. The song, “Get On Your Boots” is being streamed from U2’s web site and is available for purchase on iTunes. No Line on the Horizon comes out March 3, 2009.

You can buy just the single for 99 cents, or pre-order the album for $9.99 and you can download “Get On Your Boots” today. The pre-order version of No Line on the Horizon includes two bonus tracks (one is an iTunes exclusive, the other is a pre-order only, but no details on what either one is).

You can also pre-order the deluxe version of the album for $17.99 from iTunes, which includes the two bonus tracks, a film from Anton Corbijn and a digital collector’s magazine.

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All the Hype That U2 Can’t Leave Behind

Bono in the U2 iPod adI mentioned before Christmas that the new U2 album, No Line on the Horizon, is coming out March 3. Let the hype machine begin. I’ve talked in the past about the marketing of U2, so I’m curious to see what they do this time around. Here’s a round-up of some of the current news:

  • Q previews the new album, comparing it to Achtung Baby in spirit and offering hints that producer Brian Eno and guitarist the Edge think it may be U2’s best album.
  • Rolling Stone offers a track by track appraisal of the new album.
  • Lead singer Bono brushes off nervousness about the new album: “Sure, you’re always nervous, but we’ve gone at it as if it was our first and the critics who have gotten a chance to listen to it already have all said it’s the best yet.”
  • Drummer Larry Mullen Jr.: “I think it’s some of the best music we’ve ever written.” (Q interview)

Hmm… I sense a theme developing.

Adoption & U2=Awesome

So the economy is in the toilet and work has been incredibly slow. No matter: The spring of 2009 has decided to be awesome.

Most importantly, our adoption will finally happen. We got the referral a few weeks ago (it’s a boy!) and we found out yesterday that the court date will be Feb. 20, 2009. It’s a tentative court date and it could change, but the court date is what determines everything else. This is the legal process in Ethiopia where guardianship is transferred to us. If everything goes through OK they send us a birth certificate. If the birth certificate comes through OK then we’re able to get a visa and all that jazz and they can give us a travel date. Then we can book plane tickets and be on our way. They tell us travel usually happens 5-6 weeks after a court date, and in general we get 2-3 weeks notice before traveling.

Five to six weeks after Feb. 20 is March 27 to April 3. Not that I’m counting.

New U2
The spring of 2009 is also shaping up to be awesome because U2 will be releasing their first album in nearly four and a half years. OK, it’s not nearly as awesome as our adoption, but I’m still excited. The album, No Line on the Horizon, is due March 3. This means I can spend those final remaining weeks before we travel rocking out and I’ll have a ready-made soundtrack for those first months with our new kiddo.

Go 2009!

Vote for the Best U2 Songs

OK, so I’m still playing around with Squidoo’s new Plexo thingy. This time around, let’s vote for our favorite U2 songs. It’s a much broader field than the Five Iron list and probably appeals to more folks. Plus this time around you can add your own suggestions. I threw in a handful to get started, but it’s far from all the best songs.


If you can’t see the list, check out my U2 lens to see it and vote.

U2 and Apple?

So U2 and Green Day welcomed the New Orleans Saints back to the Superdome in style with a mesmerizing 10-minute performance that rivals U2’s 2002 SuperBowl appearance. And you can watch it on YouTube. The highlight of the show was the groups performing “The Saints are Coming”, an old Skids song (Andrew Careaga’s got the history). The song and performance were a benefit for Music Rising, an organization the Edge started to help replace the instruments of Gulf Coast musicians.

Now here’s where it gets weird. U2, Green Day and Music Rising partnered with Rhapsody to offer downloads of the performance to benefit Music Rising. Rhapsody, which is incompatible with Mac and less than compatible with iPods? The song is going out to radio, and a commercial CD release is planned for November 7.

So if you’ve got a U2 iPod you may have a hard time getting the latest U2 song on it, at least for now. So what gives? Did U2 and Apple have a falling out? Was Apple not willing to give the benefits to Music Rising (doubt it, seems like Apple has done charity downloads before)? Or is music so last year and Apple is too focused on video? Weird.

The Vertigo Tour: U2 in Minneapolis

On Friday night I sat behind the stage, which isn’t quite as good as back stage, for the U2 show in Minneapolis. I first saw U2 in 2001 during the Elevation Tour when I was just becoming a fan. This time around I think I can say I’m more than a fan.

U2 has become far and away my favorite band. And I didn’t realize it until Friday night, but many of their songs have become worship music for me. I found myself pumping my fist along to “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” but also looking past the rafters and raising my hands to God during “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The concert was more of a spiritual experience than a musical one. I think Tim said it better than I can.

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How to Overwork a Unique Title: First Reaction to How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

My first listen reaction to U2’s 11th studio album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, heard legally on San Diego’s 91X online radio (though first listens can be deceptive, so take it with a grain of salt. I wasn’t impressed with All That You Can’t Leave Behind on first listen; now it’s my favorite U2 album):

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In the Name of Love

In the Name of Love

The CCM U2 Tribute album, In the Name of Love, showed up in the mail the other day. Well, half the album anyway. It’s a press copy of the album, but it only has 7 of 12 tracks (potentially 13; the Grits version of “With or Without You” isn’t listed in the liner notes).

It’s an intriguing project, basically an easy way to raise money for the AIDS crisis in Africa, but also a way to introduce the CCM scene to the music of U2. Many CCM fans are well aware of U2, but there’s a lot of hardcore CCMers that rarely listen to anything mainstream (I was one of them once), and for those folks this album will be a rare treat. Of course if you’ve ever heard U2 before, these songs won’t sound nearly as good.

I predict this album will be popular within the CCM world simply because of the nature of the Christian bubble. If you have never heard Bono belt out “Where the Streets Have No Name,” you’ll be perfectly happy with Chris Tomlin’s eerily similar version. Likewise Sanctus Real does a decent “Beautiful Day” knock-off, minus Bono’s soaring vocals and a little more grit in the Edge’s guitar riffs.

Jars of Clay and Sixpence None the Richer stray the most from the originals, probably because these artists are most familiar with U2 and know the danger of trying to sound like the best band in the world. Jars does a bluesy version of “All I Want Is You,” which seems to deflate the song of momentum. Sixpence tackles the forboding “Love is Blindness,” but it misses the melancholy of the Achtung Baby original. Both bands attempted an experimental angle, but it didn’t fly.

The real standout track (of the seven I can preview) is Audio Adrenaline’s version of “Gloria.” I know, I know, saying Audio A can do justice to a U2 song is tantamount to sacrilige. But they manage to modernize the thoroughly 80s song and without gutting its soul. There’s plenty of 80s rock left, and the tune just jams. Not too shabby. Of course it helps that the original was recorded 20 years ago.

I’m eager to hear the remaining tracks, including Toby Mac’s butchering of “Mysterious Ways” and what Delirious can possibly do with “Pride (In the Name of Love)” that won’t sound exactly like the original.