Reviewed by Eric Wilson
No Line On the Horizon by U2
"While I recognize U2's sound throughout, I also find parts that are different than anything I've heard from them before."
I've been a U2 fan since hearing "Sunday Blood Sunday" in a friend's garage when I was 17 years old. I've followed them faithfully despite the sometimes embarrassing Bono-posturing or the erratic "Pop" and "Zooropa" albums. In the last few years, they've put out some good stuff, but it's still felt safe in some ways.
"No Line on the Horizon" is not safe. It does not start off with the most immediately catchy song. In fact, the most radio friendly songs are smack dab in the middle of this album, while the more experimental, more they-grow-on-you-with-repeated-spins songs bookend the album. The lyrics are typical gritty, idealistic, spiritual, and earthy all rolled into one, with big themes addressed in intimate ways. This is what I've always loved about U2, their ability to make anthems or ballads seem like something I could've written from my own heart in a moment of triumph or despair.
While I recognize U2's sound throughout, I also find parts that are different than anything I've heard from them before. When I listen to Radiohead, I hear the influence of U2; and now, to both bands' credits, I hear shades of Radiohead in the new U2. Both are trying to keep music vibrant, alive, and unchained. I, for one, am a big fan of this new album.
Eric Wilson is the author of twelve novels that explore Earth's tension between heaven and hell, the latest of which is One Step Away, a twist on the story of Job. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters. Visit him online at his website.