CD Review: U2, No Line on the Horizon

Carrie Ingraham

It is safe to say that U2 is one of the greatest rock bands of our time, and their new album, “No Line on the Horizon,” is more of an awe-inspired appreciation of this stance than any reinvention of their traditional sound. The album creates an epic sort of tranquility as its lyrics portray a love for what U2 has done to the musical world. Bono wails his usual elongated high notes which parallel guitarist The Edge’s shimmery effects on the whimsical hit “Magnificent.” The Radiohead-esque single “Get On Your Boots” is one of the heavier tracks on the album, and even this one relays merely soft slurs in the chorus.

Even with its tracks broadcast on almost every radio station in every city, “No Line” still manages to tone down the pop-feel from their last album by taking a mellower approach. The Edge still has some gleaming solos, especially on “Breathe” and “Stand Up Comedy.” However, even lyrics about war are as calm as whispers, as on the haunting “Cedars of Lebanon.”

Whether joyful and upbeat, (“I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”), or eerily prayer-like, (“White as Snow”), each track seems to be, in some way, a humble comment on the peaceful stance U2 has taken in a chaotic world. “No Line” is a step up from 2004’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” which resulted from the band taking a step back to appreciate what made U2 distinct.

“No Line” has all the necessary components of a classic U2 album: Passionate anthem? Check. Political comments? Check. Those sunglasses we are pretty sure Bono never removes? Check. All the standard ingredients are included on the album, but are done so from a more meditative viewpoint than ever before. An album like “No Line” may have been unexpected from a band like U2, but only time will tell if this approach will have lasting effects.