The New U2! - ...and the stadium explodes

2006-03-29 20:11

They seemed to have lost the urgency and distinction that made them a genre unto themselves - something few bands become.

Though How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb puts them back on their pedestal, they've tried nothing new. Instead they've done something fans might prefer - condensed the best of their experiments.

It's the album that everyone who's ever criticised them deserves. If you've ever said "I love Boy, but it's a bit rough", or "Unforgettable Fire is self indulgent" or "bits of Pop are great but I really hate this or that song", or "Joshua Tree would be the best if it weren't for the wooo wooo refrains throughout", then How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was put together just for you.

Bono's unmistakeable vocals are pushed to beautiful limits. His grainy call is broader, more passionate and more rhythmically responsive than before. Nobody plays guitar with the fluid build of The Edge, or makes percussive explosions like Larry Mullen. Electronic effects give textural continuity, decoration and bulk. The more personal theme of Bono's father's death makes for some beautiful lyrics. You'll have to forgive the odd bit of embarrassing purple prose. But all in all?

U2 have made the perfect stadium rock album. If you close your eyes and just give in, you can see the bouncing masses punching the air to Larry's percussive fireworks and Bono's leather clad poses. You can picture the sea of cigarette lighters slowly waving in the dark, the sweeping lights, and the girls on their boyfriends' shoulders screaming "Bono! Bono!"

It's high impact, grandiose, emotional and occasionally brilliant. U2 are doing what they do best, only better.

- Jean Barker


... much too conservative and calculated to be truly revolutionary and an undeniable classic, but also just too good to write off completely
- Mike London on Amazon

... what makes U2 so big isn't really their clever ideas, or even their intelligence -- it's the warmth that all too few rock stars have any idea how to turn into music.
- Rob Sheffield for Rolling Stone

... you've got punk rock starting points that go through Phil Spectorland, turn right at Tim Buckley, end up in alleyways and open onto other vistas and cityscapes and rooftops and skies. It's songwriting by accident, by a punk band that wants to play Bach.
- U2's Bono in a USA Today interview

* note: The SA edition of this album doesn't include the track Fast Car. For this you have get the UK import.

U2's last album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, seemed to signal that U2 had become, to put it bluntly: boring. Aside from a couple of good tracks and the much lauded single "Beautiful Day", they were diluted and overexposed.

CS2 2004/11/25 10:47 AM
Buy a diffusal kit or RUN!!!
Lola, la la la la... 2004/11/25 12:08 PM
worth getting this one! This new U2 is a big relief. I was scared tehy were going the way of REM and becoming a washed out version of what they were when I first discovered them. They may not be as exciting for serious fans but I bought the album last night and I don't regret it. U2 - Achtung Baby
Nina 2004/11/29 5:02 PM
how to dismantle Most U2 fans have been quite positive about this album but I have to say, iether I'm just tired of their sound or this is really a dud.
Muneerah 2004/12/20 8:03 PM
get it now! this is a really great album, i love the vertigo single. i also especially like the "sometimes you can't make it on your own" single he dedicated to his father. you can really hear the passion and emotion he puts into that song. you have to be some sort of rock not to be moved by it. GET IT NOW!!! Achtung Baby!
Mqinisi Oscar Mpofu 2007/10/08 10:08 AM
All that u can't leave behind. I find itn upseeting when people say All that u can't leave behind wasn't that good . That was U2 's best of all all time .Every single song is beutifull all the lysrics are touching that is were Bono demostrated to be the best lysricist of all time.Forget abot the popular songs on that album think about Kite,Peace on earth,New York, "u can't walk around the block without a change of clothing"" I can write non stop i can't get enough of U2.Iam from Zimbabwe and iam black Haaa.i like his criticism of people like the greatest mistake of Zimbabwen hiostory R.G Mugabe.
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