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U2 - No Line on the Horizon (March 2009)


Josh Hurst
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I am very very happy that Bullet the Blue Sky is not in the set list, as I feel it wore out its welcome several tours ago. I think they managed to make Sunday Bloody Sunday still sound fresh and interesting on the last tour, but I'm not sad to see it go, either.

And I'd like to see something from Zooropa or Pop show up, too. :)

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There are so many great songs on those two records that would be great additions to the show.

Personally, I wish they'd drop "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "With or Without You." "No Line" is a similar (if lesser) version of "Streets," and they haven't found a way to keep that song fresh in recent years. It's feeling like an obligation, not inspiration. "With Or Without You" has been D.O.A. in their live shows since ZOOTV, in my opinion, even though it's still my favorite U2 song.

Why not "The Playboy Mansion," or "Do You Feel Loved?" or "Staring at the Sun" or "Please" or a creative reinvention of "Lemon" (which has such wonderful melodies and lyrics) or "Dirty Day"?

I'm sad to see that they're not including "White as Snow" or "Cedars of Lebanon". But they are including the new songs that sound to me like cookie-cutter U2 crowdpleasers.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I'll forego the spoiler tags since nothing is set in stone yet anyway, but I thought you might be pleased to know that the latest rehearsal setlist includes If God Will Send His Angels. Like you, Jeffrey, I'd like to hear Playboy Mansion or Do You Feel Loved or (especially) Lemon or another Zooropa song, but at least something from Pop is being considered. :)

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It's actually one of my favorite lyrics on Pop, but the recorded version isn't great. A new, live arrangement could really redeem the song, though.

Did they play THAT one on the PopMart tour? I'm guessing yes, but I don't remember ever hearing or reading anything about it.

Edited by Josh Hurst

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not really my cup of tea, though I'm glad you posted the video, as I've been having a thought about this album for a bit.

I started out with this album with mixed feelings; I was somewhere in between the people here who were really disappointed, and the people who thought it was U2's magnum opus; I wasn't particularly impressed. However, over time, it's really grown on me. I really love some of these songs. I think I can say that it's possible a couple of the tracks could end up on my top 20 U2 songs (though not top 10). Some people in this thread have expressed dismay over Bono's affected vocals in a couple of the tracks; I kind of like it. It gives some character to those particular tracks, especially on 'Moment of Surrender'. I also have grown to love 'White As Snow'. It could easily be off of any of their early albums; it's a song that I think will age well. I feel the same way about 'Magnificent'; it's become for me in some ways a modern, updated interpretation of 'Gloria'. I think that's one of the key reasons this album has a growing appeal for me; it's really got a lot of nostalgic elements hidden throughout different tracks.

It's still by no means my favorite U2 album, but my appreciation of it is increasing, rather than than the opposite, and I like it a whole lot better than when it came out four months ago.

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Happy to hear it's grown on others, but it sure hasn't grown on me.

I've listened to it steadily -- out of faithfulness rather than admiration -- and I'm right where I was when I started. I love "Moment of Surrender," "White as Snow", "Magnificent," and "Breathe." I enjoy "Cedars of Lebanon," parts of "Boots," and parts of "Unknown Caller." I'm aggravated by "Crazy" and "Stand Up Comedy" and "Fez."

But that's just it... it feels like "parts" ... not a whole. It doesn't work for me as an album. They shift gears too often, sometimes several times within a song, and I can just feel the cutting and pasting that happened in the studio. I much prefer most of these songs live -- especially the title song -- and that's a first for me with this band. And lyrically, I hear too many lines that are just reworkings of lines Bono's sung before.

Meanwhile, I've fallen much more deeply in love with Boy and War recently. That is, in part, because they help me appreciate what they *could* do when they were just four guys, three chords, and the truth.

Having said all of that, I agree with morgan1098 -- the live renditions kill. I cannot wait until October 15, when I'll be out there in the crowd for the last show of the tour. They're still my favorite rock band (if you don't call OTR a "rock" band) and I'll happily listen to even the records that don't thrill me like their previous work.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Happy to hear it's grown on others, but it sure hasn't grown on me.

I've listened to it steadily -- out of faithfulness rather than admiration -- and I'm right where I was when I started. I love "Moment of Surrender," "White as Snow", "Magnificent," and "Breathe." I enjoy "Cedars of Lebanon," parts of "Boots," and parts of "Unknown Caller." I'm aggravated by "Crazy" and "Stand Up Comedy" and "Fez."

But that's just it... it feels like "parts" ... not a whole. It doesn't work for me as an album. They shift gears too often, sometimes several times within a song, and I can just feel the cutting and pasting that happened in the studio. I much prefer most of these songs live -- especially the title song -- and that's a first for me with this band. And lyrically, I hear too many lines that are just reworkings of lines Bono's sung before.

Meanwhile, I've fallen much more deeply in love with Boy and War recently. That is, in part, because they help me appreciate what they *could* do when they were just four guys, three chords, and the truth.

Having said all of that, I agree with morgan1098 -- the live renditions kill. I cannot wait until October 15, when I'll be out there in the crowd for the last show of the tour. They're still my favorite rock band (if you don't call OTR a "rock" band) and I'll happily listen to even the records that don't thrill me like their previous work.

It's interesting to me to witness the reactions to U2. I like them, and at one time I loved them. I understand the passion that many people have for the band. But it's been so long since they genuinely moved me, versus created solid albums, and so I watch the reactions to each new release with a somewhat detached perspective.

When Boy, October, and War were released, I wanted to tell the world about the greatest rock band on the planet. I was a U2 evangelist. And those remain the albums about which I'm still passionate. Everything since then -- and that was a long time ago -- has been okay. No, pretty good. But honestly, I get excited about a new U2 release in the same way that I get "excited" about a new REM release. I recognize that there's a history of greatness there, and that the band is still capable of occasional, sporadic greatness. But I don't expect anything more than a solid album. To be fair, U2 has a better track record than REM in that department. But I think it would be impossible not to be disappointed if I actually compared each new release to Boy or War. That was a different band. I happen to like that one better than the one that churns out blockbuster after blockbuster these days. And even when they consciously imitate those younger guys -- as they do in several places on No Line on the Horizon -- I still see it as a slightly inferior version of the ruckus that those young kids made. It's okay. Slightly inferior U2 is still better than most bands. But I expect what I get, and I'm rarely disappointed.

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Comparing U2 to REM is the contemporary equivalent of comparing the Beatles to Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons.

[edit: or something like that. The timeline might not be right but you get the point.]

Edited by Persona

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Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Why, oh why, does that guy have to talk over so many great U2 video clips? I could hardly hear the music!

Seriously, that is funny and infuriating at the same time. I think someone posted a link to that video here several years ago, as it had a ring of familiarity to it.

I also noticed that he had video sermons about Rick Warren, Transformers, and Aleister Crowley (?), among others, but I couldn't bring myself to watch them.

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Wow.

I wish I could say that this is an exception to the Christian leader advises parents and teens about rock music genre. However it's more of the same.

Back in the late 1970s and 1980s, preachers at my home church started using books by Bob Larson, Jacob Aranza, and the Peters Brothers to convince teens and parents to get rid of evil music. As teens, we started getting pressure from the youth leaders to get rid of our music based on these books, so I went to the local college library to gather evidence from all of the sources that were allegedly cites by the authors of these books to demonstrate that they only took portions of quotes (out of any helpful context) that supported their unsubstantiated thesis that certain performers music was evil. The more I did this research, I realized that these authors had to work very hard to cherry-pick incriminating quotes, so it wasn't accidental at all. They were purposely spinning falsehoods, allegedly for the work of God. However, the leaders at my church didn't really care about the photocopied interviews I brought back that demonstrated that the author of the book was a liar. A man with a published book had credibility... a teen with indisputable evidence that totally demolished the argument in a published book did not. If I had not had an extraordinary religious awakening in 1985-1986, I doubt I would be involved in church life today.

"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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Will be in the Millennium Stadium tomorrow night singing along. Cannot wait.

Have to say that the album just grows and grows with me. I am beginning to think it is the best since Joshua Tree. I have listened to this more than any other album this year. Love it.

If the world was my oyster I would never taste anything!!!

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