Thursday, February 26, 2009

U2, "No Line On The Horizon" - Which era is each song?

And so the inevitable finally happened, the new U2 album leaked 2 weeks early. The Austrian affiliate of the label Universal records had the song available for purchased downloads for about 90 minutes. And with that the dam was broken.

Let's just say, after first listen, the album is everything I've been waiting for and more. I know that's a bit of hyperbole, but you try to convince me otherwise.

The most striking thing is how much the Sound is a mixture of classic & new U2. Anyone who obsesses over U2 can tell you that their albums seems to fall in trios of sonic arches (dismissing a live album or two). Allow me to go in chronological order
  1. Boy, October, War - Young, early and adolescent
  2. The Unforgettable Fire, Joshua Tree, Rattle & Hum - Big sweeping ballads, and song structures
  3. Achtung Baby, Zooropa, Pop - The birth of alternative meets electronic
  4. All That You Can't Leave Behind, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, No Line On The Horizon - The era of long album titles shows a band trying to get back to their roots, from traditional pop songs to their core of punk rock....and now the ultimate coda that brings everything together
So with that I started thinking: this album is sorta like a Greatest Hits album. But when I say Greatest Hits I mean more from the perspective of the type of sound. So I took my stab at defining which era each track on the new album alluded to....

...and by the way my personal view is that the album breaks up into 3 parts. The first part (in purple below) is about surrender, giving yourself up and being vulnerable. The middle section (white) is a bit of a relief in the form of pop songs. The final section is (blue) is a bit more out there in terms of being desolate and characters backed up against a wall. Some are placed there in varying levels of their own volition, from the dying soldier in "White as Snow" to the guy in "Breathe" who is trying to emerge, and finally the reporter in "Ceders" who's in a desolate place on purpose because that he's reporting . "

But back to my original thesis
  • No Line On The Horizon - Unforgettable Fire + Achtung . Big Epic and loose song structure
  • Magnificent - War. Soaring melodies with straight forward lyrics
  • Moment of Surrender - Unforgettable Fire
  • Unknown Caller - loud and stomping chants...not sure what to compares to
  • I'll Go Crazy - Just a pure pop song in the vein of "Sweetest thing" to "Wild Honey"
  • Get On Your Boots - How to Dismantle. It's like Vertigo 2.0
  • Stand Up Comedy - not quite sure what era this fits in, maybe a bit like portions of Rattle & Hum
  • Fez - Being Born -Unforgettable Fire'ish
  • White As Snow - maybe similar to the sparse "The Wanderer" on Zooropa
  • Breathe -Pop
  • Cedars of Lebanon - dark, sad and reflective...maybe Achtung Baby in tone, but like Pop's "Wake up Deadman" ?

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1 comment:

Robyn said...

Interesting comparisons. I pretty much agree. I'm also taken by how much Fez-Being Born sounds in places like a reworking of the song, The Unforgettable Fire.