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Guest Post: LQ's (Little Qualler) Take on U2's "No Line On The Horizon" (Guess What, there's a line!!!)

Editor's note: My little brother LQ, who has run his Livejournal over at fasthands26.livejournal.com for an amazingly long time (since 2002 and nearing his 1,500th post!) recently started reviewing stuff with more frequency. And while I can't say I agree with his assessment of Carnivale (a paltru 2 W's out of 5), I looove his fervor and his hilarious insights. He has graciously allowed us to re-post his recent post about the new album by U2. Word.

In the spirit of U2, I have decided to pull up all my U2 music on iTunes and listen to it as I write. Not that that has anything to do with, well, anything, but whatever. And the first song is...Angel of Harlem! Ah yes, back when U2 was good. Good call, iTunes.

Let me first say that I am a huge U2 fan. I fully realize that this is a pretty lame thing to say and that a lot of people hate U2 and might hate me for saying this. But I contend that The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby are two of the best albums ever released. And a lot of their other albums are really awesome too. All That You Can't Leave Behind blew me away when it came out, and I still love that album. War is quite possibly their 3rd best album and is also awesome. Really, I find a lot of stuff that I like in all of their albums.

Their last album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, was the first time that I thought U2 was starting to suck a little. And with No Line on the Horizon, I am starting to think that U2 has lost it.

I read three reviews of this album. One was from USA Today, which gave it four stars out of four and said it was their best effort since Achtung Baby. Another was from Rolling Stone, which gave it five stars out of five and also said that it was the best since Achtung Baby. And the third was from pitchforkmedia.com, who gave it a 4.2 out of 10. I dunno, I was feeling more of a 4.4, or maybe a 4.368...seriously Pitchfork, how do you get that kind of resolution on a music review? WTF I say. But I do have to say that I fully agree with Pitchfork. This album is not good. And I really don't know why people are saying it's so awesome. There is more detail in their songs than usual, probably thanks to the help of their producers, but it winds up sounding like an overly forced effort that's more sappy than it is genuine.

Lyrics from "Unknown Caller": "restart and reboot yourself / you're free to go / ohooohhoohoohoh! / shout for joy if you get the chance / password, you, enter here, right now"

Lyrics from "Stand Up Comedy": "Love love love love love love love love love love........(btw I didn't make that up, those are the first lyrics).....come on ye people / stand up for your love"

"Stand Up Comedy" feels like an odd attempt at a funky and dramatic song, but ends up falling flat and leaves me disinterested. In fact, I don't find much at the end of the album to be interesting at all. After I'm 2/3 of the way through this album, I've completely lost interest. The middle of the album feels like a decent effort at compelling music, but the hook just isn't there. It feels more like a bunch of random people threw a bunch of random melodies together and hoped it would make something good, but it didn't work. "Get on your Boots" feels more like an uninteresting mess than it does a good radio-worthy song. It doesn't make me want to get on my boots, it makes me want to take off my boots and throw them at U2 for making such a dumb song.

And honestly, Bono needs to not scream so much. "Fez: Being Born" is a perfect example....the band is playing, and then literally out of nowhere, Bono chimes in and is just screaming. Not saying anything, just going "aaaaaaAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!" about 5 or 6 times. And it completely ruins "Moment of Surrender", a song that's actually pretty good until Bono sings as throatily and ridiculously as he can. Did he forget that this is supposed to be a mellow song?

I like just one song on this album, and that is "Magnificent". It's the only time they manage to capture something that's compelling, and it gives me hope that the band does sometimes still know what it's doing. But for the most part, this album is a stinker. And that's a disappointment because for a time, I did think that U2 was one of the best rock bands in the world. I realize now that All That You Can't Leave Behind was a really remarkable achievement since it came out so long after they made their really good albums, and it was yet another album destined to be a classic. Every single song on that album was great, and any of them could have been a single. They still knew how to make music then, but now, I guess all they know how to make is overproduced baloney.

So let me present my rating scale. Instead of stars, I give Ws. You know, because of my last name and stuff. And this is out of 5.

My rating: WW

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  1. Blogger qualler | 10:05 AM |  

    I totally agree -- Bono really ruins this album, which would otherwise be fairly decent. War is still an awesome record, but of course it was recorded way back when Bono ruined stuff.

  2. Blogger chris | 6:02 PM |  

    Do you mean when Bono didn't ruin stuff, Quallzy? When Daniel Lanois buried his vocals underneath The Edge's reverbed-to-the-nth-degree licks? Rather than nowadays when everyone takes a backseat to the sunglasses man because he cares about African kids?

  3. Blogger qualler | 8:20 PM |  

    Good Lord, yes, that was a typo -- when Bono DIDN'T ruin stuff.

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