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U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

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This is good. It took a second listen, with headphones in the dark for it to really click, but this is one powerful mother.

The best way to describe the album in general, I think, is triumphant. In “Original of the Species” (what business does a song this brilliant, happy, and immediate have being second last?) during the last chorus, Bono goes a bit off of the melody, and yells “yeah.” It’s an impromptu, beautiful sort of moment we usually only get to hear in live renditions. The happiness and energy is leaping out of the song and becoming something more than just the lyrics, vocals, and instrumentation… and it’s a theme throughout the album. Where 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind had similarly joyful, well-crafted songs, on U2’s new album they speak more for themselves: by being a little less structured and polished, the spirit shines through (“I’m not broke but you can see the cracks/You can make me perfect again”-All Because of You).

There are a number of different producers all contributing to the album, but nonetheless it maintains a consistent tone. To me it sounds like something new for U2, but since past comparisons are what everyone likes to hear… the blues of rattle and hum, combined with the soar of ‘Gone’, the grunge of ‘Do You Feel Loved’ and the layers of Achtung Baby. But the earnestness of the early 80s that they tried (a little less successfully) to recapture on ATYCLB makes a strong showing here again. Every song sounds like it belongs within the spirit and framework of the album whether it’s the summery bass and melody of “A Man and A Woman”, or the industrial Blues of “Love and Peace or Else”, the heartache of second single “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own”

You’re going to hear a lot of people saying “this is U2 sounding like U2” or “doing what they do best,” and there’s some truth to that, but it’s also something they’ve not really done before. But it still feels fresh and is not simply a re-tread of past ideas. The overwhelming theme of the album (which I briefly touched on above) is what makes it intriguing: the songs are often joyful, triumphant… even the wistful pained songs have some type of bombast or anthemic ringing that makes them far more cathartic than depressing. And likewise even the happy songs often have lyrics that point to being confused, lost, or saddened. It might seem like a simple mishmashing of ideas and directionless, unthought-out songwriting, (this guy can’t decide whether he’s happy or depressed!) but that’s not what it is at all. It’s a picture of a man or woman facing the world, and all its troubles and tribulations, and deciding to take it in stride and stand up tall. To beg and plea, but with an underlying optimism that yes, everything *might* just work out right, and the knowledge everything might also blow up in our faces. It represents the thin line between the darkness and light that stands higher than either, because we can’t grow without both of them pushing at us. That tension runs through the whole album. This is often reflected in the lyrics, such as “A heart that hurts is a heart that beats” (you’re going to see this one quoted in almost every review, appropriately). And that’s where the triumph fits in: in revelling in the glory of the human soul.

And maybe it’s true that U2’s other albums have the same sorts of feelings running through them, but here it’s more direct. It smacks you in the face and makes you pay attention. There’s guitars coursing through it in all directions, there’s loudness, and there’s also not a weak moment on the whole album.

Favourite song so far: Original of the Species

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About Damon Muma

  • How did you get an advance copy? It is killing me having to wait another two weeks to hear it.


  • It has leaked all over the internet like a puppy with bladder control problems.. as much as I’d have loved for the band to choose me as a special listener. There are torrents of it up at suprnova.org, oink.me.uk and I assume it’s getting onto other filesharing networks, though I haven’t seen for sure.

  • thanks, bit torrent!

    i’m absolutely wrapped up in this record at the moment, i don’t know where to start with what the best moments are – it’s strong in so many respects, but as usual it’s also kinda patchy lyrically. you can’t deny the overall passion cursing through it all though – Bono is totally on song apart from “All Because of You” – where he is woefully out of tune! is that on purpose? wtf?

    anyway, this is a great record that should put the haters in the shade.

    standout track – “A Man and A Woman”.

  • Mike

    I don’t know if the version on suprnova.org is the finished copy or not

  • Mediawhore

    When i first heard the title of the new U2 album was going to be, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” I thought of a story Bono told in an interview about how he wanted Edge to play his guitar on “Bullet the Blue Sky” as if El Salvador was coming out of the speakers. I think edge found that sound, particularly on the live versions of the song.

    So in my anticipation of the new album and hearing quotes such as:

    “Edge claims it is their rockiest offering since their early days”
    “Bono called it “our first rock-n-roll album.”
    “Bono says the new album is “nearly finished”, and describes it as “a monster, a dragon.” He adds: “”It’s filled with big tunes and it’s driven by a guitar player who is sick of the sight of me shaking hands with dodgy politicians. The anger is unbelievable.”
    “its just a very raw rock n’ roll album.”
    “They confirm reports that the sound is guitar-heavy, and suggest that U2 feels “it’s time to have revenge on the Strokes and the Hives”.
    “Bono described it as “full of guitars”.
    “This record is so good that it won’t even matter that people are sick of U2.”

    Needless to say, i was excited….When i heard “vertigo” i thought if the whole album sounds like this – this could be amazing….

    But after listening to it today, i wonder where that album went. This is a bit mellow compared to the quotes above. In fact, one of the songs sound like recent Fleetwood Mac.

    Then i remembered this scary quote:
    Edge tells Billboard magazine that “Electrical Storm” will probably be a “connecting point to our next record.”

    Yea, that track was kind weak…..

    “Vertigo” is easily the saving grace of the album and kind of out of place with the other songs. “Love and Peace or Else” is reminiscent to Love and Rockets or Black Rebel Motocycle Club” – Cool track. “All because of you” is a cool updated “Pictures of Lilly” in some way or another, and the the rest of the songs seem to be seems a bit unemotional to me.

    Of course, I’ll need to listen to it on my Ipod to get the “feel”, but so far I think the Bono Hype-machine led my expectations to be a bit different. Needless to say, i need to regroup

  • Eric Olsen

    Mediawhore, good to hear from you – where have you been?

  • Kendal

    Well I wouldn’t say Electrical Storm is at all a weak track, certainly not the William Orbit version anyhow (radio edit I wasn’t so keen on). I guess if you’re planning to buy the album, d/loading it a little early is okay, I mean we’re all curious, but have some respect for the band and the music they keep entertaining us with- buy the album.

  • morentsy

    I have to agree with Mediawhore…I heard “Vertigo” and after hearing all the hype about HTDAAB I got real excited. It’s a fairly strong album, but I want a whole album of “Vertigo.” Am I crazy?

  • NISP

    People! Play it again….and again….and again….and again. I’ve yet to enjoy a new release from U2 on a first play. Granted a couple of the tracks are plain, but show me a U2 album that is all great tracks. There are at least 4 U2 classics here on this album. My opinion, better than ATYCLB. For those who think its crap, you probably didn’t buy it anyway and haven’t lost anything. To those who don’t think its ROCK enough, just what were you expecting? Its a U2 album….unique!

  • Johan

    One tip: Take on your headphones and listen to this record twice… As with all great U2 records it takes a few listenings to get it. POP was great from the first, and that should have made me suspicous… it fell fast after that. THIS RECORD IS AMAZING!! Bono’s song is full of energy and joy, Edge’s guitarr is all over the place like we havent heard since Achtung baby, or Unforgettable fire.
    One of their best

  • ilija

    This is U2 at their best! Finally another great U2 album.

  • ShawnF

    I’ve listened to this a couple of times now myself, but all it took was one listen through in order for me to love it. What a great album! I think my two favorite tracks thus far are “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” and “City of Blinding Lights”. It was worth the four year wait, but I can’t wait another two weeks to get that deluxe edition!

  • Jim Estephen

    This album is sensational!! I haven’t listened to anything else since.

    The third track, Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own, sends chills down my spine. Very few songs have done that to me lately.

    All Because of You and Crumbs From Your Table are also stand-out tracks.

    Don’t take my word for it. It has to be heard.

  • Ryan

    I agree, a couple listens and you be hooked. A couple songs although could be interpreted as depressing is actually quite up lifting. Like any tragety, the best part lies at the end. The whole album is superb, I can’t wait for the deluxe edition!

  • JP

    I’m disappointed. To me the album is real sterile. It’s definitely a more mature sound but definitely not what I was expecting. Seems like all the rockers must have been left on the cutting room floor.

    Initial reaction – Not that good.

  • Scott

    Like some other reviewers I was totally expected a harder sounding album and was a little taken back at first listen, BUT after further listens, this album is incredible!!!
    I can’t stop listening to it! I don’t think there’s a bad song on the album. Give it a few listens and I think you’ll be hooked. Great work!!!!!

  • Ultra Pleased

    …I can certainly understand why some would be disappointed at first…but this is *TRULY* a classic-rock album, as interpreted by U2. For me, it certainly IS a monster, a dragon, and all that she-bang bang thrown in for good measure. Absolutely astonishing, and would advise anyone to give it several listens before passing ultimate judgment. They’ve certainly delivered something extraordinary here.

  • joel

    I have listened to this album at least 10 times through. I’m still not very impressed with it. Achtung Baby is my favorite album of all times so I fully understand how U2 albums take time to fully appreciate. But it’s simply not happening for me with this album.

  • brandon

    I have been a staunch u2 supporter over the years. But I thought AYCLB was a bummer. 8 grammy’s polluted u2’s collective mindset. They’ve been going in circles since 1998. The new album
    sucks so bad, I’m ashamed to tell my friends. Bono said in a 1994 interview that the 3 piece sound was dead. This cd sounds like a tired rock band. much like pink floyds the final cut, beatles let it be, zeppelins in thru the out door, kiss’ the elder.
    I’m trying to listen’ but it’s so depressing, I just want to puke. Can no one tell u2 they’re out of touch.

  • Mani

    What album!!

    They have certainly dismantled me !!!

    I just arrived, I’m at the door
    Of the place I started out from And I want back inside#

  • waseem

    This album is so strange. My expectations were skewed by Vertigo and so the first listen was really awkward. Another couple of listens have really paid off and although the album sounds quite raw (or is that fresh) and nothing like Achtung Baby, I think that this is up their with their best work. They defintitely seem to have gone off at a tangent again and that takes time to adjust to but then that is why the band are still relevant all these years later. About half a dozen of these songs are real U2 classics (Vertigo, Love and Peace, Sometimes, Miracle Drug, A Man and a Woman, Original of the Species) There are a couple of weaker songs on the album but maybe these need to sink in a bit. Otherwise the rest of the album is a real corker. I’m not sure why Fast Cars is not on the US edition because it is really quite good although very different and it is also the song from which the album title came. I think it is incredible this band are able to mix all the ingredients up after all these years and still come up with an album that has a very unique identity. In some ways this album is all over the place in terms of its influences but that is also one of its strengths. They feel is definitely early U2 (Unforgettable Fire – Miracle Drug, City of Blinding Lights) but there are a few hints of Achtung Baby (Love and Peace) and Joshua Tree as well (One Step Closer – although this is the worst song on the album). However, there are quite a few songs that dont sound like anything they have ever done before (Vertigo, Fast Cars, A Man and a Woman, Original of the Species). Fast Cars has a slightly Middle Eastern feel to it and A Man and a Woman has a slightly Spanish feel. Original of the Species sounds a bit like the Beatles. This is definitely the Edge’s album with guitars really dominating throughout even on the slower songs but, a word of warning, it is not Vertigo times 12.

  • Every time some rabid fan tells me I haven’t listened to an album enough, I want to smack them. I have been a U2 fan since I saw them play on the same bill with the Teardrop Explodes and Echo and the Bunnymen at the Palladium. I have always given them their props. But this record – you know, what else can they do – they’re U2, they’ve already conquered the world, and they’ve already reinvented themselves countless times.

    But this is not anywhere near an instant classic. There are probably 3-4 very good songs and the rest we will not be listening to in 20 years.

    Plus, as much as I applaud their willingness to market themselves, it’s beyond overkill. They’re turning into the Sheryl Crow of rock and roll bands. They don’t need to do this; they’re U2.

    I can’t wait for the tour to be announced, tickets on sale for $150 (don’t lecture me that there were $45 tickets last time, that was a GA floor) and then listen to Bono talk about how punk rock U2 are.

    It must be hard to be a fan of a band when that band is reaching the end of their lifespan. Of course you will grasp onto anything they do or say.

  • you haven’t listened to the album enough.

  • Dave from Toronto

    This album is easily one of their top albums. I have now listened to it 30 times and have a feel for what each song is about. I have to say the weakest songs in my opinion are “one step closer” and “all because of you”. The strongest (and there are at least 5 that I really really enjoy) are “city of blinding lights” “miracle drug” “original of the species” and “a man and a woman”. Love and peace or else is also very good. I just can’t put my ipod down.

  • i have listened to the album a few times now and my opinion hasn’t changed much even though i just caught myself humming the chorus to vertigo…

    i find that the sound is a polished return to the original U2 sound a la “Boy” with hints of “War” and “Joshua Tree”. that said, i found nothing quite as stunning or exciting as on the earlier efforts.

    bono’s vox sounds a bit strained most of the time and his lyrics don’t have that same exciting insightful thoughtfulness as some of the classic U2 tracks. it’s almost like they have sold out and are trying very hard to be “U2-ish” in order to prove they haven’t lost their soul as a band. most of their lyrics amount to fairly cliche’d platitudes about love, god and the world. gone are the statements about politics, the stories of people they knew, and the country they grew up in – in short their sincerity.

    pretty music aside, the blandness of the songs makes me unenthusiastic about this effort, which i’m sure will still garner the enthusiasm of fans who really want to like the album and thus get a ton of airplay. i mean, this is ‘U-bloody-2’ we’re talking about, and we are only mere mortals.

    don’t get me wrong, i really like the musical aspect of the album – it’s very clear and cohesive, drawing on the roots of the band’s spirit. it’s just they lyrics and bono’s voice which bother me.

    although i’ve had trouble adjusting to all the changes the band have gone through in their lengthy evolution, i’ve had to respect their drive for some artistic expression, always pushing the boundaries of what they had known and what their fans would tolerate. but this “return” to U2 roots misses lyrically to the same extent that it hits musically. i found nothing soulful, profound, or even vaguely interesting – just a bunch of U2-like songs that wash over me like flotsam and are quickly forgotten.

    i think the lyrics of the song “One Step Closer” pretty much sum up where the band is at this point:

    “i’m on an island in a busy intersection/ i can’t go forward now/ can’t turn back/ can’t see the future/ it’s getting away from me / just watch the taillights glowing/ one step closer to knowing…”

    i think we are one step closer to knowing they are only going through the motions.


  • waseem

    Quietly content with the latest U2 release, I couldnt help but share my happiness with others. And then Caryn Rose has to go and spoil it all by accusing us fans of being so desperate that we “will grasp onto anything they do or say”. I take on board what you say, Caryn, about the band nearing the end of their product life cycle although I can scarcely believe it myself. For the first time ever I am really beginning to feel old. After all, it only seems like yesterday when the Joshua Tree ruled the airwaves and yet now I am beginning to contemplate a music scene and life without them. Ho Hum. Such is life.

    But then I clicked on your tag and followed the links through to your semi-autographical “book” about ‘love and sex and hope and fear and loss and dreams and choices’ and some other tired shite like that. Oh, I laughed, I cried and then when I was finished I realised you really seem to have confused ambition for creativity. Now, THAT must be hard. Please, Caryn, spare the world from further torture. Keep your stories about your shagfests across America to yourself. It’s a crazy enough place as it is.

  • as someone who has seen U2 a few times and heard their albums I have to say that it is a good album on the whole, vertigo beingthe odd track out = but hte best one IMHO

    govea it two or three listens….. you`ll get used to it.

    I have some commentary on my blog

  • Bundang Dave

    Like some others, I was underwhelmed upon first listen. Subsequent listens have improved my liking for some songs, but on the whole it’s not as inspiring as it could be. They seem to want to try some new musical things (mixed with roots), but hold themselves back too much.

    As always, everyone seems to have different opinions on which tracks are good or bad; here’s my take:
    The songs I like are Vertigo, Love and Peace or Else, All Because of You, Sometimes You Can’t Make It, Original of the Species and One Step Closer. I don’t think Edge’s guitar gets as much work as some are suggesting–he does well on the first three I listed above, but the rest of the tracks have rather dull guitar work. Even these tracks that I like could use some more focus/direction. Love and Peace or Else could really be excellent if they pumped some more energy into it–I’m sure that it’ll rip live, but they held back too much in the studio–the vocals in particular are too clean for a song with such grinding rhthym and guitars.

    The other tracks seemed kinda stale to me, like ATYCLB leftovers (City of Blinding Lights, Man and a Woman, Yahweh, Crumbs From Your Table, Miracle Drug). Bono does too much talking and not enough singing, the melodies don’t fit the lyrics and vocals; there just wasn’t tight enough direction (some strong ideas, but poorly put together). At times I felt like a song should have a smokier Leonard Cohen-like sound, but the melody and vocals were too light and airy with a kickless chorus.

    I liked a couple of tracks that didn’t make it on to all the albums: Fast Cars and Are You Gonna Wait Forever. Both are catchy and OK. Fast Cars could have been something special if taken another step. The version I’ve heard really sounds unfinished and I hope that’s the case. It’s a fast-paced tune driven by accoustic rather than electric guitars with a slight middle-eastern flavour. The problem is it’s too repetitive lyrically for the length of the song–there are no verses nor a bridge, only a chorus repeated about 30 times (?) in quick succession. They shouldn’t have held back on the middle-eastern flavour and made the song itself shorter if they don’t want to vary its content with verses or a bridge.

    In the end, there are a few good songs to tide us over until the next album. I’ll have to live with that and look forward to the B-sides on the single releases.

  • Eric Olsen

    many are the Daves visiting here: very interesting input, thaks!

  • Bundang… that versino of Fast Cars is just 30 seconds of the song repeated over and over. a decoy put on filesharing networks by the record company. The full version is much better.

  • Bundang Dave

    “Bundang… that versino of Fast Cars is just 30 seconds of the song repeated over and over. a decoy put on filesharing networks by the record company. The full version is much better.”

    Thanks DM. I kinda suspected/hoped that was the case. I’m looking forward to the full version then!

  • Joe Smith

    An album is a work of art, especially when created by true musical artists. Though I have not listened to the album repeatedly, as many of you have (I’m waiting to buy it), the album hits its mark as the strongest U2 album since Acthung Baby. Talking about it as a serious of songs is degrading the art and true musical appreciators wouldn’t lower themselves to that level. P.S. No one ever says “I liked the nose, the hair, and the ears on the Mona Lisa, but her chin could deffinetly been more defined.”

  • Paul

    This group doesn’t know how to take a step back. This is a stunning mixture of in yer face rock anthems with a subtle mix of U2 classical ballads added. If you don’t like it I suggest you try something else coz this super-group doesn’t need you anymore! They have kept up eith the times and entranced a new generation of listeners! If they hadn’t changed there style they would have ended up in the same place as Simple minds! If you can’t appreciate a work of art then I suggest you go and buy some Lego!!

  • tim

    I think this is the best u2 album since war.It is already one of my favorites.The edge is great as always, but this effort even exceeds his usual playing.It is in one word beautiful guitar.Bono is fantastic,he sounds better and better. And Larry and Adam, are as smooth as ever.When I read reviews diferent people like different tracks.This will not be everone’s cup of tea,but I think it is a classic album.It will easily sale 10 to 12 million records…

  • paul

    I noticed that they may be pandering a bit more toward the younger crowd in an effort to expand their audience, and I can say (at least speaking for myself) that I think it’s working. They have not sacrificed any of their talent nor have they sold out in an attempt to promote or sell this album. To really get my point across, let me say this. If you only purchase a handful of albums this year, make sure you include U2’s How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb on that list. We all heard many critics rave about Green Day’s new disc, and now I believe we’ll hear those same people lauding this album. It is well-deserved praise for a band that has shown they have not yet reached the apex of their career.

  • Bundang Dave

    “Talking about it as a serious of songs is degrading the art and true musical appreciators wouldn’t lower themselves to that level. P.S. No one ever says “I liked the nose, the hair, and the ears on the Mona Lisa, but her chin could deffinetly been more defined.”

    Joe Smith, I think your analogy here is wrong on a few levels. First, let me point out that DaVinci never released the nose of Mona Lisa one month and then her hair a few months later in order to entice fans to buy his piece of art as U2 and other pop bands do. When the artists themselves talk about and treat their albums as a series of songs, who am I to argue? Second, I disagree that ‘true’ music appreciators simply listen to an album and then say yes it’s good or no it’s bad. ‘True’ music (or any type of art) appreciators want to know what makes a piece of art great, whether it’s the rhythm, melody, production on a rock album or composition, shading, colouring on a painting. A tourist, on the other hand, simply walks into the Louvre, sees the Mona Lisa and says “that’s pretty” without examining why. If you want to enjoy U2’s new album as a tourist (and a sanctimonious one at that), be my guest–there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy music IMO.

  • Gio

    Ladies and gentlemen…it’s U2!!!! Just great music and songs, as only they can do. Of course it’s not The Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby, but…who cares? It’s all because of you!!!

  • Christopher Griffiths

    Well done lads! Great Album. Wonderful variety. I simply don’t understand why people expect U2 to re-invent the wheel every time they go into the studio. They’re only human, but pretty exceptional in that they still sound so inspired this far into their career (they know where the talent comes from and sing/play accordingly). It’s the faith, I’m sure (Adam’s says he’s atheist, but he feeds off the others, oh so much). Lyrically very good also….don’t read them on their own in the album sleve. It’s not Shakespearian dialogue, it’s Canto…it’s U2 plain-chant and should be listened to (not read) in that context. But to be honest, the music is so brilliant, the words can wait!

    U2 have used tried and tested musical genres (and why not!) as well as coming up with some genuine innovations on this record. The songs speak for themselves..they’re from the heart…and for the first time on a U2 record all sound well crafted and complete from the moment you hear them. Bono is sounding more and more Catholic, which can’t be a bad thing; he’s one step closer to the truth (the Pope’s rosary was clearly hanging close to his heart when they made this one). Edge is clearly being true to his vocation by giving plenty of glory to the Almighty via his guitar (wey to go, the Zen Presbyterian!), and Adam and Larry are fantasticly consistent in the rhythm section. Sometimes you hardly notice them….which is the way it should be. A musical masterpiece, Epic U2 (crumbs from your table)….JUST WHAT I WANTED!

    God is very big on this record (All because of you, I am – how right you are my son)….the best inspiration produces the best art, and that’s what this album is. Definitely fantastic, and definitely well worth examining in detail….more like Leonardo’s Last Supper than the Mona Lisa! Nice one boys, worth waiting for, every second. I prayed before I heard it today and my prayers were answered.

  • Mediawhore been busy with election season. (In answer to Eric’s question up thread.)

    Got this review now up at Advance.net.

    Click here.

    Let the artist / record company know, perhaps?
    – Temple

  • Eric Olsen

    playing devil’s advocate: being busy with election season would not preclude one from visiting and participating here, where we have been quite busy with same

  • The new album is absolutely rotten. This stuff is so bad, I am embarrassed for the band. What happened to these guys? Not one great song. By the way, I have not heard the new album yet…this is just a feeling I have.

  • Eric Olsen

    the above comment is either one of the most brilliant or retarded I have ever read

  • True, Eric, so true. I’m not sure which comment you mean, but I have a very strong feeling that you are correct.

  • Poor. Very very poor (apart from vertigo and Sometimes you acn’t make it on your own)

  • Brodirt

    Pretty simple…the best rock band in the world went back and figured out why we all feel that way and care enough to spend our time listening to them and sharing our thoughts in places like this. Having done so they produced something unique and yet immediatley gratifying, familiar and honest. To me it sounds a lot like Unforgetable Fire without the politics.

  • “the above comment is either one of the most brilliant or retarded I have ever read”

    LOL! and for real, too. That was very amusing. Thank you.

  • John Gosper

    This CD has all the ingredients that make U2 unique and the greatest band that has ever been.
    Who cares whether it doesnt sound Monster enough or heavy enough go and listen to heavy metal crap then. This is U2 they are a rock, soul , pop group, they have lasted 25 years becuase they produce unique generally un mainstreem music that addresses issues feelings the soul and heart.
    They sing epic anthems ballads and rock tunes.
    Just because Vertigo rocked a bit harder trhe metal gooses come out and say oh why isnt the whole album a rocker, well it is it just rocks in a u2 way simple.
    Every song is a great tune with powerful lyrics, beautiful classical edge orchestra guitars suberb rythem section and soulful unique singing from Bono, A real gem, something for everyone, the rockers, the soulers, the blues, the sentimintal everyone one of the all time best rock albums could even be the best album of all time.

  • Robin Somerville

    Looking at the comments submitted so far on this site, it’s quite easy to identify the true U2 fan from hard-core rock enthusisasts that were hoping that U2 are going to do a White Stripes and break new ground. Maybe they got all excited about Vertigo and thought the rest of the album would feature similar material. Thank God they didn’t -remember Pop and their techno foray? Instead, they have played to their strengths, the passion, the melody and the riffs are all there once again, you either love it or don’t get it, it’s as simple as that. They can’t be all things to all men, so please no more rubbish about the album sounding too U2- ish. Of course it’s U2-ish, and it’s another classic.

  • snowflake

    ive listened about 8 times with the headphones..and i find myself skipping vertigo because i cant wait to get to the other songs. this album is huge, bigger than a one or two hit album. its meaningful and so well done. it was worth the wait and its does have new elements to it, not at all a repeat of anything they have ever done…and all without a low point…every song is good. you know how u buy an cd and u forward thru some songs to get to others? not needed with this cd, expect to see u2 at the grammys and not because they are has-beens but because theyre still so freakin good they deserve it.

  • OM

    “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” is one of my favorites. Some of the songs have really grown on me after a few listens like “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” and “City of Blinding Lights”. The ones I liked right off were “Vertigo”,”Original of the Species” ( I like the Motown feel) and “All Because Of You”( which made my jaw drop)
    I think this is a great album.

    “Zooropa” was always one of my favorites because it was so experimental and daring to do whatever regardless of the consquences.

  • kakvox

    I love the new album. It took a few listens, but I know that it is for real. I can feel it when I listen to every song. I don’t skip any songs and can’t believe there is so much going on beneath the polished surface. A lot of people are afraid to admit that this is a great album because U2 is so big. Ironically, the title is a red herring. People expect a political, full blown statement about the world from U2, and it would easy for them to be the white-flag raising band. However, I think HTDAAB deals with the struggle with the ticking bomb within ourselves. I like that it took me by surprise and I like the way the album makes me feel. Still searching amidst the trash, but hopeful. And yes, love is out there to dismantle the chaos that exists.

  • Benji

    It’s a great album. For those who think U2 isn’t as good as they were in the 80’s you are wrong. HTDAAB is melodical, the lyrics are fantastic. Maybe the political and social critics are not as in other albums, but realize that they as musicians have needs, and the need of this album, especially Bono’s need, was to touch feelings.

  • Zootopia

    HTDAAB is a masterpiece, on a scale 1 to 10 (best) I give it a 9. This CD is vibrant, alive, fresh. The lyrics are great as well as the guitar work. My only complaint is that mix on the drums is poor, Larry’s playing is great as always but the big drum sound is missing. This CD is so much better than ATYCLB. I rate ATYCLB a 3 out of 10. This CD is a must for any collection. I am so hard core into U2 right now I am downloading the “Complete U2” from itunes for $149.00. Before you think that is a bad deal consider that you get 459 songs!

  • canadian_patriot

    What can I say. I like it when U2 rocks. I hate their slow stuff – always have, always will. This album had too much slow stuff. It’s better than ATYCLB, but pales in comparison to Auctung (which is the CD that got me into U2 in the first place). My favorite songs in order of most favorite to least are:

    1. Crumbs from your table
    2. All because of you
    3. Yahweh

    …what common thred do these songs have? A LOT OF EDGE ECHO AMP! And let’s face it – Edge’s echo amp is what makes U2 unique sounding. Take that away and they’re sh*t!

  • jimmy

    at first listen i was uninspired just like unforgetable fire, joshua tree, actung baby. turns out that this meant depth not seen in over a decade. about 10 listens later I too am hooked. I hate to compare there albums but I personaly put this album at a 3 way tie for there second best album. Definately the best album of 04. Also the first album I spent my money on since the invention of the cd burner.

    They could triple the price of this album and I would still buy it even though I already had a pirated copy.

    PROPS to u2.

  • Paul Anderson

    In return to Canadian Patriot:

    U2 is not an individual…..I agee that the Edge is a fantastic Guitar player………..but this group has won countless awards on an individual basis(Adam Clayton on The Wanderer!!!)But couldn’t do it without the other 3!! If you think that the Edge can go on stage in front of thousands of people and woo them on his own then you truly are an idiot……go and listen to Santana…..it’s more your bag baby….this is U2’s 2nd best album(Achtung being No1)and you know nothing!!

  • mexican idol

    U2 es la neta.
    Nadie es mejor que ellos.
    La música en español es basura.
    Este disco está chidísimo.


  • Desimontrealler

    I just have to say that I am a U2 fan. Admittedly I have yet to listen to their early albums(pre joshua tree), although I loved I will follow and Pride, but this is a great album. I dont want to compare this album to their previous works. Each time they make an album it is independent of their previous works(at least I would like to think so) and irregardless of their previous work, this album stands alone. IF you want the big rock like in vertigo, go somewhere else, U2 produce their own style of music. One of my favorites so far(although I pretty much like the whole album) is love and peace or else.

  • Clarkey

    Last week I said:

    “Poor. Very very poor (apart from vertigo and Sometimes you acn’t make it on your own)”

    I take it all back. After 4 or 5 listens, this album is fantastic. Particularly City of Blinding Lights”

    Buy it!!!

  • Eric Olsen

    at least you’re honest – two of the coolest things about the Internet are that you can express yourself in real time and change your mind


    This album may be good. It may be great. But the new Cattle Decapitation is better.

  • Montrose

    Canadian Patriot

    Digital Delay, actually.

  • Pearce

    This record has the definitive quality of greatness: it gets better the more you listen.

    Some have said “Vertigo” set expectations that weren’t fulfilled. Since it is a matter of taste, I will not argue with anyone who wants 12 tracks of Vertigo – other than to suggest perhaps Green Day. But I much prefer the tremendous range of textures and colors, moods and emotions the boys have put on this record. These are great songs, and I think when the dust settles this will be clearly regarded along with Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree as their best work.

    Am I a U2 fan? Yes. So maybe, as some suggest, I have a vested interest in liking this album. Perhaps. But time reveals all, and as much as I may have wanted to like POP I haven’t listened to it in years. The superior versions songs like “Discotech” and “…Send His Angels” that showed up on B sides or the Best Of record just further prove that POP was rushed and inferior. I cannot imagine not listening to “…Bomb” ten years from now with the same enthusiasm as today.

    I had to laugh at a criticism of the album that suggested the music is strong but the lyrics are weak. “One Step Closer To Knowing” was cited specifically. I am no Bono sycophant, but he has rarely been better than on this album. The passing of his father has given him his best, most personal fodder for lyrics since…. the passing of his mother.

    I did not hear “One Step Closer to Knowing” and immediately annoint it a smash. But when I learned it was about his father’s crisis of faith – with his father’s declining health bringing him close to knowing the “answer” – lyrics that could have been written off as trite became rather powerful in their simplicity.

    Buy this record. You will listern to it until it wears out.

  • campking

    Really enjoying the album. Took about 5 times but am constantly humming the songs. Favourite: City of Bliding Lights followed by Origins of the Species and A Man and a Woman. I am excited about where U2 are going. They have never remained constant- always trying new things out (ie: Pop). Quite satisfied indeed, this album is up there with Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and Unforgettable Fire.

  • skchannon

    I listened to the CD first in the car and was disappointed – but today I listened with headphones and decided to give another chance – espec. the songs after Vertigo. I would love to have a sincere chat with Bono to learn the inspiration behind the lyrics. I do not idolize him – but from watching him through the years – he has depth – a heart and soul – and that is the making of art.

  • EMann

    OK – This could be a long one! Sit back, relax and grab a coffee – maybe something stronger!

    I have been listening to U2 since 1980. That’s when I bought my first U2 album and have never looked back. So many of you have said the same thing I have felt about almost every U2 album I own (which is all of them) – I wasn’t turned on by the first play through. This album is the same.

    But give it a second, third and tenth listen and everything begins to shine. If you want to be spiritually and emotionally inspired by music – then keep this disc in your CD player.

    Even through the driving riffs of Vertigo, Bono specifies that he is learning “how to kneel”. Not to mention that the title itself replicates itself to more than just a fear of heights – it talks of the state of being unbalanced. Could there be more to this track than just a great guitar sound that sells music?

    There is great inspiration and haunting melody to tracks like “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” and “One Step Closer To Knowing”. You can’t argue the great musical writing of “City of Blinding Lights” which is vintage U2 in it’s own right. Is anyone else taken back to The Unforgettable Fire with this track?

    This album is a continuation of a journey. One that fans like myself have been on for 2 decades. U2 continues to challenge us not only with their musical tones, but through their searching lyrics that epitomize a group of men that are continuing to evolve as musicians and men. They “Still Haven’t Found What They’re Looking For” but the process of trying to find it has kept me and many others entertained and challenged for many years.

    Hats off to the greatest rock band of our time – maybe even all time!

  • Kolbe

    This album is dripping with passion! Yes, Bono is a little tired in his singing abilities, but oh my God…his heart shines even through broken and cracked vocals! I hate all of the candy coated shit out there today. I would rather hear Bono straining with every bit of passion and fire he can muster up to move his people than all these cash cow whores using vocal tracks at live shows because they cannot sing with an ounce of passion or feeling!! Moving album, got me through a hellish dark month and gave me some hope. Thank you old friends!

  • Nick

    what an album