Wednesday, March 04, 2009

U2's latest: No Line on the Horizon

Leading up to the latest release from legendary rockers U2 there was a lot of talk about how they were 'experimenting' in the studios like never before. However, after a couple of listens, U2 seems like the same old U2 here, picking up where they left off on their last recording, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." The craziest sound here is on their opening single: "Get on Your Boots," but even then we've heard such ear candy before from this Irish foursome.

Honestly, I'm not sure u2, and the talented crop of musicians that make up the band, not to mention the acclaimed producers that they manage to find (i.e. Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois), could ever make a bad record. Even their worst effort would be better than much that is peddled today as music. Nevertheless, I think it's fair to say that this isn't their strongest effort. While I'm confident the sound will grow on me with repeated listens, what this album seems to lack are songs that make you want to listen again and again and again.

Yes, there are some. For instance, Magnificent is the best song on the album and probably should be their next single. It's a great song on many levels. Musically, it just sounds good- even adding a few synthesizers at the beginning to wet my appetite. Lyrically, it seems to lift up God as "The Magnificent," as Bono sings: "Only love, only love can leave such a mark / but only love, only love unites our hearts / Justify till we die, you and I will magnify / The Magnificent." Good stuff to say the least. Still, I'm left wanting more.

In a recent article that I read, one theologian has called this the 'Most Thoroughly Christian' project by U2 to date. It seems like they say this about every U2 record that comes out. In fact, Christian bookstores have carried U2's music for the last several years. But, suddenly they're gone? Why? Could it be the "s...." word in the final song here, Cedars of Lebanon? (more on this later)

But, I'm curious what you think. Is this the most Christian of all the U2 recordings to date? Have a listen and let me know. You can find it for as little as $3.99 on Amazon as a download or $9.99 for a hard-copy from Best Buy.