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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Decades of hits later, U2 keeps fresh style for latest album

If any band has earned the right to become complacent in their efforts, it is U2. Bono and the boys have established themselves as a band that will transcend time with their nominations for Nobel Peace Prizes and being named numerous countries’ official favorite artist.
But with all these accomplishments under its multi-faceted belt, U2’s latest release, “No Line on the Horizon,” has one factor that may surprise its many listeners: there is no sign of complacency anywhere.
What this album does almost perfectly is incorporate two factors that have made U2 attractive over the length of its career. One is Bono’s signature anthem-like wail that carried albums in the 80s, like “The Joshua Tree” and “Rattle and Hum.” The second is the strong, driving guitar riffs of The Edge, who is looked upon as one of the greatest guitarists in music today, and most likely near the top of all time.
The balance between these two musical concepts is something the Dubliners haven’t showcased in an album in quite a while. Their previous couple of releases – “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” and “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” – have had slightly more commercial sound than their earlier work, showing possible signs of the times in which U2 was only trying to be as good as people said it was.
In the album, the rockers hone in on what they are good at, and have been for 30 years. The record includes some larger-than-life tracks, but leaves out the arrogance that seemed to accompany the decade’s earlier releases.
The album starts out strong with the title track, somewhat relieving the listener of any questions of whether this album will be the one that brings U2 back to earth. A simple bass line leads the song through a few measures until Bono’s familiar yelp rings through singing “I know a girl who’s like a sea/ I see her changing everyday for me.” Listening to the band’s mastery of a song without any gimmicks is a breath of fresh air that sets the tone for the rest of the album.
The Edge shines in the forefront in tracks such as “Stand Up Comedy,” “Breathe” and “Magnificent” – no small feat considering the band’s frontman. In “Magnificent,” his charging riffs seem to lead Bono’s voice through the verse, while almost taking over the chorus from the singer.
This is not to take away from Bono’s performance on the album. The track “Moment Of Surrender” is almost entirely spot-on vocals, with any instruments almost muted aside from the strong ambient influence brought on by producer and father of ambient music, Brian Eno.
The first single from the album “Put On Your Boots” is a completely different story than the rest of the album. The track comes equipped with the “Here we are!” mentality U2 has been known to showcase and exhibits a more miniscule level of creativity the remainder of the album contains. Fuzzy repeated guitar riffs bring the listener into the song while Bono almost speaks a verse in a style strangely similar to Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”
Aside from a few blubs, the world’s biggest band shows why they are so. For a band to be making this quality of music and to be entering its fourth decade as a band shows it is no fluke. “No Line on the Horizon” may have been looked upon as the band’s start to a slow farewell to the music industry, but in reality, it may have bought them a few more decades.

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