01 March 2009

You too?

You may have noticed that U2 (the biggest band on the planet!), have got a new album out. I was a big fan in my teens, and keep on buying the albums as they keep churning them out, but can't say I've really enjoyed one in years.

I'm less that comfortable with Bono's messiah complex, and hypocrisy when it comes to hiding his earnings in tax free havens when he should be paying tax on it, which would help his country men, for whom he is so proud.

Also, Edge come clean. You're as bald as a coot, and we don't care, so take that fucking beanie off, you're 47 (thank you Wikipedia) for fucks sake!

So again, another album, and again I've bought it, and to help you decide if you should help fill Bono's off shore bank account, here's a review. I've not read any other reviews yet, so my opinions might differ enormously from popular consensus, but lets not forget, it's popular consensus that's going to put The Saturdays at the top of the singles chart for their monstrous culling of Depeche Modes 'Just can't get enough'....

1) No Line On The Horizon

Bono starts as if he's straining for a shit. No change there then. Was it co-written by Bernie Taupin? I'm only as-k-ing as B-o-no seems to be dropping extra syllables in to Ho-ri-i-zon. Maybe Mark E Smith in a more MOR stadium rock mood.

A steady and predictable opener.

2) Magnificent

This is the biggest seller on iTunes (of course I bought it legally you doubters!), so it had better be...
The first few drum beats make me want to shout 'Wild Boys' (the Duran Duran song, not an early appraisal of the quality of the song). The guitar and an 80's synth kick in, and we may be in for something different, but then comes Larrys drumming that says 'Pride', which seems to be such a good idea, that the Hedge joins in as well. We've been here before...

OK, the vocals steer you back away from Pride, but every time Bono sings 'magnificent' I get the urge to sing 'invincible' but haven't worked out why yet. There's something faintly reminiscent of Andreas Johnsons 'Glorious'. It's probably the bland stadium rock feel...

Magnificent it is not, more tolerable or harmless. Next single no doubt, and will probably creep into every ones conscious easily enough.

3) Moment Of Surrender

Good God this ones 7:24 in length. Is it justified?
'..the stones were semi precious, we were semi conscious..'
Well I certainly was. It starts slow, and again, very familiar. 'Far away, so close' I think. But they could all just be merging into one. The chorus doesn't fit with the rest of the song, and the whole thing just feels like dirge, and oh sweet fuck there's still another minute and a half to go.... I surrender!

Moment of surrender = how long it will take to give up on it and skip to the next track which is...

4) Unknown Caller

Dull. Simply dull. A few monotone shouty bits that hark back to REMs 'It's the end of the World as we know it (and I feel fine)', but without the energy or inspiration. We're treated to a 90 second 'outro' from The Hedge which is probably meant to sound all whirly and majestic, but just comes across as self satisfied wank. This one won't be going on any of my playlists anytime soon.

5) I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight

Ok, I'm already bothered by the title. Are Bono and the boys going to show us just how ker-azy they really are, or is it going to be all pent up angst and frustration?

More jangly guitars from The Hedge then,
'...she's a rainbow and loves the peaceful life, knows I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight...'
with the last line all falsetto and bonkers. They really are mad! I suspect that any minute Bono might put his champagne glass down on that wooden coffee table without even using a coaster, and look at Adam eating chocolate hob nobs in bed without a plate - he's gonna get crumbs everywhere and he's already cleaned his teeth. Sheer lunacy.
Oh yeah, and the songs a bit shit.

6) Get On Your Boots

You just might have already heard this one as the BBC have used your licence money to plug the single, band, and album at every opportunity. It is as catchy as hell.
You'll have already made up your minds, so all I'll say is more early REM vs Queens of the Stone Age, which is a good thing, but that's why the other bands did it first.

7) Stand Up Comedy

Go on Bono, make me laugh...

Opening reminds me of 'Love is the Law', but only until Bono starts singing. It's not an altogether bad thing. I quite like it (apart from the ubiquitous whooo-whooing and swirly guitar bits, which I could take or leave, but mostly leave). In fact the best bit of the song was a random sample of a cheer, which I thought was a bit unpredictable for them, but just turned out to be an add on from Firefox alerting me to the fact that Aston Villa had just scored, so you won't hear it.

I recommend installing 'Footie fox', and listening to it on headphones through iTunes on a Saturday afternoon. Lots of cheering.

8) Fez - Being Born

What on earth can this be about. I biopic of Tommy Cooper in 5:17?


Sweet buggery bollocks what kind of nonsense if this? A really badly edited together selection of samples from the album. It is utter, utter shite.
If Tommy Cooper had tried his hand at mixing, then this would be the result, but sadly not in a so bad it's funny kind of way. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

9) White as Snow

I'm losing the will to live now. Utter dirge. Derivative, predictable excrement. I've skipped through it to make sure I'm not missing a trick somewhere, but it would appear not. I refuse to listen to the whole track, I'm going straight on to...

10) Breathe

I'm liking the intro so far - I think they did this on Jonathon Ross.... Yes.. they did...
The bits where Bono does 'street poetry' are different, and quite enjoyable. We've almost gone full circle and are back to Mark E Smith. Surely Bono hasn't been listening to The Fall after all?

Best one on the album for me.

11) Cedars Of Lebanon

I think I can guess where this is going to go...

Yep, I'm right. More meaningful, and yet still incomprehensible dirge. Random rhyming couplets that might be insight into the futility of life, or the suffering of man. I really can't tell if they're taking the piss and this is supposed to somehow ironic, but I'm afraid it could be for real.

'...child drinking dirty water from the river bank, soldier brings oranges he got out from a tank..'

I mean, are they serious? When are they ever not....

And that in a nutshell is U2, and this albums problem. They still take themselves far too fucking seriously. There's nothing that new or exciting, it's mostly just recycling the same old sounds. You can say that it's got The Hedges 'distinctive sound' but isn't that just another way of saying' still pumping out the same bilge'.The lyrics are probably supposed to be profound, but they're profoundly shit.

Completely out of touch with reality, and 'the common man', it'll still no doubt sell millions. You'll buy it, your Dad'll buy it. The singles will get airplay and you'll hum along, because half of the album is just that: an easy listening, formulaic hum along that ticks all the right boxes, but there is no denying that far to much of the album is dire. Really, really REALLY bad. Inexcusably bad.

I mean it.

If you can live with that, then go buy it, go see them on their stadium tour and pay £80 for a ticket, and £30 for an official t-shirt, but don't say I didn't warn you....

Bonus Track

You still here?

That's all the tunes, but in the spirit of completeness, I purchased the deluxe edition, that includes a 58 minute film. It appears to be one long art film set to the albums music. There can be no plot to speak of, and there is no way on earth I am going to sit through this after having just sat through the album once, but through the magic of 'fast forward', I will try to piece together some type of narrative...

0:22 We are in Paris (I can see the Eiffel tower), and hear U2
1:25 We are still in Paris but it is night (I can still see the Eiffel Tower, the camera hasn't moved)
4:22 There are lots of shops and roads in night time Paris, but no people yet.
6:12 There's a policeman on a stationary motorbike!
6:26 He's got off his bike and kicked it over. He's having a fag. U2 play in the background
7:18 He's set fire to the bike. If this is the way French police behave it's no wonder the rest of the country enjoy a good riot.
10:44 He's got his own motorbike. I bet he doesn't set fire to that.
18:03 He's driven for nearly 8 minutes to get out of Paris so he can lie on his back in the countryside and look at the clouds.
19:16 One of the clouds looks like Africa. U2 are still on the radio.
26:16 More riding....oh look, a house!
27:18 No it's not, it's a bar of some description, and the waitress is fit!
27:48 It does food! Salad please, but just water, I'm riding on spiritual discovery.
32:09 Waitress puts the TV in the corner on
32:19 Oh shit, the receptions really bad, and U2 are on...
37:00 I'll be off then..
40:47 Another bar! This one must be better, there's a neon cocktail glass sign.
41:50 There's a fit women dancing inside! She is dancing to U2 :(
42:06 She flashes an arse cheek to reveal the number 6. Track 6 is playing. Is this subliminal? I'm already listening to it with you, you silly bint.
43:06 There is a women dancing on stage wearing a fake moustache ( I assume it's not real anyway). Kinky boots indeed!
43:54 She has been joined on stage by a dozen other hotties with moustaches. This is not working for me on any level.
48:26 He's left to wander the back streets. Don't blame you mate. Those women were odd.
52:24 I think I'll sleep on the beach...
52:47 Oh shit, I've woken up on a beach!
54:14 Oh look, someones left a row boat
54:30 I'll nick it and row out to sea and my destiny....


Moral of the storey. Paris is a shit place to work as a policeman, but no matter where you go in France you can never escape fit but strange women, and the sound of U2. The only possible escape the hype of the albums release is to row out to sea.

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