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"Might I put it on record I'm disappointed I'm not on mullet.com?" — Bono

U2 Fan Sites Review the New Album

In addition to our own staff review, we also invited a variety of U2 fans from other Web sites to share their thoughts on No Line on the Horizon. There are a lot of great U2 sites online, so to keep this simple and ensure variety, we forced ourselves to invite just one fan site per country to have a staff member review the album. Almost everyone we asked agreed to take part, and we're glad to present reviews -- in alphabetical order -- from fan sites based in six countries.

No Line On The Horizon = no line to boredom. This album (for me) is in and out of traffic with almost every tune. NLOTH has a different sound with many different gears.

After a nice, three-hour drive to Savannah, Georgia, last week with NLOTH in the CD player, it's starting to grow on me. This may seem to be a contradiction to those I spoke to just after I got my hands on the leaked ... I mean, the early release of the album (thanks Universal Australia). At the time of my first listen, I was a little disappointed by what I was hearing. Flashbacks to Pop were entering my mind. After four years waiting, I was in trouble. But, leave it to a nice extended road trip to change my attitude toward this release.

NLOTH has several songs that stand out as gems. Two in particular -- "Magnificent" and "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" -- offer up Adam's heavy bass and that soaring guitar sound that only The Edge can provide. Classics in the making! "Stand Up Comedy" could potentially be a great live tune. "White as Snow" ... well it's a pure U2 country song. "Unknown Caller" is an Eno-influenced tune that sort of sits there and makes you listen.

All is not rosy on this album though. "Boots," "Cedars" and the title track seem to be lacking a spark. But this is not U2 playing it safe. They have ventured into areas that only Eno and Lanois could map out. U2 have once again turned a corner. This is definitely a new and different-sounding U2.

Kevin Dolph U2exit.com, USA

The advance gossip talked about a U2 who had taken effort in testing their boundaries but, overall, that's not discernible except on the confused first single, "Get On Your Boots," and the enjoyable sound-experiment, "FEZ-Being Born." Apart from these, we meet a band who has chosen the safe, primrose path -- a choice that, in intense stadium over-throwers like "Magnificent" and "Breathe," feels very right.

It's worse when the band loses themselves in overburdened production and slogan-filled lyrics, like in the ingratiating "Unknown Caller" or the ill-fitting Led Zeppelin costume "Stand Up Comedy." Strongest is "Moment of Surrender," a quiet and restrained gospel ballad where Bono delivers a phenomenal song performance. No Line On The Horizon is neither a fiasco nor a masterpiece; it is a solid U2 album, filled with atmospheric and grandiose arena rock without any spectacular surprises.

Standout tracks: "No Line On The Horizon," "Magnificent," "Moment of Surrender."

Review by Olov Hjartstrom-Baudin, translated by Marie Kristensson U2.se, Sweden

Imagine yourself on a beach watching the sun rise or set, seeing the sun touching the water, and you've got U2's latest release on your headphones. You will rise up, feel the energy emerging from the title track of this release. You will feel the music, very close to your heart. You have to listen to it at full volume. You will think: Magnificent.

U2's new album, No Line On The Horizon, is different. Sometimes it's overwhelming. Sometimes it's much more than I can cope with. Sometimes I even think: That's going too far for me. Stop the "Oh oh oh" bits, please reduce the layers of production. Then again I think: What do I love U2 for? For making music that's moving masses, that is at the same time innovative and challenging, and for songs that work in front of tens of thousands of people. They failed on these priorities on their last album, but they do not disappoint me on this one. Songs like "Moment of Surrender," "Cedars of Lebanon" or "Stand Up Comedy" prove that U2 are not old-school rock heroes, but upbeat artists. The album is a great piece of art, an album that will work out at concerts brilliantly.

This is a record that touches me, that thrills me, that sometimes annoys me, but it won't get out of my head. Some people call it their masterpiece; for me, it's a huge leap forward. And I just hope that they can keep up the spirit and move ahead with the tour and the upcoming releases.

Bjorn Lampe U2tour.de, Germany

Count me in as absolutely loving this album. The previous two albums needed to sell me on the songs, and they did that to a point in a live setting. This album? No need. I can already feel the songs climbing under my skin, washing through my subconscious, and making a break for the surface when I least expect it.

For the first time in a long time, we have an album where I don't feel the need to skip through songs. I'm loving the way the album flows, and I'm loving each song on here. If I had to skip one, the one that has caught me least is "White as Snow." I find the lyrics better than 90 percent of what we saw this decade so far. I like the sonic experiments woven in and out of tracks. I love the extra layers. And the more I listen, the more I get back from it.

I can hear pieces of my favorite albums in there. A touch of The Unforgettable Fire, a pinch of Zooropa, blended with some Original Soundtracks 1. I see the chaos that I love in a U2 recording woven throughout this new one.

Early song faves? "No Line," "Breathe," "Magnificent," "Fez" and "Unknown Caller."

This one is definitely going into my favorites pile and is one I think I'll return to again and again.

Aaron Sams U2Wanderer.org, Canada

There's always a certain amount of trepidation when a new U2 album is due to be released. Will I be able to love it? Will they finally drop the ball? "Get On Your Boots" did nothing to allay my worries for No Line On The Horizon.

Well, it turns out that the new album is a bit of a mixed bag. "Moment of Surrender" is a magical track. I wake up with it playing in my head most mornings, and I still don't understand where the seven minutes go when it's playing. Even better is "Unknown Caller," which begins and ends with a smile. U2 should use French horns more often! These two tracks make a great pair.

Not all is sunshine and roses, however. A few tracks have been getting routinely skipped because I find them abrasive and clumsy, though some are making more sense in live performances.

To me, No Line On The Horizon is a kind of sampler of all U2's previous incarnations. There's a dash of piano reminiscent of October here, a whole song reeking of The Daltons there, little bits of Passengers sprinkled throughout, Bono's Boy-ish voice resurrected along with his Joshua Tree yearning gospel and his '90s drawl, too. Unforgettable Fire atmosphere prowls around beside Achtung Baby swagger. The band has taken all these elements from the past and built something new and fascinating.

I think it's a mixed bag, yes, but I thought the same of U2's classic albums when they first came out. These songs will live with me for a long time, and they will grow.

Karen Simpson U2NewZooland.com, New Zealand

Whatever they say to hype their albums about reinventing themselves, going back to their roots, incorporating dance or electronica, U2 always end up sounding like U2. I wouldn't have it any other way. But I can never remember the titles of U2's previous two CDs. They weren't bad and contained some great songs, but they weren't memorable to me as albums. No Line on the Horizon is.

I'm not religious, I don't bleed for Africa, I'm not keen on stadium rock. What turned me on to U2 was as much their military beat as a certain Celtic mysticism, their affinity with the European landscape, their singer's do-or-die delivery and their big ideas.

For some fans, Achtung Baby is the touchstone in assessing a new album's worth. For others it will always be Pop. My U2 is more ephemeral, present in moments found across their vast back catalog. You can hear echoes of these moments all over NLOTH.

"Moment of Surrender" reaches levels of intensity on par with "Bad" or "Please." There's a dash of "Van Diemen's Land" with "White as Snow." You'll hear some Zooropa in "Magnificent" and "FEZ-Being Born," the latter of which also harks back to The Unforgettable Fire. "Unknown Caller" has roots in The Million Dollar Hotel. "Breathe" comes from the same songbook as "Gone." And you may hate the single, but "Get On Your Boots" is probably their most Achtung Baby-like track in 20 years, and the title song borrows a riff from "The Fly."

This is U2 doing what they're best at: being U2. Except in "Stand Up Comedy," where they attempt to be Led Zeppelin. Give it up, lads.

Caroline van Oosten de Boer U2log.com, The Netherlands

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