U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2019
· U2's Mumbai setlist, 15/12/19
· U2's Manila setlist and videos, 11/12/19
· U2's Seoul setlist and videos, 08/12/19
· U2's Tokyo #1 and #2 setlists and videos, 4/12/19 and 5/12/19
· U2's Singapore #2 setlist and videos, 01/12/19
· U2's Singapore #1 setlist and videos, 30/11/19
· U2's Perth setlist, 27/11/19
· U2's Sydney #2 setlist, 23/11/19
· U2's Sydney #1 setlist, 22/11/19
· U2's Adelaide setlist, 19/11/19
News: The new U2 album|
Posted on Thursday, November 18 @ 23:37:55 UTC by Macphisto
(BostonHerald.com) -- U2 takes a risk with its new ``How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,'' in stores Tuesday.
Not a musical risk. A marketing risk.
Unless its songs enter the pantheon of fan favorites that now stretches from ``Sunday Bloody Sunday'' to ``Beautiful Day,'' ``How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb'' is in jeopardy of being remembered not for its artistry, but for its iPod connection.
If you watched the Red Sox during the playoffs - hell, if you've watched any TV at all this fall - you've seen the instantly iconic iPod ad featuring black silhouettes of U2 cavorting against glowing colors to the sound of the band's peppy new single ``Vertigo.'' If you're not yet tired of hearing Bono count, ``Unos, dos, tres, catorce,'' you will be.
At this point in time, even longtime fans can't feign shock at the sight of U2 trading kisses with Big Business. Everyone does it, a handful of holdouts like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty aside. And honorable U2 didn't accept any cash for its hookup with Apple - which includes production of a red and black U2 iPod that comes with ``How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb'' stored on it, and the iTunes Music Store's online release of ``The Complete U2,'' with 400 songs, 25 previously unreleased.
U2, of course, will profit from this corporate connection. The band will receive royalties from the sales of its music on iTunes. More important, its Apple deal trumpets its significance to a generation of downloaders young enough to consider U2, whose members are all in their 40s, an oldies act. The same demographic concern explains why you'll hear new U2 songs in upcoming episodes of ``The O.C.'' and ``CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.''
But in the long run, the mass marketing of ``How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb'' only matters if it becomes more memorable than the music. And it might. Oversaturated TV viewers will find it difficult to associate ``Vertigo'' with anything except those pricey little iPods.
Still, if you're not already sick of it, ``Vertigo'' works as an exhilirating opener for ``How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.'' It offers the same upbeat rush that ``Beautiful Day'' gave to U2's last effort, 2000's ``All That You Can't Leave Behind.'' On that album, U2 ceased the musical experimentation that characterized its '90s work and once again embraced the anthemic, open-hearted rock it had built its reputation on in the '80s.
With ``How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,'' U2 maintains that fan-pleasing course. The songs sound great, with production by Chris Thomas (Sex Pistols, the Pretenders, Pulp) and old friends Steve Lillywhite, Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Bono's voice, the Edge's vari-colored machine-gun guitar and the steady rhythms of bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. sweep you along with little adornment other than keyboards and synths from electronica/dance dude Jacknife Lee.
Bono's lyrics grapple with faith, love, God and other big topics, and he even makes a couple of rare jokes at his own expense: ``I like the sound of my own voice,'' he sings in ``All Because of You,'' ``I didn't give anyone else a choice.''
Listeners looking to unlock the songs' meaning will find explanations in the many interviews Bono and his bandmates have given. To Bono, the true title of the album is ``How to Dismantle an Atomic Bob,'' a reference to his turbulent relationship with his recently deceased father.
The gorgeous ballad ``Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own'' is the song Bono sang at Brendan ``Bob'' Hewson's funeral: ``We fight all the time you and I/that's alright, we're the same soul/I don't need to hear you say/that if we weren't so alike/You'd like me a whole lot more.''
The searing search for faith ``One Step Closer to Knowing'' derives from a conversation Bono had with Oasis' Noel Gallagher, who asked if Bono's dying dad believed in God. Bono said his father was uncertain and Gallagher replied, ``Well, he's one step closer to knowing.'' Instant song title.
The band has volunteered the origination of other songs, too. You might guess that ``Miracle Drug'' is a plea from humanitarian Bono for a cure for AIDS. But Bono says it's the story of a paraplegic Dublin classmate's hard-won struggle to unleash the poems stored in his brain.
It's an inspiring story and a good song, but U2 is so eager to promote its new product that it isn't allowing fans the pleasure of finding their own meaning in this new material. The iPod-linked ``Vertigo'' isn't all that's being overmarketed here.
In striving to maintain its current position as the world's greatest rock band, U2 has reduced its music to a winning formula - but a formula nonetheless. "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" substitutes familiarity for revelation. Not that that's all bad. When U2 opens its tour in Miami on March 1, its new songs will already sound like old favorites.
By Larry Katz