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Reviews Written by
Nigel R. Hall "Ctrak"

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And it looks like the sun...but it feels like rain, 6 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Pop (Audio CD)
So, the bizarre tale of 90s U2: they decamp to Berlin, struggle, come up with "One", make a whole album in Dublin afterwards, avoid splitting up and garner huge critical acclaim. They go on a huge world tour, the insanity that was ZOOTV, and in the middle of it, Bono announces to the band that they can make an album during a tour break ("I think everybody laughed at that"- Edge). Amazingly, they do. And then...a four year wait.

Out of it came POP, an album apparently not finished, an album that apparently didn't sell, and whose tour was a disaster. Which depends on your view. Considering how often songs get remixed, is any album finished nowadays? Is seven million copies and counting really failure? Can a tour have gone badly wrong if it enters the Guinness Book of Records?

POP has taken a lot of retrospective stick, and as other reviewers here point out, that's not really justified. It's not the alienated Kid A moment that it's often portrayed as- at worst, you have to cope with a song being (gasp) nearly six minutes. Ultimately, this is one of U2's greatest records, and I'm hoping the band aren't permanently discouraged from doing something so obviously envelope-pushing yet accessable again.

Highlights: Discotheque- a swirl of sonic...swirliness? And the best. Guitar. Riff. Ever. MOFO- huge sounding. Achtung Baby saw Bono's songwriting shift up a level; this saw it shift up further. Last Night On Earth- the point where the album gets very dark.

Low points: The middle of the album seems a wee bit too "normal" after the madness of the opening three songs.

Track by Track:
Discotheque 10
Do You Feel Loved? 8
If God Will Send... 7
Staring At The Sun 8
Last Night On Earth 10
Gone 8
Miami 7
The Playboy... 7
If You Wear... 8
Please 8
Wake Up Dead Man 8
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 16, 2012 12:16 PM GMT

All That You Can't Leave Behind
All That You Can't Leave Behind
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After the London disco of POP comes the French villa of ATYCLB, 17 Oct. 2006
The description of this album as a "return to the Joshua Tree sound" has always been a misnomer; for one, the Joshua Tree was folk influenced in composition and lyrics. The truth is that it's a more subtle use of the studio; a POP II where the electronics are not thrown in your face but add to the feeling that's there. In many ways, the album's actually quite daring- to open with a synthesiser and drum machine, as on "Beautiful Day" and "New York", whilst trying to win back fans alienated by electronica experimentation, should be nothing short of pure madness, but isn't. And for a band who has often been associated with epic stadium-sized anthems, a song like "Wild Honey" is also pushing the boat out. The experimentation is there, but this album isn't the jackhammer that the previous albums are; it's become a more flexible album, one where you can analyse the intermingling of keyboards and guitars or simply listen to it at face value. Key case in point: "Beautiful Day", the song that got played on a football highlights programme, but actually appears to be about global warming.

Highlights: "Beautiful Day", anthemic yet subtle; "Elevation", easily a top 10 guitar performance by Edge, "Kite", no doubting Bono's vocals with that; "New York", a midlife crisis in a five minute drama.

Weaknesses: "Peace on Earth" and "When I Look At The World" aren't really as biting as they ought to be.

Track by track:

Beautiful Day 9

Stuck In A Moment... 8

Elevation 10

Walk On 8

Kite 9

In A Little While 8

Wild Honey 8

Peace On Earth 6

When I Look At... 5

New York 9

Grace 7

The Ground Beneath... 8

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?
Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?
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Price: £20.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only one problem with this band, 2 Oct. 2006
They invoke all manner of dodgy puns in reviews. So I'll say this- I appreciate their music, I, ah, enjoy it. And considering the mass of mostly male yet very very coma-inducing chart bands right now (the multi-headed beast of KaiserRazorKeaneLight Scissor Party; might have left some out, they all blur into one) it really does invoke a feeling that you should be championing the cause of Women In Rock. Or indeed Music.

Highlights: "June Gloom", "What I Say And What I Mean", "Under The Paving Stones", "The One".

Collected [CD + Dual Disc]
Collected [CD + Dual Disc]
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nay, get it for the whole damn album., 2 Oct. 2006
Firstly, the weaknesses. As a Best Of, it's never going to flow as well as the albums; indeed, MA albums often flow better than many so-called concept albums, so the sequencing here would be jarring regardless. Secondly, it doesn't suit those who don't like Massive Attack, or their music, although whether you can blame the album for this is debatable. I can respect the opinions of such people; but they are wrong.

Strengths: mainly, this doesn't fall into the traps of so many other compilations by other bands, a particular one being the tendency to lift half of an album critically hailed as a "classic" and then to bolt on a couple of songs from others, e.g. like Blur's Best Of which lifts six songs (out of 18) from Parklife and then use no more from three from any other album. Collected is roughly even between all four albums (although Mezzanine gets an extra cut- a slight at departed member Mushroom perhaps?) and the DualDisc features videos from every single from 1990 onwards.

Overall, it's an excellent introduction; I only had one album before buying this, and it convinced me into getting the other three. In that sense, it does its job.

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13 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why?, 10 July 2006
This review is from: X&Y (Audio CD)
Why the hell have Coldplay just decided to become a U2 tribute band? Why have they decided that, instead of writing ballads about love, loss etc., that they should write songs about nothing in particular, that just ramble over said U2 tribute backing? In short, why?

"Fix You" in particular is the worst- Chris Martin singing for an age about, ah, well we'll get to that, before the guitarist cuts in with an stolen Edge riff. And the video? Compare to "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own." Case closed, really.

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