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on 26 November 2004
I was very excited while standing on the cold street in front of a CD store on midnight, 22 november. New U2 album is something worth waiting at that conditions, especially if you can get a Box Set (last one!) at special price.
What's in there? Fist of all, a CD. It is great, you've probably heard about it. I've posted my review on CD's page, I think it is one of the U2's best.
But what about the rest of the package? If you are U2 fan, you would like to have it. If not, then it is not a big deal. Booklet is something only a fan will love, others might consider it boring. But it is interesting, and I recommend it to everyone. Try to read it, at least the Declaration of Human Rights, which is "stamped" with band members palms. Nice.
DVD is better part of a package. It contains small documentary about making some of the songs, plus several versions of three songs (Vertigo, Crumbs, Sometimes), and it shows that U2 with only voice and a guitar can still record a hit song which sounds better than many bands with several performers!
In my opinion, it is better to buy CD+DVD version, especially because it is packed in standard CD case. Booklet is something you will hardly place in your CD rack.
But if you are a trully U2 fan, this Box Set is something you should consider.
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on 7 December 2004
Although I really rate the Achtung Baby era, All that you cant leave behind was a sign that U2 had rediscovered what made them great. This album has confirmed it. After hearing the hard rocking Vertigo single I was expecting a heavier, distorted new album in the flavour of tracks like The Fly. So when I heard HTDAAB I was at first disappointed, but if your expectations were the same as mine please stick with it, after a couple of listens you realise although it is a quiet and simple album like the early era the songs are very strong. Best track has to be Sometimes you cant make it on your own, Bono's emotions grab you through his voice maxing out on the chorus. That song will be unbelievable live, having just seen them perform it on Jonathon Ross' show.
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on 24 November 2004
As a matter of fact, I think this is U2's best ever collective effort! SHOCKED??? Well, to be quite honest, it took me at least 3 to 4 times to get used to this latest release, especially with the opener "Vertigo" which is really my least favourite. This is U2 back to form (credit to Steve Lillywhite's presence?) an album which could have easily followed "War". Let's face it - every album will have your lease favourite tunes - be honest: "Unforgetable Fire" was brilliant, but do you really recall all the tunes following "Bad" ?? Or what about "Joshua Tree" ??? Almost the first half of it was made up of the excellent single releases. The rest?? And "Zooropa" or "Pop"??? HALT!!!! I guarantee you will keep on humming to ALL the tracks on "...Atomic Bomb" for years to come! All tracks - and Bono's voice - really stand out, and this is no mean feat by a band which has been around for so long! In particular, "Miracle Drug", "Sometimes", "City Of Blinding Lights", "A Man And A Woman", "Crumbs From Your Table" and "Original Of The Species" (all excellent single release contenders) have the classic U2 homegrown, warm, mellow yet vibrant trademark sound (the Lanois/Eno influence) and an eclectic Edge dominates the scene, along with Larry's and Adam's revitalised natural punch, void of any techno/electronic mishmash from the "Pop" period. If "..Leave Behind" was the turning point, "...Atomic Bomb" is the peak...and what the heck, I will still keep on saying that it's my most favourite U2 album to date!!! Live with that!!!
As for this special edition, the DVD is really a collector's affair - it's interesting with regards to the making of "..Atomic Bomb" but if you ain't particularly in U2, don't bother spending the extra cash. As for the book, I would have preferred seeing something more readable and concise than a load of colorful scriblings and excerpts. But what the heck, that's U2 4U - Love 'em or hate 'em!!!
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on 21 November 2004
The biggest rock band in the world's 11th official studio album kicks off with the gilt-edged riff of lead off single 'Vertigo'-a call to arms if ever there was one from The edge.Indeed,much of this follow up to 2000's far gentler 'All that you can't leave behind' relies on David Evan's crazy guitar playing- witness the slide and distortion which set the backdrop to 'city of blinding lights' or the Stones-esque mantra of the excellent'All because of you'.
This then,is U2 back at their most expansive and best,although reports that the album is 12 all out heavy rock tunes are inaccurate-some of the bands most heartfelt and provoking work in years has been included here.'Sometimes you cant make it on your own' is a follow up of sorts to 'stuck in a moment..' in that it refers in part to Bono's father who passed away almost two years ago.There is also the brilliant 'Original of the species'-a fantastic melody and chorus will surely make this a future hit single.
New ground is also explored here with the UK and Ireland bonus track 'Fast cars'-a house style tune which sees U2 change their style of playing around to a more world music style audience.Despite the political correctness of the album title and songs such as 'Love and peace..or else',this is actually a personal album that is one minute bombastic with electric guitar solos,the next as quiet as the proverbial whisper of an acoustic strumming away softly.
The bonus dvd footage is amongst the best seen to date in an album,a superb 42-minute documentary summarising the impact of the production,as well as 2 videos for Vertigo and brisk live airings of other album tracks.Well worth the money for any self-respecting U2 fan-cant wait for the next tour!
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on 5 January 2013
As an old U2 fan, after Zooropa and also due to U2 lazyness in releasing albums and Pop, I kind of gave up on them.
The only good moment after early 90s was the album "All can't you leave behind". I just bought this for the very low price (4£) and because I kind of liked "Sometimes you can't make it on your own") but basically I gave up on it very soon. Far from my mind to buy the latest album, even for 2£.
The times of "New year's day" or "Where the streets have no name" are so farway. There is a time to retire even for the greatest bands. Hope to be wrong and to be amazed in the future.
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on 11 September 2012
U2, known primarily for grandiose convictions, an intense desire to be the biggest band in the world, and a huge, guitar-driven sound with soaring vocals, have become rather conservative in their evolution. Retreating from their 1980s work, U2 primarily focused on broadening their artistic pallette, bringing in electronica, techno, and other weird fusions. This created a problem with U2's fan base as the decade drew to a close, because the farther U2 strayed into the eclectic musical territory they were pursuing, the more difficult it was for the fans to follow their evolution. When U2 experimented successfully, they made some of the most successful music of their career (ACHTUNG BABY). Yet they grounded their experimentation with a sense of purpose, and they always kept their ambition within the elasticity of the fans' and critics' admiration. At least, they tempered their music with a good dose of rock in the early 90s. ACHTUNG BABY, one of their most experimental, evolutionary records, has been universally hailed by both fans and critics alike as some of their most significant music. ACHTUNG BABY set the course for much of the decade, with U2 going more and more into post-modernism.

Then the 1997 nadir POP happened. Not that POP was necessarily a BAD album. Instead of sounding a natural progression of the band's ambition, the experimentation never really gelled, much like R.E.M.'s UP. POP comes across as torn between two different directions - the anthem-driven, spiritually aware U2 lamenting a loss world, and a strange, dance-driven beat that is supposed to celebrate living with almost primitive desire, instead of commenting on the moral and social decline of earth. Both a critical and commercial flop, U2 seriously re-evaluated their status as artists after POP, and streamlined their sign, making a very conscious return to their earlier sound.

In 2000, U2 delivered the followup to POP, ALL THAT YOU CAN'T LEAVE BEHIND. The title is more than aptly representative of that album. Abandoning wholly the more progressive elements of their music, LEAVE BEHIND sounds like U2 trying to write a classicist record, returning to the styles of their 1980s output. While it was fun to hear them return to that era, ALL THAT YOU, out of necessity, didn't have a lot of artistic evolution. That wasn't the point.

So it's little surprise that U2, has streamlined their music even more on HOW TO DISMANTLE AN ATOMIC BOMB. While their early records were both revolutionary and a thrill to listen too, and the early 1990s work pure genius, HTDAATB is a much more calculated record, made to sound like classic U2 instead of just being U2. U2's experimentation had gotten them in trouble, and this is the result. U2, instead of playing the music they want to play, are now playing to win back the audience that much of their 1990s work alienated. In many ways, like Essau yielding to Jacob, U2 has traded their birthright for porridge, selling their artistic evolution out for trying to be the biggest band in the world.

Although POP did have some unmitigated disasters, at least it was the old U2, wedded to pushing the envelop with cutting edge music. That's the real irony of HTDAATB; the new U2 is returning back to the old styles to win back the fans, while the old U2 was much more interested in creating worthwhile music, combining their ambition with their musical sensibilities, growing artistically and commercially. This is a record that the old U2, after making the records they did in the 1990s, would never make. The old U2 would keep pressing on, pursing their musical evolution. But POP happened and U2 has been reeling ever since.

While this may seem to be a primarily negative review of U2's latest effort, there are some postive notes. While artistically a puzzling, entirely too conservative affair calculated to win back fans, there's some great music here. The lead off-single, "Vertigo," is jagged guitar rock. "Crumbs From Your Table" plays like we're back in the 1980s. "Love or Peace" is an interesting comment on war. "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own," written in 2001 when Bono's father died, shows us Bono at his most vulnerable. "Yahweh" (or to be strictly orthodox, YHWH), gives us U2 at their most spiritually thirsty. It has great music and a great sound, but that doesn't make HOW TO DISMANTLE AN ATOMIC BOMB the instant classic ACHTUNG BABY and THE JOSHUA TREE are.

U2's end result is rather a half-breed. HTDAATB is much too conservative and calculated to be truly revolutionary and an undeniable classic, but also just too good to write off completely (mostly because U2's trying to recreate an era of their career where they were writing and performing fantastic music. Hence my four star rating, though artistically it's three). For the causal fan, this may be a subtle point; it has a warm, big sound, and has excellent music. For those who loved U2 for being fearless pioneers will be rather disappointed.

In ways, I belong to both camps. There's some wonderful songs here. But I miss U2's sense of adventure.

[There are three songs left off the album that I am aware of. One, "Fast Cars," has surfaced on the UK and Japanese pressings as a bonus track. The band did covered Kraftwerk ("Neon Lights"). There's a non LP track on the second "Vertigo" single, "Are You Gonna Wait Forever?"]
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on 22 November 2004
U2 abandoned the lemon and went back to basics on their last (ATYCLB) album. It sold 11m and re-established them as "the best band in the world".
HTDAAB is even better and though I'll reserve final judgement until a few more listens, I put it in the U2 top three (along with Actung Baby and Joshua Tree).
This is U2's rock album - Edge's guitar dominates throughout - with lemons a distant memory!
Personal rather than political sentiment dominates Bono's lyrics this time around; he reflects on the recent death of his father on both Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own and One Step Closer.
None of the 11 core songs ('Fast Cars' is a bonus track) are duds making this the first U2 album without a song I want to skip. The opener, the iPod anthem Vertigo is the first single, but more than half of the remainder would also make decent singles: Mircale Drug, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, City Of Blinding Lights, One Step Closer, Original Of The Species, Yahweh.
I got the collectors (CD, DVD and Book) edition today as a present - it was nice of U2 to release it on my birthday! Now I can't wait to hear this material live and won't be disappointed if U2 decide to include the whole album on the next tour!
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on 18 November 2004
I really can't believe how they still can do this! A 25 year old band create songs that can make modern big bands flush and reconsider things.
This album has E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G !!! Power (Vertigo, All Because of You) Charm (A Man and A Woman) Maturity (Miracle Drug, Original of The Species) Melody (Sometimes you can't make it on your own).
But most of all it has OUR beloved 80s U2. Edge's silver guitar at its best, Bono's ultimate Vocal, Adam's powerful bass and Larry's "best supporting drums". Definetily BEST ALBUM 2004...
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on 8 December 2004
U2 threw a big curve ball with Vertigo.A great song that offers no clue to the new album and maybe why some of the reviewers are disappointed.This isnt 'u2 as a garage band album' But as always
its just one of the outfits they wear.After being critised for lack of tunes on 'pop' they came up with 'all that you cant leave behind'.This album is ATYCLB's big brother.It is also a huge improvement.The songs are as strong as they have ever produced and remain so for the whole album and it doesnt lose its way like its little brother.Once again U2 have produced an album of outstanding quality in all of the colours and all of the sizes.The explosion of vertigo ,the melody masterclass of miracle drug and sometimes you cant make it on your own,the rattle and hum blues of love and peace or else, staduim anthems in city of blinding lights,crumbs from your table,original of the species and yahweh,the acoustic triumph that is a man and a woman, the Boyesque all because of you. Its got the lot.
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on 20 November 2004
Those of you old enough to have been following U2 since the late 70's consider yourselves fortunate. My first taste of U2 was "all that you cant leave behind," not a bad introduction at all. You will be pleased to hear that their latest album is not a departure from ATYCLB and carries on in the same vein of excellent form. This album lives up to everything you could hope for as a straight follow on from their last album. Just like "beautiful day," was the opening track and lead single off the album. "Vertigo" jumpstarts the album, its such a good track because of its huge chorus and the Edge's trademark chiming guitars, you will be pleased to know that The Edge continues this sound throughout the album.
"Miracle drug" provides a brilliant follow on, at a slower pace. Bono puts such passion into the vocals on this track. The excellent baseline and gradual fretwork by Edge culminate to a high emotion chorus, where the whole band are operating on a higher plain from any other band that could be compared to them. This provides the framework for most of the songs on the album, but it is far from predictable. "Sometimes you can't make it on your own" is the perfect example of this.
"City of blinding lights" opens up with a sound that is reminiscent to "where the streets have no name." This song is an expansive masterpiece throughout mainly due to the trademark guitars and the epic synthesised sounds created, you could get lost in this song. "All because of you" is a straightforward pure rock track. Catchy riffs mixed with solid vocals make this song so easy to get into. " Crumbs from your table," has the potential to be a single off the album. It is appealing in its own right and does not rely on the rest of the album to be appreciated like "Love and peace or else."
" One step closer" is a slow and subtle track that will be a great soundtrack to some days of your life. "Yahweh" and "fast cars" work well together to conclude an all round brilliant album, which uses a perfect mixture of variety along with classic sounds that you associate with U2, to produce The Album of the year and it will sit perfectly with all your U2 back catalogue ( I will have to work on that)
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