U2 No Line on the Horizon

U2 No Line on the Horizon
With long-time collaborators Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite, U2 have written their gutsiest record in years. Red flags were raised upon the unveiling of "Get on Your Boots," and rightly so. On its own, the single is a weak, rehashed version of "Vertigo," itself one of the most pointless songs in the band's catalogue. So it's surprising to discover how relatively daring No Line on the Horizon is, devoid of radio pandering, instead replete with pop experimentation. The move towards the darker textures of 1991's Achtung Baby! is a wise one, with the Edge revisiting the choppy rhythm of the "The Fly" in the stirring title track and the Zeppelin-y "Stand-Up Comedy." The album's begrudging revelation is actually Bono, who sings with soulful grit and conviction, supported by Edge and Eno's strangely complementary harmonies. Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton get their groove back and, after years playing it straight, Mullen in particular finally has something interesting to do with songs like the technologically themed "Unknown Caller." Missing hit singles/stadium anthems, No Line on the Horizon is an artistic achievement by U2, a corporate rock workhorse with a few tricks still up their sleeve. (Universal)