U2 has hit another home run. Try and think of another major rock and roll band this far into it and still making consistently good albums. Hell, at this point in their career, the Rolling Stones were putting out albums as an excuse to go on tour!
You won’t be surprised by what you hear on this record. The 11 cuts are pure U2. The rhythm section cooks, Bono sings his ass off, the lyrics range from self-righteous indignation (yes, grating at times) to pure loveliness. And as you’d expect as a guitarist, the Edge uses his instrument as a weapon of mass instruction. Every sound we’ve come to expect from him, and more, is here. Just check out the lead cut, “Vertigo.” It’s been everywhere and is one of those songs that just sounds great blasting out of your speakers. The bass and drums lay down the foundation before crunchy chords come flying at you from the speakers. Before the song is over, you get a sampling of the atmospheric playing, soaring notes, and chimey chords that are the trademark of a generation of guitar players. And you hear it from the guy who did it first. And every song has Edge highlights.
If you love the sound of U2, you’ll love this record. There are amazing hooks, musically and lyrically. Plain-and-simple, this is one of the best rock records you’ll hear this year.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s March. ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.