Oh ‘Boy’, (geddit). U2 have been a large part of my musical life since their second album ‘October’ in 1981, I went back to ‘Boy’ to see where it all started. Then ‘War’ and ‘The Unforgettable Fire’ happened and I queued up for ‘The Joshua Tree’ at HMV in Leeds (my Vinyl copy was warped and I had the embarrassment of having to go back and change it, queuing up again!). So I have been through it all, seen them live several times from the ‘War Tour’ onwards and been hugely disappointed since ‘Achtung Baby’ with “one song” albums until ‘How to dismantle an atomic bomb’, Bono’s lament for his father which restored my love for them.
‘No line on the horizon’ was exciting but ultimately a bit of a let down, save for ‘Moment of Surrender’ and here we are again. Fanfare, but free and frustrating Apple. I’ve just migrated from crappy Apple to Android and so a free copy on iTunes does little for me, I’ve had to dig out an ancient iPod and swear at iTunes again, which was the reason I left. I couldn’t get ‘Raised by Wolves’ to download or play at all which is likely no big deal but just another iTunes moment.
Onto the songs themselves, there’s some nice lyrical stuff in here and this is clearly, once again, Bono led reflection, particularly on his childhood (‘Iris’, his mother, ‘Cedarwood Road’ where he grew up as a boy). There is a lot of misty eye here too, I’m a forty something too so a lot of it is behind me as is the case with Bono, I guess. Throw backs to Joey Ramone (‘The Miracle’) and Clash concerts in 1977 (‘This Is Where You Can Reach Me’) are here; we all have them, mine was seeing Robert Smith of The Cure early doors and Echo and the Bunnymen in a 1984 concert in Crawley. It is no bad thing though.
So an album of reflection, that is growing on me I have to say, it was never going to be a revolutionary ‘Achtung Baby’, these guys are comfortable but luckily for me, good at what they do. Ultimately this is an ‘All that you can’t leave behind’, ‘No line…’ type album; nice, some good tracks but not a progression and it is certainly not a ‘Joshua Tree’.
The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) ****
Every Breaking Wave ***
California (There Is No End to Love) ***
Song for Someone **
Iris (Hold Me Close) ***
Raised by Wolves –
Cedarwood Road ****
Sleep Like a Baby Tonight ***
This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now ***
The Troubles **