- Vertigo (3:11)
- Miracle Drug (3:54)
- Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own (5:08)
- Love and Peace or Else (4:48)
- City of Blinding Lights (5:47)
- All Because of You (3:34)
- A Man and A Woman (4:30)
- Crumbs from Your Table (5:03)
- One Step Closer (3:48)
- Original of The Species (4:41)
- Yahweh (4:22)
After 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind, we didn’t really know what to expect from U2 after a 4 year hiatus. Rest assure, while this is not one of U2’s more brilliant work it is mostly solid and polished, not to mention very well produced. But somehow that seems to be part of the problem with How to Dismantle an Atomic bomb. This latest album earning them a whopping 8 Grammy Awards marks a return to their 80’s rock roots, wiping clean the 90’s techno and electronica influence of Pop and Zooropa. With the experimental guitar playing nature of Achtung Baby gone, this album is particularly conservative. None of the songs off How to Dismantle an Atomic bomb are really out of box or what we haven’t heard before.
The opening track ‘Vertigo’ won U2 3 grammys. The song opens with The Edge playing a raw, edgy guitar riffs, it is full of energy, something which with the exception of the beautiful ‘City of Blinding Lights’ is lacking on this album. ‘Miracle Drug’s’ atmospheric qualities give it the feeling it could of been plucked out of The Unforgettable Fire. Grammy ‘Song of the Year’, ‘Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own’, is in the same vein as ‘Stuck in a Moment’, except it is dedicated to Bono’s dad and is a lovely ballad. ‘Love and Peace or Else’ follows similar U2 themes of Love and Peace (obviously), and is a predictable U2 song with biblical references.
The best song off the album, ‘City of Blinding Lights’ is a U2 classic and features a beautiful build-up, comparable to ‘Where the Streets have no Name’ while also being complemented by a soaring, grandiose chorus. Unfortunately none of the other songs possess the same magic and mystique. ‘All Because of You’ is a solid rock song while ‘A Man and a Women’ is an overtly cliché romantic ballad. Of the remaining songs, ‘Original of the Species’ is particularly striking. Written for Edge’s Daughter, it is a particularly well built song and lyrically deep and focused unlike the somewhat abstract ‘Crumbs From Your Table’.
We come to expect a lot of U2, especially considering their billing as the ‘biggest band in the world’. This album is definitely solid, but it certainly isn’t exceptionally brilliant like The Joshua Tree, or has U2 broken any new ground like they did with War in 1983 or Zooropa in 1993. While U2 were obviously intent on being conservative in How to Dismantle an Atomic bomb, fans will want U2 to again ‘reinvent the wheel’. This is probably unfair and sometimes we do expect too much of them considering their reputation. Overall this is a quality album- it wouldn’t have won a whopping 8 Grammys for no reason! However here’s to hoping their next album sounds nothing like this. 8/10
How would you rate U2′s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb album? Rate and leave a comment below.