Friday, December 24, 2004

Top 10 albums of 2004 #3

Hey Soul Mates, we have come to
#3 How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb... U2. Like a fine wine, or a tired cliche, this band keeps making great music. Their first effort after 9/11, Atomic is a mid-tempo meditation on growing older and growing up.

The opening rave-up Vertigo is a bit of false advertising. Vertigo is a brilliant, swirling bit of arena-sized madness which starts with Bono counting in Spaniguese "One, Two, Three, Fourteen!" The recording is what I consider a perfect single. In less than 3 minutes, U2 jump in, shout their piece, shred through a guitar riff and spit you out the other end. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah." Once again, U2 manage to capture the spirit of the moment. After that the disc smolders and sears into the brain.

Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own carries on the tradition of U2's longer than necessary song titles. But as usual, Sometimes is an effective ballad Bono wrote as a memorial to his father. Midtempo songs like Man and a Woman and Miracle Drug allow U2 to revisit the spiritual themes of classic LPs like Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree. In fact, this is U2's quietest album since Unforgettable.

All Because of You is prototypical U2, Bono's off-key vocals, the Edge's layered guitars and bedrock rhythm from Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton. This song is the one uptempo hiccup half-way through. It's sure to be a sing-a-long favorite on the U2 global tour in 2005.

The giant track on this CD is Original Of The Species. Grandiose and grand, it swells with strings and feeling like U2's best singles. Written for Bono's children or maybe his fan base that needs reassuring, this is U2 as comfort food. Nobody does it better. I was a U2 hater for their first decade. But as time goes on, I realize there is no more reliable recording act. You can buy their CDs without having heard a single track and get a solid listening experience. Just remember, this album does not rock you, but it may move you.

Love, Power, Peace


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