You too will love U2’s daring new melodies

Jeff Yerger

It’s official. U2 has finally taken over New York City. Not even Mayor Bloomberg could resist this invasion.

Over the course of a week, U2 had a street named after them, rocked Fordham University at 8 a.m., and played an electrifying and historic week-long stint on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Now, as the new Rolling Stone issue sits on the table with a mascara-clad Bono gracing the cover, it is becoming all too real that, with the release of “No Line on the Horizon,” U2 is back again in a big way.

It is hard to review a new U2 album without comparing it to their other albums, but there’s a point where you just have to stop living in the past.

A band has to evolve, and this is why U2 is so loved: they have continued to adapt and yet stay relevant throughout all of these years. They are not going to make another “Joshua Tree,” they are not going to record another “Pride (In the Name of Love)”, and, until you cope with that, you won’t be able to give this album a chance.

“No Line on the Horizon” opens a new chapter in the bible of U2, unleashing a fresh batch of soaring rock anthems that are the most melodic and fulfilling since “Achtung Baby.”

When you first hear the commanding killer riff in “Stand Up Comedy,” don’t be alarmed. It’s still U2 you’re listening to, although you might want to put this song on repeat, just to double-check.

“The sweetest melody is the one we haven’t heard,” says Bono in the uplifting “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight,” and U2 has plenty of sweetness to go around on this album.

Bono’s larger-than-life persona, the Edge’s signature delay-swamped guitars and the hard-working rhythm section of Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton are in full-effect on “No Lines”, sounding wiser and more experienced than ever before. The pounding rhythms of the opening title track remind you of all this. It’s a rush of adrenaline warning you that you have reached the point of no return, as if the raucous single “Get On Your Boots” isn’t enough of a rush.

“I don’t wanna talk about wars between nations,” Bono declares uncharacteristically among the fuzz-filled guitar riffs that keep the song moving. Who knew putting on boots could sound so cool?

U2 reunited with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois to produce this album, so naturally there are moody atmospherics and ambient sounds that take up some of the space here.

“Moment of Surrender” boasts a chillingly gorgeous chord sequence, and is a track where U2 is at their most solemn best. “Fez – Being Born,” a tribute to the city in Morocco where most of the album was recorded, puts you in a dream-like state with the remnants from “Get On Your Boots” dancing around in your head before rattling you with its urgency and power.

The strongest song on the album, “Magificent,” is the U2 anthem we’ve been waiting two decades for, sounding like a lost track from the “Joshua Tree” sessions. Bono wails and sighs with bravado that has been missing from U2 songs of late in this battle cry for love during which he triumphantly pronounces, “Only love can leave such a mark / only love can heal such a scar.”

The Edge’s tone is clear and tenacious, and thanks to his wide array of sounds, the chorus soars and the effect is cinematic, to say the least. Yeah, U2 is back alright.

It’s been a while since we’ve had to let a U2 album grow on us. In their past two endeavors, U2 was playing it safe, not wanting to scare away any old fans.

“No Line on the Horizon” has U2 thinking outside of the box for a change, though not too far outside. The sound hasn’t drastically changed, but the thing about this album that was missing in their most recent work is that the songs here have a real impact; they are stronger, leaving you satisfied, yet hungry for more.

Leave any previous views of old U2 at the door and give this new U2 effort a chance, for you will be rewarded.