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The How to of U2

You are going to be reading a lot of this in about a month, so we're getting in early: U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is going to be hailed as one of the best albums they've ever made.
Bono, for one, is most excited, and when he makes the claim "This is our first album!" it's easy to see where he's coming from.
While All That You Can't Leave Behind -– where did that four years go? -– was a wonderful record, this one finds the Edge in a very frisky mood. Wall of Edge? Tower of Edge? This time it's more like the Himalayas of Edge.

"You can never tell what he'll be into," Bono explains. "It might be keyboards. Larry will go, 'We'll never get a rock song out of him!' "
No such problems on this occasion. A sneak preview reveals 11 tracks that capture the essence of early U2 while still creating something that's vital and fresh, still with a sense of adventure.

Songs like "Miracle Drug" and "City of Blinding Lights" recall the rush of early albums Boy, October and War. "Love and Peace or Else" couldn't make itself more plain -– "Lay down your guns or else" -– before Edge's monster riffs take hold.
Others get the slow-shimmer treatment, with Larry Mullen giving his toms the full Mo Tucker Effect (that's Mo Tucker of the Velvet Underground) on "One Step Closer."

Hit singles? Loads of them, it seems, but look out for "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own," which starts off with acoustic guitar before kicking into gear with a super-catchy falsetto section in the chorus. Bono wrote the song after the death of his father.

Anthems? All over the shop, and the album concludes with two songs destined to be stage favourites, "Original of the Species" and "Yahweh" (which, translated from the Hebrew, is "God"). Millions will be waving their arms along with them on next year's world tour. Did we say "world tour"? You bet. What's more, we're assured Australia is in the frame, probably for indoor shows about this time next year. About time.

The album will be released in several formats, including one with bonus DVD and tunes (including the Edge's banjo version of the new single, "Vertigo"!), and a deluxe edition with 48-page booklet, DVD and an extra track, "Fast Cars."

U2-ologists will have to be fast to treat themselves with that for Christmas, with just 15,000 being shipped in Australia.
The band continue their relationship with Apple, cutting a deal with the computer company to sell custom iPods promoting the new album.

Sources close to the group say the U2 edition of the digital music player will come preloaded with the album, along with portions of the band's 25-year catalogue.

The Courier-Mail, October 22, 2004

Noel Mengel

© Queensland Newspapers, 2004.