Take an early
look inside U2's new album with Cameron Adams
U2 used an interesting tactic to motivate themselves during
the recording of their 11th studio album, How to Dismantle
an Atomic Bomb. They pretended it was their debut.
"This is our
first album," Bono says on a video to promote the
record. "It has taken us 20 years, but this is our
first album." That explains the energy (in the strident
rock songs and intimate ballads) and the personal lyrics.
Drummer Larry Mullen
says the album was made from "a mixture of deep depression
and a lot of fun" -- indeed the death of Bono's father
looms over the record. Bono
calls the record "a journey from fear into faith"
and as well as the spectre of death, there are some possibly
too-honest love songs -- particularly "A Man and
is also in love with rock. While the Edge has flirted
with other instruments in the past (during those periods,
Mullen says, "it's like f..., he's into keyboards,
we'll never get a rock song out of him now!"), he
relies on guitar for the energy of this album. "Rock
tunes don't always survive," bassist Adam Clayton
says. "Sometimes there's an anti-rock sentiment in
the camp -- this time we had free rein to work the rock
tunes in." The band abandoned early production with
Chris Thomas for longtime cohort Steve Lillywhite, but
even dance act Jacknife Lee is credited with additional
production, as well as the usual suspects.
it's another consolidation album like All that You Can't
Leave Behind; an instantly familiar U2 album from arguably
the world's most reliable rock band.
Storming first single is
an ideal introduction to the sound of Atomic Bomb: it's
familiar U2 with a big nod to the past but an eye on the
present. Bono admits they have hidden references to Stories
for Boys, from the first U2 EP, in the song for "trainspotters."
The song -- about being in a rock band -- was originally
called "Native Son." U2 have owned up to an
Echo and the Bunnymen influence in the rhythm section,
interestingly the same band that inspired the last Coldplay
album. This song also features in a new iPod ad.
Key lyric: "The boys
play rock and roll, they know that they can't dance, at
least they know."
An obvious single -- and
anthem-in-waiting -- this powerful yet understated ballad
could have come from The Unforgettable Fire. Like most
of the ballads on the record, it has a huge finish and
even bigger heart. Bono has said the lyrics refer to treatments
"The stars are in your eyes, I see them when you
smile, I had enough of the antidote to give it up for
a miracle drug."
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