Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Let Me in the Sound

I really can't write about anything music-related other than the new U2 album at the moment. The only way I can explain this is that if I were a literary critic in the 1910-20s, say, I'd delight in all the interesting prose and poetry being written around me--not to mention the great visual art and music--but the minute I heard a new volume by W.B. Yeats was on its way, I'd forget everything and obsess about what the new book of poems might offer until publication day. Then I'd plunge into reading and examination.

The omens continue to be encouraging. If you like your U2 imaginative and expansive, that is.

From music critic Neil McCormick at the Daily Telegraph:

It is a great record, and greatness is what rock and roll and the world needs right now. From the grittily urgent yet ethereal title track all the way to the philosophically ruminative, spacey coda of 'Cedars Of Lebanon' it conjures an extraordinary journey through sound and ideas, a search for soul in a brutal, confusing world, all bound together in narcotic melody and space age pop songs.

Ooh, very enticing. Details please.

'Moment Of Surrender', a pulsing, dreamily gorgeous 7 minute weave of synths, silvery guitars, sub-bass, handclaps, Arabic strings and soulful ululating vocals, in which the narrator experiences a spiritual epiphany at the very prosaic setting of an ATM machine. It is a beautiful piece that provides the album's beating heart and shows how far U2 can drift from their stereotype as a stadium rock band into unknown territory while still making something that touches the universal.

Oh Jesus H.C., I can't wait.

McCormick says that 'Get On Your Boots' is one song in an mid-album string of slightly more straight-ahead rock songs. The first and third sections of the album are, apparently, more dreamy and ethereal and oblique. For the first time ever, Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois are credited as co-writers and fellow band-members on 7 songs: Eno on "electronics" and Lanois on pedal and acoustic guitar.


No comments: