November 29th, 2004

My review of HTDAAB, for the Fort Collins Bullhorn...

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

Why is there so much hate for U2? Seriously. Bring up Bono in a crowd of hipsters and it’s like flashing a crucifix at a vampire—they shield their horn-rimmed be-glassed eyes and try to tell me of the virtues of some indie band that everyone will forget next year--like Modest Mouse.
And this will always be the bane of U2’s existence.
Forget that for almost 25 years they have put out consistently excellent material with nary a flop in sight. Even the Beatles can’t say that. Now comes their fourteenth album, the much-anticipated How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. And you know what?
Add another classic to the pile.
Starting off with the countdown of “Uno, dos, tres, catorce!” the opening track “Vertigo” takes the boys back to their Boy era early eighties punk stylings and rocks harder than anything they’ve done since “The Fly.” It helps that Steve Lillywhite, who produced their first three albums is back at the helm, pretty much revitalizing U2, reviving their classic sound while still sounding fresh—kind of the point ‘80’s stalwarts Duran Duran missed on their new “comeback” album Astronaut.
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” is a simply lush ballad that might enter wedding singer’s play lists (not that that’s a bad thing) and “City of Blinding Lights” is an incredible five minute soundscape that reminds you songwriting still matters in this Incubus obsessed world.
But the best track? The mellow “Original of the Species.” It’s one of those songs where you think you might not like, then it picks up, and you start nodding your head, then it ends and you hit the repeat button.
Ignore the haters. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb just might be the best album of the year.