Sunday, July 26, 2009

No Theme On The Horizon

U2 just seems to be this kind of band where this stuff keeps coming up.

My friend and I were discussing the new U2 album No Line On The Horizon again and were trying to put it in context of their canon of work. Was it eclectic like Zooropa? Was it ground breaking like Achtung Baby? Was it a throwback to their old sound? Maybe a throwback to the sound of the 80's and 90's, but not U2's sound of the 80's and 90's.

When it first came out, I had some thoughts in which I wrote:
In No Line On The Horizon, Bono returns to themes he has explored again and again: the search for love and meaning, the mystery of evil, birth and re-birth, and social justice. The songs are peppered throughout with religious phrases and imagery. The track Magnificent proclaims
From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise... /
Only love, only love can leave such a mark /
But only love, only love can heal such a scar /
Justified till we die, you and I will magnify /
The Magnificent
Is it true the perfect love drives out all fear? he asks on I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight. Yet we're never quite sure what it is that Bono so desperately seeks.
Others had slightly different reactions like Cum Grano Salis. This post echoed our own difficulty in finding a consistent style to make the album hang together.
Musically the style is a mix of old and new. A kind of montage of the various styles they have attempted over the years. Older fans may enjoy a renaissance the haunting, reflective and raw style, best displayed (IMO) in their Unforgettable Fire album of 1984. Fans of the more energetic albums since then will enjoy tracks like Get Your Boots and Stand Up, my least and most favourite tracks respectively. There are some some sparks of new innovation in a few tracks but the musical strength of the album is its gathering of their various styles into an unpretentious platform for their powerful lyrics. And the lyrics are what this album is all about.
No one seems to be able to write a review of No Line On The Horizon, however, without mentioning the track Magnificent. So finally over at NCR we see evidence of the theme that runs throughout the album in Bono's own words.
In a recent Rolling Stone magazine interview with Brian Hiatt, U2’s Bono says that the song “Magnificent” is inspired by the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“All music for me is worship of one kind or another,” says Bono.

The song appears on the band’s new album, “No Line on the Horizon.”

“Magnificent was inspired by the Magnificat, a passage from the Gospel of Luke in the voice of the Virgin Mary that was previously set to music by Bach,” says Bono. “There’s this theme running through the album of surrender and devotion and all the things I find really difficult.”
Ah. So that's it. And to think all we had to do is ask.

Here's a link to the video. See what you think.

1 comment:

OLR Dad said...

Bono usually owns to spirituality when pressed in an interview. He seems to want to keep a secular cover to gain his music & voice access into demographics a blatantly Christian band could not reach. Sometimes he tries too hard. This song seems to indicate a more focused faith orientation. It's nice when the gifted acknowledge the gifter. Thanks for the post.


Related Posts with Thumbnails