The twelth album from U2 was always going to pick up a bit of flak. Its very easy to shoot them down with gurning philanthropist Bono at the helm. The problem is they actually can make decent music. Go into No Line On The Horizon expecting it to suck and you will come away feeling quite guilty. The songs here are catchy and fun and despite the age gap that will inevitably distance the band from younger listeners, you have to admit they at least put up a good fight. The title track has an interesting chord progression that really sits well with me. Its almost like an Aerosmith song. Almost.
"Magnificent" is destined to be a stadium shaker. It follows the typical U2 formula of a catchy riff and anthemic chorus but with a grooving beat and bouncy bass-line. Its a great track. Its a little Coldplay-ish but you feel U2 have more authenticity with this sound.
There are quite a few slow songs on the disc that grind the album to a halt but for the most part they are very listenable. "White as Snow" is pretty and rather downbeat for a U2 song. "Cedars of Lebanon" screams epic in theory even though its quite plodding and rather short given the lyrical ambition on show. Its a really interesting and moody song though. Lead single "Get On Your Boots" will still ultimately be a love it or hate it track. It doesnt quite fit with the album's sound but it's certainly a grower.
It's not amazing but No Line On The Horizon is very much a decent effort from a band many consider to be past its sell-by-date. Never boring, it sits comfortably in the U2 catalogue and thats triumph enough, in my opinion.
For the iPod playlist: "Magnificent", "Cedars of Lebanon".
Verdict: *** (3/5)