U2 released their 12th studio album, No Line on the Horizon, this March. “Get on Your Boots,” the first single off the album, was put up for streaming on the band’s website in early January. This song was met with considerable hesitation. When you think U2, you think “Pride (In the Name of Love)” or “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” but their new single took quite a bit of getting used to. This wasn’t exactly an inappropriate prelude to the release of the album in its entirety.
We’re off to a respectable start with the title track “No Line on the Horizon.” The song’s style is similar to that of “Vertigo” and we’re met by the powerful vocals that have come to be expected of Bono. Then there’s the placid, lyrical quality of “White as Snow.” Beyond these two high points, there’s not much to look forward to.
The album in general falls into the category of mediocre. Nothing really stands out and it’s doubtful that No Line on the Horizon will go down as one of U2’s most important projects. U2 is known for their ability to write strong anthems, though nothing on their latest album justifies that skill. Instead there are tracks like “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight,” which is littered with thoughtful insights about life that don’t really amount to anything moving.
U2’s new album does not live up to the band’s own high standards. Things may have been different if No Line on the Horizon had come from a different, less established band. In a world without U2, this album might have been refreshing, but as things are it’s just white noise.
–Emma Jayne Stabbe