U2's latest effort bombs

Michael Ford
Arts & Entertainment Editor   

   U2 treaded through history releasing a string of albums that critics hailed as masterpieces. Their music gleamed with brilliance and glowed with a magical artistry that attracted a historic number of followers. However, their proficiency at dazzling the world with inspiring tunes comes to a screeching halt on their latest effort – “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.”

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   The Irish lads’ accomplishments over the past few decades demand respect from fans and non-fans alike. Their consecutive hit-making dates as far back as 1980 when they released their debut album “Boy.” In early 1983, their first hit single “I Will Follow” catapulted them into the American Top 70, which earned the band well-deserved attention for the first time.

   The band reached the pinnacle of their success in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s with two albums that would change the face of rock n’ roll forever – “The Joshua Tree” and “Achtung Baby.” “The Joshua Tree” provided U2 with their first American No. 1 hit and brought the band such enormous success that they filmed a documentary on their tour entitled “Rattle & Hum.” “Achtung Baby” reinvented the band with influences of electronic and dance music, and featured what Rolling Stone hailed as their best song ever – “One.”

   While “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” lacks the quality those earlier albums possessed, two songs in this collection of convoluted material recall the band’s earlier days – “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” and “A Man And A Woman.” Of those two, the former one shines the brightest, while the latter just slightly betters itself than average.

   Although the album surpasses “Zooropa” as U2’s most unimpressive and uninspired work to date, none of the songs should be considered bad. Everything here proves listenable and better than much of the garbage being streamlined through the radio. However, other than the aforementioned two tracks, nothing special or memorable can be found. And if you dare compare this collection to previous U2 releases, you will be disappointed.

   With a history as rich and refined as U2’s, watching them slowly become mere shadows of their former selves will be difficult, especially for their dedicated fans. However, this album provides you with a front-row seat to experience their descent from the top. “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” can only be recommended to those diehard fans who must own every album. Alas, all good bands must come to pass.

Grade: C-

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The Voice, 2004
Revised 041205 — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_8/music.htm