So, if you didn't know. . . .I"m a huge U2 fan :) .
They are playing every night this week on Letterman to promote their new album, "No Line on the Horizon". Here's a clip of Night 1. here.
There are really 2 different "genres" or types of U2 albums. There are the albums for the masses (Joshua Tree, Achtung, All that You Can't Leave Behind), and there are the "art" albums (Zooropa, Pop, War, etc).
"No Line on the Horizon" is in the 2nd category. There are no big singles like "With or Without You" or "Walk On". This album is very deep, and has many layers. In fact, I really didn't like it on the first listen.
(incidently, 2005's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" is a hybrid of the two styles, and probably the 3rd greatest U2 album ever)
This one is different than U2 albums of the past, though, in a few key ways. First of all, the music, and musicianship is amazing. These guys are truly masters now, and they've had a bad rap for a while at not being very good at their instruments, their music is simple, etc. . . . Not so anymore, and this record proves it.
The bass playing on this album is especially amazing, and the arrangements/time signature changes/chord patterns are all way outside of the box for U2. It's a shame that my favorite bass player hates U2, and probably won't listen :). . . but that's ok, . . to each his own. I actually think that the musical arrangements will shoot over alot of people's heads. It's not very commercial or "pop".
So, if you're a musician out there and have stayed away because U2 are "sell outs" and "their songs sound the same" etc. . .I suggest you check out this album. It's really amazing musical work.
I feel like the flaw on this record, . . or the reason it isn't very commercial. . . are the lyrics. Bono seems to have done alot of "stream of consciousness" writing on this record, he's even rapping a bit (this is done on a few of the songs, "breathe" is one, it's on the letterman clip).
That's a difference from many U2 albums of the past where the lyrics were perhaps more of a strength than the music.
So, you probably won't be whistling along to the songs or anything, but it's great music, and it's good for mood/emotional/ and even party music. Some of the songs have had really good messages for me and speak to some of things I'm going through right now. Bono has some great ways of saying deep truths. . . . .it just takes him a while to get there on this album :)