ONE WAY Recommends [Issue
#13] U2 By
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
I accept that Pope Paul Bono’s persona grates many a person, but it is partially his grandiosity of convictions that draws me to U2’s music, and what drives the band’s excellent new album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. While it falls short of the genius that is Achtung Baby or The Joshua Tree, the 11-song Atomic Bomb does what music should do but rarely does these days: stir emotions within your soul, elevate your spirit, and dissect the human condition. Launching with epic ambitions, the grandiose first half soars with arena anthems ready for communal sing-alongs (think the chorus on “City of Blinding Lights”). Only personal tragedy could inspire the voice you hear in “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own,” while “Love and Peace or Else” drips with a hard-edged soul that reflects the gravity of its target (the Palestinian-Israeli conflict). Though it returns to earth on the more down-tempo second half (“One Step Closer” plods along as if attached to an anchor), the combination of huge melodies, strong hooks, and archetypal lyrics make for an album that inspires as only U2 can.