Don't Leave Behind This No-Risk Disc

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The New York Post, October 31, 2000

Don't Leave Behind This No-Risk Disc

by Dan Aquilante

Bono and the U2 boys knew everything was at risk when they started recording the 11 songs All That You Can't Leave Behind. The album had to be great, because if it was only good or worse, everyone would have pecked U2 to death. U2 not only succeeded, they created a masterpiece.

All That You Can't Leave Behind is the great U2 album of thundering rock anthems that fans have been waiting for since the early '90s. For this musical achievement, rather than reinventing themselves, U2 has instead rediscovered what made them famous. That's what U2 is getting at in the album's title.

This time out the band's original music vision has been dusted off and polished by producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno - the men who aided U2 in engineering their soaring sonic textures which made "The Unforgettable Fire," "The Joshua Tree" and "Achtung Baby" among the most important works of the last 20 years.

The songs on the new disc, as is U2 style, are personal and passionate. Flip near the end of the album to the song "New York" where the band tip-toes around the edge of storm and then dives head first into the hurricane of the melody.

In the lyrics Bono tries on the shoes of a man who has tossed his own life aside to start again in New York, the Emerald city of strangers. But like Dorothy, the singer concludes Oz is nice, but there's no place like home.

Then there's the I'm-no-good-for-you-song "Walk On." Here the Edge's guitarwork blends with bassist Adam Clayton's and drummer Larry Mullen's rhythm attack to create a sonic scape where Bono's poetic writing is able to blossom.

In this song there is the wonderful turn of phrase "You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been, a place that has to be believed to be seen." Passages as tightly wound pepper this album.

The album leaps to higher ground on the neo-gospel "Stuck In a Moment" where Bono takes us to church to bear witness to his message that says stand straight, know yourself and live life. It is inspired both lyrically and musically with a chorus that is difficult not to sing along with.

Vocally Bono isn't as nimble as he was when he was a boy, but his delivery is stronger and he rekindled the fiery passion that was missing on the band's most recent disc "Pop."

The tune "Elevation" with its Little Richard-esque yelps and sweeping, scaling vocal attack are testament to that.

With just a couple of months left in 2000, U2 has created what will be considered by many to be the best album of the year. This is a no risk disc.

Copyright © 2000 NY Post. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on October 31, 2000 5:14 AM.

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