How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

by U2
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. A one-paced affair, enamoured with drawn-out ambient intros, crystalline guitars layered with reverb, four-note rumbles for basslines, choruses that go on forever and occasional, half-hearted stabs at “groove”. Meaning that it sounds EXACTLY as you would expect U2 to sound.
  2. The harder U2 tries to rock out with wild abandon here, the less spontaneous they end up sounding, making How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb more like an incredible simulation of a punk-influenced album rather than an actual punk-influenced album.
  3. This time, Steve Lillywhite and the other producers assembled simply construct a U2 album in miniature, mixing in the Edge's processed-guitar trademark whenever you fear they're straying into unforgivable un-U2ness. That's just not enough.
  4. Mostly this is U2 trying too hard, caring too much, being too insufferably genuine without having anything to be particularly genuine about.
  5. Suffers from too much open-faced honesty and a serious lack of intensity.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 388 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 67 out of 249
  1. ZackD
    Sep 27, 2005
    10
    I will offer my thoughts: If, by chance, you gave this album a 0 or a 1, I read your review. I am astonished by how so many people could miss I will offer my thoughts: If, by chance, you gave this album a 0 or a 1, I read your review. I am astonished by how so many people could miss the point. I don't know where so many of you got this crap about "selling out" and being in it for the money. If U2 wanted to sell out, they would certainly be making a lot more than they are right now. Do you realize that they didn't accept money for the iPod spot? Performances at awards ceremonies don't mean you are a sellout. If this album was produced for the sheer goal of making more money for the members of U2, they wouldn't have spend 5 years crafting it. They could release crappy albums every year and a half if they wanted and they'd make more money. Instead they put time and effort into what I believe stands as one of their greatest achievements. No, maybe not a Joshua Tree or an Achtung Baby, but certainly third on my list. Its track listing begins by painting a scene of fear and helplessness. The singer finds himself in this dizzying place called vertigo, scared, alone. He is captivated by a cross around a girl's neck. Tracks 2, 3, and 4 show hope for the miracle science we do not have yet, meditation over dead loved ones, and pleading for peace in a world gone wrong, respectively. The album soon begins to find the positive aspects of life in love, family, contentedness, and, finally, God. While the beginning presents this problem, this "atomic bomb," representative of the worst of humanity's fears, the end of the album presents the solution: love. One must kneel before love and they will find comfort and hope. The music itself is perhaps not sonically as revolutionary a departure from the previous album as most U2 fans are used to, admittedly. But this doesn't take the album down at all. I simply think it is on the same sonic plane without repeating the same sounds. Overall, my favorite album of 2004/2005 easily. Full Review »
  2. AristonB
    Sep 21, 2009
    3
    The worst album of U2. They could tour without this crap. Maybe 3 songs worth listening. New low.
  3. tylerk
    Jun 24, 2008
    4
    Marginal. U2 used to have a distinct sound. This blends nicely with the proliferation of mediocrity on the radio. Possibly the weakest lyrics Marginal. U2 used to have a distinct sound. This blends nicely with the proliferation of mediocrity on the radio. Possibly the weakest lyrics on any U2 record, "I'll give you everything that you want..except the thing that you want" Everything after zooropa has been marginal at best. Full Review »