How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

by U2
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 385 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 81 out of 385

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  1. 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 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.
  2. RodrigoM
    Jul 3, 2005
    4
    Half of the songs sound like U2 repeating the same song over and over. Plus the production just doesn't help the record which falls short on almost every aspect. There's still a few songs that stand over mediocrity, but they're not enough to save this album from being one of the worst U2 releases.
  3. SamuelS
    Dec 1, 2004
    4
    Wow. U2 is my favorite band in the world and I can't believe how disappointed I am with the quality of this album in just having it the first week. Maybe it will grow on me, but some of the lyrics just sound like Bono and the Edge aren't trying anymore. "I'll give you everything that you want, except the thing that you want"? C'mon. It just sounds like they're Wow. U2 is my favorite band in the world and I can't believe how disappointed I am with the quality of this album in just having it the first week. Maybe it will grow on me, but some of the lyrics just sound like Bono and the Edge aren't trying anymore. "I'll give you everything that you want, except the thing that you want"? C'mon. It just sounds like they're reaching for contradiction to add to their mystique. It just seems that all of these songs are leftovers from the last album that weren't good enough. This album doesn't rock nearly as hard as Bono hyped it up to. Oh, well. I just hope we don't have to wait another four years for a new album that can hopefully redeem this one. Oh, and I totally think "Yahweh" is THE weakest song they've ever released on an album. Profoundly boring. Expand
  4. JonH
    Feb 2, 2005
    6
    I was going to write a big paragraph about why i think this is just a so-so album but then i read Andrew's review, and he pretty much said everything I wanted to say.
  5. vande
    Jun 21, 2005
    5
    it is not good to see that U2 is getting more and more and more a pop band, thye had to do more interesting things, I think listeners deserve this
  6. MattO
    Apr 7, 2007
    4
    I got this album expecting that I would love it, just as I loved All That You Can't Leave Behind. Of course, I hadn't yet heard "Vertigo," which is, in all honesty, a good lead-on to such a disappointment. I found each of the hits, aside from "Sometimes..." to be annoying. Bono screaming, "Oh, you look so beautiful tonight!" really angers me. Do lyrics mean nothing to this man? I got this album expecting that I would love it, just as I loved All That You Can't Leave Behind. Of course, I hadn't yet heard "Vertigo," which is, in all honesty, a good lead-on to such a disappointment. I found each of the hits, aside from "Sometimes..." to be annoying. Bono screaming, "Oh, you look so beautiful tonight!" really angers me. Do lyrics mean nothing to this man? And, of course, he redeems himself on other songs. But, half of the album angers me, one-fourth of the remaining half disappoints me, and the rest just makes me want to put on a different CD. If they wanted to redefine their sound, they should have picked a better time in their career to do so. They shouldn't have changed what already sounded good. Expand
  7. KoenD
    Nov 25, 2004
    5
    Iy's so good to see at least some people giving this CD a lower score. It's not that I think it is bad, it is just that this is not vintage U2. U2 had their great moments with achtung baby, but over the last few years they have definitely lost it. Come on people, don't go along ith the hype and rate this CD for what it really is: another mediocre U2 album
  8. chris2004
    Dec 17, 2004
    4
    I'm sorry, folks. BORING!! I'm really disappointed, cos I expected something special (...with all that reviews saying "Joshua Tree returns"). 3-4 good tracks (say All Because Of You, Love And Peace Or Else) and that's all. The rest's just rubbish. This is absolutely no match to Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby.
  9. AlanD.
    Jan 13, 2005
    6
    there's something we have to face in that bono is a sub-par lyricist. he's written the same stuff over and over again that we (or at least I) can no longer believe that he still means it and/or has better materiel in him. when "the edge" pulls out the same crap, it's not a lack of ideas, it's "vinage U2". the straight fact is that this record is boring. dull. this is there's something we have to face in that bono is a sub-par lyricist. he's written the same stuff over and over again that we (or at least I) can no longer believe that he still means it and/or has better materiel in him. when "the edge" pulls out the same crap, it's not a lack of ideas, it's "vinage U2". the straight fact is that this record is boring. dull. this is trying to find the gem in utter mediocre dad rock when any judgement past mediocre would be lying to yourself. the people who like this album and the previous one are those that would shun "stuck in a moment" and a majority of ATYCLB as worthless if it came from any other band. this isn't, however, the disaster that was ATYCLB, but it's hopelessly average. when U2 dont rock out, they have little to say that isn't tired as hell. i still can't get through the entire album in one go. Expand
  10. Andrew
    Jan 27, 2005
    6
    If a lesser group had released an album like this, it would have earned n 8 or a 9. But if you've developed an signature sound, made 2 all-time classic albums, several solid LPs, at least a dozen great singles, and even gone through an underrated experimental period...let's just say you get held to higher standards. The record won't disappoint people who are hungry for new If a lesser group had released an album like this, it would have earned n 8 or a 9. But if you've developed an signature sound, made 2 all-time classic albums, several solid LPs, at least a dozen great singles, and even gone through an underrated experimental period...let's just say you get held to higher standards. The record won't disappoint people who are hungry for new U2 music, but it won't be the Album of the Year for anyone but the hardest of hardcore U2 fans. The record's got some good tracks, and it's not as tentative or over-produced as 'All That You Can't Leave Behind', but it's still pretty conservative and bland. Most of the record is midtempo stuff that doesn't sound very much like 'Vertigo', so don't expect to have your socks rocked off, either. Once the novelty of listening to "The New U2 Record" wears off, you're not going to be playing this one a lot. Expand
  11. afghan
    Feb 16, 2005
    4
    weakest u2 album
  12. DennisD
    Feb 16, 2005
    5
    overhyped and underwhelming... U2 has produced some all-time classic CDs, but this is not one of them.
  13. NatanielN
    Feb 24, 2005
    4
    So I'd be lying if I didn't at least give U2 credit for trying to rock on this CD. Unlike that last thing where all they did was mope about the current state of the world, this CD does try to pick it up a notch and make music that is actually powerful in the way the Joshua Tree was. Unfortunately, I feel like this CD is tired. Bono is not a politician, he's a musician, and So I'd be lying if I didn't at least give U2 credit for trying to rock on this CD. Unlike that last thing where all they did was mope about the current state of the world, this CD does try to pick it up a notch and make music that is actually powerful in the way the Joshua Tree was. Unfortunately, I feel like this CD is tired. Bono is not a politician, he's a musician, and I think it's time he realized this. There's a lot of the same old cliches about the current state of politics and the world and I'm not trying to be rude but we've all heard them before. I think that musicians need to stop acting like they have some amazingly profound idea about governments when really all they did was read someone else's idea in a newspaper and then act like it was their own. Bono is the king of this concept which he demonstrates to the fullest extent on this album. So while it does "rock" at times, the rocking is overshadowed by some drivel about love and some more about governments. But if you're a U2 fan you will enjoy this album because no matter how much those things don't appeal to me, I give them credit for being really good at what they do. And while Bono may have no place in world politics, at least he's been able to shed a little light on a few events for the bozos that don't actually get their news from newsworthy sources. Expand
  14. TroyD
    Feb 26, 2005
    6
    Dissapointing. That said, the lead single, Vertigo, blew me away. U2's best rocker in years... but the rest of the album is just a bunch U2's poorer efforts. Not worth waiting 4 years for.
  15. MusicLover
    Oct 21, 2007
    5
    I was so excited when I first got this album. Then I listened to it & all I felt was disappointment. I expected more from U2. I still got faith in Bono & the gang, though.
  16. Aug 14, 2010
    6
    Good return to their classic rock roots but...

    I don't find HTDAB worthy of Album Of The Year. Sure, it is a good album but not a classic. Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby are classics, not this one. Needless to say, HTDAB is still an incredibly entertaining album from a band who hasn't revisited this sound in a long time. Vertigo sets the bomb off with catchy riffs about being under the
    Good return to their classic rock roots but...

    I don't find HTDAB worthy of Album Of The Year. Sure, it is a good album but not a classic. Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby are classics, not this one. Needless to say, HTDAB is still an incredibly entertaining album from a band who hasn't revisited this sound in a long time. Vertigo sets the bomb off with catchy riffs about being under the influence of drugs (Vertigo drug). Then comes Miracle Drug and a few other filler tracks that are of worthy listen. City Of Blinding Lights is probably the most grandiose love song since With Or Without You.

    But it still doesn't help. The album gets incredibly slow after that and U2 sort of drags along. Bono, who usually spits fire, gets tired himself. Nobody feels interested after that. A few good filler tracks but then the fire ceases even though it clearly showed signs midway.

    Listening to HTDAB feels tiresome if taken as an album, but as a collection of songs, it is a pretty okay listen. What U2 needs is those hard punches they threw back in the early stages of their career. Otherwise, they lose that "rock" touch that they once had when they did Sunday Bloody Sunday.
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  17. j30
    Jan 30, 2012
    5
    When a new U2 album comes out, you hope there is some sort of progression or evolution. How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb doesn't accomplish either of those. HTDAAB sounds like a band that has hit a wall of pretentiousness.
  18. Sep 30, 2016
    5
    After opening a new millenium strong with All That You Can't Leave Behind, this album and it's forgettable alternative rock set U2 on a downward spiral.
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. 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.
  2. This is grandiose music from grandiose men, sweatlessly confident in the execution of their duties.
  3. While the rest of the album fails to live up to the breadth of “City” and “Crumbs,” and while it takes serious missteps on the shockingly bad “Man and a Woman” and “Yahweh,” this is, by and large, an album to be thankful for, regardless of your demographic.