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How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb Image
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 363 Ratings

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  • Summary: The band's first new album since 2000, a more stripped-down, "classic U2" disc than previous efforts, was recorded chiefly with producer Steve Lillywhite, with Chris Thomas and Nellee Hooper also helming some tracks.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. 100
    A slower album than most, Bomb eventually reveals itself as a work of genius, wrapping religion, love and life into emotionally thrilling gifts.
  2. Unabashedly grand and inspirational.
  3. 82
    So here we have another U2 album that's just as good as the last one. In fact, it's really good. [#13, p.88]
  4. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb may be unadventurous and melodramatic, but it is packed with disarming moments.
  5. From the arrangements to the inevitable crashing-wave crescendos, echoes of "I Will Follow" and "New Year's Day" rumble through the songs. [26 Nov 2004, p.115]
  6. It's neither aggressive nor retro, and U2 sounds better for moving forward, even if they seem increasingly diluted in delivery at times.
  7. Suffers from too much open-faced honesty and a serious lack of intensity.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 67 out of 241
  1. EdwardM
    Dec 1, 2004
    10
    This album is probably one of the most consistent and listenable U2 albums, or rock albums, for that matter, ever. At first I wasn't This album is probably one of the most consistent and listenable U2 albums, or rock albums, for that matter, ever. At first I wasn't enthralled, but it is their most human and lyrically hopeful ever. Sonically, it's right there under Achtung. It is eminently coherent and is an album that few artists can put out there - mind-blowing! Expand
  2. BrianM
    Jun 9, 2005
    10
    Seriously great record.
  3. 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. Expand
  4. BrandonS
    Nov 23, 2004
    9
    Though I'm a huge fan of Zooropa, this might just be the rightful heir to the "Achtung Baby" legacy. The first half of the cd is Though I'm a huge fan of Zooropa, this might just be the rightful heir to the "Achtung Baby" legacy. The first half of the cd is absolutely classic. The second half doesn't quite hit those highs, but I sure ain't complaining. Another stunner from arguably the greatest band since the Beatles. Expand
  5. harryv
    Mar 8, 2005
    7
    When I first heard this album my initial rating would of been around 1 or 2 - nothing stood out like some of U2's previous work. I have When I first heard this album my initial rating would of been around 1 or 2 - nothing stood out like some of U2's previous work. I have loved this band and hated this band throughout their 25 year plus career and with every release they have left me with at least a couple of real gems per album. From "Boy" came "Out Of Control" and "An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart" - from "October" they gave me "Tomorrow" " I Threw A Brick Through A Window" and "Stranger In A Strange Land". Then came "War" with more than a few gems and "Unforgettable Fire" with "Bad" "Unforgettable Fire" "Elvis Presley And America" and "Wire". Falling from the leaves of "The Josua Tree" were classics like "Bullet The Blue Sky" "Exit" and "Running To Stand Still". I'll gladly forget "Rattle And Hum" save "Heartland". 1991 brought a new U2 with "Acthung Baby" which gave us "The Fly" "Until The End Of The World""One" and one of U2's most beautiful moments "Love Is Blindness". Most people either laughed at or ignored 1997's "Pop" and still manage to forget brilliant moments such as "Gone" "Please" and "Wake Up Dead Man". In 2000 "Beautiful Day" was a perfectly constructed hook filled single that would be a permanent concert favorite until this band finally gives in and retires. Whew...enough about that sordid past now let's look at "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb"- I'm afraid I'm beginning to like this album, really I'm not kidding. Like I said when I first heard it nothing stood out with any gemlike quality as in U2's past efforts but that just may be the difficult secret to this album. Being a half-fan of these guys I kept throwing it on once a week or so and everytime I did I somehow enjoyed it more - "Vertigo" still bothers me and always will as does "All Because Of You" and "Yahweh" but the rest of the songs I catch myself humming in my head and actually not rolling my eyes and trying to forget it. This album is full of hooks - not all of them bad. I hate to admit it but I am beginning to really enjoy most of this release. Despite the lack of truly great U2 gems of the past "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" with it's hooks and all may very well surprise you if you give it half a chance. Or not. Expand
  6. RobertH
    Nov 23, 2004
    3
    A 3 because there are only 3 good songs: Vertigo, Love and Peace, and maybe All Because of You. C'mon folks, this has none of the risk A 3 because there are only 3 good songs: Vertigo, Love and Peace, and maybe All Because of You. C'mon folks, this has none of the risk and exploration of Achtung, or even Zooropa. Bono's voice seems shot, and competes with Edge's guitar for attention. A disappointment to say the least. Expand
  7. [Anonymous]
    Nov 24, 2004
    0
    I used to love U2 so much. I'm not sure if I've wised up or if they have descended into the realms of the retarded. This album is I used to love U2 so much. I'm not sure if I've wised up or if they have descended into the realms of the retarded. This album is junk. While some of the tunes are OK, Bono's lyrics are a series of painful couplets that with have you reaching for the crack pipe to drown it all out. Expand

See all 241 User Reviews