Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 30
  2. Negative: 2 out of 30
  1. It has the pomp and arrogance of their best work, enough new sounds and interesting new avenues to satisfy the musos and, at its core, is a very good collection of very good songs played very well. A little more silliness would go a long way, though.
  2. All in all, a departure from recent forays into overt commercialism that doesn't always work but provides a little U2 juice to keep the true believers happy for a little bit longer.
  3. For the lovers, this patchy album offering moderate advance on its immediate predecessors will probably suffice. But in truth it's an unmitigated failure to reconcile the sound of their past with a cohesive vision of their future.
  4. Unfortunately, too much of NLOTH sounds staid and uninspired, again maybe due to the changing musical landscape that was going on all around them during the making of the record.
  5. The album's ballyhooed experimentation is either terribly misguided or hidden underneath a wash of shameless U2-isms.
  6. On balance, No Line on the Horizon represents what "October" did all those years ago: a decent step forward that nevertheless recalls the past more clearly than it spells out the future.
  7. Though I'd hardly go as far to call it their best album, which I guess makes U2 irrelevant by Bono's logic, its best songs can credibly stand alongside their classics, and how many bands can maintain this level of vitality 30 years into their career? I give.
  8. 100
    No Line on the Horizon is U2’s third killer in a row--by now, it’s bizarre to remember that just 10 years ago, everybody thought they were headed toward the dinosaur band tar pits.
  9. He is still singing about singing, all over No Line on the Horizon, U2's first album in nearly five years and their best, in its textural exploration and tenacious melodic grip, since 1991's "Achtung Baby."
  10. 80
    It's U2's least immediate album--but there's something about it that suggests it may be one of their most enduring.
  11. As far as exploration goes, U2 seem to have finally found what they were looking for.
  12. It starts out blustery and familiar, before gradually revealing an unexpected and almost lovable sense of vulnerability.
  13. No Line On The Horizon is a mature, tender, reflective record of great musical variety, depth and beauty that could only have been made by four people who've experienced just about everything that life can throw at you.
  14. 70
    With coproducers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois explicitly included in the songwriting, it's an effort to tinker and rough up and refine anew their music's essence--with nobly sketchy results.
  15. Upon first listen, No Line on the Horizon seems as if it would be a classic grower, an album that makes sense with repeated spins, but that repetition only makes the album more elusive, revealing not that U2 went into the studio with a dense, complicated blueprint, but rather, they had no plan at all.
  16. A person of a certain disposition might feel the will to live seeping from them at the very thought of a U2 song called Cedars of Lebanon, but it turns out to be one of the album's biggest successes: a beautiful, downbeat coda to a confused and confusing album, one that can't decide whether it's ironic or sincere, experimental or straight-forward, and instead attempts to be all things to all people, with inevitably mixed results.
  17. Such is the album as a whole: a compromise between the experimental and the pedestrian that makes for an excursion almost as tricky as walking a tightrope stretched between two distant towers.
  18. No Line on the Horizon reaches for "The Unforgettable Fire's" post-"War" reinvention but misfires this side of "Pop" without the songs.
  19. No Line on the Horizon offers idealism spliced with new attitude and the same old grace, and is all the better for it.
  20. Digesting the blend takes some time, but the best moments offer that immediacy, as on the opening punch of the groovy title track and the chiming "Magnificent."
  21. No Line on the Horizon is a considered and nuanced work with significant depth beneath the dense, sometimes thorny exterior. Getting there, though, requires some work.
  22. By unshackling its adventurous side, the band helps Line soar gracefully, at least in part.
  23. By this point, it's within their rights to utilize pieces of their past in building a new present for themselves, as long as they don't half-ass it and start turning out inferior remakes of their old tunes. That's not what's going on here, and if anything, No Line is ultimately a more visceral and memorable effort than either of the band's other two 21st century offerings.
  24. At the end of the day, No Line on the Horizon is an easy album to dismiss and an even harder disc to love, and some people will be ready to call it a masterpiece just as others are ready to deem it an outright failure.
  25. These 11 tunes deliver both the thematic and the sonic hugeness we expect from U2; you only have to proceed about 80 seconds into the opening title track before the Edge is spraying his trademark guitar sparks everywhere and Bono is observing that infinity is a great place to start.
  26. No Line on the Horizon partakes of that romance by trying to expose its inner workings. It's risky to expose those delineations; as the band said long ago, it's like trying to throw your arms around the world. But the effort has its payoffs.
  27. U2 might try to pass Horizon off as atmospheric, but it's really just a grab bag of underdeveloped ideas that never seemed to command the band's full attention.
  28. Simply, what this amounts to is the best U2 album since "Achtung Baby. [Apr 2009, p.94]
  29. 80
    The result is a collage of several kinds of classic U2 album, one that has the beauty of their panoramic '80s Eno/Lanois recordings plus the synthetic experimentation andd dalliances with pop merriment which revolutionized the band's modus operandi from "Achtung Baby" onwards. [Apr 2009, p.96]
  30. The problems that litter No Line fall into two categories: mind-numbing blandness on the part of the band or embarrassing, face-palm-inducing vocal choices by Bono.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 335 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 88 out of 110
  2. Negative: 15 out of 110
  1. Jun 4, 2013
    5
    This album has a better user rating than Achtung Baby This band has been mailing it in since Zooropa. twenty years ago. Not a lot of spark. Boggles the mind. Full Review »
  2. Sep 2, 2010
    6
    This is absolutely proof positive that the band believes it's own press. For a bit too long the band seems to have been under the impression that they can merely thump their chests and spew absurdities like Crazy Tonight and fans'll eat it up. Put this album up against a classic like All You Can't Leave Behind and it pales glaringly. It has it's moments but they are too few and too far between to save it from sheer mediocrity. Full Review »
  3. nick
    Mar 12, 2009
    8
    U2 in a form i have missed for 15 years. there are numbers that over-compensate for obvious fear of losing pop status; but the band has been most poignant when at their strangest and most daring. the only thing missing is a unifying idea; the way 'zooropa' argued that addiction to technology, information, drugs, porn; all that is created to bring us closer only creates isolation for the individual. that is the most modern and most human feeling the band has ever brought to attention. unfortunately, it's too scary a feeling for those who are too wrapped up in all of that; or an argument that those who are fortunate enough to have something deeper are too distant from to really appreciate. Full Review »