No Line On The Horizon

by U2
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 366 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 33 out of 366

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  1. GaryM.
    Mar 4, 2009
    8
    Truly, I went in using my U2 measuring tool to see how good, excuse me, great this album is. It served to no purpose. This album is honestly difficult to compare to U2's other *cough* master *cough* works. Reviewers might declare this is U2's most disappointing album ever. It isn't. It might not be a classic U2 album. However, if this album was U2's debut album it Truly, I went in using my U2 measuring tool to see how good, excuse me, great this album is. It served to no purpose. This album is honestly difficult to compare to U2's other *cough* master *cough* works. Reviewers might declare this is U2's most disappointing album ever. It isn't. It might not be a classic U2 album. However, if this album was U2's debut album it would be declared as extremely genius and, may I be bold, the best album of 2009. But it's U2, and everybody, well almost, knows them and they expect them to push the envelope even further. U2 on Mars! But seriously, this is a great album. Give it a chance. They'll eventually make it up to you, if you are truly disappointed (ugh!). What makes me rest easy is that for them, there's no line on the horizon (yes pun intended!) Expand
  2. JohnnyG.
    Jan 29, 2010
    1
    This record is absolute rubbish! When I compare it to the landmark and groundbreaking records: Unforgettable Fire, October, War, Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby or Zooropa and even Pop... However, compared to ATYCLB and HTDAAB it looks relatively favourable - but then that's not really saying much is it now??? The vocal yelps and squelches that pass for melodies on the vast majority of This record is absolute rubbish! When I compare it to the landmark and groundbreaking records: Unforgettable Fire, October, War, Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby or Zooropa and even Pop... However, compared to ATYCLB and HTDAAB it looks relatively favourable - but then that's not really saying much is it now??? The vocal yelps and squelches that pass for melodies on the vast majority of the tracks are absolutely horrific! "I'll go crazy if I don't go *CRAZY* tonight"??? "I was punching in the numbers.. at the ATM machine..." ??? What is this drivel??? Ouch... it makes me whince when I listen to this stuff. I had to put on Promenade, Indian Summer Sky, etc... on directly after hearing this record to clean my poor ears out and also to remind me of Bono's once (and still) undeniable power, agility and sensitivity (towards a song) as the worlds leading stadium rock vocalist. The vocals are bad yes, but what is worse are his cheap and corny lyrics!!! Which at best are passe and insincere and at worst totally cliche and utterly bland, meaningless and mind numbingly stupid/downright silly! The guitar work too leaves a lot to be desired... The once sonourous Edge finds himself reaching hamfistedly into his ol' "bag of tricks" and rehashing the once instantly recognisable Edge riffs and sounding like a very very tired and "edgeless" copy of the U2 of the past. They have failed to impress completely on this record. Even more so than the previous 2 abortions of records.. They get a 1 simply for being U2. Expand
  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 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. Expand
  4. NickB
    Mar 16, 2009
    9
    Best album since Achtung Baby, I almost feel embarrased for liking the last two albums, this is so far beyond musically, conceptually and vocally.
  5. RaymondK
    Mar 10, 2009
    9
    I have been following U2 closely since "Under A Blood Red Sky". I've soared through the highs of "Joshua", "Achtung", and "ATYCLB" and been disillusioned by "Zooropa" and "Pop". This is, without question, the group's most impressive release. They have never sounded so focused and cohesive from start to finish; there's not a weak song in the bunch! I'd list the standout I have been following U2 closely since "Under A Blood Red Sky". I've soared through the highs of "Joshua", "Achtung", and "ATYCLB" and been disillusioned by "Zooropa" and "Pop". This is, without question, the group's most impressive release. They have never sounded so focused and cohesive from start to finish; there's not a weak song in the bunch! I'd list the standout songs, but I couldn't leave anything off. Even their best works have not been so consistently good as "No Line on the Horizon". For those put off by "Get On Your Boots" (admittedly, it took a few listens for it to really grow on me), try "Magnificent", "I'll Go Crazy", and "Breathe" for the U2 you know and love. This is a satisfying blend of all their post "Rattle and Hum" styles. Expand
  6. michaels
    Mar 25, 2009
    9
    Great album. just because it isn't as good as achtung baby doesn't mean it's a bad album. catchy songs and very well written lyrics.
  7. EmirM
    Mar 3, 2009
    9
    Takes a few listens at first I was disappointed but that's expected as it''s really hard to judge the best band on the planet from one session. And they did not disappoint. All songs may become classics in the U2 fan base and even the "get on your boots" sounds better than before. I think that's what happens when expectations are so high. I believe their best since Takes a few listens at first I was disappointed but that's expected as it''s really hard to judge the best band on the planet from one session. And they did not disappoint. All songs may become classics in the U2 fan base and even the "get on your boots" sounds better than before. I think that's what happens when expectations are so high. I believe their best since Achtung. And Achtung is masterpiece. I'm not sure if it will reach that high. Only time will tell. In my opinion Joshua was the album of the 80's , Achtung the 90's ( best ever period!!) and now possibly this decades best album!. Its been a long 18 years. Welcome back guys! I give it 9.5 now but too early to tell. Expand
  8. JalexD
    Mar 3, 2009
    10
    This is, in my opinion, U2's second best album, the best album I've heard in at least half a decade, and one of the greatest records ever.
  9. SebH
    Mar 3, 2009
    10
    It worries me that this is missing several major publications - Blender and Q gave it 5 stars, Mojo, Uncut gave it 4. I reckon this is their best since Achtung Baby, seriously, because it pushes sonically, has some killer tunes and features the band not taking themselves seriously for the first time since Pop. The title track, Magnificent, Moment Of Surrender, Crazy Tonight, FEZ, Breathe It worries me that this is missing several major publications - Blender and Q gave it 5 stars, Mojo, Uncut gave it 4. I reckon this is their best since Achtung Baby, seriously, because it pushes sonically, has some killer tunes and features the band not taking themselves seriously for the first time since Pop. The title track, Magnificent, Moment Of Surrender, Crazy Tonight, FEZ, Breathe and Cedars Of Lebanon all stand out but everything here is top notch quality. The only slight misfire is the midlife-crisis level Get On Your Boots, but it's at least a killer tune, and everything else is head-and-shoulders above. Excellent album, I love it as much as U2's other best. Expand
  10. KobayashiM
    Mar 3, 2009
    9
    Their best since Achtung Baby! Throughout, it poses this counterfactual question: what would U2 have sounded like had they explored more fully the sounds of Zooropa and Passengers, rather than going on to record Pop, ATYCLB, and HTDAAB? No Line on the Horizon answers with a strong atmospheric collection of songs that is less melodic than their last two works, but also more melodically Their best since Achtung Baby! Throughout, it poses this counterfactual question: what would U2 have sounded like had they explored more fully the sounds of Zooropa and Passengers, rather than going on to record Pop, ATYCLB, and HTDAAB? No Line on the Horizon answers with a strong atmospheric collection of songs that is less melodic than their last two works, but also more melodically complex and lyrically interesting. Make no mistake, this album hardly deserves to be described as "experimental" pace some early press musings, especially compared with their 90s output, to say nothing of Brian Eno's solo work. But No Line on the Horizon is nevertheless clearly the product of a restless band that takes its art (if not always themselves) very very seriously. The album is in roughly three sections: a heavy, ambient-driven opening of four tracks, a more accessible "pop" core of three songs, and a mostly meditative four track finale. The first and last parts are what make the album extraordinary. "Magnificent" and "Breathe" are U2 par-excellence and bound straight for the live set. "Moment of Surrender," "White as Snow," and "Cedars of Lebanon" are slower, more deliberate, and -- especially the last two -- among the most intimate songs U2 have ever recorded, a rare trifecta of growers from a band that seemed to prefer pop craftsmanship this decade. "Unknown Caller" and "FEZ - Being Born" are more heavily influenced by producer Brian Eno and are indispensable to the atmospherics of the album, even if you'll never hear them as radio singles. The weakest section is the middle, which contains the first single, "Get On Your Boots," either an odd or brilliant choice, given that it's utterly unrepresentative of the album. Still, it's a swinging, buzzing, raucous anti-political anthem, if a bit meandering in its imagery. Not quite as successful is "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight," with its catchy will.i.am production and soaring chorus, but verses that leaves you with a feeling of having read a thousand Hallmark cards. And finally, the album's only real dud, "Stand Up Comedy," which admirably tries to be self-deprecating but does so with such gauche phrasings and platitudes that you can't help but hate Bono for ruining a perfectly good Led Zeppelinesque guitar hook. If anything, though, these reservations only put the brilliant bits in greater contrast, and remind the listener that No Line on the Horizon, while not at all perfect, is a remarkable work in its own right, let alone when you consider that it's coming from a band that formed 33 years ago. Expand
  11. GautamM
    Mar 4, 2009
    10
    Joshua Tree is the best album ever made.Period.But inspite of this..i cant give this anything less than a 10.I wouldn't say this is a absolutely new and redefined U2...but lets face it..we never wanted or expected that.This is U2's soaring music at its best.Bono's ever briliiant lyrics(although a lot cryptic this time around),Edge's reinvented guitar melodies(referring Joshua Tree is the best album ever made.Period.But inspite of this..i cant give this anything less than a 10.I wouldn't say this is a absolutely new and redefined U2...but lets face it..we never wanted or expected that.This is U2's soaring music at its best.Bono's ever briliiant lyrics(although a lot cryptic this time around),Edge's reinvented guitar melodies(referring to Get on Your Boots,Magnificent,Breathe and unknown caller),larry mullen's up front drumming,and adam clayton's ever present,every important bass lines really make this a joy to listen to.except 'get on your boots'(which isnt really a bad track..but definitely not a great one)...the rest of the tracks are absolutely MIND BLOWING...classic U2 with a twist..but unchanged to a large extent.A must hear... P.S...recommended tracks...'magnificent','unknown caller','breathe','white as snow'. Expand
  12. pierreb.
    Mar 4, 2009
    4
    U2 refurnished itself with all u can leave behind, Now the cracks are showing, ehey tried to get back to their earlier work but they realy lost the way, how could they produce something like this? also Brian Eno i dont understand, with his status produce a patchwork of what? the only goold thing that 2 songs remind of the unforgetable fire, but u can't go back in time, eventhough yr U2 refurnished itself with all u can leave behind, Now the cracks are showing, ehey tried to get back to their earlier work but they realy lost the way, how could they produce something like this? also Brian Eno i dont understand, with his status produce a patchwork of what? the only goold thing that 2 songs remind of the unforgetable fire, but u can't go back in time, eventhough yr name is U2 and Bono they should not let him write lirics any more, maybe he can better write part 3 of the bible? Expand
  13. JoeBlow
    Mar 6, 2009
    5
    Boring, Embarrasing, Pedestrian etc. After all these years, these guys should have more to say than this. This record begs to end up in the $1.99 bin. It's so bland and directionless that it wouldn't even work as interesting background music. U2 has truly are the biggest band in the world, and with that, are guilty of all the trappings that come with global success, primarily laziness.
  14. CarlosN.
    Apr 2, 2009
    8
    Just Great!!, except for a couple songs at the end of the album.
  15. MihaiV
    May 24, 2009
    10
    A masterpiece.
  16. IndroneilB
    Jul 5, 2009
    1
    The worst u2 album....Dissappointing!...Yet they will get th Grammy bcoz its U2!!....!
  17. TS
    Aug 6, 2009
    10
    It comes down to patience, and, yes, overlooking the fact that the only forgettable song was their lead single (as so many have said before). Give it a few listens and this album will seriously grow on you. Get into Breathe, and Go Crazy.
  18. StirlingC
    Jan 5, 2010
    9
    The fact that they still possess the ability to make great, original music as they approach their 50s is an achievement in itself, and No Line On The Horizon shows that producing a "new" album of regurgitated 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)'s, 'One's and 'Beautiful Day's is most certainly not on their agenda.
  19. LoopsNRiffs
    Nov 1, 2009
    9
    Perhaps not for the faint of mind (or those lacking in patience), but this album rewards repeated listening, and what Robert Fripp called "active listening" (a kind of participation on the part of the listener). The album has an overall mood, but many sub-moods throughout, and so many gorgeous moments. It also boasts one of U2's greatest recorded performances ever, "Moment of Perhaps not for the faint of mind (or those lacking in patience), but this album rewards repeated listening, and what Robert Fripp called "active listening" (a kind of participation on the part of the listener). The album has an overall mood, but many sub-moods throughout, and so many gorgeous moments. It also boasts one of U2's greatest recorded performances ever, "Moment of Surrender," which is an incredible post-post-modern gospel burner. There are no obvious hits (still not sure if "Get on Your Boots" belongs here), and this album (and it truly is that, a cohesive, long-player as opposed to a collection of singles) is most definitely hampered by the lack of context (liner notes, cover art) that comes with music downloading. This is a work that was meant to be heard in its entirety. It is a challenging work that rewards engagement. If nothing else, find a way to get "Moment of Surrender" into your heart. As U2, like all of us, struggles to come to grips with the disintegration of the music industry, live performance (not just concerts, but live contexts -- a mash-up of opera and dramatic presentation, along with streaming media etc) may be the way to go. The next album may be the rocker they started with Rick Rubin, but I for one am interested in the atmospherics promised by the rumored "Songs of Ascent" that, supposedly, would be culled from the "No Line" sessions. I envy U2 -- they have the freedom to do what they want artistically --they are the world's biggest and greatest independent band. Expand
  20. mh
    Mar 10, 2009
    9
    All the reviews seem to have a common argument: that this album needs time and repeated listening, and I couldn't agree more. A longtime U2, I was put off at first, but have come to believe Magnificent, Breathe, Boots and Cedars are some of their finest work. There will be haters, and I get the reasons why, but fans owe it to themselves to get friendly with this album.
  21. SamanthaC
    Mar 10, 2009
    8
    Like every other U2 album worth listening to--indeed, like every album destined to last beyond the end of this year's season of American Idol--it must be savored to be enjoyed. Listen to it 5 times through before making a decision. And then you won't have to.
  22. IgorW
    Mar 13, 2009
    6
    NLOTH is a Eno-Lanois-U2 band trying to do the things the right way...sometimes they miss the target, but still there are some classics!
  23. VerminDeathstack
    Mar 15, 2009
    4
    Rolling stone said this was their best album since Achtung Baby. It
  24. NickS
    Mar 15, 2009
    9
    First off, I must admit that I am a U2 fanatic. They have touched me deeply for 26 years (a fan since the "War" album) and have proven time and again that they aspire to the creation of art. This is the rarest of aspirations in popular music and must be commended. That being said, I don't know if I'm capable of judging their music on an impartial basis. Being a fan for so long, First off, I must admit that I am a U2 fanatic. They have touched me deeply for 26 years (a fan since the "War" album) and have proven time and again that they aspire to the creation of art. This is the rarest of aspirations in popular music and must be commended. That being said, I don't know if I'm capable of judging their music on an impartial basis. Being a fan for so long, I take personal pride in their accomplishments. I feel especially proud to see them, after 30 years, still challenging themselves to create vital, relevant music. They feel the need to prove themselves worthy of the mantle "Biggest Band In The World" every time they record a new album, and it is us, the listeners, who benefit from their drive. 30 years on, and we have never been given a half-assed going-thru-the-motions album. This fact alone is unprecedented in the history of popular music. No other band or artist has been as consistently on the top of their game for as long without releasing the occasional "stinker". OK, so I've said what I wanted to say - now, is the album any good? YES! From the first moments of the track "No Line On The Horizon", you realize that this group of songs (and their performances) are a notch above the last 2 albums. There is an energy and a freshness of musicians half their age. The music sounds truly thrilling for the first time since "Zooropa". "Magnificent" is obviously another song about Bono's deceased mother, and I'm truly surprised that no one has picked up on this yet. He's been writing hymns to her since "Out Of Control" and "I Will Follow", and this is just the latest installment. "Moment Of Surrender" is next, and props must be given to Mr. Adam Clayton. When the bass-line kicks in, this piece of music is instantly given focus and becomes a song. Also, the best chorus they've written in years. "Unknown Caller" is, in my opinion, their greatest moment on record since "Ultraviolet". The strains of "Sunshine, Sunshine" in the intro feels like something off "The Unforgettable Fire", and you instantly are reminded that there is no other band better at creating and sustaining a mood. It then drops to a minor key and we are in the middle of the narrator's crisis. The best moment of this song, however, is still 3 minutes away. The monotone chorus gives way to a pipe organ, which then gives way to french horns, which then gives way to an ecstatic guitar solo. This is songwriting of the highest level, and the argument for their continued existence as a relevant band is complete. Anyone making music of this calibre must continue to make music. I don't want to discuss every track, but there are a couple more that need mentioning. "Breathe" is thrilling and sounds like nothing they have ever done. This will surely be a live favorite. Oh yeah, and if you listen closely there are those french horns again. And the closing track, "Cedars Of Lebanon", is another masterpiece of mood. Again, the desperate narrator lets us inside his head, and the results are chilling. Word is that the next album is already done (having recorded so many songs over the last two years) and will be called "Songs Of Ascent". I can't wait. May they continue to write and record for years to come. This album just bought them 10 more years. Expand
  25. JohnnyM
    Mar 15, 2009
    8
    It's a grower, the first single misrepresents the album in that most singles have to create immediate impact but it's the wrong impression I think. The rest of the album, apart from magnificent, all take time to create an impression. From what I've read, the album spent a huge amount of time being produced. This tells and as you listen to the album more, you get to It's a grower, the first single misrepresents the album in that most singles have to create immediate impact but it's the wrong impression I think. The rest of the album, apart from magnificent, all take time to create an impression. From what I've read, the album spent a huge amount of time being produced. This tells and as you listen to the album more, you get to appreciate the nuances of the blends and suddenly you're hearing brilliance where you hadn't previously heard it. It's an album that stands up as a motley crue of brilliant tracks. Expand
  26. AdeelT
    Mar 24, 2009
    10
    without doubt U2's least immediate album, and also one of the best! i think the lack of immediacy is the only reason for some of the lukewarm reviews of this album. if ppl hav more patience with it, they'd realize wat a masterpiece this is!
  27. stevew
    Mar 29, 2009
    9
    I listened to this and was initially unsure, but the more I have listened the more hooked I have become. NLOTH is a great great album. If you dont like it you probably dont like U2 anyway.
  28. BrentonC
    Mar 3, 2009
    9
    U2 has sculpted a sound, a sound that lays the foundation of their best albums. It's big while being intimate, ethereal while being straightforward. It goes with their ever teetering on the line between spiritual searching and political questioning with hedonism and rock star trappings. It's all here on this album. Moments of familiar brilliance coupled with Eno's sonic U2 has sculpted a sound, a sound that lays the foundation of their best albums. It's big while being intimate, ethereal while being straightforward. It goes with their ever teetering on the line between spiritual searching and political questioning with hedonism and rock star trappings. It's all here on this album. Moments of familiar brilliance coupled with Eno's sonic searching. I like it, I may be sycophantic about this band, but I'm willing to call a Pop a Pop. Listen number four here I come. Expand
  29. ErwinK
    Mar 3, 2009
    9
    Far far better than Atomic Bomb, however unfortunately the metascore doesn't really reflect that. The first single, Boots, is atrocious, however every other song on the album is a slice of heaven.
  30. [Anonymous]
    Mar 3, 2009
    9
    The best album since 1993 Zooropa. U2 in No line on the horizon sounds 100% sincerely like 1991 Achtung Baby. The album propose a particular & personal view of diferents themes: love, society, pain, life memoirs, globalization, etc... the album it's not pretentious it's a personal view. It's a sincere all band album.
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. 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.
  2. As far as exploration goes, U2 seem to have finally found what they were looking for.
  3. 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.