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U2 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb


After a mid-career slump (Pop, anyone?), U2 reclaimed its title as the World’s Greatest Rock Band with 2000’s smashing comeback All That You Can’t Leave Behind, which found Bono, the Edge and company going back to what they do best: anthemic rock that elevates you to a higher place. Having reignited their unforgettable fire, they keep the fuse burning brightly on How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, another vintage U2 album that plays like All That You Can’t Leave Behind II.

Indeed, the incandescent “City of Blinding Lights,” a romantic postcard from Paris, recalls the exhilarating rush of “Beautiful Day,” and the acoustic-guitar-driven “A Man and a Woman” evokes the bluesy ’60s soul of “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.” But what Atomic Bomb may lack in sonic invention—this is hardly the experimental U2 of Zooropa or Achtung Baby—it more than makes up for with the tight focus and assurance of a band that does not need to dismantle its sound. First single “Vertigo” is a dizzying rocker that brings to mind the youthful exuberance of early U2, and “One Step Closer” is a haunting ballad about the search for faith from the guys who still haven’t found what they’re looking for. Spiritual references also pop up on “Yahweh,” while “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own” is a heartfelt elegy to Bono’s late father, Bob Hewson, that the group sang at his 2001 funeral. “We fight all the time, you and I/That’s all right, we’re the same soul,” sings the U2 frontman to his dad. It’s the album’s most personal moment—and its most powerful.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own”