I finally got the new U2 album today.
I am not impressed.
There were a few catchy tunes – the title track, “No Line on the Horizon” as well as “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”, “Get On Your Boots”, “Snow”, and “Breathe.” But, while pleasant enough, none of those tunes spoke to me. And as a lifelong U2 fan, I find this upsetting. Usually, there is at least one song on each album that, the first time I hear it, makes me feel something. I know I’m hearing something special and beautiful.
The memory of hearing “Staring at the Sun” for the first time in 1997 is so vivid, it nearly transports me back in time. I was sitting in my living room, curled up on the couch next to the stereo, the CD jacket for Pop in my hands. I was transfixed. Later that night, I told my high school boyfriend (and fellow U2 fanatic), “I think listening to this album made me fall in love with U2 all over again.” It was that powerful.
The first time I listened to “Walk On” I was in my car in Greensboro, NC, running errands, and started crying. I was 19, I was miserable, and I felt like Bono was speaking to me through the car stereo.
I was walking through downtown Chicago the first time I listened to “City of Blinding Lights” and I was so moved by the guitar/keyboard riff, I got tears in my eyes.
Today, I was sitting at my desk, editing a document, and I waited. I waited for that one song. I anticipated the start of each track. “This will be the one,” I told myself. “This has got to be the one.” Many of them started promising, with that patent Edge guitar sound, a sound that has comforted me for years. But it never came.
It was so disappointing.
I’m not writing off No Line on the Horizon. (Yet.) I’m confident that after a few listens, I’ll like it. But, for the first time in 15 years, I didn’t get that special feeling.
A part of me wonders if I am outgrowing U2. If maybe I don’t need them as much anymore, now that I’m not a maudlin teenager or insecure young adult.
I don’t think so, though. Maybe I don’t want to believe it, but I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow U2. But my other thought is even more scary: The notion that maybe, just maybe, U2 has missed the mark with this one. Maybe, for the first time in 15 years, I just don’t like their product.
I hope I’m wrong.
Video of the Day: Let’s go back to a simpler time, shall we. A time when I didn’t doubt my love. A time when all I wanted was U2.
Ahh. That’s better.
*Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference. Hint: “There was abuse in my family, but it was mostly musical in nature.”