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4.0 out of 5 stars
All That You Can't Leave Behind
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133 of 144 people found the following review helpful
Once again U2 have shown that they are alive and well in the rock and roll scene. Teaming up again with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois who were with U2 on their hit albums Unforgettable Fire, Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, U2 have shown that they are a band of the 80s, 90s and the new millenium.
Beautiful Day is a brilliant poppy song that hides its deep overtones of meaning and lack of value in material things. Personally it inspires me as I consider, as the person does in the song, what it would be like to lose everything and still be able to realize that the day is wonderful, that there is still life, the earth and creation(in green and blue!) is valuable in and of itself. The biblical overtones of Noah and the ark are quirky and effective.
The Edge is still a shining star in songs like When I Look at The World. His screaming guitar solo, reminiscent of Unforgettable Fire days gives me goosebumps. You can hear Eno's influence in this song. Lanois' skill at giving a great beat to the music is as inspiring as ever.
Bono can still write, there is no doubt about that. From the spiritual beauty of Kite to the frolicking romp of New York he weaves stories and thoughts that are as captivating as ever.
Some claim that this album is a return to their roots. Its hard to say. I think they are still trying new things but just are not in the mood for the dance loops, and electronic sounds of their previous 3 albums - which, by the way, gave them great success. This is about how they want to continue to be a band with feeling and emotion.
I regret that Bono's voice just is not what it used to be in the album. The strain is detectable - and yet this strain somehow brings out a differnt kind of yearning and emotion to his voice that still makes me stand transfixed as I listen to the best rock band around.
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283 of 326 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2000
Oh, my AP English class has finally paid off, because now I understand why U2 has gone from "brilliant" to "more brilliant" to "more brilliant still."
I'm talking about William Blake, the 18th-century poet who authored the "Songs of Innocence and Experience." Don't click away--even if you know nothing about poetry, if you know something about U2, you'll appreciate this...
The theme of the "Songs" is this: We enter the world with a pure, unaffected point of view. As such, we perceive it with unadulterated clarity, but we lack the understanding to appreciate what we see.
With experience comes this understanding, but at what price? We lose the clarity of perception we were born with.
As understanding increases, though, we realize this. And then we become whole. Only through innocence can we become experienced. Only through experience can we appreciate innocence.
Now, who's that sound like? An Irish rock group, maybe, who started out waving a white flag, proclaiming, "I Will Follow"? Who saw the world in black and white and knew exactly which side they were on?
The same group saved themselves by diving headfirst into the black, as it were. With the Zoo TV experience, they immersed themselves in the sensual and the secular. In fact, they did that so thoroughly that to this day, older, more simpleminded fans resent them for it.
The simpletons can rejoice, and so can us Achtung Babies who understand what U2 did and why they had to do it, and love them for it. It started on "Pop," and it's happened on "All That You Can't Leave Behind": U2 have come full circle, become whole. They are innocent again. They understand the world around them, and now they know why this is black, why that's white, and why there's so much gray.
The band who created "All..." aren't afraid to wear their collective heart on their collective sleeve again. They aren't afraid to ask for "Peace on Earth." They can write the sweetest, most lovingest love song they've ever written now--"Wild Honey"--because they know now that beyond the darkness love is certainly waiting.
They've made their phone calls from Hell, and they are more aware than ever that, while the dark places won't go away, the world is still a true, beautiful place. They're seeing with cherubs' eyes now--the eyes of wise children.
They said they wanted to make an album about joy, and that it wouldn't be easy. They've more than risen to the challenge.
Buy this album. Buy it now. Click now. It will make your problems go away, at least for a little while. It will make your soul soar. It will make you sing.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2000
What a great new album by U2. The boys from Dublin, who spent most of the mid to late 90's working with electronica culminating in the solid "Pop", return to their roots with a simple yet effective album. The Edge's signature guitar style, Bono's touching vocals, and the steadiness of Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton have all returned. This album is reminiscent of "The Unforgettable Fire" and dare I say "The Joshua Tree", albums in which U2 focused harder on the message and emotion. Nothing can match the emotion captured on those two albums, but "All that you can't leave behind" comes close, with beautiful tracks such as "Walk On", "Kite", "Peace on Earth", and the first single "Beautiful Day".
This limited edition also contains a bonus cd with one track, titled "Summer Rain". I was really surprised with the song, another solid U2 effort. And because the limited edition is the same price as the regular edition, I figure more U2 is better. I think most U2 fans will be very satisfied with this new album; and if you aren't at first, give it a couple of more listens. This cd will definitely grow on you, it grew on me.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2000
A 'back to basics' approach is a well known trick of the record trade: a band becomes famous, its music familiar, so it ducks and dives, twists and turns, trying to throw up a few surprises. Then, when the fans break the code and the envelope can't be pushed any further, the earlier style is reprised and sold in a combined package of nostalgia and 'old is new' novelty. This is the slash and burn agriculture practiced by the music industry. With Oasis on the wane, the Verve having broken up, and Radiohead disappointing their rock fans again, a return to their straight rock roots by U2 couldn't be better timed.
In 1988, with the World at their feet, Phil Joanou's epic rockumentary Rattle & Hum attempted to carve U2's visage on the Mount Rushmore of rock'n'roll legend by trawling them through America's musical heartlands of gospel, blues, and rock. Soon after this, however,the band started to move away from their trademark sound of intense, almost messianic vocals against a soundscape of clanging guitars and epic rhythms in favor of a more produced, textured sound arrived at with the help of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Impassioned, naive idealism was replaced with a worldly, sophisticated, clubby, media-savvy, ironic sensibility.
U2's aptly titled new album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, is an attempt both to undo some of the damage done by this move as well as consolidate some of its gains. Bono has dubbed the new album's sound "titanium soul." and claimed that the new songs are "tunes rather than just ideas," implicitly criticizing U2's earlier output. "There's no storytelling or artifice," he declared on the band's official website. "It's about the pure joy of playing in a band, with or without an audience."
After the jaded cynicism of the MacPhisto period when Bono projected himself as the bad end of a Faustian bargain, there is now reported to be a renewed burst of spiritual energy coursing through the group, courtesy of Bono's newfound cause campaigning for the abolition of Third World debt. This, along with the more stripped down sound, has raised expectations
"Beautiful Day," the first single, makes a brave attempt to live up to these hopes as lushly layered harmonies are flailed with incendiary guitar. On "Walk On" and "Elevation" the melding of the Edge's clanging guitar and Bono's impassioned singing also signals that U2 are no longer content to communicate through the ouija boards of producers, sound engineers and the mixing console as they were in the Zooropa and Pop. years. The suspicion remains, however, that the guitar overdubs are merely being cranked up in the mix to give a rawer feel.
The sound and fury of the noisier tracks are balanced with slower numbers which allow Bono to mug the microphone with some quite effective stabs at soul. "In A Little While" is a low-key, piece of pop that really grows on you. "Wild Honey" is also a great song, but howabout a remix to bring out the Edge's beautiful, crying guitar?
The best song on the album is undoubtedly "Kite," a soaring, catchy, anthemic song, with Bono delivering one of his most impassioned vocals, emblazoned with some intricate guitar riffs and tugging rhythms that relentlessly drive the song on without overpowering its delicacy.
The lyrics are interesting because Bono is singing from the viewpoint of someone who has just died looking back on his life and thinking about his children. To anybody who has just lost a parent the lyrics will be extremely moving.
P.S. I love the jacket design - it looks like Adam has misplaced the tickets again.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2000
Twenty odd years ago the world was first introduced to U2, four youthful Dubliners, whose debut album, `Boy', burst at the seams with chiming guitars, raw, emotive vocals and a tingling sense of twilight adolescent wonder. U2 were a welcome antidote to punks stark nihilism.`Boy' was followed by the `October' and `War' albums and a relentless commitment to touring that saw them make serious inroads into the hearts and minds of America. But it was 1984's `Unforgettable Fire' album, with its panoramic soundscapes and lush melancholy that set them on their "spiral stairway to the higher ground", emphatically confirmed at their dramatic Live Aid appearance the following year. U2 reached their peak in `87 with the `Joshua Tree', monumental in both scale and success. The rest, they say, is history.
The 90's brought us their last great album, the angst ridden and ironic, `Achtung Baby' but what followed was patchy as U2, tired of being earnest rock messiahs, played around with Post Modernism and the new media.
Now, at 40, without the surging electric energy of their youth and done with experimenting and subverting both their music and their image, U2 seem to want to play it open, honest and straight. Not exactly back to basics, mind, more a case of letting the songs speak for themselves and by and large they pull it off with dignity and aplomb. The opening two songs from 'All That You Can't Leave Behind' encapsulate this approach. `Beautiful Day' is a four minute ecstatic rush, filtered through a dazzling pop kaleidoscope and by way of contrast `Trapped in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of' is an uplifting, aching soul ballad. A large part of `ATYCLB' echoes the widescreen approach of their heyday. `Walk On' comes on like an Oasis anthem without the ....
Equally anthemic but more rugged and arguably the most emotionally charged song on the album is 'Kite' where Bono, addressing his wife and kids, projects himself far into the future, looking back on what's been and wondering about what's still to come. `New York,' is particularly reminiscent of early U2, the Edge letting rip with a dark and shuddering sonic assault. Only Bono's personal lyrics remind you that this is U2000: "In New York I lost it all to you and your vices / Still I'm staying on to figure out my mid-life crisis"
There are flaws in the grand design, Bono's irritating little Smokey Robinson fixation flares up on the otherwise passable 'In a Little While' and 'Wild Honey'. And being brutal, 'Peace on Earth' and 'Grace' are damp squibs. Neither fowl nor fish. The latter, for all it's well meaning sentiments and ironic little asides, meanders away to no great effect, whilst the former, which some might regard as a welcome respite from the grand scaled intensity, is little more than an anemic chill out hymn.
U2 might no longer be considered the World's most important band - that dubious crown currently sits uneasily on Radiohead's frail heads - but unlike Thom Yorke and co., U2 are still able, or at least willing, to place their faith in the traditional virtues of a good tune. Maturing well, no mid life crisis here.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2000
It all sounds so cliche..."back to their roots," "they've done it again," "another masterpiece." True, sort of.
Yes, this is "back to their roots" in that they've stripped away the hype and experimentation, leaving us with just four guys with their instruments and The Voice. Yes, "they've done it again" in that this is their best album since Achtung Baby and will reach the mainstream again and not tend to be ignored by those who don't understand. Yes, it "is a masterpiece," in it's own way.
You see, U2's latest release is an album full of joy and a little bit of soul. The band have become more comfortable with themselves, their emotions and have finally realized that they don't need the techno to impress us anymore. From the outset, we have the joy of Beautiful Day, Elevation and Wild Honey. Beautiful Day and Elevation are guitar-driven numbers worthy of rolling down the car windows and cranking the volume to 10. Wild Honey's melody and lightness will linger in your head for days and days. It, along with Stuck in a Moment, will give you a certain Beatle-esque feeling.
But U2 has a knack for cranking out the emotion, and Peace On Earth and Walk On bring it on. Walk On, particularly, will go down as this album's "One" or "With or Without You." The guitar has the same familiarity of other U2 ballads (I can hear the crowd roar in recognition when the first notes are played live!) and the lyrics are brilliantly written. Peace On Earth is Bono's tribute to the victim's of the Omagh bombing, and I've yet to hear anything that evokes so much emotion.
The most interesting part of the album for me is the soul that they seem to have tapped for Stuck in a Moment and In a Little While. These just have tremendous feeling that doesn't bog you down, but gives you some hope, and perhaps some joy?
After 16 years as a fan, I am relieved that this is how this album turned out, but not in the least bit surprised. A great addition to any CD collection, as I feel it's some of the best music to come out this year.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 12, 2001
If you are trying to decide between buying this disc or the cheaper regular release, you need to consider how big a U2 fan you are. I'm a moderate U2 fan, and althought the bonus track "Summer Rain" was a decent song, I was disappointed that it wasn't longer, despite being the only track on the bonus disc. It is just a normal-length track.
If you're building the flawless U2 collection, then buy this limited edition, but for the casual fan, rest assured that you aren't missing anything groundbreaking in the song "Summer Rain".
The booklet and case art is the same for both this release and the regular edition.
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57 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2000
There are U2 listeners under the mistaken impression that U2 is The Joshua Tree, and that everything after that was untrue to their image. Then there are those that realize that The Joshua Tree was just one of the many images the band has employed throughout their career, and was never meant to be permanent. They have continually evolved their sound through the years. To listeners of Boy and October, the U2 of The Joshua Tree was commercial and a divergence from their true self. To listeners of The Joshua Tree, the U2 of Pop was commercial and divergent from their true self. Then there are those that realize that the songs are always the same: it's how the band plays them that changes.
How does U2 play those songs on All That You Can't Leave Behind? Very well.
"Beautiful Day": When you lose everything, you can still stop, look around, and realize, Yeah, I'm broke and destitute, but isn't it beautiful out today? The first single, though that honor likely should have gone to "Elevation", which will likely find greater chart success.
"Stuck In a Moment You Can't Get Out Of": A Motown-flavored ballad. A song about suicide; or, rather, suicide prevention. About realizing that wherever you are at right now, you won't be there forever. Every moment ends. This feeling you're feeling now won't always be there. Also a likely single, because the lyrics are dichotomous enough that it sounds like a straightforward love song. Should find the same audience that doesn't realize that "Every Breath You Take" is about stalking.
"Elevation": A sort of "Even Better Than the Real Thing," in that "Take me higher" could have been lifted from that song and dropped in here without missing a beat. Following the pattern set by the previous two songs on the album, it's about finding inspiration and learning to leap up out of the blues. A great rocker, with some of the dance rhythms the band experimented with on Pop held over for subtle use here. Would make a great show opener. Favorite lyric: "At the corner of your lips / As the orbit of your hips / Eclipse / You elevate my soul"
"Kite": Probably my favorite song on the album. Flying away, floating on a leisurely breeze like a kite in the wind, is the metaphor. Just go with the wind. You can't control it, so just learn to enjoy it.
"In a Little While": An unusual little number for the band, with a great guitar lick by Edge kicking off a sweet song about missing someone; about being able to stop and enjoy missing someone.
"Wild Honey": U2 idealizes The White Album, the album that gave us "Honey Pie" and "Wild Honey Pie". Now, U2 gives us the completely unrelated "Wild Honey". One of the few straightforward songs on the album. After Jimmy Buffet wrote a song about the misadventure he shared with Bono in Jamaica, it seems only fitting that the boys write something with Jimmy's flavor.
"Peace on Earth": Another straightforward song. With a title like this, it's hard to mistake what it's about, but it does contain some of the most meaningful lyrics Bono's ever written. A reminder to those who make the mistake that U2 left behind their care for the world with Zooropa and Pop. It's always been there; they just stopped beating people over the head about it.
"New York": After doing Miami last time and New York this time, I guess the only thing left is Los Angeles. Denver, maybe? Poughkeepsie?
Though more mellow than most of their albums, there is a lot here to listen to. One of the best albums the band has produced in their career, and certainly one of the best albums of the year.
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2000
ATYCLB is an instant U2 classic. There is not a weak track on the album. It is perhaps their most melodic and consistent work, introducing several tracks that will forever rank up there with the likes of With Or With You, One, and Pride. Walk on and Kite are two favorites, and absolute U2 classics.
Since the entire album was leaked all over the Web over a week ago, hundreds of U2 fans have already heard most or all of the album, and the general consensus has been extremely passionate and positive, which is far above and beyond when their prior album, Pop, was released in 1997.
ATYCLB has the potential to be a huge hit, with most tracks being candidates for singles and radio play.
While it incorporates every style of U2's career, from Boy to Pop, it's also nothing like anything they've ever released.
It's truly a breath of fresh air.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2001
Whew! What a relief to pick up the new U2 album, listen to it for the first time from start to finish, and honestly say "I love my favorite band again"! To all my fellow U2 fans who never really fell in love with tracks like "Numb" and "Discotheque", feel safe to run out and a buy a copy of "All That You Can't Leave Behind". Edge has found once again his guitar and Bono has stopped signing in that annoying super high voice(e.g. "Lemon"). The bombastic strain Bone sang in on tracks like "Ultraviolet" is back on display here. Now, don't be fooled into thinking this album is "U2 unplugged" or "Joshua Tree 2" There are a lot of our favorite old sounds in here mixed in with a bit of studio magic (or electronica or whatever you want to call it) but it all comes together in an uplifting, good feeling album. They seem now to have found the right mix. It doesn't rock a whole lot after "Beautiful Day" or "Elevation" but listen to "Stuck in a Moment" once and I know you will be hooked. Same with "Walk On". This is an absolute must for fans who like "the old stuff" or fans that stuck with them through all the experiments, found a few tunes to like on the previous albums and hoped for the days where you didn't have to skip over 2 or 3 songs to get to the next one you thought was "ok". This album is a welcome return to the styles we love from U2. Relax and enjoy U2 fans...they're back!
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