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How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

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Audio CD, November 23, 2004
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Product Description

U2 formed in their native Dublin in 1978 and remains intact with its four original band members: Bono, Larry Mullen, Adam Clayton and The Edge. The band has sold more than 120 million records worldwide in an extraordinary career that has firmly established them as one of the world's greatest rock 'n' roll bands. Along the way, U2 has earned a phenomenal 14 Grammy Awards, seven of which were for their last studio album, 2000's 'All That You Can't Leave Behind,' including two consecutive awards for 'Record of the Year.' As popular for their legendary live shows as for their groundbreaking albums, U2 innovates and inspires while packing football stadiums and sweaty clubs around the world. What is next for the group that continues to reinvent themselves and push the boundaries of music?

The album that carries U2 into its 25th year--and likely the mixed blessings of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--is one of its most frank and focused since the days of October and War. But its gestation was anything but simple, in part salvaged from '03 sessions the band deemed subpar. Enter Steve Lillywhite, the band's original producer and sometime collaborator in the decades since, who helped retool the track "Native Son" (originally an antigun screed) into the aggressive iPod anthem "Vertigo" and leaves his distinctive stamp on the muscular "All Because of You." Perhaps weary of ceaseless, fashion-driven reinvention in the wake of monumental success, U2 seem only too happy here to re-embrace their original sonic trademarks in service of more daring, pop-melodic hooks than they've collected in one place in decades. The Eno/Lanois produced "Love and Peace or Else" may shimmer with the duo's electro-production conceits, but it's Edge's lugubrious, postmodern John Lee Hooker guitar swagger that drives it. Elsewhere, Bono's trademark dramaturgy is spotlighted on "City of Blinding Lights," the unabashed romance of "A Man and a Woman," and the confessional "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own." It may come wrapped in a conundrum--is it nostalgic retrenchment or a sum of the band's endless musical catharsis?--It's also the album where, Fly and MacPhisto be damned, U2 boldly claims its arena titan mantle with apologies to no one. --Jerry McCulley

Recommended U2 Discography


The Joshua Tree

Achtung Baby

All That You Can't Leave Behind

The Best of 1990-2000

The Best of 1980-1990

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Vertigo 3:14$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. Miracle Drug 3:59$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own 5:08$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. Love And Peace Or Else 4:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. City Of Blinding Lights 5:47$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. All Because Of You 3:39$1.29  Buy MP3 
  7. A Man And A Woman 4:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Crumbs From Your Table 5:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. One Step Closer 3:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Original Of The Species 4:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Yahweh 4:21$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 23, 2004)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2004
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Interscope
  • ASIN: B0006399FS
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,570 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,948 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Adam Block on December 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The album is excellent, I give the album itself 5 stars as it really is a wonderful work for the band reflecting their ability to stay ahead of trends.

The reason why I give this collectors edition only 3 stars is that I feel the packaging is dissapointing. The CD is housed in a little cardboard pocket, that will make it very easy to get scratched or damaged over time. The book, while a nice little collectors piece, really seems to be a one time read, devoid of interesting reading or stories. The Addition of Fast Cars, again seems to be an ode to collectors in the US, as I don't believe the song adds value to the CD as it feels out of place.

Finally, my biggest pet peeve comes with the fact that the two cheaper versions include full lyrics in the insert, while this edition, despite a hardcover book includes no lyrics.

The CD is excellent, the DVD is interesting and worthwile, the Collector's Edition packaging and content leaves much to be desired. I would have preferred saving money and getting the Deluxe Edition CD/DVD combo. I recommend that others do the same.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Hoppy Doppelrocket on November 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I dig U2 and I like collector's editions (I have lots of cars). These "special" editions always cost more and most folks want to know is it worth it. Well, in this case (as in most) it depends.

This limited collector's edition contains three items--the cd "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (Hoppy looooves bombs), a studiomentary DVD, and a book. Obviously the price is higher than just the single cd or that other limited edition thing that includes the cd and dvd only (these potato farmers are marketing geniuses).

And that's for several reasons: The cd contains a bonus track not included on either the regular edition or the cd/dvd combo. It's not listed in the amazon listing above this review (who knows why?) and is a pretty upbeat, punkish number titled "Fast Cars". It's pretty good, but a little out of place in spite of the clever lyrics. The cd itself is probably worth 4.7 stars and the Edge really rocks. It's a very spirtual cd with some cool words and a lot of nifty base (especially on "Love and Peace or Else"). So overall the cd is very good--on par with the last release (the one with the song I quote to my fat lazy spouse Bessie just about every other day--"Walk On") and very reminiscent of the band's earlier style ('October' early). Again, the guitar is prominent and there's some modern techno keyboardy strange sound stuff on here too. Very good overall, but the point is there is a bonus track on this set (I believe it's on the Japanese version as well). As for the DVD...

The accompanying DVD is about 20 minutes long and in spite of what you'll read elsewere, doesn't really contain any complete videos or performances although the primary focus is on "Vertigo" and the moving "Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own".
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mark Freedman on November 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

(An Essay)

It's taken me a couple of weeks to be able to get down on "paper" exactly how I feel about the Bomb. This has been an experience unlike almost anything I've ever had before. But I've now heard the album enough times (around 60) to feel like I can be somewhat objective in my review.

I've been a U2 fan since 1988, and a huge music fan since the mid 70's. I remember songs from the 60's when they were new songs. Yes, I'm old ;) U2-old. You call it.

This was supposed to be a review. But how do you just write a review about a life-changing album? I don't know how long this feeling will last, but this album has calmed me, even more than Coldplay's Rush Of Blood To The Head.

I always considered The Joshua Tree a miracle of an album, with the best opening three I have ever heard. It's still a miracle. And so is this. Which makes sense, because I consider it to have the best closing four I have ever heard.

The magic is back.

1 - Vertigo (8.5) - Very fun, and not very substantial rock tune. This is just as fun as it was from the beginning, which surprises me. Yes, Bono proved that the Edge can do the Hives and White Stripes better than they can, if that was the true goal. It is very smart that they made this the lead single, because it sets everyone up to listen to the whole thing before they realize that the rest of the album is not really like it at all. It sucks you in, and once it has you in its grip, the beauty of Miracle Drug envelopes you before you have a chance to complain that this isn't a hard rock album. At that point you are now accepting that U2 is best at what they do best-- being U2.
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83 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Mike London on November 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
U2, known primarily for grandiose convictions, an intense desire to be the biggest band in the world, and a huge, guitar-driven sound with soaring vocals, have become rather conservative in their evolution. Retreating from their 1980s work, U2 primarily focused on broadening their artistic pallette, bringing in electronica, techno, and other weird fusions. This created a problem with U2's fan base as the decade drew to a close, because the farther U2 strayed into the eclectic musical territory they were pursuing, the more difficult it was for the fans to follow their evolution. When U2 experimented successfully, they made some of the most successful music of their career (ACHTUNG BABY). Yet they grounded their experimentation with a sense of purpose, and they always kept their ambition within the elasticity of the fans' and critics' admiration. At least, they tempered their music with a good dose of rock in the early 90s. ACHTUNG BABY, one of their most experimental, evolutionary records, has been universally hailed by both fans and critics alike as some of their most significant music. ACHTUNG BABY set the course for much of the decade, with U2 going more and more into post-modernism.

Then the 1997 nadir POP happened. Not that POP was necessarily a BAD album. Instead of sounding a natural progression of the band's ambition, the experimentation never really gelled, much like R.E.M.'s UP. POP comes across as torn between two different directions - the anthem-driven, spiritually aware U2 lamenting a loss world, and a strange, dance-driven beat that is supposed to celebrate living with almost primitive desire, instead of commenting on the moral and social decline of earth.
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Topic From this Discussion
"U2 Fans"?
I agree that progress is very subjective in regards to U2. I don't find the past two albums to be subpar at all and I found significant "progress" being made. Just because U2 acknowledges and embraces its past doesn't mean they've taken a step backward.

I love the U2 of the 90s. ... Read More
Sep 12, 2007 by Jeffrey Rickel |  See all 5 posts
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