I missed the first play of the new single by U2 on the radio in St. Louis by about five minutes. Crud.The new album is called How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, and will be released in November. The DJs really liked the new song, from what it sounded like, so I must have missed something.
I know nothing else about it, other than the album was produced by Steve Lillywhite, who produced 1980’s Boy, 1981’s October, and 1983’s War before the band started its long and profitable partnership with Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno.
So my guess is this is will sound a little like the really early stuff, the same way All that You can’t Leave Behind sounded a little like Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree.
But it’s all speculation until I manage to hear it.
Is this the one that someone stole the master to?
Did they ever catch that guy?
Yes it is. As far as I know, he was never caught, but the recordings never surfaced either, which was their biggest concern.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to them. Some early Achtung Baby masters were stolen too. Those did leak out. I’ve heard them; it was good stuff but not very cohesive. Most of the songs on that particular master ended up being used as b-sides.
And All That You Can’t Leave Behind was available on Napster for a good couple of weeks before the album’s official release.
I’ve heard it now. Sound-wise, it’s a conventional rocker. Guitar, bass, and drum, without the synths and samples that marked so much of their work in the ’90s. Lots of energy in it, and I liked the atmosphere they made with the music. It’s in the same vein as "Zoo Station," "Bullet the Blue Sky," and "The Fly."
"Vertigo" means a confused, dizzy state of mind, and the music reflected that. The lyrics were even more confused. It almost sounded like Bono lifted words from old U2 and INXS songs, wrote them down on index cards, shuffled them, and then sang them. At one point, I thought of an aged, over the hill superstar trying to be hip and cool again, like that ill-fated project Neil Young did with Peal Jam.
I’ll listen to it when it comes on the radio again, but I think this song would be better in a concert setting, or on the album with other songs around it for context. Live, it’d work sandwiched between "The Fly" and "Bullet the Blue Sky," or I could see it in between "I Will Follow" and something heavier. But as a single, once the novelty of a new U2 song wears off, I don’t think it’s going to age very well.