Thursday, July 17, 2008

CD Review: War

1) Sunday Bloody Sunday
2) Seconds
3) New Year's Day
4) Like a Song...
5) Drowning Man
6) The Refugee
7) Two Hearts Beat As One
8) Red Light
9) Surrender
10) "40"
I hate to give a good rating to the world's biggest piece of crap and his equally pretentious band mates.  Saving the world is Batman's job.  Your job is to make music.
The amazing thing is that, 25 years ago, making music was the ONLY thing U2 did.  And they were good at it.  Their early sound, you know, before the Edge found out about the loop pedal, recalls the garage rock of the early sixties and the seminal punk of the mid seventies, with some political lyrics thrown in, belted out by Bono.  It's kind of like when Bob Dylan sang the blues.
There are hints of the rich musical scenery that defines U2's later work, but one could never picture the modern band making a song like "The Refugee".  That track sounds less like the rest of the album, more like an orgy between the Talking Heads, Devo, and the B-52s.  However, its story of a woman seeking refuge in America makes it a natural fit for this political album.
It's the strangest moment of a disc without many more surprises.  The other tracks are slight variations on themes we've already heard.  For instance, "Two Hearts Beat As One" could pass as a dance remix of "New Year's Day".  The band continues down that route with "Red Light" an original that sounds like a Prince cover.  U2 was one of the 80s' best bands, but that isn't saying much, and quite often does this disc display the typical predictability of music of that decade.
Brits have dominated rock since the 60s, but this Irish quartet certainly made a splash back in the 80s, and hasn't exactly faded into obscurity since.  U2 got to where they are making good rock and roll in a time when it was rare.  You don't hear about Duran Duran going to Africa.
**** out of five

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