U2: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

The Songs:

  1. Vertigo
  2. Miracle Drug
  3. Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
  4. Love And Peace Or Else
  5. City Of Blinding Lights
  6. All Because Of You
  7. A Man And A Woman
  8. Crumbs From Your Table
  9. One Step Closer
  10. Original Of The Species
  11. Yahweh
  12. Fast Cars (Bonus Track)

Personnel:

  • Bono – vocals, guitar, piano
  • The Edge – guitars, keyboards, vocals
  • Adam Clayton – bass
  • Larry Mullen, Jr. – drums, percussion, vocals

After the experimentalism of their work in the 90’s, U2 returned to some of their classic work with All That You Can’t Leave Behind in 2000. After the events of 9/11 and an extended world tour, (which included a Superbowl half-time appearance), the band returned in 2004 with How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. (The album title was taken from one of the lyrics to the bonus track, “Fast Cars”. Bono has said that the answer to that question is love.) The recording sessions saw production from longtime U2 veterans Steve Lillywhite, Brian Eno, and Daniel Lanois. In addition to the official album tracks, several outtakes from the sessions have appeared over the years, while others remain unreleased (including a collaboration with popular Christian singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith).

The album is dominated by powerful guitar work from the edge, giving it a much rawer rock feel than the electronic and dance-influenced material on the 1990’s albums Pop and Zooropa. The lead-off track and first single, “Vertigo,” received heavy exposure before the album’s release, thanks to its inclusion in an innovative Apple ad for the iPod. (Apple later produced a limited edition red and black U2 iPod.) There really are no weak songs on the album. They range from biting and/or pleading social commentary (“Crumbs From Your Table,” “Miracle Drug,” “Love And Peace Or Else”), to the tender anthems “Original Of The Species” and “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own,” (written for Bono’s recently deceased father.) The album comes to a close with the optimistic and prayerful “Yahweh”.

With this album, U2 cemented their position as the biggest band in rock and figuratively dropped this big one on the public. How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb went #1 in the U.S., as well as 10 other countries and produced 4 Top Ten singles. Over the next two years, it was nominated for 9 Grammy Awards and won all of them. The subsequent tour for it was documented on two different DVDs, as well as the theatrical release of U2 3DIt seemed as though the band that “still hadn’t found what they’re looking for” in the 80’s had now, not only found it, but was eager to share the good news. (Buy it here.)

Suggested Reading:

Christian Scharen. One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters To Those Seeking God.

Suggested Viewing:

Vertigo 2005: Live From Chicago.

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