Tag Archives: Brian Eno

New Music: U2 “No Line on the Horizon”



U2 is currently streaming their new album, “No Line on the Horizon”, on MySpace.  I put aside my hatred of all things Bono long enough to give it a (relatively) open-minded listen last night.  While doing so, I wrote down my thoughts.  Now I’m posting those thoughts.  One, two, three, fourteen!  Here we blow!


“No Line on the Horizon”

Pretty awful lyrics, which is kind of a given at this point in Bono’s career.  Something about a girl being like the sea and her brain/boobs/vagina sounding like a seashell.  Or whatever.  There’s one part where The Edge totally cops Jonny Greenwood’s style, which is weird.  The Edge is one of the more distinctive guitarists in pop music, so I don’t see the reasoning behind that.  Not a terrible tune, but now that it’s over I’ve already forgotten what it sounded like. 



The intro sounds pretty great, and fortunately Bono dials down the histrionics just a bit.  You can imagine Eno shouting: “Pretend you’re just a cardinal instead of the friggin’ Pope!”  That is, if Brian Eno were from the Bronx.  This is actually one of the better U2 songs I’ve heard in a long time. 


“Moment of Surrender”

The intro sounds like Coldplay.  And then Bono’s “Rattle and Hum” B.B. King duet voice comes in.  Then it starts sounding like adult contemporary Christian rock.  “I was pushing in the numbers at the ATM machine / I could see in the reflection a face staring back at me.” Really?  Does Bono come up with his lyrics Lil’ Wayne style?  The Edge then phones in the laziest slide guitar solo of all time.  This goes on for over seven minutes (the song, not the solo), which seems like a good way to kill the album’s momentum.


“Unknown Caller”

Incredibly lethargic.  Like, who put Xanax in their wine?  I don’t know what to think about the group robot chant.  Nothing?  Ok…nothing.  And then there is another lazy guitar solo.  Overall pretty bland.


“I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”

At least this is a bit jauntier.  The lyrics are still pretty terrible.  I almost like the chorus, but the instrumentation sounds too “How to Dismantle” to me.  I’m hoping the title was written by Yogi Berra.


“Get on Your Boots”

Every man, woman, and child on the planet has been subjected to this already.  I think it sounds like DC Talk covering “We Didn’t Start the Fire”.  If DC Talk were retarded and Billy Joel’s first language wasn’t English.  The over-processed guitar sounds like a grunge band trying to go electronica, circa 1998.  Or U2, circa “Pop”.


“Stand Up Comedy”

I was almost hoping this was a skit.  Instead we get: “Come on ye(!?) people, stand up for your love!”  He kind of makes fun of himself with the line about being wary of a small man with big ideas.  Which would be sufficiently self-deprecating if I didn’t think Bono has been unintentionally making fun of himself for nearly 20 years.  The Fly is still buzzing around.


“FEZ-Being Born”

I thought it was PEZ at first.  But I guess there isn’t a PEZ, Morocco.  The high register keyboard is a little cheesy, but the rest of the song is actually not too bad.  If the album were more like “Magnificent” and this song, it might be fairly palatable.


“White as Snow”

A slow song with a subtle arrangement.  I guess it’s copping the melody of “O Come O Come Emmanuel”.  Why?  Because they’re fuckin’ U2 and if they want to redo a Christmas song on an album that comes out two months AFTER Christmas they will.  Not brilliant, but seems like it could be a grower.



I’m not sure there needed to be another song in the world titled “Breathe”, but at least this isn’t U2 covering Prodigy.  Or Faith Hill.  Or U2 doing the Faith Hill song in a Prodigy style.  Wait…maybe that would be genius.  Starts out pretty strong.  I’m not sure about Bono’s beat poet first verse, but the chorus isn’t too bad.  I’m having a tough time deciding if the second half of the album is really this strong or it’s just in comparison to Side A.  I don’t know why, but I like the part when everything drops out and the cello comes back in like it just got off the “Magical Mystery Tour”.


“Cedars of Lebanon”

Another dialed-back song.  A much better album closer than “Yahweh”, which is like saying an orgasm is a better way to end sex than getting your dick chopped off. 


“Get On Your Boots” Live at the Brit Awards:




Brian Eno vs. Israel

This video is courtesy of The Daily Swarm and has already made the rounds to other blogs, but I feel that it is worth posting again here. While the biggest news grabbers continue to be the “stealing” of Senate seats and the need for a college football playoff, the violence in Gaza is something that should be shaking us out of complacency.

Brian Eno is one of my favorite musicians, producers, and visual artists, but he has also done much over the past few decades to encourage peace and understanding among diverse cultures. I think that, while Hamas’ actions in the past have been extreme, it is important to remember that the people living in Gaza are every bit as human as the Israelis, and that the Israeli government should not be excused for countering terrorism with their own form of retaliatory terror.

An Experiment in Provocation
Stealing Gaza

It’s a tragedy that the Israelis – a people who must understand better than almost anybody the horrors of oppression – are now acting as oppressors. As the great Jewish writer Primo Levi once remarked “Everybody has their Jews, and for the Israelis it’s the Palestinians”. By creating a middle Eastern version of the Warsaw ghetto they are recapitulating their own history as though they’ve forgotten it. And by trying to paint an equivalence between the Palestinians – with their homemade rockets and stone-throwing teenagers – and themselves – with one of the most sophisticated military machines in the world – they sacrifice all credibility.

The Israelis are a gifted and resourceful people who fully deserve the right to live in peace, but who seem intent on squandering every chance to allow that to happen. It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that this conflict serves the political and economic purposes of Israel so well that they have every interest in maintaining it. While there is fighting they can continue to build illegal settlements. While there is fighting they continue to receive huge quantities of military aid from the United States. And while there is fighting they can avoid looking candidly at themselves and the ruthlessness into which they are descending.

Gaza is now an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly…and, surprise, surprise – they turn hostile. Now why would you want to make that experiment?

Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now ‘under attack’ you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn’t possibly reach an accommodation.

And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland.

I also recommend reading this article:

The Israel Rules

Brian Eno and David Byrne – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

Between the recording of Talking Head’sFear of Music” (1979) and “Remain in Light” (1980), Brian Eno and David Byrne worked on the sonic collage that would become “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” (a title lifted from Amos Tutuola) (1981). The album’s imprint can be felt today in everything from the melting pot sound-world of M.I.A. to the tape recorder ghosts trapped in The Books. The hallucinatory samples, disembodied voices hovering above and peeking through the funk, were sequenced using analogue recording equipment, making the seamlessness of the final product all the more incredible.

The track posted today features the haunting call of a Lebanese mountain singer over an eternal psychedelic groove that is equally indebted to Funkadelic and Fela Kuti, but one trapped in an aural mist that is distinct to Brian Eno. The Lebanese sample, sung by Dunya Yunis, was lifted from the six-LP box set “Music in the World of Islam”.


Brian Eno + David Byrne – Regiment From: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (Reissued by Nonesuch, 2006)



I was escorted before her on this day and stood before her as if I had been dissolved into vapour or no more alive and also dreaming of her terrible, dreadful, ugly, dirty appearance without sleeping.–Amos Tutuola My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, p.100 (First Published in 1954 By Faber and Faber Limited, new and revised edition 1978)