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      U2 expands Horizon with experimental album

      Hunter Sokol

      Issue date: 3/6/09 Section: Focus
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      The last three tracks on the album are the strongest and offer the most experimentation. "White as Snow" features a traditional arrangement with brooding bells, Hammond organ, guitar arpeggios, and sparse bass drum kicks. Adam Clayton's bass work and Bono's vocals are demure but drive the song until an unexpected brass part takes over. "Breathe" is one of three straight-up rock songs that really succeed on Horizon (the others being the opener and "Magnificent"). The track includes a syncopated rhythm until cellos and piano interrupt under another solid guitar solo.

      The album closes with "Cedars of Lebanon," which features typical U2 subject matter with really strong lyrics and remarkable harmonies. The song seemingly nails what it feels like U2 has been trying to do the entire album.

      While Horizon is largely hit-or-miss, it does add some more strong songs to U2's long history. While it doesn't offer the commercial appeal of the last two releases (outside of the less-than-stellar rock songs), it carves a new path for the band that doesn't like to get too comfortable in their success. Horizon doesn't have anything that holds a candle to their legendary '80s records, but maybe no one should be expecting anything like that from U2 by now.
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