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The Age (Australia), October 27, 2000

By Michael Dwyer

Comes a time when a rock band has to choose between acting its age and entering the Peter Pan twilight favored by the Rolling Stones and AC/DC. U2's third decade ditches the zany duds and club-culture conceits as Bono's most personal lyrics bring renewed gravity to the airborne, ringing choruses of their finest work. The album title underscores the self-referential quality of tunes such as Walk On and Kite, which seem to address the band's position as artists and people. Bono admits to his midlife crisis in New York, where the lure of hedonistic adventure is balanced against family life. Musically, there's plenty of reclaimed baggage. The Edge's distinctive, keening jangle returns to light up every other chorus; the r'n'b of Rattle & Hum resurfaces on Stuck in a Moment and the yearning soul of In a Little While; the upbeat Elevation makes sense of the wrong-footed experiment that was 1997's Pop LP. Most importantly, their 10th album finds U2's political heart beating hard, in time with their own. In the devastating Peace on Earth, Bono measures his own childhood against the blast of the Omagh bombing, When I Look at the World gropes for lost innocence, and the minimalist groove of Grace insists, as always, on hope. Far from a cautious stock-take after the misfire of Pop, All That You Can't Leave Behind is U2's first great record since Achtung Baby, nine years ago. But what other band would you trust to pull off the comeback of the century?

Copyright © 2000 The Age. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on October 27, 2000 4:49 AM.

Heartfelt Songs Of Experience Sung Proudly In Triumph was the previous entry in this blog.

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