How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb Front Sleeve

How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
Front Sleeve | Purchase Album

Release Date: November 22, 2004

Highest Chart Position: UK: 1 USA: 1

Liner Notes:

Music: U2. Lyrics: Bono. Produced by Steve Lillywhite. Additional production: Chris Thomas, Jacknife Lee, Nellee Hooper, Flood, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, Carl Glanville. Recorded by: Carl Glanville. Assisted by: Chris Heaney. Mixed by: Steve Lillywhite, Flood, Jacknife Lee, Nellee Hooper, Carl Glanville. Mixing assisted by: Chris Heaney, Kieran Lynch, Simon Gogerly, Greg Collins, Fabien Waltmann, Ian Rossiter. Studio Crew: Studio Manager/Drum Tech: Sam O'Sullivan. Studio Tech: Rab McAllister. Guitar Tech: Dallas Schoo. Recorded at HQ and South of France. Audio Post Production: Cheryl Engels at Partial Productions Inc.. Mastering: Arnie Acosta at Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood. Assisted by Joe Bozzi. Digital Editing: Patricia Sullivan Fourstar. Pro Tools Assistance: Scott Sedillo. Catering by Cathy Addis. Designed by Four5 One Creative, Dublin by Shaughn McGrath. Direction by Steve Averill. All titles written by U2 and published by Universal Music Publishing B.V. except Blue Mountain Music Ltd (UK), Mother Music (Irl.). Album Production Managers: Sheila Roche, Steve Matthews and Candida Bottaci. Album Production Assistant: Sam O'Sullivan.

Track List:

  1. Vertigo (3:13)
  2. Miracle Drug (3:54)
  3. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own (5:05)
  4. Love And Peace Or Else (4:48)
  5. City Of Blinding Lights (5:46)
  6. All Because Of You (3:34)
  7. A Man And A Woman (4:27)
  8. Crumbs From Your Table (4:59)
  9. One Step Closer (3:47)
  10. Original Of The Species (4:34)
  11. Yahweh (4:22)
  12. Fast Cars (3:44) (Bonus Track)

Track List (Bonus DVD):

  1. U2 and 3 Songs: U2 Interview by Neil McCormick (Documentary)
  2. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own (Studio Performance) (5:05)
  3. Crumbs From Your Table (Multimedia Track) (4:59)
  4. Vertigo (Temple Bar Mix) (3:11)
  5. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own (Acoustic Couch Mix) (5:05)
  6. Vertigo (Music Video) (3:11)


  • Argentina: Island 986 782-9
  • Australia: Island 9867829, Island 9868181
  • Canada: Island 0249867829, Island 0249868180
  • Chile: Island 986 782-9
  • Europe: Island 986 782-9, Island 986 818-1, Island CIDXU214 / 986 817-7 (Box Set)
  • Japan: Island UICI-9007, Island / Universal UICI-1037, Island UICI-9008 (Box Set)
  • Korea: Island 986 818-0
  • Mexico: Island 986 782-9
  • Taiwan: Island 986 818-0
  • Thailand: Island 986 817-3
  • UK: Island CIDXU214 / 986 817-7, Island CIDDU214, Island CIDU214, Island U214 / 986 817-2
  • USA: Interscope B0003613-02, Interscope B0003613-00, Interscope B0003614-00 (Box Set)

Media Review:

Review: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

3 1/2 stars (out of 5)

By Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Ever since the beginning of their career, U2 had a sense of purpose and played on a larger scale than their peers, so when they stumbled with the knowing rocktronica fusion of 1997's Pop -- the lone critical and commercial flop in their catalog -- it was enough to shake the perception held among fans and critics, perhaps even among the group itself, that the band was predestined to always be the world's biggest and best rock & roll band. Following that brief, jarring stumble, U2 got back to where they once belonged with All That You Can't Leave Behind, returning to the big-hearted anthems of their '80s work. It was a confident, cinematic album that played to their strengths, winning back the allegiance of wary fans and critics, who were eager to once again bestow the title of the world's biggest and best band upon the band, but all that praise didn't acknowledge a strange fact about the album: it was a conservative affair. After grandly taking risks for the better part of a decade, U2 curbed their sense of adventure, consciously stripping away the irony that marked every one of their albums since 1991's Achtung Baby, and returning to the big, earnest sound and sensibility of their classic '80s work. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, the long-awaited 2004 sequel to ATYCLB, proves that this retreat was no mere fling: the band is committed to turning back the clock and acting like the '90s never happened.

Essentially, U2 are trying to revirginize themselves, to erase their wild flirtation with dance clubs and postmodernism so they can return to the time they were the social conscience of rock music. Gone are the heavy dance beats, gone are the multiple synthesizers, gone are the dense soundscapes that marked their '90s albums, but U2 are so concerned with recreating their past that they don't know where to stop peeling away the layers. They've overcorrected for their perceived sins, scaling back their sound so far that they have shed the murky sense of mystery that gave The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree an otherworldly allure. That atmospheric cloud has been replaced with a clean, sharp production, gilded in guitars and anchored with straight-ahead, unhurried rhythms that never quite push the songs forward. This crisp production lacks the small sonic shadings that gave ATYCLB some depth, and leaves How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb showcasing U2 at their simplest, playing direct, straight-ahead rock with little subtlety and shading in the production, performance, or lyrics. Sometimes, this works to the band's detriment, since it can reveal how familiar the Edge's guitar has grown or how buffoonish Bono's affectations have become (worst offender: the overdubbed "hola!" that answers the "hello" in the chorus of "Vertigo"). But the stark production can also be an advantage, since the band still sounds large and powerful. U2 still are expert craftsmen, capable of creating records with huge melodic and sonic hooks, of which there are many on HTDAAB, including songs as reassuring as the slyly soulful "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" and the soaring "City of Blinding Lights," or the pile-driving "All Because of You." Make no mistake, these are all the ingredients that make How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb a very good U2 record, but what keeps it from reaching the heights of greatness is that it feels too constrained and calculated, too concerned with finding purpose in the past instead of bravely heading into the future. It's a minor but important detail that may not matter to most listeners, since the record does sound good when it's playing, but this conservatism is what keeps HTDAAB earthbound and prevents it from standing alongside War, The Joshua Tree, and Achtung Baby as one of the group's finest efforts.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on November 22, 2004 8:19 AM.

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