U2’s latest release brims with hope and allusions to the Christian faith. “Magnificent” sets the tone as Bono sings of the power of love (“Only love can heal such a scar/ … Only love unites our hearts”) and his life’s purpose: praising God in song (“I was born to sing for you/ … Justified till we die/You and I will magnify/Oh, the magnificent”). “I’ll Go Crazy if I don’t Go Crazy Tonight” paraphrases 1 John 4:18 (“Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear?”). “Get on Your Boots” esteems laughter and friendship (“Here’s where we gotta be/Love and community/Laughter is eternity/If joy is real”), and suggests that Satan won’t have the last word (“Satan loves a bomb scare/But he won’t scare you”). “Stand Up Comedy” echoes the virtues Paul esteems in 1 Corinthians 13 (“I can stand up for hope, faith and love”). The poignant “White as Snow” borrows the melody of the Christmas hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” as it tells the story of a dying soldier in Afghanistan. He ponders a faith he thought he’d lost (“Once I knew there was a love divine/Then came a time I thought it knew me not”), then affirms that forgiveness is found in Jesus (“Who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not?/Only the lamb white as snow”). Other tracks explore the mystery of time’s inexorable passing (“No Line on the Horizon”), our yearning for freedom (“Moment of Surrender”) and the possibility of new beginnings (“Unknown Caller”).
Album closer “Cedars of Lebanon” includes the disc’s sole profanity, an s-word. “No Line on the Horizon” includes a mildly sensual couplet (“Time is irrelevant, it’s not linear/Then she put her tongue in my ear”). “Get on Your Boots” repeatedly describes the aforementioned footwear as “sexy” (“Hey, sexy boots/Get on your boots”).
No Line on the Horizon practically bursts with faith, hope and unabashed love—quite a statement when many musicians these days are more taken with themes of cynicism, sarcasm and general malaise. Given Bono and Co.’s deliberate appropriation of allusions to faith, the album’s most significant disappointment is its lone profanity on the last track. Apart from that instance and a light smattering of sensuality, the band’s 12th release celebrates life and faces the horizon line of the future with optimism.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.