Now that Phish is all done, I'm pretty sure U2 is my new favorite band. I'd be open to other suggestions, and I know it's quite a leap—in every imaginable way—from Phish to U2, but there you are. Maybe I'll post soon about why I love U2 so much lately. One thing I will say (and it's an example of the stark difference between the two bands) is that I love the guitar work. The Edge is brilliant two or three notes at a time. His lines are not often blisteringly fast, and they're almost never complex, but he tosses a few notes together in such a perfect way...I love it.
Anyway, I picked up "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" on its release date a week ago. (I got it for a scant $8.99 at my local Circuit City. I tried to support local businesses first, but the two record stores near me were both closed when I stopped by.) With Thanksgiving Day following shortly thereafter, I have not been able to listen to it much, but I've given it 2 full spins, and I like it very much so far. The guitar work is great and ranges from classic Joshua Tree style clean delay to "Beautiful Day" distorted power chord riffs. The songwriting is quite good. The eleven tracks flow very nicely, and even the track that initially made me feel like hitting skip ("Love and Peace Or Else") actually seems very well-placed in retrospect, providing some grit just where it's needed.
Track 7 - Man and a Woman
A great melodic refrain with nice lyrics (trying this from memory, forgive me): "I could never take a chance/ Of losing love to find romance/ In the mysterious distance/ Between a man and a woman"
Track 11 - Yahweh
Classic U2 spirituality, a great song pleading for grace from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Musically and thematically, it is a perfect ending to the record.
I recommend it, and it's a great stocking stuffer if you're looking for music for that special someone.