Let me just say this: No Line On The Horizon is not the best record they've ever done, but it is nowhere near their worst (if they even have a bad record). For the fans that have followed faithfully from whenever, there is much to listen to. The casual fan, however, might get lost and wonder where tracks like "Vertigo" and "Elevation" ended up. I'm glad they've gone the experimental route, involving Eno and Lanois in the writing of many of the songs. The Edge is doing what he loves to do by crafting melodies and guitar hooks that get stretched out over aural landscapes as only Eno knows how. Bono's vocals are showing a little wear, but he wears them well on this record. His lyrics on the other hand, might be the weakest thing about the record, but not by much. He's challenged himself to write in the third person, creating characters that he can't inhabit - a Moroccan-French traffic cop; a soldier in Afghanistan; a war-correspondent. Bono as The Fly, Mirrorball Man, and MacPhisto wasn't a stretch; these are characters he was, is, and will be for some time. These guys are extensions of Bono on stage. By not writing from his point of view he may have shown his limitations. That said, this is sonically an ambitious record and worthy of most (but maybe not all) of the praise from the press.
Standout tracks: "No Line on the Horizon", "Magnificent", "Moment of Surrender", "Fez - Being Born", and "Breathe".
About the special deluxe edition; Beautifully packaged, the box set comes with a double-sided poster (one side of the band, b&w, against a wall in Fez, the opposite being the cover photo), a 64-page hard cover version of the magazine, containing interviews with the band regarding the recording process, and great photos by Kenny Morrisson, a DVD copy of Corbijn's "Linear", and the digipak version of the album (which contains the extended liner notes and additional photography by Corbijn). Is it worth the $90 price tag? If you are a die-hard fan looking for the complete No Line experience, then this is a definite must-have. If the packaging, poster, and a hard-copy of "Linear" isn't high up on your list of necessities, then check out the No Line on the Horizon (Limited Magazine Version)
, as it still has much of the same content and access to a downloadable version of the movie.