No Line on the Horizon (4:13)

Cover of No Line on the Horizon

From No Line on the Horizon and 11 other releases

“No Line on the Horizon” is a song by Irish rock band U2; it is the opening and title track on their 2009 album No Line on the Horizon. An alternate version, “No Line on the Horizon 2” was included as a bonus track on some versions of the album. The song was developed during the band’s earliest sessions in Fez, Morocco, and began with a drum beat by drummer Larry Mullen Jr. The lyrics were inspired by a photograph of Lake Constance, titled Boden Sea. Many reviews of the song compared it to the band’s other guitar-heavy songs, including “Vertigo”, “Zoo Station”, and “The Fly”.

“No Line on the Horizon” was first developed the recording sessions in Fez, Morocco, and was recorded in one take. “No Line on the Horizon” stemmed from drummer Larry Mullen Jr. experimenting with several different drum beats; producer and co-writer Brian Eno sampled and manipulated the patterns, and the rest of the band began to play over it. The guitar in “No Line on the Horizon” was developed through a Death by Audio distortion box; the idea to use it was suggested to guitarist The Edge by Ben Curtis of the Secret Machines. After hearing the song Curtis noted that it “blew my mind… he’s using that pedal in a textural way that it wasn’t intended to be used at all.”

Lead singer Bono was inspired to write the lyrics after seeing a photograph of Lake Constance titled Boden Sea; the image had taken by Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. Bono had the idea of a place “where the sea meets the sky and you can’t tell the difference between the two”. When it came to recording the song, producer and co-writer Daniel Lanois stated that “the vocal happened very early on, that whole - a-whoawhoawhoawhoa! - that little hook.

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I know a girl who's like a sea
I watch her changing every day for me, oh yeah
One day she's still, the next she swells
You can hear the universe in her sea shells, oh yeah

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics

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  • BeNgEE4

    The first version that leaked on the net, and was floated around on youtube was better than the album version, a more euphoric chorus, better sound production.

    4 Dec 2013 Reply
  • bodysoulspirit

    Love expiremental U2 ! So much more complex then 3 notes ! This is Art, this is seeking for perfectness ! A pity few people understand this and want U2 to make easy hits

    5 Jul 2013 Reply
  • jdsramirez

    best opener ever :D

    25 Jun 2013 Reply
  • TioBonoVox

    U2!

    22 May 2013 Reply
  • PabloRH

    Fuckin' synth I'm gonna kill you for making fun of me!

    10 May 2012 Reply
  • JuniorMcCartney

    You can hear the universe in her seashells...

    25 Feb 2012 Reply
  • seanbonner1

    My favourite U2 song post-Pop.

    2 Nov 2011 Reply
  • innerspeaker

    This wins the award for "Best U2 Album Opener That's Not Called Where The Streets Have No Name"

    2 Nov 2011 Reply
  • jammyofstafford

    Wembley Stadium August 09 this was the first song they hit us with and the place errupted,a special moment that I,ll never forget

    15 Aug 2011 Reply
  • SongOSongs

    This is one of my favorite songs off "No Line on the Horizon." I like to belly dance and I think this would be a fun song to make a dance to. :)

    16 May 2011 Reply
  • iLoveDUB

    Can't believe I still haven't seen them after all these years!!!!

    3 Nov 2010 Reply
  • Grayson666

    Love it!!

    15 Oct 2010 Reply
  • _danton_

    a song that sounds pretty good first time ya hear it... by the third time it has ya. Awesome...

    26 Sep 2010 Reply
  • egyptianhead

    That synthesizer at 3:00 is making fun of us :( [2] lol it's true!

    9 Sep 2010 Reply
  • JackMcFearless

    I love this track.. I think it's the only song I like off NLOtH

    20 Jun 2010 Reply
  • The80sFan

    Great track with a superb rhythm and vocals.

    10 Jun 2010 Reply
  • Celestial_Sky

    Seeing them in about 3 weeks....CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!

    17 May 2010 Reply
  • dalmascan

    every night i have the same dream where i'm hatching some plot; scheming some scheme.

    11 May 2010 Reply
  • egyptianhead

    woohoo i'm a top listener

    16 Apr 2010 Reply
  • digitaldreamers

    Live would be great,.. I still love it here. Amazing vocals.

    1 Feb 2010 Reply
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