"No Line on the Horizon" - U2

Remastered Album (2019 Master)

Track Listing:

Background Information

In 2007 U2 started a program of remastering albums, and No Line on the Horizon is the last of these releases to be issued. The program includes all of U2’s studio albums, as well as The Best of 1980 – 1990 and The Best of 1990 – 2000. Neither How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb or U218 Singles has been remastered but both have been reissued. The program started with CD and vinyl releases, but in more recent years has switched to vinyl only releases. The lone exception is Rattle and Hum, which had its 2017 remaster issued in audio format on iTunes as part of the MFiT program, but has never had a physical release. Rattle and Hum was one of three albums were remastered as part of the MFiT program on iTunes, however, No Line on the Horizon was not remastered at that time and the 2019 release on vinyl is the first release for this remaster.

The remastered version of No Line on the Horizon was officially announced on January 8, 2019, with a release date of February 22, 2019. However, news of the release had arrived earlier. This release is only being released on vinyl only, but there is a digital download option if you purchase the vinyl, contained within the sleeve. The remastered album contains two additional remixes on the fourth side of the album, “Magnificent (Wonderland Remix)” and “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (Redanka’s ‘Kick the Darkness’ Vocal Version)” are added to the final disc.

The new remaster features a very clear separation of instruments in place, really bringing out aspects of the guitar and drums on some of the songs, and overall better dynamics as a whole. The song lengths are very similar to that of the original release in most cases being off by just a fraction of a second. There is little evidence that the songs have had their speed change as had occurred on the remaster of the two Best Of compilations. The two songs with notable length changes are “Get On Your Boots” and “Stand Up Comedy,” with “Get On Your Boots” being slightly shorter on this new release, and “Stand Up Comedy” being longer. This is due to the cut between the songs being moved closer to the end of “Get On Your Boots” and additional silence now present at the start of “Stand Up Comedy.” There is also some additional silence at the end of “Cedars of Lebanon” before the remix kicks in on the new edition that wasn’t present on digital copies of the original, but was present on physical copies of the release. Over all the volume levels are slightly reduced from those on the 2009 mastering as well.

Two versions of the album were released on the same day. One, is a black vinyl release on 180g vinyl. This is the version that will be kept in print over time. The catalog number on this release is 5797085, and the UPC is 602557970852. The outer package will contain a black sticker with white print announcing the contents. The other version of the vinyl was advertised as a “ultra-clear” version on 180g vinyl. This version on clear vinyl will be a limited pressing, and will not be pressed again after initial quantities sell out. The clear vinyl version carries the catalog number 7733839 and UPC 602577338397. The clear version will have a white sticker with black print on the outside announcing the contents.

Unlike the release of Zooropa on blue vinyl and The Joshua Tree on gold vinyl, these releases of No Line on the Horizon are not limited to one exclusive retailer in any one country and are available online and in stores.The package contains contain a 16 page booklet, and printed inner sleeves, as well as the download card. There is also an outer clear vinyl sleeve, with the “=” and the sticker denoting what the release is. There have been some reports of this sleeve being damaged, so if you have an option to pick between multiple copies, you may want to inspect this outer sleeve on the sides and at corners.

At least one variation was identified in this release. The team at U2Tour.de received an advance copy of the album in Germany. When opened, the release had a unique second vinyl (side 3 and 4) which instead of being crystal clear had a brown swirl throughout the clear vinyl resulting in an interesting design across the vinyl itself. It is not known at this time if there are other such unique copies. Also of note is that on many copies of this second vinyl you can see a “sunrise pattern” in the clear vinyl which looks like rays of the sun coming out from the center circle. This is more pronounced on some copies than on others. This pattern is not seen on the first disc in the set that we know of.

There was some confusion early on in regards to the release date of this item. Shortly after the February 22, 2019 release date was announced, Universal in Germany and several online retailers through Europe listed the release date for one or both of the vinyl to be March 29, 2019 instead. As the release date neared this was cleared up, and the release date of February 22, 2019 was used in most countries. Shipments from U2.Com began in advance of this date and many who pre-ordered the album received it early, a day or two before the official release.

There was some confusion in North America as well, where Universal Canada listed an early release date for the clear vinyl, February 15, 2019 and the regular release date for the black vinyl, February 22, 2019. It appears that stores in Canada did receive the vinyl for sale on February 22, 2019, although reports of shortages exist through the country, and Amazon.ca is listing a release date of March 1, 2019. In the USA, copies were available in stores on February 22, 2019, although Amazon.Com was also having issues fulfilling orders, pushing many pre-order expected delivery dates back to February 26, 2019. Even U2.Com appeared to remove the option to buy the clear vinyl for a period of time on the day of release, but have now opened orders again. We are told that more copies will reach stores in the upcoming days.

An interesting ‘sun rise’ pattern can be seen on the second clear vinyl in the set. This is only present on one song, “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” (Redanka’s ‘Kick the Darkness’ Vocal Version). If you look at the clear vinyl you see fifteen lines radiating from the center of the vinyl perpendicular to the groove. Why are these there? The answer lies in mathematics. This remix of the song is 125 beats per minute, and has a very constant non-changing beat. The vinyl speed is 33-1/3 rotations per minute. That means every four rotations the beats will end up perfectly aligned with the one four rotations prior, and as the beats are the widest part of the vinyl, lining them up like this leaves that visible pattern which can be seen in the clear vinyl. And based on the BPM, you will end up with 15 of these lines where the beats are overlapping which is seen here. You don’t see the same effect with the other remix as the beats don’t align in the same manner over multiple rotation, thus the perpendicular lines are not created. (125 beats per minute / 33.3333 rotations per minute = 3.75 beats / rotation, at 3.75 beats / rotation they will start to overlap when there are four rotations, and 4 × 3.75 = 15 visible lines)

Although there is only a single pressing of both, there is one noticeable difference in how these are sold. In Canada, Europa and indeed most of the world, the album is packed into an outer vinyl sleeve. The package is not sealed, and you can slide the vinyl out one end of the sleeve. In the USA however, the vinyl is stretch-wrapped, and then placed into the outer vinyl sleeve. It is the only country we are aware of that this has been done.

Liner Notes

Album remaster directed by The Edge. Remastering engineering by Scott Sedillo at Bernie Grundman Mastering. Audio master transfer direction by Declan Gaffney.
Director of production: Nadine King.

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