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U2 Rocks Harder Than Ever

In their 26-year career, Irish band U2 has sold more than 120 million albums worldwide and won 14 Grammy Awards. In the 1990s, they experimented with electronica and other influences, but returned to their rock roots in 2000. U2's new album, "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb", rocks harder and louder than ever.

Critics and fans agree that U2 has returned to their original rock sound of the 1980s with their new album, "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb." Recorded in Dublin and France, the album went through several revisions before its release.

Band members say they were invigorated after their last tour and album, "All That You Can't Leave Behind," but that recording sessions for the new album stalled at one point. U2 decided to bring in different producers and reconstruct the songs.

The album title hints at an anti-war stance, but follows the belief that musicians should use their talent for something more than personal reward. U2 urges listeners to ponder death, birth, God, love, war and peace.

The lyrics were also influenced by the death of Bob Hewson, father of U2 member Bono. The singer comments, "it has taken 20-odd years to make this album. It's a very personal record, and the album title really refers to my father. I should have called it 'How To Dismantle The Atomic Bob. It's an incredible thing to finish. It's like getting out of jail. It's very important for us that it will be a great piece of work," he says. Bono also praises the guitar playing of band member The Edge, saying, "He's 'on fire' in a way that I haven't heard him in many years."

Along with the regular CD, U2's "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" will be available on vinyl LP, as well as two other CD editions with a DVD, which includes studio footage and performances. A collector's edition will be packaged with the CD, DVD and a 48 page hardbound book.

With the lights of New York City shining on the outdoor stage, U2 recently played a surprise concert in a park underneath the famous Brooklyn Bridge. Although the show hadn't been announced or advertised, thousands of people got the word from postings on U2's fan websites, and made their way to the show. Before the concert, U2 spent the day playing in the back of a flatbed truck that traveled the city streets as a film crew shot a new video.

The band will kick off an extensive world tour on March 1 in Miami, and will travel to more than 100 cities. The band also is among the nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.