How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

Music review by
Tony Hicks, Common Sense Media
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb Music Poster Image
U2 gets back on track.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 7+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Love and optimism rule, though not blindly.


On "Vertigo" there is a reference to bullets ripping up the sky. "Sometimes You can't Make it On Your Own," references a couple fighting, and the protagonist taking punches for his partner, but it's not the literal variety.


Nothing overt.


U2 partnered with Apple.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There's a song called "Miracle Drug," that has nothing to do with real drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that unless Bono gets really angry about something, there's nothing much to worry about on a U2 record. The singer-lyricist still has much to say, but he does so in a way that turns the idea of protest music on its ear. Anger becomes hope, and he shows instead of telling people how to live. The lyrics on this CD deal with positive emotion, wrapped in music that's typically upbeat. Love and relationships are a repeating theme.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythe fly April 9, 2008

Must-have album for everyone

U2's "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" quickly became my favourite album of all-time for many reasons. First, there is no contraversial content w... Continue reading
Adult Written byKatie H. April 9, 2008

U2's best album

Some people may be worried about them joining up with Apple, but don't worry, they're not making anything off of it.

That said, apart from the awful... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byI am Running to... July 11, 2010

the besstttttt

How could you give this four stars?
and Sometimes You Cant Make it On Your Own isn't about a couple fighting!!!!!!!!!!! its about Bono and his relationshi... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byfloridagators02 July 6, 2010
I love U2 and this album rocks!!!!! U2 is awesome and appropriate for everyone.

What's the story?

U2 seems to be back from its 1990s diversion into whimsy and irony (let's ignore the big partnership with Apple on their iPods, which may or may not have already make a connection with your kids). While there are some straight guitar riffs that can relate more to today's garage-rock fans, the band manages to do it while getting back to the airy, moody echo of the Edge's best guitar work of the 1980s. While upbeat lyrically, HOW TO DISMANTLE AN ATOMIC BOMB has some stark points here and there -- especially on \"Love and Peace or Else,\" an obvious anti-war, anti-imperialism song, with references to troops digging in. Bono the poet wants listeners to draw their own conclusions on songs like \"Crumbs From Your Table,\" which could reference a bigger point or simply someone worn-out from a relationship. The listener has to think about it.

Is it any good?

Parents who appreciate good music, and want to pass that idea to kids without pushing some old guys on them, could feel comfortable encouraging their kids to listen to this. While some of the '90s stuff wasn't as resonant, U2 is back to a healthy formula of fresh music that can both relate to modern audiences and introduce them to U2's brand sound. It's a very good CD that pushes positive messages. And somehow, 25 years into their career, U2 still comes off as cool.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Bono is able to view the world, such as it is, with hope. How does hope help you cope with problems?

Music details

  • Artist: U2
  • Release date: November 23, 2004
  • Label: Interscope Records
  • Genre: Rock
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 20, 2015

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