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Wednesday 18 January 2017

U2 albums: the best to worst

Published 15/11/2015 | 02:30

Achtung Baby.
Achtung Baby.
The Joshua Tree
The Unforgettable Fire
Zooropa
Boy
Pop
U2
U2
U2
U2
U2
U2
U2

Our music critic rates the U2 studio albums from 1 to 13.

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1. Achtung Baby

(1991)

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A stunning Berlin-inspired reinvention that introduced irony and delivered emblematic songs like 'One'.

2. The Joshua Tree

(1987)

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Their biggest seller and an album that made them the pre-eminent rock band of the decade. Still immense.

3. The Unforgettable Fire

(1985)

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With producer Brian Eno on board, big rock anthems and avant-garde experiments worked beautifully together.

4. Zooropa

(1993)

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Recorded on the hoof, it was playful and daring and the sound of a band near the peak of their powers.

5. Boy

(1980)

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A very accomplished debut that lived up to their early name, The Hype. Youth's hopes and dreams captured.

6. Pop

(1997)

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Finishing it was a struggle, but there was much to admire about a fun album that threw pop shapes.

7. All That You Can't Leave Behind

(2000)

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A largely successful effort to revive their rock mojo: think stadium anthems and sloganeering lyrics.

8. Songs of Innocence

(2014)

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A grower, and the most personal album Bono ever put his name to. The sound of a recharged band.

9. War

(1983)

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Songs like 'New Year's Day' helped move U2 to the next level but there was filler amid the super-sized hits.

10. No Line on the Horizon

(2009)

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Plenty to appreciate, but much of it felt bloated and unfocused - a product of its lengthy gestation perhaps.

11. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

(2005)

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Big, rocking anthems abounded but they were more superficial than the hits of before.

12. Rattle and Hum

(1988)

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Some fine songs but the collection was maddeningly unfocused and didn't feel like a true studio album.

13. October

(1981)

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'Gloria' aside, their second album was the sound of a band in the mires creatively. Age hasn't been kind to it.

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