Monday 11 December 2017

U2 albums: the best to worst

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

John Meagher

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

1. Achtung Baby

(1991)

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Achtung Baby.
 

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

2. The Joshua Tree

(1987)

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The Joshua Tree
 

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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The Unforgettable Fire
 

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

4. Zooropa

(1993)

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Zooropa
 

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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Boy
 

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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Pop
 

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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U2
 

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

8. Songs of Innocence

(2014)

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U2
 

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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U2
 

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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U2
 

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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U2
 

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

12. Rattle and Hum

(1988)

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U2
 

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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U2
 

'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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