Is He Kidding with the U2 Again?
I have always tried to keep a running list in my head of what I consider to be the top 20 U2 songs. Every time a new album is released, that list is thrown into turmoil for a little while as the songs jockey with the old in my personal estimation--and I need a fair amount of time for the new songs to seep in to really, fairly place them amidst the old. Well, some 14 or so months after the release of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, I think I have my new list cemented, at least lightly. And yes, it would have made more sense to do this after I complete my "U2 Canon" series, but, well, I wanted to do it now. So there.
1. Where the Streets Have No Name - My favorite rock song of all time, bar none.
2. Please - I wouldn't have thought U2 could pull off a jazz-inspired drumbeat. I was wrong.
3. Walk On - I don't think any song I have ever heard has made me want to play it louder than this one.
4. One - Slowly but surely becoming the one (hah!) U2 song that will be remembered in the decades hence.
5. Sunday Bloody Sunday - Maybe the defining riff of Edge's career, almost classical in its elegant simplicity.
6. Pride (In the Name of Love) - Bono singing higher than he should; a capsule definition of his career, in a lot of ways.
7. Bad - Live, the setting in which this song becomes truly incandescent.
8. Acrobat - A forgotten deep cut off of Achtung Baby, one of the most impassioned and desperate songs the band has laid down.
9. City of Blinding Lights - If you couldn't get to a concert (like me), get the Chicago DVD and revel in the way this song opens the show. Palpable chills.
10. Kite - Heartbreaking ode to a child; its sister song is below.
11. Beautiful Day - Crank it up on a sunny day with the car windows down and the breeze pouring in. Priceless.
12. All I Want Is You - Epic sweep, filled with a lush grandeur.
13. Original of the Species - The twin to "Kite," another beautiful ode to a child.
14. Mercy - I shouldn't include this, as it has not been officially released, but this song, which was left off of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb will storm the U2 faithful when it eventually sees the light of official day. Trust me.
15. Love Is Blindness - The darkest song the band has ever recorded.
16. Stay (Faraway So Close) - Maybe the most well-constructed song the band has written. In a just world, this would become a standard.
17. Gone - A forgotten Pop shout of a song.
18. When I Look at the World - A painful look at a God we can never live up to.
19. Mofo - Odd, isn't it, that it tool electronic beats to get U2 to rock as hard as they do here?
20. Yahweh - "Always pain before a child is born." Indeed.