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U2 Discography - U2 Albums - U2 CDs - U2 Greatest Hits

Irish rockers U2 remain at the cutting edge of rock music. Below we summarise the U2 albums to date.

U2 Album - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb - Released Nov 2004
This album will be greeted with open arms by U2's fans, as it marks a return to their traditional rock sound. The album is consistently beautiful like Achtung Baby but has shades of Joshua Tree in there too especially from Edge's guitar. A number of tracks are instant classics, such as the high energy "Vertigo".

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U2 Best of 1990-2000 Album - Released Nov 2002
The Best of 1990-2000 can be seen as an introduction to the reinvented U2 (Part One), the group who ruined irony for everyone. Gone were the mullets, canyon-scraping guitars and "locust winds", and out came the fly shades, leather and TV remote. Bono hid behind a mask, started enjoying himself, and the band began making the best, most interesting, diverse and rewarding music of their career.

 

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U2 Albums - All That You Can't Leave Behind - Released Oct 2000
If U2 hadn't used the title already, "A Sort Of Homecoming" might have suited this, their 10th studio album. All That You Can't Leave Behind sounds, at various points, like any or all of U2's previous albums, as if the band are sending postcards back from a protracted ramble through previously conquered territories. The euphoric first single, and opening track, "Beautiful Day", reintroduced Edge's signature delay-laden guitar solos, pretty much absent since The Unforgettable Fire. Elsewhere, the gospel stylings of Rattle & Hum resurface on "Stuck In A Moment", and the deranged, Prodigy-influenced dance textures that characterised their previous album, Pop, crop up on "Elevation". None of this should be taken as suggestion that this always commendably restless group are running out of ideas. Having spent the 1990s making three of the most bizarre and adventurous albums ever delivered by a stadium rock band (the consecutive masterpieces Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop), it's as if they are now trying to figure out if there was one particular thing they always did best. On the evidence presented here, it's that combination of U2's facility for the epic playing alongside Bono's increasing lyrical interest in intimacy: "Walk On" and "Peace On Earth" are two of the best things he has ever written or sung. All That You Can't Leave Behind confirms that U2's laurels are continuing to make them itch. -- Andrew Mueller

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U2 The Best Of: 1980-1990 - Released Mar 1998
U2's biggest songs from this 10 year period.

 

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U2 Album - Pop - Released Mar 1997
When this CD came out the music press dubbed it as "U2 gone dance". Well, it's far from that, (although some tracks do have a dancy element to them). This U2 album, their last of the 90s, is another class album that will stand the test of time.

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U2 Album - Zooropa - Released Jul 1993
Zooropa is almost perverse in the way it subverts every expectation we've ever had of U2. The world's most serious rock band releases an album of advertising parodies, Prince imitations, girl group tributes, taunts of rich girls and straightforward love songs. The album opens with the title tune, a vision of a near-future Europe that finds its common culture in advertising slogans and synth programs. As Bob Dylan once did with "Like a Rolling Stone", U2 takes aim on "Daddy's Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car" at a spoiled rich girl who discovers her life of privilege has sapped all her strength. Bono's vocal has a Dylanesque sneer, but the Edge's guitar and Mullen's percussion create the sounds of a snarled traffic jam and Clayton's in-your-face bass line throbs like a migraine headache. By contrast, "The First Time" is the most genuinely romantic track U2 has ever recorded. The most surprising and most pleasurable tracks on the album, though, are a pair of R&B infatuation numbers, "Babyface" and "Lemon". Nothing better serves overextended rock stars than a return to the music's origins at the sock hop. The results aren't always fully satisfying, but they do reveal an unglimpsed, unexpected side to one of the world's most celebrated, most ambitious pop acts. -- Geoffrey Himes

U2 Zooropa Album

U2 Achtung Baby Album - Released Nov 1991
Even though it was greeted at the time as U2's reinvention as a dance/rock post-modern revue, with a bit of post-Wall Berlin thrown in for luck, distance now shows that Achtung Baby is in fact a suite of extraordinarily perceptive and tender songs on the breakdown of the Edge's marriage. "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses", "The Fly", "One", "So Cruel"--it's as if Bono shuffled into the studio and said "Er, Edge. Was it a bit like this?" And the Edge wept until his hat became soggy. U2 fans will argue until the end of "Until The End Of The World" which is the best album in the band's exemplary canon, but with Bono sounding like a scorched St Paul, the Edge augmenting those electrified sheets of sound with deft funk-flicks and producer Brian Eno keeping it spacious, hot and holy, chances are, this is it. -- Caitlin Moran.

U2 Album Achtung Baby

U2 Rattle and Hum Album - Released Oct 1989
A classic rock album with an intensity carried on from the Joshua Tree, and an influence of blues, folk and country, which deliver beautiful melodies and powerful sounds.

U2 Rattle and Hum Album Cover

U2 The Joshua Tree Album - Released Mar 1987
U2 have made a lot of grand music, but 1987's graceful, powerful Joshua Tree stands as their masterwork. It is by turns moving, inspiring, and exhilarating. Each member contributes his best work, and each song shines. Would that all rock records were made with the same care, the same passion and invention. The ubiquitous opening salvo of "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and the tense "With or Without You" may define this album to many, but its real strengths lie in the brilliant second half: "Red Hill Mining Town," "Trip Through Your Wires," and the surging "One Tree Hill" (the latter being one of rock's - hell, all music's - truly finest moments). -- Michael Ruby

U2 The Joshua Tree Album Cover

Wide Awake in America U2 Album - Released May 1985
This mini Album manages to take one of U2's best studio songs and improve it, not often done with a live performance. BAD, the haunting ballad best remembered as their fianle at Live Aid is captured here in all its glory. This album is a great showcase for Bono's vocal talents.

U2 Wide Awake in America Album Cover

The Unforgettable Fire U2 Album - Released Oct 1984
An appreciable leap forward in almost every fashion from the group's first trio of albums, The Unforgettable Fire is its first with the production team of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. And while they take a strong hand in wrestling U2's music out of the mainstream and into a more individualistic area, it's the songs themselves that demand a more subtle approach. Moody gems such as "A Sort of Homecoming" and the entrancing "Bad" set the table for more explosive fare such as "Pride", "Wire" and the title track. This is the album that made U2 a career act, showing that their music could grow by leaps and bounds, even at the hand of another, without sacrificing its soul. -- Daniel Durchholz

U2 The Unforgettable Fire Album Cover

U2 Albums - Under a Blood Red Sky - Released Nov 1983
There seem to be two major camps of U2 fans now: Those who dig the early albums (good and sensible people), and those who only like the ones from the 1990s, putting everything previous down as "classic rock." But U2 only became a classic rock sort of band in 1984, with The Unforgettable Fire. The real early stuff, from '80 to '83, still comes off as edgy--and it's comparatively ignored. Here's a sampler: Under a Blood Red Sky is from a U.S. tour (1983's) in which U2 still thought of itself as a hungry little band from Ireland--and draws (fairly wisely) from the band's first three albums. -- Gavin McNett

U2 Under a Blood Red Sky Album Cover

U2 Albums - War - Released Mar 1983
The final album of U2's early period, before the group broadened its sonic palette and lyrical vision, War is a brilliantly conflicted album, sounding martial and majestic while its very purpose is to tear down false idols propped up by politics. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "40" take the subject of Northern Ireland's troubles head-on, while it's the subtext of "New Year's Day", which is about a sundered love relationship symbolic of a greater division. "Torn in two, we can be one," Bono pleads, as Edge's guitar scratches and snarls behind him. Songs such as "Two Hearts Beat as One" and the delicate "Drowning Man" take a back seat here, but they help make War a compelling and well-rounded album. -- Daniel Durchholz

U2 War Album Cover

U2 Album - October - Released Oct 1981
Recorded during aturbulent period for the band, this is U2 at their most vulnerable.

U2 October Album Cover

U2 Albums - Boy - Released Oct 1980
There's little in Boy, U2's 1980 debut, to suggest that this was a band bent on world domination. Indeed, there's a charming, if naive, coming-of-age urgency in songs such as "I Will Follow", "Stories for Boys" and "Out of Control" that may startle listeners more familiar with U2's latter-day bombast and stadium-scale theatrics. Bono's viewpoint, still tantalisingly vague and wide-eyed, showed that his penchant for strident polemics hadn't yet gotten the best of him; his anthems are those of a yearning Dubliner barely out of his teens rather than those of a world-weary multimillionaire. The band's sometimes-ragged musical chops work in its favour here, gently burnished to then-fresh new-wave sheen by producer Steve Lillywhite. If the Edge's dense, effects-laden guitar work seems overly familiar, it's only because this album was such a key influence on the whole "rock of the 80s" sound. Though not quite as moody or musically accomplished as October, arguably the band's first masterpiece, Boy still ranks as one of U2's best albums. -- Jerry McCulley

U2 Boy Album Cover

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