* The production on that album is better than any other U2 album. Jimmy Iovine and his team got a powerful, punchy and atmospheric sound that just works for U2.
Of course, this is totally subjective. But Achtung Baby is actually the most well-produced album that I've ever heard, and there isn't much competition (in U2's discography, at least). With the exceptions of this album and maybe Zooropa, OS1, and Pop-- none of their albums are lauded for their production. R&H has no memorable production value, but when listening to any of the aforementioned albums I still hear new things with each listen.
* Bono's voice is at its absolute peak after ten years of constant touring and recording. Listen to the three-octave range range of Hawkmoon for evidence.
Hard to argue there. I love Bono's vocals on later albums for the variety... like The Fly, for example (it includes both him singing in a lower register and in falsetto during the choruses). That's only preference though. Technically, he was superior in the 90s, but he did have a more impactful/powerful sound in the 80s.
* It contains some of their all-time best songs in Desire, Heartland, Angel of Harlem and All I Want is You. If these had been brought out on an EP it would have been heralded a classic.
I won't disagree and say that R&H doesn't have any memorable songs. God Part II and Heartland are classics. There's something for everybody on this album, which is actually something I dislike... there is a difference between incorporating different styles and genres into an album and just slapping a few random songs together. See NLOTH, for example.
* The live tracks are well-performed, strong, atmospheric, three-dimensional. Listen to the start of Bullet The Blue Sky or the sheer power of Pride.
I haven't listened to the live tracks in forever, so I don't have much to say regarding them... but the one that does stick with me is Helter Skelter. It isn't good, and I'm totally aware of that, but it's a fast and fun start that introduces you to the album. U2 could have been better but it serves its purpose.
* Even the trio of Sun tracks (When Love Comes To Town, Love Rescue Me) contain their own curiously little atmosphere and it was the band being adventurous and trying something different - which we don't get much of these days!
You're right, it is fun to see them experimenting with this genre. Still, we all know that those songs suck!
* It's the last album where they truly sounded like a band playing together, without clicks tracks, overdubs etc.
I never realized it, but you're kind of right. Sure, some Pop and Zooropa songs are more conventional (Stay and Velvet Dress, maybe...), but R&H was the last album where U2 just jammed and focused on making good songs rather than obsessing over every last detail in the studio. I would love if U2 recorded an album in the style of Blackstar. That album was raw, unpolished, and had attitude. Especially on songs like Sue and 'Tis A Pity..., where Bowie recorded in the same room as the band. (I don't know if that's 100% true, but it sounds right given all of the noises he accidentally makes into the microphone).
* The final two minutes of All I Want Is You has to be the best (and most heart-breaking) album ending of all all time.
Meh. It's overdone and kind of forced, but to each their own. Surely it's more believable than something like Grace, though!
I prefer it to the Joshua Tree, War and anything they've done this century.
The Joshua Tree, as overrated as it is, still holds a few amazing songs like Exit that blow anything from R&H out of the water. War sucks, so maybe I could consider placing this over it. It is better than ATYCLB and HTDAAB, I'll agree!