Author Topic: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best  (Read 1781 times)

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Offline Saint1322

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2017, 11:32:04 AM »
Achtung Baby, because listen to it.

Offline riffraff

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2017, 12:58:57 PM »
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Achtung Baby, because listen to it.
yep, that's all it takes!

Offline pdk

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2017, 01:14:37 PM »
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Opening Argument: U2 is unlike nearly every other rock band in the world in that they have had more than one masterpiece album.  One could easily say that TJT, which launched them into stardom here in the States, would be the best...or the groundbreaking Achtung Baby is the point at which they really broke through with innovation and creativity.  But I put to you, ladies and gentlemen, that The Unforgettable Fire is actually U2's best album.

Evidence:

What was U2's output up through late 1983?  Three albums of raw, somewhat unrefined but kinetic rock & roll with some real religious imagery thrown in (Exhibit A: the entire October album).  They went into the recording studio in May 1984 with a completely new producer and with the intention to go in a completely different direction.  What emerged in September was a very mature sound with some real sonic experimentation and fantastic songwriting.

I present the songs as evidence and let them speak for the quality of the album:

Exhibit B - Quality Standout Tracks: A Sort of Homecoming, The Unforgettable Fire, Bad, Indian Summer Sky.  These songs set the foundation for the album.  Edge is doing some really amazing things with the guitar - stuff that he hadn't done on previous albums.  On A Sort of Homecoming, Larry has some really nice fills.  What really comes across on these songs is the backing instrumentation - it adds a lot of depth.  The result is that these songs are all very evocative of a - a haunting bleakness, if you will.  I think that the title track The Unforgettable Fire is some of the best lyrical work Bono has done.  The bleakness really comes through on the fan favorite Bad, which has become a U2 tour anthem.  Indian Summer Sky is the sister song to A Sort of Homecoming in that they both have a driving power and soaring vocals.

Exhibit C - The Radio Single: Pride is a really good tune...and not just because it got a lot of radio play. 

Exhibit D - Deep Cuts, Experimental Stuff and the Closer: Wire is a deep cut that I like...I think Edge's starting guitar riff and the way the song unfolds at the outset is really neat.  Does it sound a bit dated?  Perhaps.  But I can appreciate it for its time and place.  On vinyl, Promenade is another deep cut that closes out side A perfectly before the runout - Bono's lyrics are super easy for me to put in a visualization.  It's a nice break from the rest of Side A, which is a bit uptempo.  This song has long been a favorite of mine; I think the instrumentation around the crescendo (Oh...tell me...part) is really the best feature of this song.  I classify 4th of July and Elvis Presley in America as the  experiments of the album.  4th of July is a brief bass-driven interlude to open side B before the anthemic Bad; it's a rare moment when Adam gets to shine.  Elvis Presley is very Eno: he took A Sort of Homecoming, spun it backward, and had Bono do some free verse over it.  It is what it is (I like it, but I can understand why others might not).  I appreciate that it was created in the moment - it represents U2 taking chances - contrast this with the very corporate, nothing released without years of analysis, design, and anticipation by today's U2.  For an experimental, improvisational track it has a very nice structure to it - including a chorus, playful vocals, and great sounds.  MLK is a 130 second closer song with a really nice set of lyrics and a very reverb background.  It's a bit of a hymn, and it serves to end the album well.

Closing Argument: on The Unforgettable Fire, you have four anchor tracks with very expressive elements.  Those four tracks are spread well across the album - which results in a consistent feel across the album.  The second song of the album is the radio hit, designed to draw new U2 listeners in - I think we can agree at this point that Pride accomplished its mission.  Interspersed between these tracks are quality deep cuts and shorter experimental songs that serve as pallete cleansers from the mood of the rest of the album.  This is an album of introspection, of thought, but also of beautiful sonic textures and far reaching vocals.  I am confident that, based on the exhibits I have presented, you will have to agree that the album is U2's best work.

This album was so important.  I always look at this album where they really developed their paint-box and the majority of sounds that define them to this day.

The Joshua Tree to me was a companion and where I perceived they focused all that musical development into "proper" songs.   The FIRST time I heard TJT I heard the connection strongly.

Overall, I prefer the type of ambition present on UF versus the TJT.  I'm still waiting for a follow-up to the UF approach and... journey of musical discovery/growth.

Not using DJ's or enhancements... but their instruments.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 01:17:24 PM by pdk »

Offline scott7

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2017, 03:06:58 PM »
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Opening Argument: U2 is unlike nearly every other rock band in the world in that they have had more than one masterpiece album.  One could easily say that TJT, which launched them into stardom here in the States, would be the best...or the groundbreaking Achtung Baby is the point at which they really broke through with innovation and creativity.  But I put to you, ladies and gentlemen, that The Unforgettable Fire is actually U2's best album.

Evidence:

What was U2's output up through late 1983?  Three albums of raw, somewhat unrefined but kinetic rock & roll with some real religious imagery thrown in (Exhibit A: the entire October album).  They went into the recording studio in May 1984 with a completely new producer and with the intention to go in a completely different direction.  What emerged in September was a very mature sound with some real sonic experimentation and fantastic songwriting.

I present the songs as evidence and let them speak for the quality of the album:

Exhibit B - Quality Standout Tracks: A Sort of Homecoming, The Unforgettable Fire, Bad, Indian Summer Sky.  These songs set the foundation for the album.  Edge is doing some really amazing things with the guitar - stuff that he hadn't done on previous albums.  On A Sort of Homecoming, Larry has some really nice fills.  What really comes across on these songs is the backing instrumentation - it adds a lot of depth.  The result is that these songs are all very evocative of a - a haunting bleakness, if you will.  I think that the title track The Unforgettable Fire is some of the best lyrical work Bono has done.  The bleakness really comes through on the fan favorite Bad, which has become a U2 tour anthem.  Indian Summer Sky is the sister song to A Sort of Homecoming in that they both have a driving power and soaring vocals.

Exhibit C - The Radio Single: Pride is a really good tune...and not just because it got a lot of radio play. 

Exhibit D - Deep Cuts, Experimental Stuff and the Closer: Wire is a deep cut that I like...I think Edge's starting guitar riff and the way the song unfolds at the outset is really neat.  Does it sound a bit dated?  Perhaps.  But I can appreciate it for its time and place.  On vinyl, Promenade is another deep cut that closes out side A perfectly before the runout - Bono's lyrics are super easy for me to put in a visualization.  It's a nice break from the rest of Side A, which is a bit uptempo.  This song has long been a favorite of mine; I think the instrumentation around the crescendo (Oh...tell me...part) is really the best feature of this song.  I classify 4th of July and Elvis Presley in America as the  experiments of the album.  4th of July is a brief bass-driven interlude to open side B before the anthemic Bad; it's a rare moment when Adam gets to shine.  Elvis Presley is very Eno: he took A Sort of Homecoming, spun it backward, and had Bono do some free verse over it.  It is what it is (I like it, but I can understand why others might not).  I appreciate that it was created in the moment - it represents U2 taking chances - contrast this with the very corporate, nothing released without years of analysis, design, and anticipation by today's U2.  For an experimental, improvisational track it has a very nice structure to it - including a chorus, playful vocals, and great sounds.  MLK is a 130 second closer song with a really nice set of lyrics and a very reverb background.  It's a bit of a hymn, and it serves to end the album well.

Closing Argument: on The Unforgettable Fire, you have four anchor tracks with very expressive elements.  Those four tracks are spread well across the album - which results in a consistent feel across the album.  The second song of the album is the radio hit, designed to draw new U2 listeners in - I think we can agree at this point that Pride accomplished its mission.  Interspersed between these tracks are quality deep cuts and shorter experimental songs that serve as pallete cleansers from the mood of the rest of the album.  This is an album of introspection, of thought, but also of beautiful sonic textures and far reaching vocals.  I am confident that, based on the exhibits I have presented, you will have to agree that the album is U2's best work.

This album was so important.  I always look at this album where they really developed their paint-box and the majority of sounds that define them to this day.

The Joshua Tree to me was a companion and where I perceived they focused all that musical development into "proper" songs.   The FIRST time I heard TJT I heard the connection strongly.

Overall, I prefer the type of ambition present on UF versus the TJT.  I'm still waiting for a follow-up to the UF approach and... journey of musical discovery/growth.

Not using DJ's or enhancements... but their instruments.

Couldn't agree more guys or put it better. They were at their musical and lyrical best on TUF. They own the colours and atmospheres they created then. It was true innovation and music that truly took you to another place. The album is their best almost because of A sort of homecoming alone and its intro in particular. Never been beaten.

Offline Hawkmoon2e

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2017, 05:51:23 PM »
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They own the colours and atmospheres they created then. It was true innovation and music that truly took you to another place.

Thatís a good way to put it. I often think of U2 albums in terms of colors. The first 3 always have black, white and some gray imagery. Thatís not always a bad thing, though, because itís more in your face music. But TUF is where the colors really set in and took shape.

Offline aviastar

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2017, 05:54:57 PM »
Not sure if it's true, but it is great urban legend: Miles Davis requested The Unforgettable Fire to be played as he lay dying.

Offline Canadanne

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2017, 11:55:25 AM »
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Me, my top tied two are Zooropa and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.

I'm pleased that someone here appreciates what an excellent album HTDAAB is. It's my second favourite after Achtung Baby - both albums that are all killer, no filler, just back-to-back perfectly crafted songs that didn't need any time to grow on me.

More than any other U2 album, Achtung Baby feels like the night, which is the best part of the day. LIB contains the lyric "I don't wanna see / Won't you wrap the night around me?", and the whole album has a thrilling, comforting darkness about it. From the giddy euphoria of Zoo Station to the final slow-dance into hell, it's a fully immersive experience where every part of the journey is just mind-blowingly great - there's not a single tiny detail I would change. Bono's voice is the best it ever sounded, and I love his processed vocals on the opening track. The utter perfection of One is properly spine-tingling; it's almost too good to be the creation of mere mortals. It's clever how they take Biblical imagery and transform it into universally accessible love songs (UTEOTW, Mysterious Ways). So Cruel is a thing of stunning beauty. It's the most rocking album of them all - nothing makes me feel more alive than The Fly's guitar riff (and *oh*, that falsetto chorus). And then there is the passion and desperation of Ultra Violet, and the defiance of Acrobat... how can one album have SO MANY indescribably superb songs? It's confident, sexy, deep, poetic, layered and flawless. Even the booklet smells amazing. And of course the album is even more impressive as a sonic reinvention and a healing process for the band, plus it had the best promotion and tour that the world will ever see. In short, Achtung Baby is head and shoulders above everything else by U2 or any other band. A true masterpiece.

As for the best album released since I became a fan, HTDAAB simply has everything. It's exciting and fun, it sounds fantastic from start to finish, it rocks in places and is incredibly poignant in others... there's romance and bitterness and even a sense of humour, with some amusingly quirky lyrics. Unlike most U2 albums, there aren't any weakish tracks to drag down the overall star rating. It was so much better than expected that I literally cried with happiness throughout my first spin of the album, and couldn't wait to listen again and again - it didn't leave my CD player for months.
Vertigo has been played so much that I guess it's lost some of its initial impact, but that single was such a brilliant surprise when I first heard it, with the kind of groove and attitude that I never thought we would hear again. SYCMIOYO is so bittersweet, I can almost never get through it without becoming choked up. Hidden behind the weird hippie title of Love And Peace Or Else is an explosive *beast* of a song, dripping with the same delicious darkness that I love on Achtung Baby; I don't have the words for how awesome that guitar outro is. City Of Blinding Lights is everything I hoped it would be and more - the way that intro builds, the structure and energy and the glorious beauty of it. All Because Of You is another one I really enjoy rocking out to. A Man And A Woman is just gorgeous in every way - gorgeous melody, gorgeous lyrics, gorgeous vocals... one of the tracks I immediately had to replay when the album finished. Original Of The Species is particularly lovely too. Yahweh didn't sound like a promising title, but it positively bursts with the kind of pure joy you rarely hear on U2 records. And just so we don't have to end on a heartbreak, we then get the sexy playfulness of Fast Cars to leave me dancing and smiling (which is also a rare thing at the conclusion of a U2 album). I love how the very last thing you hear is someone in the studio remark "Pretty cool" - talk about an understatement! This album makes me FEEL STUFF and all of that stuff is good. It's a big, bold album that knows what it's doing and just *works*. I felt really proud to be a fan during this era and I'm glad it was hugely successful for them - it deserved to be.

Not saying there aren't plenty of songs on other albums that I love more, but as complete albums, these two are the most solid for me.

Are you going to expand on why you love your favourites, Ian? As someone who adores them both, I would like to read your thoughts. :)

Offline Magnificent

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2017, 03:54:50 AM »
Takes all sorts I guess. I would have HTDAAB down as the worst U2 album. It was the start of the decline and just a dull boring trying to please album.

As for the best it has to be Achtung Baby. The album on it's own is amazing but to tie that in with u2 reinventing themselves as well as the pressure of following up the huge success of the Joshua Tree and the stick they got for R&H makes it number 1

As was said earlier it also had the best tour by any band ever. It ruined all other concerts for me since......

Offline Canadanne

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2017, 10:33:25 AM »
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Takes all sorts I guess. I would have HTDAAB down as the worst U2 album. It was the start of the decline and just a dull boring trying to please album.

The OP specifically requested that people "Don't s#!t on other albums". Can we not have ONE thread where fans are allowed to praise HTDAAB without others posting their dismissive criticisms in response? I'm so tired of this negativity derailing just about every positive thread on the forum. Please, save it for the "worst" polls and debates where it's actually on topic.

Offline tigerfan41

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2017, 10:38:28 AM »
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Takes all sorts I guess. I would have HTDAAB down as the worst U2 album. It was the start of the decline and just a dull boring trying to please album.

The OP specifically requested that people "Don't s#!t on other albums". Can we not have ONE thread where fans are allowed to praise HTDAAB without others posting their dismissive criticisms in response? I'm so tired of this negativity derailing just about every positive thread on the forum. Please, save it for the "worst" polls and debates where it's actually on topic.

Agreed. I don't understand the negativity for HTDAAB, but that discussion is for another thread. To me, it's a solid pop-rock record with some great songs. Probably my favorite album of theirs since '00 and it's tied with ATYCLB in my book. Obviously, it's very different from the stuff U2 put out in the 80s/90s, but so what? If they execute it well, that's really all that matters to me as a fan. And if it happens to be a fan's favorite U2 album? Good for them. I wouldn't want them to **** on my love for "Achtung Baby" so who am I to judge?

Offline aviastar

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2017, 01:04:29 PM »
I think HTDAAB is a pretty solid album.  It's got some really good tracks - I generally put Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own and City of Blinding Lights on my U2 favorites playlist.  I also really dig the sound of Miracle Drug.  People dog Yahweh but I think it's a pretty nice tune.

I don't know that I could be convinced Bomb is their best, but I definetly can be convinced that it's a better album than I originally gave it credit for (the album has definitely grown on me).

U2 albums are like my (hypothetical) children: I love them all for what they are, in their unique ways.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 01:07:19 PM by aviastar »

Offline Thunder Peel

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2017, 01:43:39 PM »
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The OP specifically requested that people "Don't s#!t on other albums". Can we not have ONE thread where fans are allowed to praise HTDAAB without others posting their dismissive criticisms in response? I'm so tired of this negativity derailing just about every positive thread on the forum. Please, save it for the "worst" polls and debates where it's actually on topic.

This is why many of us hide our love for albums like ATYCLB and HTDAAB around these parts. You'll be put in your place pretty quickly for liking anything from those records.

Offline WookieeWarrior10

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2017, 03:42:48 PM »
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Takes all sorts I guess. I would have HTDAAB down as the worst U2 album. It was the start of the decline and just a dull boring trying to please album.

The OP specifically requested that people "Don't s#!t on other albums". Can we not have ONE thread where fans are allowed to praise HTDAAB without others posting their dismissive criticisms in response? I'm so tired of this negativity derailing just about every positive thread on the forum. Please, save it for the "worst" polls and debates where it's actually on topic.
It looks like a constructive criticism to me... Magnificent was hardly sh**ting on the album.

Offline Canadanne

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2017, 03:47:12 PM »
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Takes all sorts I guess. I would have HTDAAB down as the worst U2 album. It was the start of the decline and just a dull boring trying to please album.

The OP specifically requested that people "Don't s#!t on other albums". Can we not have ONE thread where fans are allowed to praise HTDAAB without others posting their dismissive criticisms in response? I'm so tired of this negativity derailing just about every positive thread on the forum. Please, save it for the "worst" polls and debates where it's actually on topic.
It looks like a constructive criticism to me... Magnificent was hardly sh**ting on the album.

I'm not sure what you think is "constructive" about Magnificent's review, and more to the point, this thread was not created for people to criticise albums - quite the opposite.

Offline mrsamrocks2

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Re: Convince me your favorite U2 album is their best
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2017, 03:51:10 PM »
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The OP specifically requested that people "Don't s#!t on other albums". Can we not have ONE thread where fans are allowed to praise HTDAAB without others posting their dismissive criticisms in response? I'm so tired of this negativity derailing just about every positive thread on the forum. Please, save it for the "worst" polls and debates where it's actually on topic.

This is why many of us hide our love for albums like ATYCLB and HTDAAB around these parts. You'll be put in your place pretty quickly for liking anything from those records.
Yeah there are a few very loud voices here that try to shut down any praise for the albums released in the 2000's.