The original was just scruffy, not gritty. It was unfinished and the vocals were not the best either.
The single re-recording has problems in that respect too, but the music is well executed for what it is, and I like that lilting guitar lick. The Talking Heads styled urgency of the original was lost, but it was an elegant solution. As always I will add that I hoped they would go in this breezy/elegant musical direction (Stateless, Flower Child, Summer Rain, Levitate) instead of the '80s lite mish-mash they eventually opted for.
I agree with the breezy, elegant direction of stateless, flower child, levitate, and summer rain, (love those songs).I find the chorus of sweetest thing grating and (dare I say?) desperate. Also, I still cannot identify it as a good representation of 80's U2- I will Follow, SBS, NYD, Fire, October, Unforgettable Fire,Bad, Pride, With Or Without You, Streets, Still haven't Found, Desire, AiWIY...... to Sweetest Thing?
? I cannot put it in the list of these songs which brought U2 to biggest/Best band in the world by 1989. Maybe it's because I grew up in the 80s but Sweetest Thing will never represent 80's U2. To quote Bono it sounds like "wallpaper music" and, as a result, should never have been released as the quintessential b-side/single over viewing an entire decade. Hence, it fails (for me) to be either a good song (see my previous boy band rant:-)) or a song to represent the decade.
But I did re- listen to the original last night and liked it as a quaint apology song to Bono's wife (which I believe it was written to be) but it will never be the a song to represent the 80's. As a result, sweetest thing (single) remains worst song released. Of course there are probably more who disagree than agree with me :-)