Author Topic: All U2 Albums Ranked  (Read 11886 times)

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Offline mdewater

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2017, 07:09:17 AM »
1. The Joshua Tree - A cliche favorite, but for a reason.
2. Achtung Baby - Front to back their best album for sure. JT only just nudges it out as my personal favorite.
3. All That You Can't Leave Behind - Very underrated. Side 1 especially is as good as anything they've ever done.
4. War - When the worst songs on the album are some of the best the band has ever done, you know it's a classic.
5. How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb - Deal with it. It introduced me to the band and it gets an unbelievably bad wrap around here.
6. The Unforgettable Fire - It's a shame the purely ambient vibe didn't last longer with the band.
7. No Line On The Horizon - Wanted to be a masterpiece, and honestly I think came close. Then Boots happened.
8. Zooropa - Any album with Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car automatically gets bumped down a few spots.
9. Rattle and Hum - I usually listen to my own playlist "studio version" of this and like it a whole lot more than the official album.
10. Songs of Innocence - Still hard to place. Will likely change depending on what SOE and the following (?) album are like.
11. Boy - This probably deserves to higher, but I just don't find myself coming back to it all that often.
12. Pop - Sorry Pop fans. I just can't listen to this one all the way through without hating those awful songs towards the end.
13. October - Meh. Just so utterly forgettable, no matter how many tries I give it.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 07:10:51 AM by mdewater »

Offline Clarky

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #46 on: October 04, 2017, 07:40:24 AM »
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14. All That You Can't Leave Behind
13. Songs Of Innocence
12. Rattle and Hum
11. Original Soundtracks 1
10. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
9. No Line on the Horizon
8. October
7. Zooropa
6. Boy
5. The Joshua Tree
4. Pop
3. The Unforgettable Fire
2. Achtung Baby
1. War

That is such an unpopular ranking... interesting if you're being completely serious.

How so? Other than War being my favourite, I don't see much that's really out there.

It just clicked that you had your list upside down. lmao.

Offline Sonofabono

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #47 on: October 07, 2017, 06:32:34 PM »
This is hard. Top 5 are probably my actual top 5 albums. #6-11 are all kinda tied. 12 and 13 I just tend to forget about.

1. How to Dismantle --- first album that came out after I became a fan so got nostalgia factor going for it, plus COBL
2. War --- soooooooo good
3. Joshua Tree --- of course
4. Rattle and Hum --- first album that I really sunk into after I became a fan of some of U2's hits, so again nostalgia factor but also it's really good
5. Zooropa --- I love the sound of this record. From start to finish, might be their most cohesive.
6. Songs of Innocence --- partly cause I've listened to it so much recently
7. Achtung Baby --- I think the songs are more alive in the live versions; songs are good but not my favorite sounding record
8. Boy --- I forget how good this one is
9. Pop --- I actually kinda like Pop
10. No Line on the Horizon --- I go through phases with this one. Mostly I just forget about it.
11. All That You Can't Leave Behind --- frontloaded.
12. The Unforgettable Fire --- Maybe the most forgettable album. *rimshot*
13. October --- Great sound with (mostly) bad lyrics.

Offline an cat dubh

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2017, 12:20:49 AM »
1-3. Achtung Baby/Joshua Tree/Unforgettable Fire

Really, depending on the day, any of those three albums can be my favorite.  Flip a coin.  Then flip it again.  Often UF can be my favorite.  I love the 80s aesthetics of UF and the obvious and immediate Eno influences.  A good pair of headphones and Promenade is an audio experience I cherish every time.  It's transcendent to me.  And Bad may be my favorite track ever.  Bad is everything I love about U2 wrapped up in a seven minute barrage of earnestly impassioned vocals, relentless rhythm and The Edge's hynotic chime. 

Not much can be said about AB and JT that hasn't been said already.  In my book, AB is the more complete experience conceptually - but only by a small margin.   

4. War

The cohesive tone of the album and the impact of Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Year's Day on the band's trajectory and musical relevance can't be argued.  Strong songs throughout, including gems like Drowning Man, Two Hearts Beat as One and Seconds.  "40" took on a life of its own live.

5. Zooropa

Quirkier than any other release, Stay (Faraway, So Close) and Lemon are two of the band's finest tracks.  Daddy's Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car and The First Time will always be sentimental favorites of mine.

6. Pop

What was the saying?  Achtung Baby was the sound of the Joshua Tree being chopped down, and Pop was the sound of Achtung Baby being given an Ambien?  No?  Ok.  I was sixteen when Pop was released, and it was the first album released while I was a full-on U2 fan.  Gone, Staring at the Sun, Last Night on Earth, Please (Single Edit...I think) and even Discotheque will always find their way to any "Best of U2" Spotify mixes I make.  I'll never not love those songs.  Per capita, this has a lot of songs that belong in the Band's Pantheon.  I just decided I should have put it above Zooropa. 

7. All That You Can't Leave Behind

Starting the trend of overproduction that would haunt the remainder of the band's albums released in the new century and take away the passion and edge (pun not intended) of prior performances .  Also the continuation of Bono beginning to get a little too cheeky and smirky with his songwriting (which probably truly started on Pop).  A mole...digging in a as a handbag...and a can of mace...

The replayability of this album has taken a dramatic downturn for me. 

8. Songs of Innocence

We're entering the "meh" zone here.  I hate that because it contains tracks and albums that didn't use to be "meh" for me.  Also, 20 years ago, it was sacrilege to think anything about U2 could be considered meh. 

Every Breaking Wave and Raised by Wolves have hints of the classic band elements.  Iris (Hold Me Close) and Sleep Like a Baby Tonight are favorites of mine though I'm not many will agree with the latter.  Otherwise the album feels way too glossy especially if this was the nod to the younger iteration of the band that they claimed it was.

9. Boy

It's got chops.  And I've written too much already. 

10. October

I like it but don't expect others to.  There's a beautiful melancholy to October, Scarlet and Tomorrow and I love Fire for some reason.  When I took a trip to Ireland back in the early 2000s I made a photo slide show of my trip, 2 of the 3 songs on the soundtrack were October and Scarlet.  It fit perfectly. 

11.  How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

At times Vertigo and City of Blinding Lights are passable.  If you squint.  Otherwise a mess of U2 doing a very poor U2 impression.

12.  Rattle and Hum

Probably should be higher but now I'm tired and don't care.  Give me All I Want is You all day every day.  If Bad is my favorite all-time U2 song, All I Want is You is a very close second.  No other U2 song is as heartfelt. 

Also give me Hawkmoon 269 while you're at it.

13.  No Line on the Horizon   

Yuck.  I think there's a version of the title track I like, I just can't remember which edit it is.  And thus the tinkering is part of U2's problem of the 2000s. 


Offline ShankAsu

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2017, 12:31:50 AM »
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Passengers = side proyect (U2 + Brian Eno)

Additional personnel: Pavarotti, Howie B., Craig Armstrong, Holi, Paul Barret, David Herbert, Des Broadbery and Holger Zschenderlein.
I think you're too new on here to know this is a long on-going debate and I've always been vocal about passengers not being a u2 album. The other debate is that NLOTH is Passengers' second album. I agree, Passengers isnt u2

Offline Droppo

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #50 on: October 08, 2017, 08:15:14 AM »
1. Achtung Baby
2. The Joshua Tree
3. War
4. Zooropa
5. The Unforgettable Fire
6. All That You Can't Leave Behind
7. Boy
8. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
9. Rattle and Hum
10. Pop
11. October
12. Songs of Innocence
13. No Line on the Horizon

Offline imaginary friend

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #51 on: October 08, 2017, 09:17:13 AM »
Top level:

No Line On The Horizon

these seem to be pretty much set.

2nd level:

Songs Of Innocence
The Unforgettable Fire

These 2 are constantly fighting for position. 6 months ago, TUF would've been on top.

3rd level:

Original Soundtracks 1
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
All That You Can't Leave Behind
The Joshua Tree
Achtung Baby

Not much difference in quality between any of these; I've listed them in order of frequency of my listening to them.

Bottom level:

Rattle and Hum

I'm beginning to warm up to R&H lately - a year from now, it could be in the next level up. War, however, has aged terribly.   :(

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #52 on: October 09, 2017, 01:22:11 AM »
Achtung Baby
The Unforgettable Fire
The Joshua Tree
Songs Of Innocence
All That You Can't Leave Behind
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
No Line On The Horizon
Rattle & Hum

Offline TheOriginal

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #53 on: October 10, 2017, 08:49:33 PM »
1. Achtung Baby
U2 at their best in terms of songwriting and album consistency - not one mediocre song on the record.
2. The Joshua Tree
A masterpiece in creative vision and atmosphere. Alllll the hits.
3. All That You Can't Leave Behind
Both the easiest to listen to at times and the hardest-hitting at other. U2 embracing who they are and doing what they do best (nothing wrong with that!)
4. Zooropa
The coolest U2 record - a record that just sounds weird and one where U2 sounds like they didn't overthink it.
5. Pop
Dark, innovative: classic u2 songs infused with electronica that are bold and heavy.
6. Songs of Innocence
The most cohesive U2 album - no standout singles, but great lyrics and great narrative beginning to end.
7. The Unforgettable Fire
The hint of things to come - a dreamy, timeless record
8. War
Brash and energy-filled
9. No Line on the Horizon
A half-baked effort to be experimental - ends up feeling fuzzy and unfocused with moments of inspiration (M0S and Fez) and weirdly incoherent throughout (GOYB, Crazy, SUC)
10.How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Some amazing songs (Miracle Drug, COBL, OOTS) but the most generic and uninspired effort.
11. Rattle and Hum
Great songs, but U2 at their most annoying and pretentious.
Some bright spots (Out of Control, IWF), but songs aren't really there
Borrring (except for Gloria)

Offline NOLA Fly

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #54 on: October 19, 2017, 10:46:31 PM »
One more for the road...

The Immortals (*****)
Achtung Baby - The G.O.A.T. For my money, simply the greatest reinvention/album/tour in the history of popular music. It's the party. It's the hangover. It's the dark night of the soul. The wings that we were promised wouldn’t melt, do…and we’re left to survey the damage under the ultraviolet glare of the light above our bed.  I can't tell you how many times I've had this on endless repeat for days on end. Are you in love? Listen to “One” and don't pay attention to the words. Has your relationship hit a rough patch? Listen to “One” and pay attention to the words.
The Joshua Tree - A side one to rule all them all (WTSHNN and ISHFWILF are my two favorite songs of all time). There's an entire world in those five tracks: hope, faith, fear, doubt, love, joy, anger, sadness, grief, ache. Can't live with someone? Can't live without someone? They've got you covered. Side two is spectacular, as well; its only fault is the company it keeps. This album is so good U2 could center a tour around it.

The Greats (****1/2)
All That You Can't Leave Behind - Arriving at the dawn of the 21st century, ATYCLB finds U2 shedding the masks and irony and pondering what's essential. It's a soulful album whose sizable impact is somewhat out of proportion with its rather conservative (by U2 standards) parts--that impact no doubt enhanced for many by the events of 9/11 and the role the album/tour played in the healing process. The "U2 returns to their old sound" angle, I think, is over hyped, as apart from Edge breaking out the chime in a few places, U2 hadn't really sounded like this before. Throughout the album--from the euphoric blast of "Beautiful Day"; through meditations on love, lost friends, courage in the face of injustice, family, and despair at the brokenness of the world; all the way to the quite, yet resilient, hope of "Grace"--there's a lightness of touch and effortlessness that I love. It's also Mrs. Fly's favorite U2 album.
Songs of Innocence - U2 making an album looking back at their formative years is not something I would have thought they would do, but it makes for a compelling listen. Beautifully written and sequenced, the journey from finding one's voice and falling in love to confronting the darkness within and without has been on frequent replay for me since it was released. EBW and "California" are two of their best and the sequence from "Iris" to "Cedarwood Road" is one of the strongest passages of music U2 has committed to record. It's a shame that this album carries a stigma from the (ridiculous, if you ask me) controversy over the release. For me, it's easily U2's strongest release since ATYCLB. Rumors of U2's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
War - The third, and greatest, of the Lillywhite trio. I love the aggressive, gritty tone of this album. It sounds like a band of angry pacifists wants to punch you in the face and then take you to church to pray for peace. I dig that.
Boy - "We're a band from the north side of Dublin. We're called U2. This is our first [album]. We hope you like it!"  I do. I really do. I didn't dig deep into it until after it's emphasis on the Vertigo tour, but, hey, better late than never. That 19-20 year-olds came up with the sequence of An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart/Out Of Control is crazy to me. A fantastic debut.
Pop – Pro tip, kids: Finish your album before you schedule the tour…or else you might just find yourself under rehearsed and falling flat on your face in front of a stadium. Oh, yeah, and don’t get too cute with the marketing, lest you find yourself in the lingerie section of a K-Mart playing a B-side to a gaggle of media who have no idea what the hell is going on. Outside of that, though, the album itself is very strong.  Epic, even.  From the opening trio to the gut punches of “Please” and “Wake Up Dead Man,” there isn’t a bad song here. Sure, it’s not perfect (the pop culture references in “The Playboy Mansion” date it too much, in my opinion) but the material is so strong it almost doesn’t matter. It’s truly sad that this era carries a stigma in the grand narrative of the band and is largely forgotten by the band and the non-diehards. More people should know about this album.

The Very Good (****)
Zooropa - Sometimes your EP snowballs into an LP. It happens. But, really, what else are you supposed to do when your creative juices are out of control? I'll tell you what you do. You let Edge monotone rap over an industrial, guitar-drenched beat, is what you do. And then Bono is going to sing, fat lady style, over a German disco track. Oh, yeah, and then you conjure up five minutes of sublime gorgeousness in "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)" and get Johnny Cash to close out the show. Because you're U2 and that's how you ****ing roll.
The Unforgettable Fire – U2 gets moody. Goodbye, Steve Lillywhite. Hello, Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.  Full disclosure: I think this album could use some tightening up. Specifically, “Bad” could use some tightening up. The largest gap between studio and stage is found right there. Sometimes you just need to tell Eno, “No, we’re going to take another pass at it, thank you very much.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s still great, but it’s just a shell of what it became. That aside, this picture of U2 expanding their borders is a fine listen. It may be short on fully formed songs for my taste, but it does strike a mesmerizing mood and it’s hard to argue with the power of “A Sort of Homecoming,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “The Unforgettable Fire,” and “Bad.” A bold change of direction that set the stage for what was to come…
No Line On the Horizon – This is the one that hurts. NLOTH is a very good U2 album that could have been an all time great U2 album.  And I say this as someone who actually enjoys the middle three—I think they would all have made fine B-sides—I just don’t think they serve the heart of this album well.  In truth, I don’t think GOYB would get half the flak it does if it wasn’t made the lead single. It fits the album thematically and has great parts, but “get on your boots” just sounds odd. I think it’s another lyrical pass away from greatness. The other two are enjoyable and show that Bono doesn’t take himself too seriously, but whereas GOYB at least fits the mood of this album, these two just don’t, in my opinion. Also, I usually don’t fuss too much over names, but “Stand Up Comedy” should have been named “Stand Up” or “Stand Up (For Your Love).” Instant improvement—especially for an album going for an esoteric/future hymns vibe. Other than those three, my only wish is that the chorus of “Unknown Caller” had been given another pass lyrically as well, as some of the techno speak sounds a bit forced. Outside of that, everything else is top notch U2. I realize this entry focuses on the flaws, but it’s because this album feels like such a missed opportunity. It’s an “oh, that’s nice” middle sandwiched between brilliance.
How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - Unlike it's predecessor, HTDAAB does not exceed the sum of it's parts. On the plus side, however, it's got some pretty damn good parts. "Vertigo," SYCMIOYO, and COBL are all classics. I love the stomp and crunch of LAPOE and ABOY. And for all the hate they engender on this forum, AMAAW and OSC are underrated gems, for me. For what it's worth, I wish they would have used the live arrangements of OOTS and Yahweh, but everything here is really solid. And solid is not a bad thing to be at all.

The Good (***1/2)
Rattle & Hum - Ranked here due to the hodgepodge nature of it. Not a fan of the live/studio mix. The studio cuts are excellent, though. Every last one of them. 'Merica.

The Aight (***)
October - I wasn't expecting much the first time I listened to this, but was pleasantly surprised in the end. Side 1 is quite good and Tomorrow and October are beautiful. It's an enjoyable listen overall, but it is the low point in the catalog for me. 

Offline davis

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #55 on: October 20, 2017, 04:34:49 PM »
One last post...

Achtung Baby (Perfection, Life changing)
The Joshua Tree  (see above)
Zooropa  (exciting, captures a slice of life for me)
The Unforgettable Fire  (atmospheric, spiritual, soaring)
Pop  (messy and wonderful--the last time they became something unexpected)
All That You Can't Leave Behind  (a heartfelt full circle)
Rattle and Hum  (way better than I remember it being)
Under a Blood Red Sky  (had to include this as it was the record that started it all for me)
No Line on the Horizon  (flashes of brilliance)
October  (love the unsettled energy)
Boy  (the true songs of innocence)
Songs of Innocence  (a yeoman's effort)
War  (three timeless songs...)
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb  (the only one that if I never heard again, I wouldn't care)

Offline McSwilly

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #56 on: December 02, 2017, 07:41:56 PM »
1. Unforgettable Fire
2. Joshua Tree
3. War
4. Achtung
5. Boy
6. The rest are pretty crap, including both "experiences"

Offline guidowater

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #57 on: December 03, 2017, 10:10:25 AM »
Since there is a 14th studio album out now i think we can start this over...

1 achtung baby
2 joshua tree
3 pop
4 songs of experience
5 zooropa
6 war
7 unforgettable fire
8 all That you cant leave behind
9 songs of innocence
10 boy
11 rattle and hum
12 no line on the horrizon
13 how to dismantle an atomic bomb
14 october

But i have to be honnest experience is Growing on me dont know if it Will rise or drop in the future. But for know it feels like this.

Offline SwimmingSorrows

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #58 on: December 03, 2017, 11:24:45 AM »
1. The Joshua Tree (complete f****** masterpiece)
2. Achtung Baby (see above)
3. War (Great energy, great songs, great record)
4. The Unforgettable Fire (If Love Comes Tumbling and Three Sunrises were on it instead of Elvis and Indian Summer, it would beat War, but alas)
5. Rattle and Hum (A total mess, but I love it, Desire, Angel of Harlem, All I Want is You, so good)
6. Zooropa (A mess of a different kind, also thoroughly enjoyable)
7. Pop (Another kind of mess really, but such great songs)
8. Songs of Experience (First half has a few poor songs, but once Summer of Love hits, its smooth sailing)
9. All that You Cant Leave Behind (Falls off a cliff half-way through)
10. Boy (Has spirit, but also some forgettable songs and some less than stellar studio versions, Out of Control for example)
11. Songs of Innocence (Very consistent, but if I picked my favorite song from each album and ranked those, this would come last)
12. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (Sets itself on fire and runs around naked half-way through)
13. No Line on the Horizon (Falls off a cliff a third of the way through, although Cedars is pretty good, and Stand Up Comedy is catchy in parts)
14. October (Love Tomorrow, Gloria, and October, couldn't pick the rest out of a police lineup)

8 and 9 were the hardest to get in order.  They've both got some songs I really like and some lyrics I don't, and I think the production could be better on both.

I've tried to take off my rose-tinted new album glasses for this list, but time will tell how successful I was.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2017, 11:35:37 AM by SwimmingSorrows »

Offline redrunningred

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Re: All U2 Albums Ranked
« Reply #59 on: December 04, 2017, 07:46:26 AM »
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Passengers = side proyect (U2 + Brian Eno)

Additional personnel: Pavarotti, Howie B., Craig Armstrong, Holi, Paul Barret, David Herbert, Des Broadbery and Holger Zschenderlein.
I think you're too new on here to know this is a long on-going debate and I've always been vocal about passengers not being a u2 album. The other debate is that NLOTH is Passengers' second album. I agree, Passengers isnt u2

Some tracks are very nice and experimental. But then I'll Go Crazy and GOYB kick in.  Definitely not Passengers lol.