As hopelessly antiquated as it may sound in the year 2000, it's as if they decided it was time to write and record an album of very good, extremely substantial traditional rock songs with an underlying inspirational bent.... the new work focuses on songs, not sonic gimmicks, and the difference is palpable.
Now, as the group starts its third decade, U2 has found what it's looking for is good music, songs that ring with melody and hooks -- and meaning -- while still weaving in some of the ambient and electronic textures it explored on releases such as Achtung Baby, Zooropa, and Pop. The result is a richly crafted and filler-free pop album on which each song sounds like an individual work, calling to mind mid-period Beatles titles such as Rubber Soul.
All That You Can't Leave Behind returns to the grand gestures of old. Practically every song a potential hit single. Soulful, exuberant, at peace with its own clichés, this is one U2 record that will never be called antianything.... Call it their R.E.M. album, monster rock filtered through a sophisticate's restraint.
All That You Can't Leave Behind is a rock record from a band that absorbed all the elastic experimentation, studio trickery, dance flirtations, and genre bending of Achtung, Zooropa, and Pop -- all they've shed is the irony. U2 also chooses not to delve as darkly personal as they did on Achtung or Zooropa, yet they also avoid the alienating archness of Pop, choosing to return to the generous spirit that flowed through their best '80s records.
Jun 7, 2013This is music. One of the best albums in history. Once you press the play button, you will not be able to stop it. If you have good taste, that is. It unleashes with breakthrough hit "Beautiful Day", a strong super-inspired track. A song that makes you feel. A song that touches. Just like "Walk On", the most deep song on the album. "Stuck In a Moment You Can't Get Out" and "Wild Honey" mark U2's best pop moment, with their "sweetness at all". "Elevation" is rock song of the album. It's moving and shaking. It's strong. "Kite" is just as deep and beautiful as "Beautiful Day" and "Walk On". "A Little While", a pretty romantic song. A song that only U2 could make. Actually, this album is an album that only U2 could make.
The album moves into a dark zone. A "night zone", if you will. "Peace On Earth" and "When I Look At the World" have some of Bono's best lyrics, together with "New York", that strong track at the end of the album. So it all ends with quiet and calm "Grace", a beautiful meltdown. A beautiful closure to a beautiful album. And that feeling of willing for more. Willing to replay the entire album.
This is U2's finest work. Their greatest moment musically. No one ever got close to music perfection as they did here.… Expand
Jun 15, 2012After a decade of experimentation and the poor reception received by their last record "Pop", there was definite pressure on U2 to make an impression with this record but they certainly thrived on it. The opening sequence of tracks 1-4 is, along with The Joshua Tree, as strong as you'll ever find anywhere. The album maintains the quality levels throughout with absolutely gems like "In a Little While" and "Wild Honey". The only disappointing song on this for me was "Peace on Earth" which is preachy and sappy and gives a reminder why so many people dislike Bono. One of U2's best records which at the time brought them back to centre stage and returned to them the status of biggest band in the world.… Expand
Sep 28, 2012One song encapsulates this album in my opinion, the single 'Walk On', one of their greatest song, albeit a bit under appreciated. Great album, a bit unbalanced (the first 4 songs were some of their best works, the rest not so..). Not in the same level as 'Joshua Tree' or 'Achtung Baby' but still a classic rock album.… Expand
Nov 5, 2013This is a vastly overrated comeback. The album has momentum with the first three tracks, then goes down from there. A main problem is the production, which makes these songs sound bland and sparse. The main reason that this effort is commendable is because it's sweet and sugary, never trying to be something that it's not. Basically a caricature of a U2 album, ATYCLB is the sound of a band becoming elder statesmen, and that's almost always depressing.… Expand
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