All That You Can't Leave Behind

by U2
  • Record Label: PolyGram
  • Release Date: Oct 31, 2000
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. 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.
  2. The chaotic electronic density of U2's last few efforts has been replaced by sticky, bite-size tunes -- sporting candy-sweet choruses that are often underlined by unabashed words of love.
  3. 60
    Although devoted fans will welcome this straight-down-the-middle approach with open arms, those on the fringes who were intrigued by their tinkering will find it lacks some of the vibrancy of their recent artistic adventurousness.
  4. Checkout.com
    70
    The bottom-line is that while All is a good album, it isn't a great one.... All largely rides somewhere in the '80s, hitting a few heights (the ruminative "New York"), while occasionally missing the target altogether ("Peace on Earth").
  5. Despite the almost universal hyperbole that has greeted 'All That You Can't Leave Behind', this is no masterpiece. Certainly not by U2's stratospheric standards.
  6. 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.
  7. It's full of anthemic songs with echoing guitar, catchy choruses, and the kind of spacious production Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno also brought to The Joshua Tree.
  8. Subtle breakbeat drumming and glistening guitar be damned, Bono will ruin a song. And so the story goes for the entire album-- one of the band's finest, if not for the tweeting and hooting of The Fly and his grating lyrics.
  9. Stepping outside of their natural environment ensured their longevity in the '90s, stepping back in seems to have given them a fresh boost. For all Zooropa and Pop's pushing of the envelope, limiting themselves to rock's core ingredients has given the band a new challenge. Certainly, not since The Joshua Tree have U2 sounded so like U2 but, with songs of this startling calibre, right now being U2 is no bad thing.
  10. U2's tenth studio album and third masterpiece, All That You Can't Leave Behind, is all about the simple melding of craft and song.... The album represents the most uninterrupted collection of strong melodies U2 have ever mounted, a record where tunefulness plays as central a role as on any Backstreet Boys hit.... Every track -- whether reflective but swinging, like "Wild Honey," or poised, then pouncing, like "Beautiful Day" -- honors a tune so refined that each seems like some durable old number. Because this is U2, there's a quick impact to these melodies, yet each song has a resonance that doesn't fade with repeated listening.
  11. U2 albums are generally slow growers, so it's much too early to label All That You Can't Leave Behind a classic. One can say with reasonable certainty that it's their most vibrant offering since Achtung Baby, their hardest-rocking one since The Joshua Tree, and their first true soul recording.
  12. Spin
    80
    Call it the happy aftermath of a midlife crisis. U2 is relaxing, reasserting some beliefs critics love to shove back in their face--most importantly, that uplifing art is not necessarily dumb. [12/2000, p.233]
  13. The band neither succeeds wildly nor fails. There are only a few reminders of the lackluster dance sounds in its recent work... Otherwise, what dominates are the straight-ahead rhythms that drove the early days.
  14. Ten albums into its career, U2's emphasis on its basics--chiming guitars, a war-themed lament here and there, the enormous choruses of songs like "Beautiful Day"--is a refreshing reminder of the group's core virtues. But in terms of execution, it splits about 50-50 between soaring hits and dispiriting misses.
  15. 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.
  16. They woke up one day, glanced around a marketplace where art wasn't mega anymore, and figured that since they'd been calling themselves pop for half of their two-decade run, maybe they'd better sit down and write some catchy songs. So they did.
  17. 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.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 132 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 56
  2. Negative: 11 out of 56
  1. Jun 7, 2013
    10
    This 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,This 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.
    Full Review »
  2. May 30, 2013
    10
    Excelente Disco A 3 Obra Prima,Depois De The Joshua Tree E Achtung Baby.
    Top All That You Can't Leave Behind.
    1-Walk On 2-Beautiful Day
    Excelente Disco A 3 Obra Prima,Depois De The Joshua Tree E Achtung Baby.
    Top All That You Can't Leave Behind.
    1-Walk On
    2-Beautiful Day
    3-Kite
    4-Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
    5-When I Look At The World
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 16, 2011
    10
    I grew up listening to this album. I cannot remember life before listening to any of these songs, and wish not to either. To those whom rateI grew up listening to this album. I cannot remember life before listening to any of these songs, and wish not to either. To those whom rate this with a zero, you have lost all respect from me. Full Review »