Top 10 U2 Songs of all time

Today we thought about something on the lite side after yesterday’s story on Bono, who would have ever thought we would get so many comments.  Our collection based on our likes, of course we welcome your thoughts too. Also remember if your looking for a gift for the holiday we have a great selection of items either in our amazon story or our music store.

U2 has been around for over 25 years which puts them in a very small class.  Making that class even smaller is the fact that the music they’re making today is often as good as the music they were making in the early to mid 80’s when they first started out. In the two decades they’ve been together, Bono and the boys ( The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, JR.) have tackld many different subjects and styles of music and that can make it pretty hard to pick ten songs as their best. For now we will leave out No Line.

We think part of what makes U2 so great to listen to is that every fan could have a different list of favorites and it would be hard to argue against any of them.  A few other AC Content producers have already published their take on the Top Ten Songs by U2.  Here are our ten favorite U2 songs along with a few brief comments on why we love them enough to put them on this list.

10. With or Without You - The Joshua Tree
This song has a great moody feel. I love the way it slowly builds and builds and builds until Bono finally cuts loose at the three minute mark. Time and cigarettes have taken a bit of a toll on Bono’s voice, but in the days of The Joshua Tree he could soar like very few vocalists can.

9. All I Want is You - Rattle and Hum
This choice is all about Bono. It’s one of my favorite vocals by him.  Most singers today seem to try and prove how talented they are by oversinging everything so it’s especially lovely to hear something as quiet and understated as this vocal performance.

8. City of Blinding Lights - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
We like Vertigo and we love Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own, but this is the song from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb that I keep coming back to. It has a big, building, uplifting melody that we love. U2 does this kind of soaring song better than anyone else. Very Where the Streets Have No Nameish. We also want to point out on the 360 tour this song fits so nice with the stage and lights.

7. Pride (In the Name of Love) Rattle and Hum
I love the lines, “Free at last/They took your life/They could not take your pride.” Plus a Jesus reference! (“One may betrayed with a kiss.”) love that U2 has never been afraid to mix the secular and the spiritual.

6. Acrobat - Achtung Baby  For a period in the 90’s, U2 moved away from their mostly hopeful, upbeat music.  This song really encompasses the darker, more cynical attitude of that time.  It’s definitely a different mood but, no surprise, a lot of the music is just as good as the material that preceded it.   “I must be an acrobat/To talk like this and act like that” is a feeling that most people have had at some point in their lives.

5. Running to Stand StillThe Joshua Tree
Another beautiful melody. I love Edge’s twanging guitar at the very beginning. Plus I’m a sucker for songs with things like “Ha La La La De Day, Ha La La La De Day” in them. Fun to sing along with. Oh, and there’s harmonicas!

4. Beautiful Day - All That You Can’t Leave Behind

The students I work with every day are 11 and 12 and I can’t believe the junk they listen to. I catch snatches of it here and there or they’ll insist on playing this “really awesome” song for me. The language is awful and the lyrics are sexist, violent, or just plain hateful. So I love that one of the biggest rock bands in the world came back from a long hiatus with a song called Beautiful Day featuring lyrics as simple and direct as, “It’s a beautiful day/Don’t let it slip away.” I love the “daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay”s in the background. This song makes me so, so happy. It has a very joyful feeling about it.

3. I Will Follow - Boy
Awwww, Bono sounds so young!  Twenty-five years later this song still sounds as fresh and energetic as it did the day it was released.

2. Until the End of the World - Achtung Baby
How can you not love a rock star who writes a song from the point of view of Judas Iscariot? Fabulous. One of my favorite songs ever. The lyrics, the tune, the sheer creativity of the idea behind it – all amazing. I don’t know if I’d say Bono has one of the greatest pure voices, but he can get to the heart and emotion of a song like very few people singing right now can. He totally delivers every time, and this is one of the best examples of that.

1. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For - The Joshua Tree I  kind of feel like this is a pretty cliched song to pick as my favorite U2 song, but everyone in the world knows it for a reason: It’s a great song. I love that one of the band’s most popular songs contains some of the most direct references to Christianity (“I believe in the kingdom come/When all the colors will bleed into one/Bleed into one/But yes I’m still running/You broke the bonds/And you loosed the chains/Carried the cross and all my shame/All my shame/You know I believe it…”) As I said earlier, the combination of secular and religious ideas is one of my favorite things about U2. Their music is filled to the brim with religious references and not generic “spiritual” ideas – references that are very specific to Christianity, the Bible, and Jesus. People are so quick to separate secular and religious – one goes here, and one goes there, and never shall the two meet – and I love that U2 doesn’t do that. Even when I’m not sure I entirely agree with something they’ve expressed, it’s always thoughtful and honest and sincere, and I can’t help but appreciate that.

Of course you can download the whole collection of U2 songs direct from iTunes.