U2: Larry Mullen Jr., Adam Clayton, The Edge, Bono.
Recording information: 1983 - 2006.
By the time 2006's U218 SINGLES was released, U2 had been one of rock's reigning behemoths for a good quarter century. Whittling down the group's hefty discography to 18 tracks seems impossible, but U218 SINGLES solves the problem by focusing, as the title suggests, on singles. Consequently, some crucial tunes, namely early ones like "I Will Follow," "Gloria," and "Two Hearts Beat As One," are missing.
But since one of U2's greatest strengths is their ability to create imaginative and engaging music that can also cross over into the mainstream, the collection brims with great material. Some of the band's best recorded moments--"Pride (In the Name of Love)," "New Year's Day," and "One," for example--are showcased, along with immediately familiar anthems like "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Mysterious Ways," and "Sweetest Thing." A handful of tunes from the 2000s--like "The Saints Are Coming," the band's famed collaboration with Green Day--round out the set. Most of these songs have already become a permanent part of the pop-culture fabric, but that doesn't lessen the appeal of hearing them on this smartly compiled set.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (p.129) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his CD is U2's catalog stripped down to the stadium-shaking warhorses..."
Q (p.154) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]here's a sense of personal care and attention here, as if the whole thing comes with U2's personal seal of approval."
Uncut (p.96) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] demonstration that U2 are out on their own now, the last of their kind."