Wednesday, January 2, 2013

139. All that you can't leave behind. Falling fast.

Album: All that you can't leave behind
Artist: U2
Genre: Rock
Year: 2000


1. Beautiful Day
2. Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of
3. Elevation
4. Walk On
5. Kite
6. In a Little While
7. Wild Honey
8. Peace on Earth
9. When I Look at the World
10. New York
11. Grace

It's funny how albums can be reassessed.  I remember hearing this when it came out and being far from overwhelmed. It fits the pattern set by every other U2 album since Achtung Baby, a few good singles and a lot of filler than I never need to hear again. Beautiful Day and Elevation are strong songs and Walk On is a nice ballad. There were those who liked Stuck in a Moment but I'm definitely not one of them, it's far too cloying and plodding for me to rank it with Bono and co's best moments.

But even those who adore Stuck and the other singles can't have much to say for the rest of the album can they? In this era of skip buttons, playlists and self made compilations is there anyone who has ever bothered to listen to Wild Honey more than three times? Does anyone outside New York actually enjoy listening to New York? Can anyone remember how the chorus of When I Look at the World goes (and I'm including Bono in this question)? Of course not.

So I was wondering why Rolling Stone Magazine ranked this album so highly. What made them think there were only 138 albums better?

The answer is that they clearly got caught up in a frenzy of U2 love. They'd probably just met Bono and been charmed by him or they'd just come home from a concert and got a bit carried away. For some reason they sat in their offices shouting "I love U2!" into the stratosphere and drawing pictures of Larry Mullen Jr surrounded by love hearts. They were caught up in a moment of girly passion.

A few years later when they came to revise the list, a moment of reassessment occurred. Embarrassed looks were exchanged as people came to wonder what they were thinking. All that you Cant Leave Behind was quickly dropped 150 places or so down to 280. Suddenly there were more than twice as many albums that were better than there were before.

Personally I'd rank this album exactly equal with Pop that went before it and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and No Line on the Horizon that followed. They all have a few good songs and a lot of pointless filler. My self-made compilation of U2 highlights from the past twenty years makes for great listening but there's too much dead weight on this, and all their other modern albums, to make me listen to them all the way through.

Influenced by: A desire to be the biggest band in the world again
Influenced: Bloody coldplay

Highlight: Elevation or Beautiful Day
Lowlight: Filler

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "No longer they are the rebels of rock, now they are MTV darlings and Bono is a bland politician in the cover of Time magazine. "

-Were they ever the rebels of rock? Since when are four well-mannered and polite Irishmen with religious beliefs and happy marriages the rebels of rock?

So can you leave this behind or not? Let me know below.

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