Sound — 8
Though the masses and critics may put U2's '90s material down as some of their worst material to date, the music itself is undoubtedly some of their most solid and well written. The hits themselves (One, Mysterious Ways, Even Better Than The Real Thing and the eternal crowd pleaser, The Fly) show some strong musical skill from the Dublin lads, whilst other should-have-been-singles like Zoo Station, Until The End of the World and Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World show the ability to clearly challenge them. Some of the other tracks, though they are still good, they aren't as up-to-speed as the rest of the album, and in turn, I end up skipping them. It's only little things about certain tracks that put me off them; like the random bending keyboard noise at the beginning of Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses and the repetitive piano "riff" from So Cruel. Once you hear something like that, it may put you off (unless you're fond of that kind of stuff, of course). Any other songs that don't fit in those categories, are either boring (Acrobat) or sound too similar to other songs (Ultra Violet sounds so much like Zoo Station to me). Basically, the last three tracks on the album might be good in some ways, but they sound like a desperate attempt to fill space on the album to me. The sound on here, if on a graph, would kinda go up, stay there for a while, then drop a bit, then shoot back up, then fall badly again. That's how I picture it.
Lyrics — 7
Sometimes lyrics can stab you and fix you to the spot whilst you listen. The lyrics in One do just that, it has to be said. A lot of the lyrics on here do the same, just not as well. With One, the lyrics work with the music, but on other songs like Love Is Blindness and Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, the lyrics are pretty good, but the music doesn't work with it as well as One's does. Other lyrics like Mysterious Ways' and Even Better Than The Real Thing have you singing along from the first word. U2 must have done something right with the lyrics on here to make you do that.
Overall Impression — 8
By far, it has some of my favorite U2 songs on this album, but it just doesn't grab me like some of the others do. Maybe the critics are right about some things, as in the fact that this album doesn't grab you and keep you like Rattle And Hum or maybe All That You Can't Leave Behind do, but to slay U2 like they did was a little to harsh, in my eyes. Worth a listen? Yes. Worth a full listen? From start to finish? No.