The Best Of 1980-1990 review by U2

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  • Released: Nov 10, 1998
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 5 (50 votes)
U2: The Best Of 1980-1990

Sound — 10
Some bands come out with their first greatest hits album as a way of saying "we've had a great ride, but we're basically washed up." Some bands use them as an excuse for more time. But in U2's case, they released theirs' almost as a marketing ploy, as if they wanted to tell the public "we write great music, we play great music, and we're going to keep writing and playing great music!" Be it a marketing ploy, or just something fun to put together and produce, U2 knows how to sell the sizzle of already released songs. "The Best Of 1980-1990," clocking out at 65:35, peaked at #2 on the US Billboard 200, and #1 on the UK Albums Chart. Grossing over $1,000,000 dollars in the US alone, it reached a total of over $7,000,000 in Europe.

The album contained hit songs such as "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "With or Without You," and "Pride," among others. Not lacking for sound or soul, it had the perfect tempo and drive. Swooping vocals and a gliding melody took us to the clouds in "Bad" and "All I Want Is You," while the harsh, naked ferocity of "Desire" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" slammed us back down again. The lineup of songs held up perfectly, easily taking us from one hit to the next.

Bono's extensive range smooths over most rough patches where the listener might lose interest, as well as keeping us grounded into what makes U2's music great: Edge, Adam, and Larry. Edge's clean, crisp riffs dominate in "Pride" and "I Will Follow." Adam's bass dominates nearly every song in the album, while Larry delivers his famous rhythm in "Sunday Bloody Sunday." Together, the four members of U2 brought listeners exactly what they wanted: The Best of 1980-1990.

Lyrics — 10
Bono once more showed his amazing display of lyrical talent, rooting us in our seats as he described how he "Can't believe the news today...," and told us that "Nothing changes on New Year's Day!" "Pride" gives us the story of Martin Luther King Jr., and Bono's wordplay and storytelling skills keep us enthralled 'till the last note. In "Bad," Bono describes the problems of heroin use in Dublin. "If I could, you know I would, if I could, I would let it go," says the heroin addict. "Desire" tells the story of exactly what it's named, desire.

Bono does a good job tying his stories into the melody. His vocals, though powerful and far-reaching, sometime seem a bit over the top, and there are places when it's just unneeded. However, Bono alternates leading the instruments, and being lead, if you will. His choice of word placement according to the sound is evident in the album, as is his lack of lyrics. In some places, Bono just resorts to using "Ooo..." and sometimes, it almost comes out as a keening cry. It shows us how a singer doesn't always need the perfect word.

Overall Impression — 10
Being "The Best of 1980-1990," it would be hard to compare it to other albums, as it is essentially the albums combined. However, one could say that it captures the power and spirituality associated in each album. "Joshua Tree," perhaps U2's best album ever, is up front in "The Best of 1980-1990," which includes three songs from it, but sometimes seems over the top. Likewise, "Rattle and Hum" has four debuts. While these are good, if not great albums, there are still albums that seem to have been passed over. "Boy" and "October" have only one included song. But as it is titled, it is "The Best of 1980-1990," and these hits stem from the two aforementioned albums, "Joshua Tree" and "Rattle and Hum."

The songs that stand out to the listener the most are "Pride," "Where the Streets Have No Name," and "Sunday Bloody Sunday." These songs capture what is the forefront of U2: standing up for what you believe, being there for others, and telling it like it is.

Though not U2's greatest album ever, "The Best of 1980-1990," delivers exactly what the title promised it would: The Best of 1980-1990.

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