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Volume 68, Issue 56, Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Arts & Entertainment

U2is ‘Best ofi falls upon worn beats

By Ed De La Garza
The Daily Cougar

U2 is an important band — or at least thatis what weire told. If a band is as important as the Irish quartet is supposed to be, it stands to reason that any "best-of" compilation the band releases must be one of the greatest collections ever assembled.

The Best of 1990-2000 is far from it. It celebrates a more pop-oriented U2. The sweeping political statements from the bandis first 10 years are replaced by synthetic melodies.

The Best of 1980-1990 came at a time when longtime U2 fans were tired of what the band had become.

In its attempt to satirize pop culture, it instead turned into its own corporate machine. It was a mockery of what it had been.

The 1990s signaled the beginning of U2is experimentation with electronica, dance beats and studio tricks (Zooropa and Pop). It was quite a sight: Bono, a man obsessed with being the first rock star to be canonized by the Catholic Church, becoming the frontman for the new Village People.

Perhaps seeing it was about to turn into a joke, the band regrouped and released All That You Canit Leave Behind in 2000 — its best album since ‘91is Achtung Baby. Bonois attempt to raise America out of its post-Sept. 11 depression resulted in a cheesy Super Bowl halftime show. But at least Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen were rock stars again.

The Best of 1990-2000 celebrates the bandis highs and lows from that period. A second disc comprised of 14 B-Sides and remixes is mostly filled with lows, but you have to wade through it to hear an unfettered version of the new single "Electrical Storm." The remix of the song appears on the first disc.

U2is best album of the decade — Achtung Baby — is represented by four songs: "Even Better Than The Real Thing," "Mysterious Ways," "One" and "Until The End of the World." Bono didnit question Godis motives or rail against the injustices of the world. Those songs were more about relationships. They were far more insightful than the pop drivel that followed.

If the band was at its peak with The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby showed a band eager to push the envelope. It was a precursor to Radiohead and Coldplay. The unheralded (and unappreciated) Zooropa followed in ‘93. But that albumis best cut, "Numb," featuring The Edge, appears remixed on the compilation.

Pop is thankfully relegated to only "Discotheque" and "Staring At The Sun," again appearing in remixed form.

It will never again record songs that cut as deep as "Pride (In the Name of Love)" or "Bullet the Blue Sky," but it shows flashes of what it used to be. The problem with The Best of 1990-2000 is that those flashes are too few between.

Itis definitely one of musicis most influential bands, but the new compilation does more to make one remember what it used to be than accept it for what itis become.

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