It´s hard to find a simple description for U2. We could say that they are a band that has composed an enormous amount of hits. Probably, there is not another band which has so many songs known by so many people. Doing this, however, would not be fair to a great deal of songs that are not played on the radio or even by U2 itself in the concerts.
We have CDs like Pop or Zooropa, which have a unique sound. To date, I haven´t been able to find another CD of any other band that is similar to these two. The both have an influence of electronic music an a crude sound. In addition to this, Pop has songs like The playboy mansion or Miami, whose lyrics are an ironic critic to the consumerism culture.
The first CDs of the band are also not so popular. They have a punk influence. As a matter of fact, the style is called post-punk. Boy, the first one, is a bit basic and monotonous. However, by the next year, they got out October, which represents a huge jump forward. The punk influence is still there but you can also find some new-wave here. In War, this style comes to its maximum development. It becomes epic. As a matter of fact, here we find the beggining of the “epicism” that charactericises U2. This CD presents Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Year´s Day, two absolut classics. We also have 40, another one of those songs that get 60.000 persons singing along like it was the last time they are doing it.
Even though U2 managed to become one of the most succesfull bands of those days with these 3 CDs, they didn´t remain still and went further, a lot further, with The Unforgettable Fire. Brian Eno worked with U2 for the first time and he managed to change U2´s face. This CD is one of the jewels that people could grasp anytime but don´t. I strongly recommend you listened to it. It´s really, really, really beautiful (I can´t emphasize enough this quality).
Then came The Joshua Tree. The CD begins with Where the streets have no name, continues with I still haven´t found what I´m looking for and follows With or Without you. Period. The only thing that I can say is that you shouldn´t stop here because the juicy part begins with Bullet the Blue Sky, the fourth song. U2 has a tendency to put the hits in the begining of their CDs, leaving the more complex songs to the end. Most people only are aware of these opening songs and so they think that U2 is only about catchy songs. If you sit down and start to listen to the seconds halves of their CDs you will find a totally new U2. This is most noticeable in The Joshua Tree. Running to stand still and One tree hill are so precious... The CD ends with Mothers of the Disappeared, a song about the mothers of young people who was literally disappeared by a militar dictatorship that submitted Argentina from 1976 to 1983. These women protested in an original way: they went every Thursday to the main square of Buenos Aires and walk about the centre of it since if you were sitting in a public space with other people you were arrested. These government left 30.000 people whose whereabouts is still unknown.
In Ruttle and Hum we meet with the same concept that was present in The Joshua Tree. The difference is that the USA country music influence is most noticeable here. In The Joshua Tree is present but in a subtle way. In Ruttle and Hum is more clear, and since I don´t like country music, I don´t like very much this CD.
Probably, the best work singed by U2 is Achtung Baby. This was another move away from “safety”. They changed a lot again. The Cd is more progressive and the use of synthesizers made his appearence in U2. This instrument would define the sound of U2 during the 90´s, since Zooropa and Pop use it as a main element.
Finally, the first decade of the 21st century represented a return to the bases, as they defined it. They move away from the use of technology and composed the 3 CDs of this period using basically the guitar, the bass and the drums. Keyboards and synthesizers are relegated. All that you can´t leave behind is the CD with most hits ever in the group´s history: Beautiful day, Elevation, Stuck in a Moment, Walk On. Less known are In a little while and Kite, one of my favourites U2´s songs.
Finally, I must say that U2 playing live is an unique experience. These guys really understand the concept of “show business”. Their concerts are a memorable experiencie that no one should miss. Many say that they are the best band in rock history when it comes to playing live at a stadium. In my opinion, they are. The Edge has a particular way of playing the guitar that fills the whole stadium with magnific chordes, while Adam and Larry form a base on which he can stand. Bono, well, everybody knows Bono. He is like the Napoleon of rock: a charismatic short men that gets everyone to do what he wants. He trully represents what a front man should be.
Kite (such a beautiful song)
Ultraviolet (live - It pretty much sums up the 90s U2)
Moment of Surrender (Live at the Rose Bowl 2009)
Bullet the Blue Sky (Live from Paris 1987)
Bono (Paul David Hewson) (vocals)
The Edge (David Howell Evans) (guitar, supporting vocals)
Adam Clayton (bass guitar)
Larry Mullen (drums, supporting vocals live)
1980 – Boy
1981 – October
1983 – War
1984 – The Unforgettable Fire
1987 – The Joshua Tree
1988 – Rattle and Hum
1991 – Acthung Baby
1993 – Zooropa
1995 – Original Soundtracks
1997 – Pop
2000 – All That You Can´t Leave Behind
2004 – How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
2009 – No Line on the Horizon