The Best of 1990-2000
by David Chiu
(Promo image By Steve Kalinsky via Wikimedia Commons)
Originally released in 2002, U2’s The Best of 1990-2000, a collection of the band’s hits, was recently reissued as a double LP set–spanning tracks from 1991’s Achtung Baby to 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind. The Best of 1990-2000 is a document of U2’s embrace of electronic and techno influences that seemed worlds away from its earnest post-punk/heartland period in the ’80s. Achtung Baby (1991) represented a dramatic reinvention of the band’s sound at that time, thanks to tracks like “Mysterious Ways,” “One,” and “Even Better Than the Real Thing.” Hot off the momentum from that album, U2 quickly recorded Zooropa (1993), a further extension of its predecessor but sounding more experimental; its highlighted by tracks such as “Numb” and “Stay (Far Away, So Close)”. Four years later, the group really took its dance and electronic explorations to a higher level on Pop, with the dizzying and funky “Discotheque” and the graceful ballad “Staring at the Sun.” It might have seemed at that point that U2 had exhausted its immersion into electronic music; thankfully, All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000), was a return to its rock roots, highlighted by the powerful anthem “Beautiful Day” and the soulful “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.” In addition to featuring those aforementioned songs—either in their original or remixed versions, The Best of 1990-2000 carried two then-new songs, the sparkling “Electrical Storm” and the eloquent and dramatic “The Hands That Built America” (from the movie Gangs of New York); it also rescued the subdued “Miss Sarajevo” from the Passengers collaboration with Brian Eno, and “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me,” off the Batman Forever soundtrack. While U2 has since recorded several more albums since the release of The Best of 1990-2000, this compilation is an important snapshot of the group breaking from its past and further redefining its sound on a bold and wider scale.