- Beautiful Day (4:06)
- Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of (4:32)
- Elevation (3:45)
- Walk On (4:55)
- Kite (4:23)
- In a Little While (3:37)
- Wild Honey (3:37)
- Peace on Earth (4:46)
- When I look at the World (4:15)
- New York (5:28)
- Grace (5:31)
After the mix responses to 1997’s Pop, U2 returned to their familiar rock roots for their 10th studio album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind. While it’s not a bad album it lacks any real oomph or any sort of desire to advance musically. In reality they’ve retreated to familiar ground and created quite a solid album which is clean and crisp sounding, owing to the return to production of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno.
The first four tracks are quite solid. The opening track ‘Beautiful Day’, ranks among U2’s best and is a joyous, uplifting and beautiful song. Ballad’s ‘Stuck in a Moment you can’t get out of’, and ‘Walk On’ are excellently structured and produced tracks. ‘Elevation’s’ energetic and edgy guitar playing sustains the album’s energy, while ‘Kite’ and ‘In a Little While’ are beautiful ballads. At this point, there is great hope that this album could reach the levels of classic U2 albums of The Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby. But the rest of the songs are a real let down as All That You Can’t Leave Behind fades badly.
‘New York’, is a shining light in the second half of the album, and while the vocals at the start are a bit awkward, it flows better as the song progresses. The change of pace with Edge playing heavy guitars riffs midway through the song is quite effective. Many of the songs in the second half of the album sound a bit too cliché (see ‘Peace on Earth’ and ‘When I look at the World’) and lack that certain U2 ‘edge’ (no pun intended).
All That You Can’t Leave Behind plays it safe- a little bit too much. Much of the album’s latter half is uninspired, unambitious efforts. The album is a good listen if you haven’t heard much of U2 before (especially their earlier work), but it lacks any real drive or purpose. Nevertheless, All That You Can’t Leave Behind is probably what was intended by the band, and certainly has its moments in the album’s first half. It’s quite unfortunate however, that the energetic passion of ‘Beautiful Day’ did not flow through the whole album. 7.5/10
How would you rate U2′s All That You Can’t Leave Behind album? Rate and leave a comment below.