Song of the Day #4,782: ‘Some Days Are Better Than Others’ – U2

If you want to feel old, consider that U2 is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. During that span, they’ve released 14 albums and sold nearly 200 million copies worldwide. They are among the most revered and successful bands in popular music history.

And yet, they feel almost completely irrelevant these days. It’s been four years since their last release, the unmemorable Songs of Experience, and 15 years since their last bona fide hit, 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

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Song of the Day #4,358: ‘Babyface’ – U2

When U2 released Zooropa, its eighth studio album and my #9 album of 1993, the band was coming off a run of blockbuster albums that sold 10+ million units apiece. The Joshua Tree, Rattle and Hum and Achtung Baby had cemented the Irish rockers as the world’s biggest band.

So this album’s left turn in the direction of electronic dance music was unexpected and risky. But it paid off, both creatively and commercially. Zooropa didn’t sell as well as its predecessors, but it did move 7 million copies and it won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

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Song of the Day #4,299: ‘Lights of Home’ – U2

The Random iTunes Fairy has a sense of humor.

In preparing my posts for the Decades 1983 series, I had just gone through a prolonged internal debate about whether to include U2’s album War. On the one hand, it was the band’s first Gold record, an important milestone for one of the greatest rock bands. On the other hand, the album isn’t very interesting (to me) beyond singles ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and ‘New Year’s Day.’

And then there’s the fact that I know my most frequent reader is not a fan of U2. Why torture poor Dana, I figured, and during a global pandemic, no less? So I passed.

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Song of the Day #3,978: ‘Volcano’ – U2

U2’s 2014 album Songs of Innocence is best remembered as the record Apple uploaded for free to every iTunes user, a move Tim Cook described as “the largest album release of all time.”

It was also a move that revealed just how little relevance U2 had to the new generation, as the predominant reaction by millions of young people was “What the hell is a U2 and why is it on my phone all of a sudden?”

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Song of the Day #3,895: ‘Mysterious Ways’ – U2

Continuing my look at the year 1991 in music, I’ll now count down my personal top ten albums of that year.

At #10 is U2’s Achtung Baby, the band’s seventh studio album and the first proper follow-up (setting aside the soundtrack album Rattle and Hum) to 1987’s classic The Joshua Tree.

Achtung Baby was a massive hit, with 18 million copies sold worldwide, second only to The Joshua Tree among their discography.

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