My Ultimate U2 Playlist

I will continue the sacrilege I started after having attempted to rank U2’s albums. BrianJ equated this to ranking ones kids which is absolutely correct.

I went album by album and just took my favorite songs from each one. I didn’t have a final number in mind when I started, just the songs I consider to be U2’s very best. I didn’t include a lot of songs that were released as singles, mostly due to overplay. So while Streets Have No Name and Pride are great songs, they didn’t quite make the cut for me personally.

So in no particular order:

Out of Control (Boy)
Stories for Boys (Boy)
Gloria (October or Live Under a Blood Red Sky)
Sunday Bloody Sunday (War or Live Under a Blood Red Sky if you’re one who doesn’t mind the “rebel song” intro)
Seconds (War)
40 (War or Live Under a Blood Red Sky)
A Sort of Homecoming (Unforgettable Fire or Wide Awake in America)
Bad (Unforgettable Fire or Wide Awake in America)
Elvis Presley and America (Unforgettable Fire)
Running to Stand Still (Joshua Tree)
Red Hill Mining Town (Joshua Tree)
In God’s Country (Joshua Tree)
One Tree Hill (Joshua Tree)
Silver and Gold (Rattle & Hum)
One (Achtung Baby)
Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses (Achtung Baby)
Until the End of the World (Achtung Baby)
Stay (Zooropa)
Dirty Day (Zooropa)
Do You Feel Loved (Pop)
If God Will Send His Angels (Pop)
Gone (Pop)
Please (Pop)
Slow Dancing (If God Will Send His Angels import)
The Ground Beneath Her Feet (Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack)
In a Little While (All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
City of Blinding Lights (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
The Saints are Coming (

My list of overrated U2 songs:

New Years Day
All I Want Is You
Angel of Harlem
I Will Follow

28 thoughts on “My Ultimate U2 Playlist

  1. I’ve only listened to the new album once but I think there’s a good chance there’ll be a song or two added to list later.

  2. I love The Ground Beneath Her Feet. Great song. I have the acoustic live version on my playlist.

    It might be embarrassing but I still have that Batman song from that horrible movie. Yeah it’s cliched and at the height of their over ironized period. But it’s got pretty catchy music. (I know someone will speak up and say that song’s been done by them in a new way every 5 years)

    I like The Saints are Coming, but I find it a guilty pleasure. I did notice a lot of stylistic similarities between it and the new album.

    I can’t believe you think New Years Day and All I Want is You are overrated. Blasphemer!

    Now Sunday Bloody Sunday is overrated!

  3. This is nearly impossible to do, but here’s my attempt:

    An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart
    Another Time, Another Place

    Stranger in a Strange Land

    Like A Song
    Drowning Man
    Sunday Bloody Sunday
    New Year’s Day

    The Unforgettable Fire

    Wide Awake in America EP
    A Sort of Homecoming (Live)*
    Love Comes Tumbling

    The Joshua Tree
    I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
    Running to Stand Still*
    One Tree Hill*

    Rattle and Hum
    All I Want is You

    Achtung Baby
    Until The End Of The World

    All That You Can’t Leave Behind
    Walk On

    How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
    Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

    Non-album tracks (b-sides or remixes):
    A Celebration*
    Sweetest Thing*
    Spanish Eyes*
    Luminous Times (Hold On To Love)*
    New Year’s Day Kevorkian Remix

    * My all-time fave songs.

    To be fair, everything after The Joshua Tree I haven’t spent much time on–there’s probably nearly whole albums I haven’t heard.

  4. There are plenty I would like to add such as “Zoo Station,” “Lemon” (I know, I know), or “Exit.”

    From the new album, I would suggest “No Line On The Horizon” or “Magnificent.”

    But I would also recommend an unreleased song from the previous album’s sessions (I believe): “Mercy” (link is to a youtube version). Every fan should hear it.

    I love it and have no idea why it wasn’t released. It sounds like the most “U2” thing they’ve done in a long time.

  5. Sweetest Thing has always been my all-time favorite U2 song. I can think of no reason for this. It just is. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any of the songs off Pop.

  6. “rank U2’s albums. BrianJ equated this to ranking ones kids which is absolutely correct.”

    Only true through Joshua Tree.
    The rest are not sons but bastards.


    The Ocean

    I Fall Down

    New Year’s Day (you’re wrong on this one – that piano, amazing – only has suffered from over playing)
    (but really everything … this, not Joshua Tree, is the seminal album)

    Unforgettable Fire:
    (gorgeous album)

    Joshua Tree:
    In God’s Country
    Bullet the Blue Sky

    Love Comes Tumbling (oh, man)

    I’m glad these guys are still around. And they have done some really good stuff in the last twenty years. Nothing is important to me after Joshua Tree, however. Old fogie me, as usual. ~

  7. Love Comes Tumbling (oh, man)

    Yep. I missed that one.

    I never really like New Years Day. I think it has to do with Bono’s vocals. Don’t know why.

    David, Mercy is great. I had forgotten about that one. That’s what I love most about U2. They have so many B-sides, covers, collaborations and hidden gems to discover.

  8. Tim J,

    Yeah, that’s a great point that their b-sides have been so great and often even better. I loved the b-sides from Wide Awake in America, JT, and Achtung Baby.

    The original Sweetest Thing is one of their best.

    Unfortunately, they don’t seem to do b-sides as much anymore, mostly remixes.

    JT was what started it for me with U2 but Achtung Baby will always be my perfect album. Seamless.

  9. U2 was my first great love. I remember dancing at a Job’s Daughter’s dance in 7th grade to songs off of Boy and recognizing them as U2 and just dying to get the album. And that Christmas was the best ever—I got four U2 records.

  10. Ranking U2’s albums is only similar to ranking one’s kids if you happen to hate your kids.

  11. I can’t begin to do a playlist, mostly because I can’t imagine leaving any of Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby off of it.

    I agree with David re: “Sweetest Thing” and Achtung Baby. I wish they never redid “Sweetest Thing,” it was much better before, and now you can’t get the original version anywhere.

    I think the recent albums are too often overlooked. ATYCLB, in particular, has some fabulous songs. “Kite” is the one I always think of as tragically overlooked.

    Here’s one you don’t hear often, because it morphed into “Beautiful Day,” but the original is better, in my opinion:

  12. Oh, and the reason “New Year’s Day” is kinda lame is the same reason “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is a classic: the drum line.

  13. Did you know the Edge was afraid to ride a horse, so they had a girl stand in for him in the video for NYD? I know way too much about U2.

  14. I will think about my rankings, because as we all know U2 has never really made a bad song, but I just wanted to second people’s votes for Surrender (LIve it is one of my all time favorites), Luminous Times, and Love comes Tumbling

  15. Sorry, channeling Brian V. there for a second.

    Heh. I do kinda like Achtung Baby, though.

  16. For me, So Cruel is the song of Achtung Baby.
    Running to stand still on Joshua Tree

    As for the new album I have been enjoyin the live versions of the songs on Letterman – given how mellow the album seems they play a lot better live than I would have guessed.

  17. TS, they’ve just been playing all the fast songs. There’s nothing mellow about Breathe, Stand Up Comedy, Unknown Caller, Get On Your Boots, I’ll go Crazy…

  18. On the album the play a lot mellower – especially compared to the arena rock of their early years. Maybe I should say smoother, but that probably is to be expected, at least we should hope so, after a band has been playing 30 years together. Maybe restrained is an even better word? Anyways, the songs really play well live, better than I expected.

  19. If I could only have three U2 songs for the rest of my life they would be: Bad, All I Want is You, and One.

  20. Those are three good choices gabby. I think I would put “Where The Streets Have No Name” ahead of “All I Want is You” but it’s close.

  21. Tim: ranking albums is sacrilege, ranking songs is perfectly fine though. Don’t ask me why; it just is.

    Check out the Craig Armstrong mix of Stay (Faraway, So Close). Beautiful!

    I’ve reached the conclusion that people who don’t like Pop just don’t know how to turn up the volume on their speakers—they’re the same people who don’t like Bullet the Blue Sky because “it’s too loud.” Babies.

    And I think you need Miss Sarajevo on your best of list.

  22. BrianJ, don’t take this the wrong way but that Armstrong mix is TERRIBLE. turns the song into department store musak. Really awful.

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