Even though I was a child of the 1980s, I didn’t truly discover U2 until 1987, when The Joshua Tree album was released. Even after I first discovered the band, I can’t say I truly came to like what they were releasing until the early 1990s. When The Joshua Tree and the Rattle and Hum albums were out, I tolerated the singles I heard on the radio, but I wasn’t going out of my way to listen to the band.
All of that changed in late 1991/early 1992, when I started hearing “Mysterious Ways,” the second single from Achtung Baby. I don’t know why, but something about that song really grabbed my interest. As I started hearing some of U2’s older material, I realized that it really was quite good, and wondered why I hadn’t warmed up much to it earlier. I developed quite a bit of respect for U2’s material from the 1980s.
So, starting with the Achtung Baby era, I started to follow U2 a little more closely. However, I ended up being disappointed when the Zooropa album came out. While I thought “Numb” was tolerable, I just could never come to enjoy the follow-up single, “Lemon.” And after my disappointment in “Lemon,” I really was never able to give “Stay (Faraway, So Close!)” a real chance at the time. In more recent years, I’ve taken another listen to “Stay (Faraway, So Close!),” and realized that it’s actually a really good song.
While I was in college in the mid-1990s, I started dating the man who would become my husband. He was into U2, so I started to hear more than just the singles. Within a few months of getting married, U2 released the Pop album. Admittedly, I didn’t have high hopes for the album after Zooropa. I remember not being very impressed with “Discotheque,” the lead-off single, at the time it was out; however, I have come to gain a better appreciation for it over the years. “Staring At The Sun” didn’t do anything for me then, and I still find it to be rather boring now.
The two Best Of albums released in the late 1990s/early 2000s did produce a couple of notable tracks: the new version of “The Sweetest Thing” and the song “Electrical Storm”; I especially liked “Electrical Storm.” And the album All That You Can’t Leave Behind produced a couple of songs that I enjoyed: “Beautiful Day” and “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.” In a lot of ways, those songs are more of a return to the earlier U2 sound than the material on albums such as Zooropa and Pop.
When it comes to U2, I definitely have come to enjoy their 1980s material and some of the material from the early 1990s. It’s a “mixed bag” when it comes to the mid-to-late 1990s U2 material. Today, I have developed a renewed respect for U2. While I may not enjoy all the music they have released, I can understand why the band is as highly respected as it is.