Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Top Ten Songs by U2: Greatest Rock Band


It was 6:26am and as usual after prayers, picked my little blackberry phone, read all the messages i had from friends who think i should never sleep but stay up all night pinging and replying messages (anyway i do,  some night though), after that, headed down to media player to look for an inspiring song to start my day with, scrolled down my list of 417 rock songs including its every sub-genre i have laid my eyes and hands on and one struck me "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2. Its been more than ten decades i listened to this song and "Oh My Gosh! I missed it without even knowing i did. While it was still playing, i reshuffled my playlist immediately so it'll be only songs by U2 that'll be playing. They kept on playing till i got to my place of work and i said to myself, "Hey Boy, why not write about the best songs ever done by this 22 Grammy Award winning band. A band that's described as the "Best Rock band of all time" "This is going to be hard boy" i replied myself but am gon' tryna do some' and see how it goes, as they say, "There's no harm in trying"
In September 1976, a 14-year-old drummer in Larry Mullen Jr. posted a notice at school that he's looking to start a band. Six Instrumentalist showed up and rehearsals were held in his parent's kitchen in Dublin, and The Larry Mullen Band was born.
The name didn't last, but with 12 studio albums, more than 30 years  of awesome success, more than 150 million albums sold worldwide(including the four I have, making it 154 million) and 22 Grammys later, the band, which would eventually be called U2, has proven it has what it takes to stay on top.
The keys to U2's longevity include respect for each other and their fans; the ability to continuously reinvent themselves and their musical style; and powerful music with a message.
But the meanings of most U2 songs are subject to interpretation. Bono is a genius at writing ambiguous lyrics, allowing listeners to decide what each song means to them. Read on to take a musical journey with the band that Time magazine once named "Rock's Hottest Ticket."
After doing a thorough research with some sentiments here and there in compiling this from a band with more than 50 different songs including just about every cut from War, Joshua Tree, how to dismantle an Atomic Bomb and Achtung Baby, i had to settle for ten. Consisting of Bono(Vocals), The Edge(Guitar), Adam Clayton(Bass) and Larry Mullen Jr.(Drums) this is the one band i certainly dont joke with, not because of anything but becuase of nothing, this is a list of their FOR NOW ten best songs and more to come with time.....just keep vising the blog.
U2, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," performing at Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn last month.

10. "New Year's Day" (War)1983
This song might be Adam Clayton's shining moment. More than The Edge's wailing guitars or Bono's pleading vocals, Clayton's bass line communicates the piss and vinegar of "New Year's Day."
This song, inspired by the solidarity movement in Poland, reached number two on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. It was also the first U2 video to get major airplay on MTV, giving the band the exposure that would get them named "Band of the Eighties" by Rolling Stone magazine just two years later. During live shows, Edge takes control on this song, playing guitar and keyboard simultaneously in parts and also singing backup vocals.

9. "Vertigo" (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb) 2004"Vertigo" was the first single from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which is harder and more upbeat than their previous efforts. No mixed messages with this U2 powerhouse -- "Vertigo" is an adrenalized rocker about an evening at a nightclub.
The song reached number one on Billboard's Modern Rock chart, garnered the band two more Grammys (Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song), and was featured in a commercial for Apple's iPod. The fellas had so much fun playing the song that it was played at every concert of the Vertigo tour -- sometimes twice!

8. "Beautiful Day" (All That You Can't Leave Behind)2000With the release of All That You Can't Leave Behind, U2 once again reinvented themselves, ditching their dance-oriented experimental phase and returning to their roots, albeit with a harder, rock-based sound. "Beautiful Day," the first single from the multiplatinum, Grammy Award-winning album, is a reminder that no matter how bad life can get, we should always be thankful for what we have.
The song went to number five on Billboard's Modern Rock chart, and it secured three more Grammys for the Dublin lads or rather Kings-- Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Rock Performance. This song was carefully crafted to fill every nook and cranny in the world's largest stadiums and fundraising dinners.

7. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (Joshua Tree)
No dual meaning here -- U2's second song to top U.S. charts, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," is a gospel song about searching for and understanding one's spiritual beliefs. U2 even took a gospel choir with them to sing backup vocals during The Joshua Tree tour.
Bono often says he's not satisfied with some of his recorded lyrics, so he tends to "rewrite" them during live performances. For example, the original lyric: "You broke the bonds/And you loosed the chains/Carried the cross of my shame/Oh my shame . . ." is now sung: "You broke the bonds/And you loosed the chains/Carried the cross/Took my shame/You took the blame . . ." The change is ever so slight, but it makes the song much deeper and more meaningful. Spiritual longing has rarely been captured so well in a pop song.

6. "City of Blinding Lights" (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb) 2005U2 cleaned up at the 2005 Grammys, taking home five awards including Best Rock Song for "City" and Album of the Year and Best Rock Album for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Inspired by Bono's love for New York City and the band's love for their fans ("I miss you when you're not around"), this peppy, upbeat song quickly found a home as the opener on the Vertigo tour with Adam playing the opening notes on the keyboard.

5. "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" (The Unforgettable Fire) 1984"Free at last/They took your life/They could not take your pride." As elegant as the speech it drew from, this song is U2 at its best: celebrating goodness in the face of terrible evil. The Edge's guitar and Bono's vocals battle for the greatest heights. A perfect tribute for MLK. Released on The Unforgettable Fire album, this song about Jesus ("one man betrayed with a kiss") and Martin Luther King, Jr., reached number two on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. Bono gave his all recording "Pride," shouting the lyrics from the depths of his soul. But don't rely on Bono for a history lesson; the lyric referring to Dr. King ("Early morning, April four/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky . . .") is incorrect -- King was actually killed around 6:00 p.m. Bono has since realized his mistake and now sings "Early evening, April four" in live shows.

4. "One" (Achtung Baby) 1992
Appropriately enough, "One" is the song that famously held the band together after creative differences were causing tension to run high while recording "Achtung Baby, and the band was reportedly on the brink of breaking up. "One" is the song that brought them back together, essentially saving the band. Such a simple title, such a powerful lyric. The lyrics can be interpreted in several ways: a gay son coming out to his father; a relationship in which a couple loves each other but have hurt each other too much to stay together; or Bono's rocky relationship with his own father. Whatever the meaning, the song reminds us that all humans are equal and that we need to help those less fortunate: "We're one, but we're not the same/We get to carry each other, carry each other." "One" topped Billboard's Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts and has been played at every U2 concert since its debut on the ZooTV tour in 1992.


3. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (War) 1983
One of the most instantly recognizable drum beats kicks off this masterful protest record like a call to arms. It's an album about war, and the Irish band writes what they know. When he was 14, his mother suffered a brain hemorrhage at her father's funeral and died a few days later. Bono would later state that the melancholy lyrics to "Tomorrow" were a description of her funeral.
From the War album, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is a powerhouse in the U2 canon, performed on every major tour since its debut. It's a classic U2 protest song about the troubles in Northern Ireland. Larry's militaristic drumming and Edge's abrasive guitar drive the song, while Bono's powerful lyrics cry out "How long, how long must we sing this song?" The song, which reached number seven on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart in the 1980s, has now become a global plea to end the violence that threatens the world today.

2. "Where the Streets Have No Name" (Joshua Tree) 1987
For the first track on the band's best album, Bono again dips into the band's deepest and most authentic well—a longing for peace and unity in Ireland. With a full minute of Brian Eno atmospherics and nearly another minute of instrumental build, Bono's stadium-rock pleading feels perfect. Although "Streets" didn't crack the top ten in the States, it's a fan favorite that was frequently used to open shows on The Joshua Tree tour. The lyrics were also inspired by a trip Bono and his wife took to Ethiopia in the mid-1980s, during which they volunteered at a refugee camp orphanage. With Edge's distinctive scratchy chords, Larry's enthusiastic drumming, and Adam's deep bass holding it all together, even the band admits it's much better live.

1. "with or without you" (Joshua Tree) 1987
Sentiments had already set in choosing this song as number one. The song is rife with symbolism, in both the lyrics and the music. Adam's bass is the pulse. Larry's drumming is the heartbeat. Edge's guitar chords represent the agony of a heart breaking, and Bono's voice and haunting lyrics are the personification of love and longing and the agony of unrequited love. When his voice cries out, you know he's not just reciting the words but truly feeling the pain of loving someone he can't be with . . . and  you feel that pain with him.


Beyond words, most songs in the bunch are exact same, showing U2 in their uniqueness in diversity, and i'd love you guys to not just read but place comments on songs you think should or should not be on the list. Thanks.

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