18 Singles


Interscope, 2006


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


This is the third U2 hits collection in the band's 26-year history and the first of those to capture the band's entire career instead of just one decade. It's also a great introduction to a legendary band if, for some reason, you haven't already heard more than half these hits daily on the radio.

18 Singles is aimed the fans who came on board with the band's reinvention in 2000, so it is not a full best-of, but as a sampler it does the trick. Two new songs are present to piss off fans and separate them from their money; "Window in the Skies" is by-numbers U2 but the Green Day duet "The Saints Are Coming" is a rollicking tribute to New Orleans post-Katrina and is quite good.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Six of the remaining 16 hits are from 2000 on, thereby condensing two decades into eight songs. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "New Year's Day" are present from the early days, while "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" showcases the social conscience that imbues the best of the band's work. The first three songs from The Joshua Tree are here, as is the power pop of "Desire" and the cute, inconsequential "The Sweetest Thing." I would argue that "The Unforgettable Fire" and "Bad" belong on here in place of the latter two, but as they are darker than the pop hits on display, their exclusion is understandable.

Only two songs from the 90s electronica are present: "Mysterious Ways" and "One" (with the great line "We get to carry each other"). This period in the band's history will forever be overlooked and maligned but there are plenty of gems for those who wish to dig. This only scratches the glittery surface.

That leaves six songs, the four hits from All That You Can't Leave Behind (which won, like, 38 Grammies each) and both "Vertigo" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" from 2004. 

All of these songs are great. Most have been played to death on radio. For the budding U2 fan in your life, this is the perfect introduction to the band, but by no means should it be confused with a best-of or a true representation of U2's sound.

Rating: A-

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