If you were one of those people that gave up on U2 after the release of Pop and it's subsequent lackluster sales, it's time to beg for forgiveness. For what their last album had in overproduction, All That You Can't Leave Behind has in slimmed down substance. A lot of people said the new album would be a return to War or Rattle & Hum... but do rock pioneers go back to safe ground when tremors occur? No! And that's why U2 is still around.
This album could be a singles collection for any other band. If these were the good ones, I wonder what gems didn't make the cut. Every song is so different from each other in message, sentiment and energy but still stay cohesive throughout. You could start with "Walk On" (my favorite track on the album) which is an inspirational love song that screams in defiance to the fragility, pain and frustrations found in a relationship. "New York" catches you off guard (kind of like the city) going from gentle to a full-blown rocker without losing you. "When I Look At The World," "Peace On Earth" and the first single "Beautiful Day" are best explained as gorgeous moments that escape true definition. "Wild Honey" is a playful romp. The band also finds soul and blues for the songs "In A Little While" and "Grace." "Elevation" is purely energetic. "Kite" and "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of" round out the disc by really expressing messages wrapped in a groove.
I firmly believe that this album is U2's finest moment. The production is lush and beautiful which matches the musicianship perfectly. So when asked what CDs I would want with me if I was stranded on a island, this wouldn't be left behind.