Here is a confession that should surprise no one: U2 is, by far, my favorite band, and have been since high school. And I've seen them on every single tour since I've been old enough to drive myself to wherever it is that they are playing. So it should surprise no one that I will be attending their concert here next week.
In gearing up for said concert, one of the music critics at the Washington Post posted a blog ranking the 12 U2 studio albums from worst to best. Here is his list:
12. October (1981)
11. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004)
10. POP (1997)
9. No Line on the Horizon (2009)
8. War (1983)
7. All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
6. Rattle and Hum (1988)
5. The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
4. Boy (1980)
3. Zooropa (1993)
2. The Joshua Tree (1987)
1. Achtung Baby (1991)
At first I thought this list was dead wrong, but now I'm not sure. Like them, whether I rank Achtung Baby or The Joshua Tree as #1 or #2 depends on the day and whether I'm leaning towards dark and ambient or earnest soul-searching. As for the rest, I'd probably put The Unforgettable Fire as my #3, and move Rattle & Hum into the top 5. And I liked How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb a lot more than some of the other newer records. But they're clearly right on one thing: Generally speaking, newer (as in post-1990) U2 < older U2.