|U2 - All That You Can't Leave Behind|
|Release: 2000 / Label: Island - Interscope - Polygram / Collection: V|
|1||Beautiful Day||7||Wild Honey|
|2||Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of||8||Peace On Earth|
|3||Elevation||9||When I Look At The World|
|4||Walk On||10||New York|
|6||In A Little While|
Stephen Thomas Erlewine (All Music Guide)
Nearly ten years after beginning U2 Mach II with their brilliant seventh album Achtung Baby, U2 eases into their third phase with 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind. The title signifies more than it seems, since the group sifts through their past, working with Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, all in an effort to construct a classicist U2 album. Thankfully, it's a rock record from a band that absorbed all the elastic experimentation, studio trickery, dance flirtations, and genre bending of Achtung, Zooropa, and Pop — all they've shed is the irony. U2 chooses not to delve as darkly personal as they did on Achtung or Zooropa, yet they also avoid the alienating archness of Pop, returning to the generous spirit that flowed through their best '80s records. On that level, All may be reminiscent of The Joshua Tree, but this is a clever and craftsmanlike record, filled with nifty twists in the arrangements, small sonic details and colors. U2 take subtle risks, such as their best pure pop song ever with "Wild Honey"; they're so self-confident, they effortlessly write their best anthem in years with "Beautiful Day"; they offer the gospel-influenced "Stuck in a Moment," never once lowering it to the schtick it would have been on Rattle & Hum. Like any work from craftsmen, All That You Can't Leave Behind winds up being a work of modest pleasures, where the way the verse eases into the chorus means more than the overall message, and this is truly the first U2 album where that sentiment applies - but there is genuine pleasure in their craft, for the band and listener alike.
Steven Stolder (Amazon.com)
The foursome come roaring out of the blocks with their latest collection. The album's first single, "Beautiful Day," raced to the No. 1 slot on the U.K. singles charts and received a similar rapturous reception stateside. From its shimmering preamble to its sweeping, infectious chorus, it perfectly stakes out the middle ground between the anthemic U2 of the '80s and the more grounded group of the '90s. With Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno sharing production chores again after having taken a break with Pop, the U2 team enters the new millennium with their lineup--and mission--intact.
Andrew Mueller (Amazon.co.uk)
If U2 hadn't used the title already, "A Sort Of Homecoming" might have suited this, their 10th studio album. All That You Can't Leave Behind sounds, at various points, like any or all of U2's previous albums, as if the band are sending postcards back from a protracted ramble through previously conquered territories. The euphoric first single, and opening track, "Beautiful Day", reintroduced Edge's signature delay-laden guitar solos, pretty much absent since The Unforgettable Fire. Elsewhere, the gospel stylings of Rattle & Hum resurface on "Stuck In A Moment", and the deranged, Prodigy-influenced dance textures that characterised their previous album, Pop, crop up on "Elevation". None of this should be taken as suggestion that this always commendably restless group are running out of ideas. Having spent the 1990s making three of the most bizarre and adventurous albums ever delivered by a stadium rock band (the consecutive masterpieces Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop), it's as if they are now trying to figure out if there was one particular thing they always did best. On the evidence presented here, it's that combination of U2's facility for the epic playing alongside Bono's increasing lyrical interest in intimacy: "Walk On" and "Peace On Earth" are two of the best things he has ever written or sung. All That You Can't Leave Behind confirms that U2's laurels are continuing to make them itch.
David Sprague (Barnes & Noble)
For most of their two decades together, U2 have ranked among the most forward-looking of rock's mega-bands, which makes their decision to "get back to their roots" on this remarkably evocative album a curious -- but thoroughly positive -- one. The electronics, irony, and distance of recent years have largely been stripped away, all the better to concentrate on the Edge's still visceral guitar playing and Bono's eternally questing presence. The singer proves he can still send shivers down the spine by soaring through songs such as the yearning "Peace on Earth," but he's just as capable of capturing attention with subtlety and a downbeat delivery, as he does on the pensive "New York." A good bit of All That You Can't Leave Behind comes couched in dark hues, thanks to Bono's heart-on-his-sleeve musings and the seductive production of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. But there are moments of outright abandon giddy enough to pack a dance floor with folks doing the old bump 'n' grind, including the lusty "Wild Honey" and the soulful spirit-lifter "Stuck in a Moment." U2's rhythm section, Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton, who sounded somewhat tentative on experimental discs such as Pop and Zooropa, positively leap into the hard-charging grooves of songs such as "Elevation" and the corny but infectious "Walk On," a pair of songs that bring to mind the vibrant Rattle and Hum-era incarnation of the band. This appropriately titled disc is, in many ways, a reclamation of styles and notions U2 once discarded as outmoded, only to find that they fit mighty well after all.
U2: Bono (vocals,
guitar, synthesizer); The Edge (guitar, piano, synthesizer, background
vocals); Adam Clayton (bass); Larry Mullen (drums, percussion).
ALL THAT YOU CAN'T LEAVE BEHIND won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rock
Album. "Walk On" won the 2002 Grammy Award for Record Of The Year.
"Elevation" won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo
Or Group With Vocal. "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of" won the 2002
Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
Peter Orlov (CMJ New Music Report, issue 689, October 30, 2000)
The unadulterated explosion of positive sentiment and classic Edge guitar that ushers in the chorus of "Beautiful Day," the opening track of the highly anticipated All That You Can't Leave Behind, lays out the album's territory rather clearly. Forget Zooropa and the discotheque -- you are now entering an irony-free zone, where you, too, can get back in touch with the "real" U2. After spending the '90s in the throes of reinvention, the Irish quartet returns to the task of spiritually uplifting the masses with "three chords and the truth," and ends up making a soulful rock record that could easily be mistaken for a 21st-century Joshua Tree follow-up. Moving between aggrandizing power-chords (the majestic come-on, "Elevation") and the slide-guitar-generated Euro-blues wistfulness he's perfected (best served on the searching "Kite"), the Edge drifts back to the other side of the Eno-and-Lanois mixing board to reassert himself as one of the most influential rock figures of the past 20 years. And having shed the veils that shadowed his Achtung/Pop message, Bono clears his throat and abandons the bully pulpit, with only a single examination of confusion (the deadening, near-brilliant "New York") muddying his invocation to try a little tenderness.
Ben Gilbert (DOT Music)
Everything you know is
wrong. Or so U2 claimed on the multi-media overload intro sequence of the
Zoo TV tour back in 1992.
John Sakamoto (JAM! Music, October 28, 2000)
More than any other
rock band to emerge in the post-punk era, U2 has both cultivated the
notion of subtext and had it enthusiastically foisted upon them.
Where do you go once
you've gone over the top? After you've shared enormodome stages with
gigantic fruit, written operatic quasi-techno tunes about consumerism
eclipsing spirituality, given your sunglasses to the Pope? After you've
tried to be about Art and Politics? There's only one place to go. Back to
the drawing board, and try to be about Music.
Brent DiCrescenzo (Pitchfork Media, November 2000)
The title can work
both ways. For the band, "all that you can't leave behind" implies facing
up to their platinum salad days of the Edge's trademark echo shimmers and
Paul "Bono Vox" Hewson's Lexus-honk vocals. For the general public, the
title reifies our struggle to leave behind the image of Bono hatching from
a disco lemon, dressed in that rayon six-pack t-shirt. For a band settled
into four-letter pseudonyms from their 1980 debut, breaking up never
seemed like an option. From day one, U2 was a rock constellation-- a
warplane-- and we expected epics. It's an early affair, a hazy
infatuation, that has since bloated into comfortable taking-for-granted.
As with all ubiquitous products, the familiarity of logos, slogans, and
icons eventually supplants whatever original feelings we may have had.
Mark Blake (Q Magazine)
Edge squints into a
compact mirror, checking the detail on that moustache. Bono ponders Third
World debt and a future missive to Kofi Annan. Adam Clayton leafs through
the latest Italian Vogue ? wow, a Versace pollution mask ? Larry Mullen Jr
thinks about Passengers Original Soundtracks 1 and scowls. Possibly?Only
U2 themselves know what went on inside the lemon. The rest of us can just
speculate. Every evening on their 1997-'98's PopMart tour they clambered
into the windowless pod. Accompanied by the din of unseen stadium crowds,
it would hover across the stage before splitting open to reveal the band.
Locked in there night after night, what did U2 talk about? That next time
they should make an old-fashioned rock'n'roll record and leave the big
yellow thing at home? Possibly.
James Hunter (RollingStone, issue 853)
U2's tenth studio
album and third masterpiece, All That You Can't Leave Behind, is all about
the simple melding of craft and song. Their first masterpiece, 1987's
Joshua Tree, imagined cathedrals of ecstasy; their second,
Achtung Baby, banged around fleabag
hotels of agony. But on All That You Can't Leave Behind, U2 distill two
decades of music-making into the illusion of effortlessness usually only
possible from veterans. The album represents the most uninterrupted
collection of strong melodies U2 have ever mounted, a record where
tunefulness plays as central a role as on any Backstreet Boys hit. "I'm
just trying to find a decent melody," Bono sings with soulful patience in
"Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," "a song that I can sing in my