The Best of 1990-2000 & B-Sides
(Island / Interscope)

U2: The Best of 1990-2000 & B-Sides (Island / Interscope) When I first heard about this compilation & saw the track listing, I was pretty indifferent. I was never a fan of the Zooropa or Pop albums, and just the thought of anything from those albums being included on a 'best of' collection seemed contradictory. I never had any desire (no pun intended) to hear songs like "Discotheque" or Numb" ever again. Ditto for the Pavarotti collaboration, "Miss Sarajevo."

However, once I broke down and put the CD on, my opinion changed. Yes, all three of the tracks mentioned above are here, but in the grand scheme of things, there are enough good songs here to overlook the few bad ones. The songs aren't in chronological order, but the CD flows very well, and that's always a good thing. Plus you can always program around the few songs that you may not want to hear.

In addition to most of the hits/singles (where's "Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World," "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" and "Walk On"?), The Best of 1990-2000 also includes "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" from the Batman Forever soundtrack, four new mixes, and two new songs--"Electrical Storm" and "The Hands That Built America." All in all, much better than I was originally expecting.

Let's move on to the limited edition B-sides disc. The biggest problem here is that out of all the possibilities they had to choose from, there are too many remixes and not enough 'regular' tracks. And the worst part is that most of the remixes are not for the band's better songs. In what can only be perceived as a marketing ploy, they put the 'regular' version of "Electrical Storm" on the B-sides disc and the William Orbit mix on the hits disc--basically forcing you to spring for the more expensive 2 (or 3, depending on whether you get the bonus DVD or not) disc version to get the regular version.

Also missing here are all but one of the cover songs that appeared on the band's singles over the last decade. "Paint it Black," "Fortunate Son," "Satellite Of Love," "Night And Day" and "I've Got You Under My Skin" (actually credited to Bono and Frank Sinatra) are all sorely nowhere to be found. What we get instead are assorted (read: inferior) dance mixes. At least their cover of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" is here, even if it too is a remix. The B-sides disc could've been great and appealed to a much wider audience if the right material had been included.

The Bonus DVD (also limited) includes four additional tracks. The first is a seven minute "History Mix," featuring a barrage of U2 footage from the past decade. The second track is a two and a half minute trailer for the upcoming DVD. Both of these fall into the 'no need to see it more than once' category. The last two tracks, "Please" and "Beautiful Day" are recorded live in Helsinki and Paris respectively.

To sum things up, the first disc is better than you'd expect, the B-sides disc could've been a lot better, and the bonus DVD is just that--a bonus.

© 2002 Steve Marshall
Purchase this CD from Amazon.com
Purchase the limited edition CD with the bonus disc & DVD from Amazon.com