U2: 18 Singles (an alternate tracklist)

As I recently reviewed U2’s 18 Singles – a collection hoping to tap into the kind of success that The Beatles 1 had a few years ago – it occurred to me that I could put together a better 18-song playlist. Remember, I’m going for the band’s hits; so bigger in this case is probably better.

First, I must identify the “must-haves.” Here is my list: “Angel of Harlem,” “Beautiful Day,” “Desire,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Mysterious Ways,” “One,” “Pride (In The Name of Love),” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “With or Without You.” These are the band’s signature songs. (Only “Angel of Harlem” was excluded from 18 Singles.)

Now, I need to identify the best of the rest: “All I Want Is You,” “Bad,” “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me,” “I Will Follow,” “New Year’s Day,” “Sweetest Thing” and “Vertigo.” Are there better songs not yet mentioned? Probably, but you’d be hard-pressed to find something bigger or more popular.

That leaves room for one song. Regrettably, I’m only choosing amongst the singles, so personal favorites like “In a Little While,” “Hawkmoon 269,” “So Cruel” or “A Sort of Homecoming” do not qualify. Nor does “Flower Child,” an All That You Can’t Leave Behind castoff that I’m utterly convinced would be a huge hit for the band if they would only release it as a single.

Looking at the list of the band’s singles, “Discotheque,” “Staring at the Sun,” “Numb” and “Stay (Farwaway, So Close!)” jump out. Of the four, the last two didn’t chart as well as the first two, so the final spot goes to either “Discotheque” or “Staring at the Sun.” Listening to each as I keep my criteria in mind, I can envision the band opening a concert with “Discotheque.” “Staring at the Sun”? Not so much.

So here’s the final 18-song tracklist, in chronological order:

1. I Will Follow
2. New Year’s Day
3. Sunday Bloody Sunday
4. Pride (In the Name of Love)
5. Bad
6. Where the Streets Have No Name
7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
8. With or Without You
9. Desire
10. Angel of Harlem
11. All I Want Is You
12. Mysterious Ways
13. One
14. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
15. Discotheque
16. Sweetest Thing
17. Beautiful Day
18. Vertigo

How’s it look?


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