U2: All That You Can’t Leave Behind (20th Anniversary Edition) review – A timely reminder of their firepower

Thu, Oct 29, 2020, 07:37

   
 

Album:
All That You Can't Leave Behind (20th Anniversary Edition)

Artist:
U2

Label:
Island/UMC

Genre:
Rock

Be honest: you’ve long made your mind up about U2. The 20th anniversary reissue of their 10th album is unlikely to convert the grouches and begrudgers, but for everyone else this is a reminder of the firepower and emotionally galvanising effect that U2 are (or at least were, two decades ago) capable of.

Casual fans may find the five-disc, 51-song set a little overwhelming (do we really need four different dance remixes of Elevation?), and the “remixes” collection is a mixed bag. Paul van Dyk’s trancey pummelling of Elevation is unlistenable, though others fare better, including Nightmares on Wax’s groovy interpretation of In a Little While and Wyclef Jean’s take on Walk On.

Elsewhere, there’s a disc of B-sides, outtakes and alternatives, with some interesting moments, including Always (later reworked into Beautiful Day), the acoustic-led Flower Child and Big Girls Are Best, a remnant of the pop era. A recording of the previously released Live in Boston gig rounds out the reissue, raising goosebumps with every roar of the crowd.

Even without the accompanying bells and whistles, revisiting this record – arguably U2’s last great album, or at least their last consistent one – is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, from the overplayed yet still effervescent Beautiful Day through the poignant Kite and the winsome, breezy bounce of Wild Honey.