How do you sum up a career like that of U2 in one disc? That is the question that the band is attempting to answer with its upcoming release "U218 Singles", which consists of sixteen of the band's most famous singles, as well as two new tracks recorded with Rick Rubin (of Johnny Cash's American Recordings and Audioslave fame of late). First of all, here is the recently announced tracklist:
1. Beautiful Day / 2. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / 3. Pride (In The Name Of Love) / 4. With Or Without You / 5. Vertigo / 6. New Year's Day / 7. Mysterious Ways / 8. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of / 9. Where The Streets Have No Name / 10. Sweetest Thing / 11. Sunday Bloody Sunday / 12. One / 13. Desire / 14. Walk On / 15. Elevation / 16. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own / 17. The Saints Are Coming (NEW TRACK) / 18. Window In The Skies (NEW TRACK)
Despite the fact that I already own all but two of these tracks several times over, I will likely be buying the CD. Why? Because I'm a sucker, that's why. And because there's a special edition that comes with a bonus DVD. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with the track selection on this disc. If the CD's purpose is to serve as the one U2 CD that people can own to have their main radio hits, it accomplishes it, and I would recommend it for that purpose. There are, in fact, few changes I would make to the track selection - or even order, for that matter - though I would argue for the inclusion of "Even Better Than The Real Thing" from Achtung Baby, as well as tracks from 1993's Zooropa and 1997's Pop, which are not represented here ("Numb" and "Discotheque, respectively). Then again, I suppose if people want a more complete Best Of that they can buy the Best of 1980-1990 and Best of 1990-2000 and the inevitable Best of 2000-2010 in five years. But if you are among those who did not buy either of those collections over the past eight years, it seems as if U218 Singles will suffice for that "I just want to own all of U2's hits on one CD" crowd, while causing people like me to fork out more money for what essentially amounts to a glorified cash grab between album releases. And I do not know what's worse: that they grab for cash, or that I know that they do and still participate. Sigh.