I’m pretty sure I could go my entire life without being hit in the face with a bucket full of pee. That’s probably what a Florida man thought, too…until last weekend. According to police, the argument between neighbors had been stewing. and festering for quite a while. The culmination of the dispute happened on Sunday, when the two neighbors began a verbal altercation. One neighbor said the other neighbor’s chicken had pooped on her patio. When she confronted the owner of the chicken, a fight started. That’s when investigators say the woman went back to her home and fetched a bucket…which was full of urine. It remains unclear why the woman was keeping a bucket of pee in her home. Once she returned from the house with the bucket, she approached the man and threw the bucket at his fce. Authorities say the man was not only hit by the urine, but was also injured by the bucket itslef. The woman was read her rights and arested at the scene. I’d like to think the man took a long, hot shower. Source: WFLA.com
Motley Freaking Crue!!!
Motley Crue: Their 40 Best Songs, Ranked
A new track featured on the Crue’s first greatest hits compilation, “Angela” has a unique place in pop culture as Dwight and Angela danced to the song at their wedding in the series finale of ‘The Office,’ which was a clever use of a Crue tune since the band was Dwight’s go-to for when he needed to get pumped for a sales call or performance review.
Motley Crue is far from being a “political” band, but with “Fight For Your Rights,” we find the band taking on issues around race and invoking Martin Luther King Jr. The track closes out ‘Theatre of Pain,’ and while it only scratches the surface of race relations, it’s one of those tracks that’s always a surprise when revisiting the Crue catalog.
One of the rare Crue songs credited to all four members of the band, “Bitter Pill” was a new track that was included on 1998’s ‘Greatest Hits’ album. Oddly enough, when this compilation was reissued in 2009, “Bitter Pill” was omitted along with “Enslaved” (another new track released on the LP) and the remix of “Glitter” from ‘Generation Swine.’ In fact, “Bitter Pill” isn’t even available on streaming platforms right now, which is a shame because it’s a beyond catchy pop-rock tune.
The Crue’s 2005 compilation album ‘Red, White & Crue’ saw the band reunite for a second time in their history. (This time around, it was drummer Tommy Lee returning to the fold.) The 38-track set featured some of the Crue’s biggest hits, fan favorites and a few new tracks including “Sick Love Song,” which was penned by Nikki Sixx and James Michael who would go on to be the lead singer in Nikki’s side project aptly named Sixx: AM. It’s a great example of how even a quarter-century in, the Crue still had *it* and are a prime example of being greater than the sum of its parts.
The John Corabi-era with Motley Crue is a unique time to examine, because when you revisit 1995’s ‘Motley Crue’ -- the lone album the band released with Corabi as its singer -- it’s a pretty solid rock album. However, it just doesn’t *sound* like Motley Crue, so it feels out of place in the band’s catalog likely due to Nikki, Tommy and Mick playing to John’s strengths. “Loveshine” is the first of four tracks from that LP to appear on this list, and it’s the sound of ‘Led Zeppelin III’ hanging out with The Black Crowes. Great song, but it’s one of the last things you’d expect from Motley Crue.
If you listen to “Rattlesnake Shake” and think the horn section sounds an awful lot like the one used on Aerosmith’s “(Dude) Looks Like A Lady,” it’s because tenor saxophonist Tom Keenlyside, baritone saxophonist Ian Putz and trumpet player Henry Christian played on both tracks. (Fun fact, right?) Whether or not this was a planned homage to Aerosmith or just a happy accident, “Rattlesnake Shake” is one fun tune.
“Keep Your Eye On the Money” acts as a pseudo-title track on ‘Theatre of Pain,’ especially on the lyrics, “Comedy and tragedy/Entertainment or death/Like sister morphine/Hooked on her game/Time to place your bets,” which make subtle reference to the album’s cover. There’s a unique tension in the song. Clearly, the band knows it’s living life dangerously, but they just can’t stop because they have a big payday ahead. Definitely more depth to this song than you’d think.
Another rare topical song that closes out a Crue album, just like the aforementioned “Fight For Your Rights”! This time around, we find the band looking to the youth to push society forward to a better tomorrow. It’s almost as if Motley made their own version of “Greatest Love of All,” which shouldn’t work but it does. The Crue is joined by a host of background vocalists including all of Skid Row, which, once again, shouldn’t work but it does.
There’s no denying that when John Corabi was tapped to replace Vince Neil that Motley Crue’s sound drastically changed, but clearly the rise of grunge had an impact, too, as evident on “Power to the Music.” Opening the band’s self-titled 1994 album, the track is a gritty anthem that doesn’t get enough love in the Crue’s catalog.
‘Theatre of Pain’ was the Crue’s third studio album, and by that time, they were already rock stars, but on “Raise Your Hands To Rock,” they still look back fondly on the days before they were household names and just trying to make it. Simply put, it’s a fun track with a big sing-along chorus, which makes it puzzling as to why they only performed it live once at a December 1982 show in Santa Monica, Calif. according to Setlist.fm.
The glam influence is STRONG on “Toast of the Town,” the b-side to the Crue’s very first single “Stick to Your Guns,” which was featured on the original 1981 release of ‘Too Fast For Love’ but omitted on the 1982 re-release of the album once the band signed to Elektra records. The track would be included on the 2003 reissue of the album, and it’s a good thing it was because it is a ridiculously good time of a tune.
With the premiere of the film adaptation of ‘The Dirt’ and the band recording new tunes for the film’s soundtrack, we should’ve known Motley Crue was going to renege on their "Cessation of Touring Agreement" they signed before their "Final Tour" in 2014-15. Then again, with “The Dirt (Est. 1981),” which features Machine Gun Kelly who portrayed Tommy Lee in ‘The Dirt’ film, they clearly show they have plenty left in the tank. Hopefully, “The Stadium Tour” will *finally* happen in 2022. (Thanks a lot, coronavirus pandemic!)
Once again, the rise of grunge very much had an impact on Motley Crue, who incorporated elements from the genre on their eponymous 1994 album featuring John Corabi on vocals. If you want to get specific, the track seems very influenced by Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden and the whole vibe of Alice In Chains’ “I Stay Away,” particularly the strings on that track. The moment you realize it’s *really* a Motley Crue song is when Mick Mars launches into a slide guitar solo about four minutes into the 6:36 track. Definitely an underrated song or, perhaps, misunderstood.
The only thing more confusing than Motley Crue without Vince Neil is ‘Generation Swine,’ Neil’s first album back with the band following his firing back in 1992. There’s just *too* much going on with the album as far as musical directions are concerned, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t bright spots on the LP. The brightest of those spots lies with “Afraid,” the album’s lead single and a stealthy tender love song Nikki Sixx wrote when he was first seeing his eventual second wife, actress/’Playboy’ Playmate Donna D’Errico.
“Come On and Dance” is obviously a filthy song (“When she's on top/Well, you can't be stopped/Watch her scream/Watch her suck you clean”), but there’s something very charming about it. Perhaps it’s the minimalist arrangement and production or even the way it feels like Vince Neil is working through his vocal to determine his sound. Either way, it’s a great piece of glam metal.
“Modern times and new blood’s pumping/Only the strong survive” were the lyrics that closed out “Hooligan’s Holiday,” the lead single from the Crue’s self-titled 1994 studio LP featuring John Corabi on vocals. The obvious style change from the band due to having a new singer and to keep up with current trends was met with a mixed reaction at best, but since the release of ‘Motley Crue’ strong tracks like “Hooligan’s Holiday” have managed to survive. Sure, the Corabi era will always feel a little strange, but you can’t deny quality regardless of who’s behind the mic.
An underrated ballad with an interesting history, “If I Die Tomorrow” features songwriting credits from Nikki Sixx and the band Simple Plan. Bob Rock produced Simple Plan’s 2004’s studio album ‘Still Not Getting Any…,’ and “If I Die Tomorrow” was a track left over from the recording sessions. Rock then passed along the tune to the Crue, and after Sixx made some changes, the band recorded the song and was the lead single to their 2005 compilation album ‘Red, White & Crue.’ The band took things one step further in the song’s music video which depicted each Crue member reliving some of the most horrific moments in their lives, from Sixx nearly dying from a heroin overdose to Vince Neil’s drunk driving accident that resulted in the death of Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle.
‘Saints of Los Angeles’ was Motley Crue’s first studio album following their reunion with Tommy Lee in 2004. At this point in their career, the band really had nothing left to prove, but that didn’t stop them from putting out one of their strongest singles in years with the title track, which is loosely about when the Crue first signed with Elektra Records in the ‘80s. (“We are, we are the saints/We signed our life away.”)
It’s unknown if there was a particular inspiration behind “Starry Eyes,” but if this Nikki Sixx-penned tune was about a specific woman, clearly Sixx had it *bad* for her. Looking back on Motley Crue’s first album and its raw energy, it’s amazing what the band grew to be and just how much they had *it* from nearly day one.
Judging by title alone, one would be quick to assume “Dancing On Glass” was about strippers which would be a proper fit on ‘Girls, Girls, Girls.’ However, the song’s subject matter is far grizzlier, and its second verse leaves little to the imagination it’s about drugs. (“Silver spoon and needle/Witchy tombstone smile/I’m not puppet/I engrave my veins with style.”) Even staring down a tough subject, Motley Crue still manages to churn out one hell of a rock song.
Mick Mars’ guitar tracks are just *so* damn good on “Without You,” a grand power ballad and third single from ‘Dr. Feelgood.’ The track was reportedly inspired by Tommy Lee’s relationship with Heather Locklear. While Tommy and Heather didn’t stand the test of time, “Without You” still does.
Motley Crue has a handful of covers in their catalog, but their take on Brownsville Station’s “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” is, by far, their best. The cover was their lead single from ‘Theatre of Pain’ and would peak at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
Remember that thing about Motley Crue having *it* from nearly day one? “Piece of Your Action” is another prime example of that. It’s an undeniably dirty, sexy song. (Tight action, rear traction/So hot, you really blow me away/Fast moving, wet and ready/The time is right, so hang on tight.”) Perhaps most importantly, “Piece of Your Action” brilliantly showcases how valuable Mick Mars is to the whole Crue dynamic. It’s hard to imagine any other guitarist filling that role.
‘Theatre of Pain’ was a bit of a style departure compared to the Crue’s previous two studio albums, but “Tonight (We Need A Lover)” was proof those metal hellions from the Sunset Strip were very much part of the band’s identity. Tommy Lee providing a killer drum track is far from shocking, but the drums on “Tonight (We Need A Lover)” manage to reverberate in your gut.
The melodrama of “On With The Show” is equal parts Meat Loaf and Bruce Springsteen. It’s truly a wild Crue track that doesn’t get enough attention. “On With The Show” is a semi-autobiographical tale about Nikki Sixx (born Frank Feranna Jr.) and how he changed his name to distance himself from his absent father. (“Frankie died just the other night/Some say it was suicide/But we know/How the story goes.) Once again, so melodramatic!
Honestly, it’s the sexiest song about a quickie ever. Name me another song about a quickie that’s better. I’ll wait...
Along with Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” probably helped its fair share of strippers pay their way through college. In fact, the song name-checks seven different strip joints, and over three decades later, three of those clubs are still open: Tattletale Lounge in Atlanta; The Body Shop in West Hollywood, Calif.; and the Seventh Veil on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles where the band filmed the raunchy song’s music video.
Motley Crue is responsible for some of the greatest arena rock tunes ever, but few of their songs feel as tailor-made for arenas as “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)” Of course, the song is the age-old story of boy meets girl, boy meets girl’s friend, the two women realize they love each other and then run away together. It’s all very “Tale as old as time.”
The second single from ‘Shout At The Devil,’ “Too Young to Fall in Love” boasts one of the Crue’s hookiest chorus and campiest music videos ever. The whole plot is a mystery beyond words, so just go and watch it...after you finish this list, of course. A tip of the hat to Tommy Lee for providing a rhythm track that is minimalist but meaty AF.
Hmmm...the early days often found the Crue too (insert adjective here) for love, it seems. Regardless of the descriptor, it certainly made for fun songwriting as evident with “Too Fast For Love,” another raw tune from Motley Crue’s debut that really showed the band’s punk influences. Plus, the way Vince Neil sings the “Oh no, oh no!” intro remains some of the most iconic notes he’s ever sung.
Simply stated: “Public Enemy #1” is a glammy, pop-punk delight! The track was co-written by Nikki Sixx and Lizzie Grey, who was Sixx’s former bandmate in London, the band Sixx co-founded before forming Motley Crue.
“Live Wire” is the first track on ‘Too Fast For Love,” and from the moment you hear Mick Mars’ chugging opening riff, you know Motley Crue is not a band to be messed with. It’s the type of song that can only bit written by someone who’s young and hungry. You just can’t get away with writing lyrics like, “Because I'm hot, young, running free/A little bit better than I used to be,” when you’re three albums into your career.
As Motley Crue looked back on ten wild years on their first greatest hits album ‘Decade of Decadence,’ they did so with a new track in “Primal Scream,” and it’s an absolute monster that packs as much attitude as anything they dropped in the previous decade. Of course, “Primal Scream” was one of the final singles released during Vince Neil’s first tenure fronting the band. It’s one of the finest examples of each member of the Crue operating on all cylinders.
It’s the title track to Motley Crue’s most commercially successful album, and it’s the band’s most successful single in their catalog peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. While the song explores the life of a drug dealer wasn’t necessarily a new theme for the band, “Dr. Feelgood” had a polish unlike any other Crue single until then. That’s a touch likely due to producer Bob Rock and the fact the band was sober during the making of the album.
“Shout At The Devil” wasn’t released as a single, but when you write a hook as catchy as, “Shout, shout, shout/Shout at the devil,” the people will undoubtedly find it and help make it an anthem. Fun fact: It’s the song Motley Crue has played the most live in their band’s history, according to Setlist.fm.
The fourth single from ‘Dr. Feelgood,’ “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” finds Motley Crue embracing pop elements in expert fashion without losing a touch of their metal edge. Plus, its title alone is one of the best kiss-offs in music. Who hasn’t gone through a breakup that ended with this type of vibe?
Motley Crue grew significantly from their debut to their second studio album ‘Shout At The Devil,’ and out the gate, they weren’t messing around as evident on the lead single “Looks That Kill.” It’s one of the Crue’s signature tunes for a reason.
“Kneel down you sinners to streetwise religion/Greed’s been crowned the new king.” That opening lyric is both super-’80s and, yet, somehow timeless, much like Motley Crue themselves. The dark lyrical content of “Wild Side” is a total juxtaposition of its music, which is one of the most upbeat tempos and melodies the band ever wrote. The whole song is as dizzying and brilliant as Tommy Lee’s spinning drum rig that’s featured in the song’s music video.
In the realm of power ballads, “Home Sweet Home” is among the most quintessential if not *the* most quintessential. Even when listening to it in your car, you’re almost tempted to lift up your lighter or phone and just sway. Tommy Lee’s piano intro is instantly recognizable, and his little drum fill at the end of the track is the perfect cherry atop one epic tune. Add Mick Mars’ guitar solo and the way Vince Neil wails “Tonight, tonight!” during the chorus, it’s no wonder this tune penned by Nikki Sixx and Lee is one of the Crue’s best.
Picking the best Motley Crue song is a tough challenge, because a number of songs in their catalog could be argued as their “best.” Why does “Kickstart My Heart” come out on top of our list? Because not only is it an incredible rock song, but it represents the essence of the Crue better than any other song in their catalog. When you’re a band whose debauchery is beyond legendary, picking the song that was inspired by Nikki Sixx being brought back to life following an overdose just makes sense. And, once again, it’s an incredible rock song that decades later is still a mainstay on active rock and now classic rock radio. It’s a song that just refuses to die, sort of like Nikki Sixx.
U2’s Breatest Of All Time
U2: Their 50 Best Songs, Ranked
A standout on U2’s 11th studio album, “City of Blinding Lights” won the Grammy for Best Rock Song in 2006 and was used by President Barack Obama during campaign events during the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Presidential elections. U2 would perform the song during President Obama’s inaugural concert at the Lincoln memorial in 2009.
U2 was gradually evolving their sound on their third studio album, ‘War,’ but their punk influences were still evident, especially on “Two Hearts Beat As One.” The track was the band’s second single off the album released between “New Year’s Day” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”
Bono wrote “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” as a tribute to INXS singer Michael Hutchence, who died by suicide in 1997. In a 2005 interview with ‘Rolling Stone,’ Bono said of his relationship with Hutchence, “I felt I had let Michael down because I was lost to my own busyness and hadn’t called as much as I would have liked...He would confide in me and I in him. We were really great friends. In Cannes we’d go out and we wouldn’t come home, we’d just sleep on the beach, having a laugh.”
A touching song about finding joy in love despite being surrounded by obstacles, “Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way” is a nice reminder that U2 still remain conscious of matters of the heart even on their 14th studio album.
Bono is well aware of the criticisms against him, and he seemed to lean into those criticisms on the lyrics of “All Because of You” namely in the second verse with, “I like the sound of my own voice/I didn't give anyone else a choice.” Perhaps he didn’t, but he’s at least self-aware enough to admit to it.
You wouldn’t think a song about Bono’s mom dying when he was 14 could be this danceable, but U2 made it happen on “Mofo” with one hell of a synth track alongside Larry Mullen Jr’s drums.
The second single from ‘No Line On the Horizon,’ “Magnificent” should’ve been the lead single instead of “Get On Your Boots,” which most agree is one of the worst singles U2 has ever released. “Magnificent” is a far better representation of U2’s 12th studio album. Fun fact: It’s working title was “French Disco,” which really is an accurate description of its sound.
If you want to get technical, “Miss Sarajevo” isn’t a U2 song; it’s a song from Passengers, a group made up of U2 and Brian Eno, but it’s too stunning not to include. The song was inspired by a beauty pageant held in Sarajevo during the Bosninan War in the 1990s. Famed opera singer Luciano Pavarotti sang on the track, which was performed live for the first time at the “Pavarotti and Friends” concert in 1995.
Inspired by Psalm 40 in the Bible, “40” remains one of U2’s most memorable live songs in their entire catalog. The song was famously used to close out the band’s set and saw each member of the band exit the stand one-by-one all while fans continued to sing on repeat, “How long to sing this song?” One word: Chills!
How much of a creative roll were U2 on in the early ‘90s? Even their b-sides were incredible! “Salome” is a great example of this. (Spoiler: Another b-side circa ‘Achtung Baby’ shows up later.) An unbelievably catchy pop-rock tune, ‘Rolling Stone’ wrote in a list titled “20 Insanely Great U2 Songs Only Hardcore Fans Know” that Robert Plant once said “Salome” was his favorite U2 song. If Plant digs it, there’s a good chance you will, too.
U2 joined forces with Green Day to cover this Skids tune in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It was a perfect marriage of two bands with punk roots and remains one of U2’s standout tracks of the aughts. They would perform the song together before the first home game the New Orleans Saints played in the Superdome following the devastating hurricane. If you feel like giving yourself goosebumps, track down the performance on YouTube.
Released as a single from U2’s second greatest hits compilation, “Electrical Storm” is a tale of a couple at odds and the hope their rift will soon pass (“If the sky can crack there must be some way back/For love and only love.”) The song was accompanied by a stunning music video directed by frequent U2 collaborator Anton Corbijn and stars actress Samantha Morton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. as the song’s subjects. The video is one of the band’s most sensual and is a nice reminder that Larry is quite hot. Seriously, watch the video with a cigarette. You’ll thank me later.
‘Pop’ saw U2 fall further down the rabbit hole of electronic music, but some of the best songs on the album are where the band find balance between electronic and pop/rock genres. “Staring at the Sun” is a great example of this, and it still remains one of the most underrated singles the band has ever released.
A tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi, who was integral to bringing democracy to Myanmar and is currently the State Counsellor of the country, “Walk On” took on new meaning following the September 11th attacks in the United States and became a poignant anthem for a country reeling from an unprecedented act of terrorism.
If anyone questioned whether U2 could still write a banger that could move stadiums after being a band for four decades, “The Blackout” put those doubts to rest. In a liner notes video for ‘Songs of Experience,’ Bono says of the song, “It’s a letter to the moment we’re in, where personal and political apocalypse combine. Not just the rock behemoths slaughtered by time but the dinosaur of democracy facing extinction...I don’t think it’s far fetched. Democracy, after all, is a mere blip in history. It’s an aspiration seized by bloody revolutions. It’s a bloody messy business.”
In theory, Johnny Cash singing over an electronic beat shouldn’t work, but on “The Wanderer” it just does. Closing out ‘Zooropa,’ The Man in Black’s voice is the perfect tone to tell a story about someone walking around a post-apocalyptic landscape. Bono provides some beautiful harmonizing toward the end of the tune, but a tale this grave needs to be sung by someone that has lived through some stuff. Cash was 61 at the time of this recording, and he just had far more gravitas than a then 33-year-old Bono, which is probably why the U2 vocalist wrote the lyrics with Cash in mind.
Originally a b-side for “Where The Streets Have No Name,” “The Sweetest Thing” was re-recorded for U2’s first greatest hits compilation and released as a single. Bono wrote it for his wife, Ali, after he missed her birthday due to being at the studio recording ‘The Joshua Tree.’ The song’s music video features Bono and Ali going on a carriage ride while Bono elaborately apologizes to his wife via a marching band, a step-dancing troupe, gyrating firefighters and much more. Honestly, the whole ordeal is the sweetest thing.
One of U2’s most popular b-sides, it’s kind of remarkable “Lady With The Spinning Head” was somehow left off ‘Achtung Baby’ or wasn’t saved to be included on ‘Zooropa.’ The song was an early track in the making of ‘Achtung Baby’ and would go on to influence a number of songs on the album, most notably “The Fly.” It should be noted “Lady With The Spinning Head” features one of Edge’s coolest solos and hookiest hooks ever with that chorus. Just one listen, and it’ll likely get stuck in your head for a few hours at the minimum.
While “Dirty Day” isn’t about Bono’s relationship with his father, the song certainly was influenced by the man. Bono said in the 2006 book ‘U2 by U2,’ “‘Dirty Day’ is a father and son song. ‘It’s a dirty day,’ was an expression my dad would use and there is a lot of him in there but it was also influenced by Charles Bukowski, the great American writer and drinker...The song is about a character who has walked out on his family and, years later, meets the son he’s abandoned. So it’s not about my father but I used some of my dad’s attitude.” One listen to “Dirty Day,” and you’ll be thankful for the attitude of Bob Hewson.
“I was there when they crucified my Lord/I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword/I threw the dice when they pierced his side/But I've seen love conquer the great divide.” Religion is a common theme in the U2 catalog, and it is ever present on this gem, which features the late, great B.B. King and was recorded in the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis.
It’s impossible to talk about “The Fly” and not bring up Bono’s quote referring to the song as “the sound of four men chopping down ‘The Joshua Tree’." Truth be told, he wasn’t wrong. Released as the first single from ‘Achtung Baby,’ “The Fly” was a complete 180 compared to the songs of ‘The Joshua Tree’ and ‘Rattle and Hum,’ and it set the stage for what was to come from U2 both in the studio and on the road with the Zoo TV Tour.
Bono wrote the lyrics for “Out of Control” when he was 18 years old reflecting on the two things you have no control over in your life: when you are born and when you die. Heady stuff to think about when you’re still very young, but it offered a look at the subject matter of what would soon come from U2 decades down the line.
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” was written by Bono while his father, Bob Hewson, was dying from cancer. It’s one of the most personal and heartbreaking songs Bono has ever written, which is really saying something, but it’s hard to disagree when you’re faced with lyrics like, “You don't have to put up a fight/You don't have to always be right/Let me take some of the punches/For you tonight.”
It’s a love song, but it has grit, which makes it right at home on ‘Achtung Baby’ despite it lacking some of the alternative influences found on the rest of the album. Oddly enough, both the band and producer Steve Lillywhite aren’t super-fond of the tune. Good thing that many fans disagree.
Closing out ‘Rattle and Hum’ (both the album and film), “All I Want Is You” is another song whose lyrics were penned by Bono about his wife, Ali. (Swoon, right?!) The song would get a second life when it was included in the 1994 film ‘Reality Bites’ starring Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke. (Double swoon!)
“Bullet the Blue Sky” represents U2 at perhaps their most caustic. The song’s lyrics were inspired by a trip Bono and his wife, Ali, took to Central America, where U.S. foreign policy led to mass unrest. The song’s lyrics took aim at President Ronald Reagan. (“Suit and tie comes up to me/His face red like a rose on a thorn bush/Like all the colours of a royal flush/And he's peelin' off those dollar bills/Slappin' 'em down/One hundred, two hundred.”) Since its release, “Bullet the Blue Sky” has become a setlist mainstay and one of the highlights of nearly every U2 performance.
Inspired by the U.K.’s National Union of Mineworkers strike in 1984, “Red Hill Mining Town” is a soaring tune that seemed arena-ready upon its release. Oddly enough, the song was never played live until U2 embarked on their 2017 tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of ‘The Joshua Tree.’
“Love Is Blindness” closes out ‘Achtung Baby,’ and it does so in remarkably moody fashion. The Edge’s playing on this track is some of his most dark, which makes sense on account of him going through a separation with his first wife. Not saying pain and struggle brings out the best creatively, but, in this case, it definitely didn’t hurt.
While the original version on ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ is great, the version of “Elevation” on the ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ soundtrack, which features a significantly harder rock edge to it, is the superior cut. Speaking of “edge,” The Edge is basically the star of the song’s music video which finds the guitarist captured by “Evil U2” and is superimposed into the ‘Tomb Raider’ film sharing many scenes with Angelina Jolie. Yes, U2 is a serious band, but they can also be seriously funny, too.
Let’s just be blunt: “Until the End of the World” is the coolest song about Judas singing to Jesus ever. Sure, it might be the only song about Judas singing to Jesus, but you really don’t need any others when you have “Until the End of the World.” Edge’s bouncy, infectious riff takes this song to another level as does the killer rhythm track from Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.
One of U2’s most achingly beautiful odes to love, “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)” was given a new feminist meaning on the recent ‘Joshua Tree’ tours that honored the album’s 30th anniversary. During the performance of the song, images of iconic women, from historical political figures to entertainers to activists, were shown on the large screen of the band’s stage setup. It provided for a very moving moment to a set that already included U2 performing ‘The Joshua Tree’ in its entirety.
“Please” is a protest song of sorts about religion, and it’s one of U2’s most moving tracks in their entire catalog. Bono said in a ‘Rolling Stone’ interview in 2001, “It’s essentially about fundamentalism, political or religious. Religious fundamentalism is where you get to shrink God; you remake God in your own image, as opposed to the other way around. It gave me a bit of a fright.”
The heroin epidemic that hit Dublin in the 1980s had a massive effect on U2, and sadly, it inspired some of their best songs. Among them is “Running to Stand Still.” While it wasn’t one of the five songs from ‘The Joshua Tree’ released as a single, it certainly was strong enough to be one.
Apocalyptic? Yes. Decadent? For sure. “Last Night on Earth” is one of U2’s best straight-forward rock songs in their catalog, and it just doesn’t get enough attention. Go listen to it right now if you haven’t done so in a while. You won’t regret it.
A dizzying ode to being a rock star, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” was the lead single off of the ‘Batman Forever’ soundtrack, which also featured Seal’s smash single “Kiss from a Rose.” Easily the cheekiest lyrics from U2 (or at least the most in one song), Bono gets bonus points for rhyming “tricks” with “crucifix.” What a star!
The fourth single from ‘Achtung Baby,’ “Even Better Than The Real Thing” might just be U2’s sexiest song ever. Of course, that all depends on what you’re into. (To that end, no judgement. We’re all God’s children. It’s fine!) Anyway, if you don’t find it to be sexy, it certainly is playful. (“You're honey child to a swarm of bees/Gonna blow right through ya like a breeze.”) U2 as a playful band was certainly a new concept, and it was certainly a welcome one.
One of the songs U2 recorded at Sun Studio for ‘Rattle and Hum,’ “Angel of Harlem” paid tribute to Billie Holiday, which could be why Bono really delivered on the vocals. It’s one of his strongest, most-memorable vocal performances in the U2 catalog. Just try and not feel a tingle up and down your spine when he belts, “She says it's heart, heart and soul/Yeah yeah!”
“Mysterious Ways” is U2 at their most exotic and spiritual, while also being romantically evocative. (“To touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal/If you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel/On your knees, boy!”) The fact that it has the hallmarks of a “Bandstand” hit (i.e. it has a good beat and you can dance to it) doesn’t hurt matters either.
Bono references his mother, whom he lost when he was only 14, on a number of U2 songs, but “I Will Follow” is the best. Bono said of the song in a 1987 interview with ‘Rolling Stone,’ “It’s a little sketch about that unconditional love a mother has for a child: ‘If you walk away, walk away I will follow,’ and ‘I was on the outside when you said you needed me/I was looking at myself I was blind I could not see.’ It’s a really chronic lyric.”
“Under a blood red sky/A crowd has gathered in black and white/Arms entwined, the chosen few/The newspaper says, says/Say it's true, it's true.../And we can break through/Though torn in two/We can be one.” “New Year’s Day” set the tone as the lead single off of U2’s third studio album ‘War.’ Really, one could say it set the tone for the rest of the band’s output of the 1980s. With “New Year’s Day,” U2 started to break through internationally, and in a few short years, they’d become the biggest band in the world.
While it was featured on ‘Zooropa,’ “Stay (Faraway, So Close!)” was also written for the Wim Wenders film Faraway, So Close! Upon its release, it became one of U2’s most lush ballads in their catalog, and it remains that way nearly three decades after it’s release.
Paging Bo Diddley…”Desire” was the lead single off of ‘Rattle and Hum,’ and it brings an incredible jolt of energy with every listen. The song would net U2 a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1988.
“With or Without You” was the lead single off of ‘The Joshua Tree,’ and it set the table for the moment U2 was about to have with their fifth studio album. It became the band’s first single to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remains one of the most enduring love songs of all time.
Imagine losing nearly everything but you’re still able to take stock in what you have left. It’s an overwhelming concept, for sure, but leave it to U2 to approach an idea like that and turn it into a massive, arena-rocking hit. “Beautiful Day” netted the band Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 2001. More importantly, “Beautiful Day” served as a sort of reset for the band as they entered the new millennium following their electronic-influenced ‘90s decade. They were back to basics, in a way, but they were still U2.
The second single from ‘The Joshua Tree,’ “I Still Haven’t found What I’m Looking For” blends elements of pop, rock and gospel that are beyond uplifting. For an album that reflected U2’s journey into America, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is perhaps the most-uniquely American song on the album.
A moving tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., “Pride (In The Name of Love)” became U2’s first song to crack the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number 33. “Pride (In The Name of Love)” has the distinct honor of being the song U2 has performed the most live. (A whopping 1,022 times, according to Setlist.fm.)
While the studio version off ‘The Unforgettable Fire’ is incredible, the live version of “Bad” from U2’s breakout performance at Live Aid in Wembley Stadium is simply iconic. The performance not only established U2 as one of the best live acts in music, but it showed off the band’s unique ability to turn a massive venue into an intimate setting. While Bono lept from the Live Aid stage and slow danced with just one very lucky concertgoer, it somehow felt like he was holding all of us. The song’s themes touch on the horrendous battles of heroin addiction which grew to epidemic proportions in Dublin in the 1980s. Sadly, it’s lyrics (“If I could, yes I would/If I could, I would/Let it go”) still resonate today.
With a drum intro you can feel in your gut, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was U2’s breakthrough hit in the United States. Inspired by the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” remains not just one of U2’s best songs but one of the finest protest songs in music history. Its conscience still resonates live decades after its release.
Some may view “One” not topping this list as a controversial choice considering its lore. U2 famously wrote “One” when they were on the brink of breaking up. Following the crazy success of ‘The Joshua Tree,’ U2 convened to record what would become ‘Achtung Baby,’ and to put it lightly, things were just not working out. And then, they wrote “One,” and the rest is history. It’s one of those songs most bands dream of writing, and everyone on the track is truly at their best.
U2 is a band that makes you want more and inspires you to dream bigger. They make you feel like nothing is out of reach, and “Where the Streets Have No Name” is the best example of that. What can you say about a song so magical, whose longing is felt for the entirety of its 5:36 runtime, including an intro that just builds and builds only to culminate in Bono exclaiming “I wanna run”? What can you say about The Edge’s undeniable and transcending guitar playing? What can you say about Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. laying down a rhythm track that you can feel pulse through your body? You can say that all of these pieces add up to the quintessential U2 song. At the end of this list, it’s all I can do.