Lola, you know damn well a question like, "What U2 album would you recommend SK buying?" is like asking me which child is my favorite. I can't pick one! Besides, I have a bias against Joshua Tree because I liked them long before that album made them a semi-household name. The Flyer says that this is irrational, and Sarah might not agree with him, but for my money, Joshua Tree is kind of overrated. But, that is just coming from a woman who scaled a security guard with her mother to get a better seat, who told her husband that their first daughter would be named after Bono's first daughter, who bought the U2 iPod and the downloads even though she had them all in a variety of forms, who has seen them in concert more times than she can remember, and who pretty much thinks that anything the group touches is golden even when it isn't. So, here are the merits on my top five favorite - alphabetically - albums by that group of school mates from Dublin . . . even if one of them is a limey.
Achtung Baby - I believe that it was their first album after they "broke up" and it is a bit edgier than anything that they had done before. WOXY played the album in its entirety the night it was released and I stayed awake (which was no small job with two infants in the next room and a full load of classes) listening to it, thinking, "Damn, this is good." I have loved "One" since that night and enjoy the guitar work on "Mysterious Ways" even if the Edge did dump his first wife in favor of the dancer from the video.
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - yes, this was the last album, but I truly enjoy so many of the songs on here, including the title of this post (a.ma.zing in concert . . . awe inspiring if you will). Occasionally you feel as if you are being preached at (which is a big reason I don't like Joshua Tree), but this was more at the concert than anything on the album. "Vertigo" and "All Because of You" are true rock songs for them and and "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" nearly makes me weep.
October - okay, so it's Biblical . . . it isn't preachy. Granted, "Gloria" is the only real standout on this album, but I love this one (probably the best) because it was the first one that I listened to. My cousin Laura had an exchange student living with her named Lorraine (do you remember Lorraine, Lola? I wonder what happened to her . . . if you were a British exchange student living in Virginia in the early '80s and you spent some time on the family's farm in Ohio, drop us a line) and she gave me a copy of this album as a going away present. This was my introduction to U2.
The Unforgetable Fire - if October was my U2 birth, this album was my coming of age album. There wasn't a day - not a day - that went by when I didn't have this in my Walkman. Trying to get a tan at Grandma's house, lying on the cistern with the sound blasting, rolling the skinny white T-shirt up as high as it would go . . . all the while listening to Larry banging away on "A Sort of Homecoming." Even typing the words makes me nostalgic for the farm. With the addition of "Pride", "Bad", the title song, and "MLK" and if you add everything from Wide Awake in America you have the perfect U2 album, in my mind. However, if your students are doing research, make sure they don't take the time of King's assassination from "Pride" . . . it gets them every time.
War - how not to like an album with "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", "New Year's Day", "Two Hearts Beat As One", "Surrender", and "40?" Back when Mom and Dad had that hideous rowing machine, the one with the red sparkly vinyl seat that fucked up your back, "Refuge" got quite a work out.
If SK were to buy just one U2 album, I would recommend The Unforgetable Fire, cop out and get 18 for a good mix, or splurge and buy the two best of albums for something from every era. Also, in case you don't know about DATA or the ONE campaign, click on for more information . . . it only takes a second to make a difference.
Edit: Apparently, in my sinus infected brain replete with dripping nose and lack of a voice, which doesn't sound like a Muppet, I misunderstood the question. SK just wanted to know which one I would say is there definitive album . . . for someone who doesn't own one . . . which he does . . . as he just told me . . . that will teach Lola for taking a shower.Rattle and Hum? Seriously? You have got to be joking!