U2 had a new album out, Songs of Experience, so I have decided to go back and revisit their back catalog.
The album catches U2 as they were fully embracing politics, but before Bono irritated half the world by becoming overly didactic. (I recently listened to Rattle and Hum again for the first time in a few years and I gotta say some of it is practically unlistenable. I will defend U2 until my dying day, but even I wanted to reach through my stereo speaker and punch Bono in the nose a few times--and I agree with about 95 percent of his political stance).
This takes me to my relationship with U2. Achtung Baby was the last U2 album to blow me away, and How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was the last of their albums I enjoyed from beginning to end. Still, I continue to buy their albums out of a sense of obligation. They feel like postcards you might receive every few years from an old friend whom you don't see often anymore and maybe don't have as much in common with anymore. Still, you have enough connection and personal history to still be interested in what they're up to. So though U2's last three albums haven't wowed me, I'm still curious to hear what they're up to.
And then when you want to remember why you fell in love with them in the first place, you return to an album like War.