Bad songs on great albums 2: U2

U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind is a masterpiece. That album, together with The Joshua Tree and Achtung, Baby!, make up the band’s biggest contributions to the art form.

What’s always struck me about the album is how seamlessly each song blends with the next. You listen to it and then — BAM! — it’s already at track five.

However … the song “New York” is a blemish.

It’s an OK song, but that’s the problem: it’s just OK. Unless you have a connection to New York, the song is just a guitar lead and hook. It’s almost a “gimmick” song, where the main purpose is to have one song that will always go over in one town, which would also explain “Miami” off of Pop. One can assume that the band is slowly working its way around the country, so they’ll have a go-to song for every night of the tour.

And I know what you’re thinking, but “Grace” gets a pass because it’s a fitting close to the theme of the album. Even “When I Look at the World” and “Peace on Earth” fit thematically, though musically they are not in the same league as other songs on the album.

“New York” seems a little out of place thematically AND musically.

So, congratulations “New York,” you are the worst song on All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

What do you think? What are some other bad songs on great albums?


2 thoughts on “Bad songs on great albums 2: U2

  1. Having a song for every city is the alternative to a song like #Johnny Cash’s I’ve been every where, or #Joan Jett’s Runaround, which both name as many places as possible in the 3 minute song format.

    • Don’t forget Starship’s “We Built This City” with its announcer break!

      But the Johnny Cash song is still cool … right?

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