U2's best album? Totally 'Unforgettable'

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March

Unforgettable_fire U2 has produced a ton of great work in its 33-year career. Songs we know by heart. Songs that raise the blood pressure to levels requiring yet another trip to the doctor's office. And when we see a video of Bono marching out on stage with that white flag during Sunday Bloody Sunday on the Under A Blood Red Sky video, we still get the chills.

But which album from U2 reigns supreme? (It's certainly not No Line On The Horizon, the latest offering, which hits store shelves today.) Stuck in the '80s co-host Sean Daly and I debate this question daily -- usually between bites of delicious burritos at lunch. And for all his spraying of refried beans and salsa verde, Daly has yet to get the answer right.

Quite simply, it's 1984's Unforgettable Fire, an aptly titled LP so brilliant that it had to be recorded in an Irish castle. I still have my concert shirt from their Tampa show on that tour. After a thousand or so washings, the bandmembers' faces now look like the statues on Easter Island -- and it fits me like a glove (a surgical glove) -- but I refuse to part with the decomposing shirt, the memories of that show or my feelings toward this incredible album.

Go read his case for Achtung Baby here, but bring a napkin, because his defense of that '90s schlock is messier than dollar taco day at our favorite Mexican cafe.

THREE REASONS 'UNFORGETTABLE FIRE' IS BEST:

1. THE TRIBUTES ROCK: Everyone remembers the band pouring out its admirations to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Pride (In the Name of Love) and MLK. But don't dismiss Bono's love letter to the other king in Elvis Presley and America, the lyrics of which were improvised in one take at the encouraging of producer Brian Eno.

2. IT NEARLY MADE ME A JUVENILE DELINQUENT: Oct. 1, 1984, is Unforgettable too, because I — and many more from the senior class at Countryside High that year — blew off school to stand in line to buy the record on its release date. Detentions awaited most of us the next day, but nobody had any regrets.

3. IT'S EVEN BETTER LIVE: On the momentum of the album, U2 took the stage for 1985’s Live Aid show in London. After an epic and dreamy 12-minute performance of Bad, U2's legacy -- and that of Unforgettable Fire -- was firmly secure: Simply the best.

(Pausing now while you rush to download the album again. Then please drop a comment declaring the winner.)

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:43pm]

    

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