All That You Can’t Leave Behind
Released: October 30, 2000
Peak: 3 US, 11 UK, 12 CN, 12 AU
Sales (in millions): 4.4 US, 0.9 UK, 12.0 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: alternative/mainstream rock
Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
All songs written by U2.
Total Running Time: 48:25
4.113 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
“Nearly ten years after beginning U2 Mach II with their brilliant seventh album Achtung Baby, U2 ease into their third phase with 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind. The title signifies more than it seems, since the group sifts through its past, working with Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, all in an effort to construct a classicist U2 album.” AMG The pair had produced 1984’s The Unforgettable Fire, 1987’s The Joshua Tree, and 1991’s Achtung Baby. As a result, U2 “avoid the alienating archness” AMG of 1997’s poorly-received Pop, “returning to the generous spirit that flowed through their best ‘80s records” AMG by returning “to song arrangements that consisted almost entirely of guitar, bass, and drums.” WK
Entertainment Weekly’s David Browne said, “in their hands, falling back on old habits isn’t cowardice, but virtue.” WK Indeed, the album “may be reminiscent of The Joshua Tree,” AMG but it also “retained elements of the band’s 1990s experimentation,” WK albeit with “subtle risks, such as their best pure pop song ever with Wild Honey.” AMG “This is a clever and craftsmanlike record, filled with nifty twists in the arrangements, small sonic details, and colors.” AMG
“They’re so self-confident they effortlessly write their best anthem in years with Beautiful Day.” AMG The song exemplified how they merged their past with modern experimentation. The Edge played a guitar tone he hadn’t used since 1983’s War WK but the song also used a drum machine and rhythm sequencer. WK
U2 also pulled off the unprecedented feat of winning Record of the Year two consecutive years with songs from the same album. After “Beautiful Day” took home Record and Song of the Year honors in 2001, Walk On won Record of the Year in 2002. Previously, the only act to win the prize in consecutive years was Roberta Flack with “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” in 1973 and “Killing Me Softly with His Song” in 1974. They were, however, from two different albums. “Walk On” took on new meaning for listeners after the September 11 attacks. WK
“They offer the gospel-influenced Stuck in a Moment, never once lowering it to the shtick it would have been on Rattle and Hum.” AMG Bono wrote the song as a tribute to his friend Michael Hutchence of INXs who committed suicide in 1997. WK The song garnered the group yet another Grammy – this time for Best Pop Perormance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. All told, the album and its songs won seven Grammys over two years.
Rolling Stone’s James Hunter described the album as “U2’s third masterpiece,” the others being The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. WK Steve Morse of The Boston Globe said the album is marked by “great songs that tie together beautifully.” WK “Like any work from craftsmen, All That You Can't Leave Behind winds up being a work of modest pleasures, where the way the verse eases into the chorus means more than the overall message, and this is truly the first U2 album where that sentiment applies – but there is genuine pleasure in their craft, for the band and listener alike.” AMG
Notes: A 20th anniversary reissue added a second disc of B-sides, outtakes, and alternate takes. There were also two discs in the super deluxe edition from a live show in Boston and a fifth disc of remixes.
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First posted 3/23/2008; last updated 8/20/2021.