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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 8, 2006

With or without U2

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By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

U2's Bono, left, and The Edge performing in Santiago, Chile, in February.

SANTIAGO LLANQUIN | Associated Press

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No, U2 isn't playing Aloha Stadium tonight. Still no word on a rescheduled date for the show, either.

How to endure this Godot-like limbo? Well, between the band's 14 albums, 42 singles, and long list of compilations, it's easy to inject some Bono into your night.

If you're fan enough, you could drop $149 on iTunes' "The Complete U2" to collect all that U2's left behind. But that's a pricey option.

Here's another: five U2 CDs you need to own (for starters) and one to avoid, in the name of love and all of the band's old mullets.

"War" (1983)

U2's third album is its first great one. Raging against the strife in its Northern Ireland backyard, the band arrived at 10 songs that comprise a "best of" album on their own. U2 wouldn't rock as viscerally, confrontationally or completely for another eight years.

"The Unforgettable Fire" (1984)

Where the Edge became "The Edge," and U2 began its world conquest. A few critics still cringe at the disc's near wall-to-wall sonic display of the Edge's signature layered, effects-laden guitar. The rest of us still recall the rush of hearing "Bad" and "Pride (In the Name of Love)" for the first time.

"The Joshua Tree" (1987)

Dublin handed its hometown heroes over to the world forever with what remains the band's biggest-selling album (20 million-plus copies). Taking its obsession with America to its spiritual and idealistic apex, U2 discovers a nation's conflicted heart and musical soul.

"Achtung Baby" (1991)

Full of brash and ambitious experiments in dance beats, electronic effects, bold song structures and every imaginable hedonistic sound possible from the Edge's guitar, U2's best album is the sound of an iconic band taking itself apart to find out why it deserved the honor.

"All That You Can't Leave Behind" (2000)

After nearly giving up its world's- favorite-rock-band title to the failed disco irony of "Pop," U2 overcame a lengthy creative funk by getting back to where it once belonged. Moving forward by taking a few steps back to what first made it great, U2 discovers anew that song craft is all about the song.

"Original Soundtracks I" (1995)

So musically confounding that the band created the alias Passengers to pass it off between "Zooropa" and "Pop," this project with ambient auteur Brian Eno remains a self-indulgent, shockingly mediocre mess of electronica, instrumentals and Luciano Pavarotti.

• • •


Kanye West was set to open U2's concerts Down Under, but not in Hawai'i. That's one reason promoters originally locked him for his own Sunday show at the Blaisdell Arena.

Now Kanye's here,

U2 isn't, and that's life.

Get ready for 'Ye by ripping the following tracks from his "Late Registration" and "The College Dropout" CDs into a very tight playlist:

"Gold Digger," "Diamonds From Sierra Leone," "Jesus Walks," "We Don't Care," "Through the Wire," "Heard 'Em Say," "Gone," "Crack Music," "Drive Slow," "All Falls Down," "Slow Jamz."

Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com.