Not the title of a song from The Unforgettable Fire, I had the idea of doing a list of worst U2 songs, so I just ran through my reviews of all the songs I rated either a 1 or a 2. Problem is I came up with a list of 42 songs, which is ridiculously many. Even just the 1s I have 13 songs. The real problem is that many of them are intentionally 1s or 2s, meaning they are the extra songs, the stuff that ends up on a b side, some on one of the anniversary extras. Songs that weren’t really intended for release in some ways. So let me try and limit this to just the album songs, and I’ll also limit it to a worst ten, since twenty seems too many. And I guess we should count them down, since that’s what you do, right? Although this is not necessarily the order I would choose every single time, but I wouldn’t shift them too far from this I don’t think.
10. Red Light commits the sin of being so repetitive, and even boring at times when you’re listening. The music is no great shakes, it tries to be busier than it needs to be and it doesn’t really work. Definitely one I skip whenever I’m not in the right mood.
9. Fez (Being Born) seemed to have an idea of some sorts but I could never get into it. Way too much Eno influence in this case, and personally while I thought he did good stuff in some of the early days, especially The Unforgettable Fire, some of his other influences weren’t as good (Passengers). I actually wonder whether Lanois was the good influence and Eno the bad throughout the history of U2.
8. Discotheque is somehow amusing, but it is dance music which I am not usually a big fan of, and in the video they dress up as The Village People, and I spend the entire time cringing. This is perhaps the most symbolic song from Pop, which is one of the two worst U2 albums, so it by default gets a bad reputation.
7. Do You Feel Loved is really just a nothing song, it gives me little or no feeling about it at all. As I noted in the review they only played it live a few times, so apparently they didn’t get a reaction either from the audience or from themselves when they played it. Boring.
6. The Playboy Mansion brings up an image in my head just from the title, I bet it brings one up for you too. My image is one of creepiness, of not wanting to touch any surface in that building. I note that just recently the magazine said they were going to remove nudes, which kind of ends the entire purpose of where it came from in the first place. Dying empire, dead song.
5. Is That All? is a question mark of a song. Repetitive, but not much else. I even said during the review that it was lowest rated song on the lowest rated album, so likely to end up very near the bottom of everything. And here it is.
4. Babyface is way too electronic, coming out of the Zooropa stuff that was at least somewhat a b side to Achtung Baby. The whole album, I mean, not just this song. Zooropa was a lot of the leftovers from Achtung, not good enough to get on a really good album. Babyface I just don’t like that much, can’t really say anything other than that about it.
3. Mofo is terrible dance music with terrible lyrics, and I should leave it at that. I could go back to say another of those worst songs on worst albums things, but the fact that it is here tells you that.
2. The Ocean is short and boring. I think it was just filler, really, something to tack on to their first album, or maybe something that just snuck in by accident. Yet another that I skip over when I play it.
1. By far the worst song I have reviewed this year is Miracle Drug. I really dislike this song. The music is okay although boring, but really it’s the lyrics that kill me. As I have said many times, when Bono is being lyrical he can write great stuff, but when he gets down to the specifics in a song it is never going to be good. This song is all specific, and all bad. “Of science and the human heart there is no limit” is probably the worst U2 lyric of all time.
And if you don’t like reading this, come back tomorrow and we’ll try the other end of the scale.