10 Underrated U2 Gems That Prove Their Greatness (at least goodness)

U2: 10 Underrated Gems That Prove Their Greatness

While U2 has achieved massive mainstream success, they’ve also faced criticism from some who write them off as overrated.  Despite selling out The Sphere in Vegas night after night as well as arena tours, it’s hard to drown out the chants of overrated.

I do feel U2 like REM in the 80s and 90s were dominant musical forces who left little to no mark on the music that followed.  I’ll admit I didn’t listen to them for a good 15 period of time, U2’s later works felt forced, like they needed to show the world they could reinvent themselves album after album, creating shallow pop hits, when they could have gone to the deeper end.


However, their vast catalog is filled with fantastic deeper cuts that highlight the band’s artistic talent. Here are 10 underrated U2 songs that deserve more love and maybe will surprise a U2 hater.

  1. “The First Time” – A shimmering, atmospheric track from their 1993 “Zooropa” album about the wide-eyed wonder of young love.
  2. “Trying to Throw Your Arms Around the World” – An epic, transcendent song tackling themes of fragility and connection with beautiful imagery.
  3. “Love is Blindness” – A raw, haunting track from their 1991 album “Achtung Baby” about toxic codependence with Bono’s vocals dripping with pathos.
  4. “Mothers of the Disappeared” – A powerful, chilling folk hymn giving voice to the anguish of mothers whose children were “disappeared” by military regimes.
  5. “With or Without You” – One of their biggest hits, but an impassioned, exquisitely-crafted rock ballad that remains tremendously moving.  I never tire of this one.
  6. “Staring at the Sun” – A groovy, psychedelic-tinged rocker with a hypnotic quality from their 90s experimental phase.
  7. “Song for Someone” – An understated, introspective ode to intimacy with shades of gospel and folk that’s simple yet profound.
  8. “The Wanderer” – Featuring Johnny Cash’s spoken-word vocals, this anthemic song has an emotional, cinematic quality.
  9. “Babyface” – A funky, hidden gem from their 1993 album with a killer groove and quirky vocal effects.
  10. “New Year’s Day” – My one anthem favorite on the list.  While hugely popular, this powerful 80s protest song addressing the Polish Solidarity movement deserves ongoing appreciation.

These songs showcase U2’s incredible versatility from the atmospheric to the anthem, proving you don’t need the special effects of a venue like The Sphere to appreciate U2.  They aren’t my favorite band, but I think they deserve more love than they get from people under 35.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *