STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 21035-11787 LABEL: Mercury 1713593 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 2 EXTRAS: Bonus DVD RELEASE DATE: 2006-11-20 RRP: £20.99
Reviewed by Ben Lilford
With U2's last singles compilation only a few years old, it's easy to muse about how '18 Singles' could be a temporary cash cow for the Dublin band. Bono has claimed that '18' is for the army of young fans who are new to U2 but don't know where to start in their 13 album strong back catalogue. That's an admirable premise, though you could just get them to buy one of U2's copious Live DVDs instead of inflicting the lost postman whine of "Streets have no name" on us yet again. It also feels quite poorly sequenced - why are new tracks always put at the end? For the most part though the included songs still sound fresh. "Desire" still sounds rawkus in that drunk father-in-law at a wedding kind of way, "New Year's Day" still has that haunting feel to it, and "Mysterious Ways" still has the jangle of a belly dancer. Unfortunately, the constipated dirge of "Can't Make It On Your Own" and irritating parody of a U2 song "Walk On" have also been included. And utter shame on Island Records for only putting on "I Will Follow" as a bonus track! Both the two singles that promote the album are good signs for the future though. "Window In The Skies" is a rolling 6/8 number propelled by the E numbers found in blue Smarties, whereas the cover of the Skids' "Saints Are Coming" have the band clinging onto their youth by the skin of Green Day's Billie Joe. But this is the commercial edge of the band and '18 Singles' is just too safe a compilation. No tricks, no punches, no Pavorotti, just the punter pulling hits. U2 definitely have more sides to them than that.
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