The band is back in the spotlight in a major way this week, with the release of their new record and their stint on Letterman. Needless to say, it’s put me in a serious U2 phase. But having heard their more well-known songs so many times, I find myself digging deeper and deeper into the catalog to get my fix. Here’s my current top ten non-album tracks, heavy on latter-day material:

  1. Staring At The Sun [Monster Truck Mix]. I have to confess, after Achtung Baby, Pop is my favorite U2 record. And being a sucker for Oasis, I always loved “Staring At The Sun”. But this mix trumps the album version in pretty much every regard and would’ve made much more sense on the record.
  2. The Wanderer [Bono vocal]. Johnny Cash sang the original version on Zooropa, but the band played their own version in tribute after he died. One of their best songs, period.
  3. Lady With The Spinning Head. The most fun b-side from a band that loves to make fun b-sides.
  4. Original Of The Species [single version]. They replaced the keyboards with real strings and tightened up the arrangement. In this version, it would’ve been a centerpiece of the How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.
  5. She’s A Mystery To Me. Written for Roy Orbison, who liked it so much he named his final record after it. “Mysterious Ways” is my favorite U2 song, and the imagery works well here too.
  6. Stuck In A Moment [acoustic]. Another home-run reinterpretation.
  7. Stateless. A song that catches fire in its second half. From the Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack.
  8. Gone [live from Boston]. Another Pop tune that wasn’t quite done justice on the record. In concert it packs a punch.
  9. Dirty Day [Junk Day mix]. The bridge is perfect.
  10. Everlasting Love. In general, I tend not to like their covers that much. But this one works.