Happy 20th Anniversary to U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind

— 3 minute read

When a band has been around as long as U2 has, inevitably a lot of 10, 20, 30, and 40 year anniversaries start to happen. Watching their social media, it's felt like that's all the band has been talking about for the last couple of years. Without a new album to talk about, or tour to highlight - what's a social media intern to do?

This month is the 20th anniversary of what for many U2 fans was their introduction to the band, or perhaps their re-introduction if they'd fallen away from the band. Beautiful Day as the lead off single signaled an album that was going to have a lot of familiar tones and notes for U2 fans turned off by the previous couple of albums, 1997's Pop and 1993's Zooropa, that lacked any soaring rock or pop anthems - in their eyes. Personally I love Zooropa from start to finish, and have a soft spot for Pop as the first U2 album I remember going to buy in the store the day it came out.

But the album has a lot of depth and heart once you dig beneath the gloss of Beautiful Day and Elevation. Adam Clayton:

...said the album was written "about the journey we'd been through as a band, as men in relationships, as sons of mothers and fathers. It was about the baggage that you have to live with, the sense of loss, like the fact that Bono's father was terminally ill through that whole period."

One of my favorite songs from the album is Kite. It's a song that can soar in front of 80,000 people, but also be played on an acoustic guitar in my bedroom, as I sit thinking about my own kids and parents in the midst of a pandemic.

Direct link to the video

Happy 20th anniversary to All That You Can't Leave Behind. It's still a Beautiful Day 20 years later.