Bono and the boys have been together now for over 30 years, and in that time have provided the world with some of the most consistently powerful rock music ever made. Music, poetry, beauty, and truth: it’s all been there, with a lot more thrown in as well. They’ve earned their place as the best rock band in the world at numerous points in their career.
I realize that U2 could go on until the band’s members expire of natural causes, meaning that we could have them around for 20 or 30 more years. But I don’t want that. If you want evidence of why not, take a look at the Rolling Stones, who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary as a band. They’re clearly suffering from “way-too-little-butter-scraped-over-too-much-bread syndrome.” For a rock band, there is a time to simply call it a day.
For U2 that day has already, or has nearly, arrived. But before last curtain call, a final push for greatness and last defining mark on the musical scene would be amazing. I realize, considering everything they’ve already done, that I’m asking a lot. I’ve previously spent some time reflecting on their top albums. You may disagree with my idiosyncratic numbering, and that’s fine. But: even having produced only one of their best albums would mark them as an amazing band. To have made all of them? That’s what sets U2 apart.
The group has shown at some key moments in their career that they could reinvent themselves, making some of the best music in the world in the midst of changing times. This may be more difficult now that at other times in their career…but if anybody can do it, my hopes are on U2 to make one, last, great album before retiring. At least that’s what I’d like to see.