The band's tenth studio album, All That You Can't leave Behind was released on October 30th 2000 and following the less than overwhelming response to 1997's POP (and that was just from the band) it was instantly judged a triumphant return to form.
The band, said Bono, ahead of release, were 'reapplying for the job of best band in the world'. Going to No. 1 in 32 countries, eventually garnering 12 million sales and with widespread critical praise... they got the gig.
'U2's tenth studio album and third masterpiece,' judged Rolling Stone. 'All That You Can't Leave Behind, is all about the simple melding of craft and song.'
'Gone are the experimental ambitions and Big Ideas,' reported the NME. 'Back are the chiming guitars, the stratospheric synth and - best of all - the tunes. (It's) modern enough to sound new, but sufficiently evocative of their... Joshua Tree days to make it seem as though they have come full circle.... There is no fat on this record, the lines are clean. Its beauty is in subtlety rather than extravagance...'
Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno were again at the helm and, as usual, making the record wasn't always easy. 'It was tough at times.' recalled Larry. 'There were dark moments. We chose to record in Dublin so you have to go home, deal with that leak in your roof as well. Danny thought it was interfering with making the record.'
But the reception for the debut single Beautiful Day, backed with a memorable video shot at Charles de gaulle Airport in Paris, could not have been any warmer. It took three Grammy Awards in 2001 - a year later the album won four more, including Record of the Year for 'Walk On', won the previous year by 'Beautiful Day' - the first time a band had achieved this. A remix of another track, Elevation, featured on the soundtrack to the movie Lara Croft:Tomb Raider.
Produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, additional production Steve Lillywhite, Mike Hedges, Richard Stannard and Julian Gallagher. Engineered by Richard Rainey, assisted by Chris Heaney. Mixed by Richard Rainey, Tim Palmer, Steve Lillywhite, Mike Hedges, Richard Stannard and Julian Gallagher, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Steve Fitzmaurice. Mixing assisted by Chris Heaney, Alvin Sweeney, Jay Goin. Additional engineering Tim Palmer, Stephen Harris, Ger McDonnell, Mark Howard, Alex Haas. Assisted by Keith McDonell, Stephen Harris. Recorded at HQ, Windmill Lane Recording Studios, Westland Studios and Totally Wired in Dublin, and South of France
'It was tough at times. There were dark moments. We chose to record in Dublin so you have to go home, deal with that leak in your roof as well. Danny thought it was interfering with making the record.'
'Bono's lyrics this time, in a sense, they're less poetic, less romantic and more real. To me they're much more about where he's coming from and what he's dealing with. I think this record has a great tenderness. And I'm sure it addresses the way he feels about the commitment to the band and to his family, to his children and Ali.'
'From the beginning we were excited when music met the real world, and, going into this, we reckoned that people aren't buying rock records any more because of this progressive rock lurgy, which is on the rise, where the single has been forgotten. In our heads we've written 11 singles for this record. '
'Pop music often tells you everything is OK, while rock music tells you that it's not OK, but you can change it. There's a defiance in rock music that gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Most pop music doesn't make you want to get out of bed, I'm sorry to say. It puts you to sleep.'