"40" is the tenth and final track from U2's 1983 album, War. It is the final single from the album, released solely in Germany in 1983. The song was recorded right at the end of the recording sessions for War. Bassist Adam Clayton had already left the studio, and the three remaining band members decided they did not have a good song to end the album. Bono noted that "We spent ten minutes writing this song, ten minutes recording it, ten minutes mixing it, ten minutes playing it back, and that's got nothing to do with why it's called '40'."
"Bad" is the seventh track from U2's 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire. Often considered a fan favorite, it is U2's tenth most frequently performed song in concert. The song is about a heroin addiction.
"Breathe" is the tenth track from U2's 2009 album No Line on the Horizon. Longtime U2 collaborator and producer Brian Eno cited Breathe as "the best thing (U2) have ever recorded" during an interview with Q magazine.
"City of Blinding Lights" is the fifth track and third single from the 2005 album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. The song tells the story of U2's first arrival in New York City in 1980, with Bono remarking it was an "amazing, magical time in our life, when we didn't know how powerful it was not to know."
"Elevation" is the third track and third single release from U2's 2000 album, All That You Can't Leave Behind. Featuring a thunderous beat, a variety of sound effects on the central guitar riff, and an easy rhyming lyric for the audience to shout along with, it was highly effective in that concert-starting role and became a hit in the United States and the United Kingdom.
"The Fly" is the seventh song on U2's 1991 album, Achtung Baby and was released as the album's first single. It has been described as "the sound of four men chopping down the Joshua Tree." The song's subject is that of a phone call from someone in Hell who enjoys being there and telling the person on the other line what he has learned. "The Fly" was an introduction to the sonic and electronic experimentation that would dominate U2's 1990s work.
"God Part II" is the fourteenth track from U2's 1988 album, Rattle and Hum. The song is a departure from the sound of the album's other studio recordings, and is an introduction to the darker sound the band would adopt for the release of their next album, Achtung Baby.
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is the second track from U2's 1987 album The Joshua Tree, and was released as the album's second single. The song grew from another song called "Under the Weather Girls", from which Larry Mullen, Jr.'s drum track was used as a foundation. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is the most frequently covered U2 song.
"I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" is the third single and fifth track from the 2009 album No Line on the Horizon. The track underwent several name changes during the album sessions, known first as "Diorama" and then "Crazy Tonight" before the final selection. Several of the song's lyrics were influenced by Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The song was used in television commercials for a new Blackberry application, called the "U2 Mobile App", which was developed as part of Research in Motion's sponsorship of the U2 360° Tour.
"In a Little While" is the sixth track from U2's 2000 album All That You Can't Leave Behind. While originally about a hangover, Bono later stated that the song's connection to Joey Ramone—being the last song he heard before his death in 2001—has given it a deeper religious meaning, and he now refers to it as a Gospel song". "In a Little While" was played often throughout the Elevation Tour, and was frequently snippeted inside "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" during the Vertigo Tour.
"Love Is Blindness" is the twelfth and final song from U2's 1991 album, Achtung Baby. Much of the album relates to love gone wrong, in one form or another; the lyrics to "Love Is Blindness" reflect this theme, juxtaposing love and violent imagery.
"New Year's Day" is the third song and lead single from U2's 1983 album, War. The song is driven by Adam Clayton's distinctive bassline and The Edge's keyboard. It was the band's first hit single, breaking the top ten in the UK and charting on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in their career. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed the single at number 427 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
"October" is the seventh and title track from U2's 1981 album, October. It is a departure from U2's classic sound, as it is a quiet, almost instrumental piece. It was included as a hidden track on The Best of 1980–1990.
"One" is the third song from U2's 1991 album, Achtung Baby, and was released as a single in 1992. Tensions during the recording of the album almost prompted U2 to break-up until the band rallied around the writing of "One". It is widely considered to be one of the band's greatest songs and is consistently featured in lists of the greatest songs of all time, including Rolling Stone 's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, where it placed #36, and #1 on Q Magazine's list of the 1001 Greatest Songs of All-Time.
"One Tree Hill" is the ninth track and final single from U2's 1987 album, The Joshua Tree. The single was released as a single exclusively in New Zealand in 1988, where it reached number one. The title of the song refers to One Tree Hill, a volcanic peak in Auckland, New Zealand.
"Pride (In the Name of Love)" is the second song on U2's 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire and was released as the album's first single. Written about Martin Luther King, Jr., it is one of the band's most recognized songs.
"Seconds" is the second track on U2's 1983 album, War. The track contains a clip from the 1982 documentary Soldier Girls, and is the first song by the band not sung solely by Bono; The Edge sings the first two stanzas.
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" is the opening track and third single from U2's 1983 album, War. The song is noted for its militaristic drumbeat, simple but harsh guitar, and melodic harmonies. One of U2's most overtly political songs, its lyrics describe the horror felt by an observer of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.
"Sweetest Thing", sometimes titled "The Sweetest Thing", is a B-side to the "Where the Streets Have No Name" single. It was re-recorded and released as a single for the 1998 compilation album The Best of 1980-1990. The song was written by Bono as an apology to his wife for forgetting her birthday during the creation of The Joshua Tree.
"The Unforgettable Fire" is the fourth track from the 1984 album of the same name, and was released in 1985 as the album's second and last single. The title is a reference to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan in World War II.
"Vertigo" is the lead single and opening track for the 2004 album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. The track was an international hit, winning three Grammy awards at the 2005 event and being featured in an iPod commercial.
"The Wanderer" is the tenth and final track on the 1993 album Zooropa. The song features Johnny Cash on lead vocals and tells the story of a man searching for God in the ruins of a post-apocalyptic world. The song has only been performed live once, as a posthumous tribute to Johnny Cash, with Bono singing lead vocals.
"Walk On" is the fourth single and track from the album All That You Can't Leave Behind. Written about and dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi, the track is banned in Burma, and anyone who has possession of either the single of the song or the album could face a prison sentence lasting between three and twenty years. The title for All That You Can't Leave Behind stems from lyrics in the song.
"Where the Streets Have No Name" is the third single from the 1987 album The Joshua Tree. The track's signature is a repeating guitar arpeggio utilizing a delay effect that is played at the beginning and end of the song. The song's frequent chord and time changes caused problems in playing the song correctly; the difficulty was so great that producer Brian Eno attempted to erase the track. Drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. later said of the song, "It took so long to get that song right, it was difficult for us to make any sense of it. It only became a truly great song through playing live. On the record, musically, it's not half the song it is live."
"Wire" is the third track on U2's 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire. Described by Bono as the "hypodermic needle of the album", it features a fast-paced rhythm section and The Edge's classic ringing guitar sound. It was one of the first songs by the band that detailed drug addiction, a theme present in later songs such as "Bad" and "Running to Stand Still".