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Classic Album Reviews: U2 | Best of 1980-1990 / Oasis | The Masterplan

Oasis hit the mark while U2 aim high but miss on their retrospective compilations.

This came out in 1998 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Career in a slump? Last album a stiff? Time for the tried-and-true tactic — the best of/B-sides collection. Just add a new song or two and presto! Instant cash.

Seems simple — yet U2 still fail to make the grade with their two-disc offering, The Best Of 1980-1990. On the first CD, in addition to all the must-have hits — Pride, Desire, I Will Follow, etc. — you get one new track. And it’s not really new; it was a leftover from Joshua Tree that the band reworked this year. The limited-edition second disc of B-sides is just more warmed-over filler — half-finished songs, ideas that didn’t pan out, throwaway covers and the like. It’s about as appetizing as leftovers usually are.

Oasis, by contrast, offer up some B-sides that are Grade A. No half-baked experiments here: These are fully realized, arranged and reasonably produced tracks. And good ones at that, full of Sex Pistols snot, Faces pub rock and the band’s own arrogant Britpop grandeur. This almost qualifies as a new Oasis disc.