U2's 1990s "Best Of" album is a rather strange collection. The band recorded only four studio albums during that time, all of which ardent U2 fans most likely already own. So this disc is for casual fans who want only the highlights, right? Well, not exactly. 1991's "Ach-tung Baby" gets the most conventional treatment--the four selections from it ("Even Better than the Real Thing," "Mysterious Ways," "One" and "Until the End of the World") are all the original versions. Likewise, the band's most recent studio album, "All That You Can't Leave Behind" is grossly underepresnted with only two selections ("Beautiful Day" and "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of") that are also original versions.
It is the rest of the material where things really get strange. The three songs from the album "Pop" are all remixes, probably in acknowledgement that it was U2's least successful album. Likewise, the "Zooropa" cut "Numb" gets a similar realtering, but one that serves it very well. Otherwise that album is also underrepresented. Of the non-studio album tracks, "The Hands That Built America" from the "Gangs of New York" soundtrack is a ho-hum ballad (like the movie), while the two other new songs included add little to the band's legacy. The CD booklet, however, is quite cool--lots of photographs of the band looking pretty slick for a bunch of forty-somethings.
Overall, "The Best of...1990-2000" contains a lot of outstanding music, but is nevertheless a terribly confused anthology.