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"[W]e want everything for our band. We want to be the loudest, we want to be the poppiest, we want to be the funkiest, the freakiest." — Bono

U2 Lists: Top 8 Alternative Songs

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[Ed. note: This is the third in a "U2 Lists" series currently being revisited by the @U2 staff. The first series, which focused primarily on Top Tens, ran from August through October of 2002.]

U2 Lists

The word alternative, when applied to music, is, at best, a loaded term. Etymologically speaking, the word is rooted in the Latin alter, meaning "the other of the two." This origin makes the classical dictionary definition of alternative "the choice between two mutually exclusive choices." When used as an adjective to describe music, however, a secondary definition is applied: "existing outside traditional or established institutions or systems." And so "alternative music" and "alternative rock" are used to describe the music of the counter-culture, an alternative to the popular music and popular rock of the time.

But with the passage of time, the counter-culture often has a knack of becoming the mainstream culture. When Zooropa won the 1993 Grammy award for "Best Alternative Album," the "alternative rock" of the late 1980s, typified by the Seattle Grunge and grunge-inspired bands had become accepted into mainstream culture, though the "alternative" moniker remained. U2's Zooropa, with its prominent use of synthesizers and heavy dance music influence, was truly in many ways an alternative to alternative music, from a band that hadn't been considered "alternative" since the mid-1980s.

In the end, really, regardless of the theoretical and historical background and justification, these are just my personal choices for "songs which deserve more recognition than they probably get." These eight songs, in no particular order, are songs that have never topped any charts. They have never and probably will never feature prominently in any live setlists. They do, however, provide a nice alternative U2 playlist to the more usual fare.

"New Year's Day" (Kevorkian Remix)

This is one of the few U2 remixes that stands up to the original. Whereas some remixes are simply uninspiring (the "Jeep Mix" of "Lemon") and some others are little more than embarrassing hack-jobs (like the "Perfecto Mix" of "Even Better Than the Real Thing"), Fran