Which U2 Was Better? '80s Or 90s?

Which U2 Was Better?  '80s Or 90s?
U2 in 1980 - Did they have any idea about what was to come?

We think this is an interesting discussion topic.  We started with Heart HERE - which musical output was better, '70s or '80s?  For U2, we wonder which was better, the U2 of the 1980s or the U2 of the 1990s.  A bigger question: How do you decide?  Is it strictly on the quality of the music?  Is it about the evolution of the band from musical phenomenons to cultural icons?  Was Zooropa their '90s downfall or was Rattle & Hum their '80s weak point?  Who ultimately decides?  It's your choice.  Ready.  Steady.  Go!

Which U2 Was Better?  '80s Or 90s?

One could argue that 1980s U2 was the best because you saw a group improve on every album and become total rock superstars without losing any spark in the power of their songs.  Their live shows also started to become legendary, with help from large, international events like Live Aid and the Amnesty Conspiracy of Hope tour.  Plus, MTV began playing videos of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" live from U2's EP Under A Blood Red Sky.

Here's U2 performing "Bad" as only they could at Live Aid in 1985.

And we'd be foolish to not show anything off of Under A Blood Red Sky.  Here's "Electric Co." from that famous Red Rocks show:

U2 was the dominant band by 1989.  Their partial live album (and subsequent film), Rattle & Hum, may have been their weakest of the decade, only because of possible backlash.  They were so big, you couldn't escape them.  Rattle & Hum was somewhat indulgent on their part because of that.  Yet it still featured some great tracks, like "Angel of Harlem," complete with horn section.

The 1990s were an up and down decade of music.  The band was possibly at its top form with 1991's Achtung Baby!  The album featured great tracks like "One" and "Mysterious Ways."  Some people say this was U2's greatest album, even better than The Joshua Tree.

But U2 also stumbled in the '90s, especially with their lead single from 1993's Zooropa album, "Numb."  Now, one could argue that "Numb" and Zooropa was not a mistake, but, as some in the band called "an interlude."  Was Zooropa just the springboard for a better U2?

Pop was the official follow up to Zooropa, although Passengers was sandwiched in between with perhaps the best U2 song of the decade, "Miss Sarajevo," with help from Luciano Pavarotti.   Pop featured "Discotheque" and "Last Night On Earth," but was it enough?  Was the evolution of U2 in the 1990s enough to make that decade of U2 better than the 1980s?  Here's "Miss Sarajevo," which might help with your decision:

The question remains.  U2 of the '80s or U2 of the 1990s.  Which do you think was best?

U2 - PopMart (Live from Mexico City) - Last night on earth