The last GREAT U2 album
By That One Guy!
Despite what some critics may say, POP was the LAST GREAT U2 album. It was the last album where they seemed to really be adventurous with their music. In 1997, it was a shock to U2 fans, because it was completely different from anything they had done before (aside from 1995's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me"). I don't think a lot of people were ready for POP. Even U2 tried to "improve" some songs in the later singles versions and on 2002's "Best Of" album, but in my opinion, all those versions aren't as good as the original POP versions.
Since after POP, U2 haven't been quite as daring with their music. They seem to spend too much time trying to make it perfect, which sometimes just makes it mediocre. POP was like 6 months behind schedule, and U2 still felt it was rushed and unfinished, but they had to release it in time for the concert tour. I'm glad they didn't have more time to tinker with it, because good things can get messed up if you tinker with them too long. It's great the way it is! Now it takes U2 4 or 5 years to put out a new album. That could just be becuse they're older now and have families of their own, which is more important, but I still wonder if they tinker around too much with their albums, trying to perfect them, and in the process making them mediocre. There are still some gems to be found among their 2000's albums though, but some of them are "out-takes" and you have to search for them.