1. "Vertigo!" Brilliant fucking track. Has the balls I wasn't sure the boys still had, while still being fun and accessible on the very first listen.
2. The cover art for HTDAAB. OK, so it's yet another B&W picture of the four of them, but the text and the red graphics scream out at you, off balance and dangerous. And Bono's smirk is very Fly-esqe.
3. The fact that Bono is taking more and more time for activism. He even charmed his way onto that falafel-lovin' fascist Bill O'Reilly's show to advance his causes. Seems like politics and activism, which used to be such a huge part of pop music, are now quite taboo (and no, Chris Martin and Robbie Williams revisiting that ethnocentric nightmare "Do They Know It's Christmas?" doesn't count). Bono's not afraid to push up his sleeves and get the work done, and he does it brilliantly by actually infiltrating the system and working from within, instead of just railing at the gates. His speech at the Labour conference was a masterwork of political oratory.
4. I saw a picture of the band recently outside some premeire or gala event or something. Bono, The Edge, and Larry all had their women on their arms. Adam was flying solo. Good ol' Adam, still the swanky bachelor rebel. Or maybe spoon collecting just isn't as sexy as it used to be...
5. The fact that they'll soon be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and they're still putting out fresh, interesting music. Not many acts in the HOF can say the same (in recent times I can only think of one: Prince). But who will induct them? After so many brilliant induction speeches by Bono (my favorite being the Bob Marley speech), the bar is pretty high.
6. Bono as family man. Ali Hewson is a very lucky lady indeed, and their kids have probably the coolest dad on the planet. But what really struck me recently was how Bono dealt with the recent passing of his father. I saved the pictures from the news services of Bob Hewson's funeral, not because I'm some sort of ghoul, but because they drove home for me the humanity of Bono and the closeness of the band. Seeing The Edge and Larry carrying that casket with Bono reminded me that U2 is a brotherhood first, a band second.
7. Edge's toque. Aside from a brief flirtation with a cowboy hat during the Pop era, the beanie's been with us for over a decade now.
8. The fact that Larry and Adam are getting better and better as a rhythm section. Listen to "Vertigo" again. That bassline is killer, and Larry throws a lot of subtle, interesting stuff into what could have been a pretty straightforward 4/4 rocker.
9. "Neon Lights." Kraftwerk covers are probably the closest thing to a Passengers-era redux that I'm likely to get out of the boys, so I'll take it and revel in it.
And finally... 10. The fact that they've been so brilliant for so long that all I can find to bitch about is a stupid commercial. Well done, lads. Here's to 25 more years.