No matter how big U2 get—and with a couple of arguable exceptions, no rock band has ever gotten bigger—they retain a sense of leanness and purpose that propels them forward. Blame their post-punk roots, which not only dictated their political imperative, but the feeling that they were always fighting for something, be it romantic, spiritual or otherwise. Like an experienced hiker ascending the mountain with nothing but what they could fit on their back, the best U2 tracks inspire a braveness and resolve that feels convincing in part because of how little they carry—they work with the essentials, nothing more. Every guitar-based band playing arenas in their wake owes them something, as does any band using earthbound tools to try and scrape the sky. Let them take you higher.