No matter which way you look at it, Pop doesn't have the same shock of the new that Achtung Baby delivered on first listen. Less experimental and more song-oriented than Zooropa, Pop attempts to sell the glitzy rush of techno to an audience weaned on arena rock. And that audience includes U2 themselves. While they never sound like they don't believe in what they're doing, they still remove most of the radical elements of electronic dance, which is evident to anyone with just a passing knowledge of the Chemical Brothers and Underworld. To a new listener, Pop has flashes of surprise -- particularly on the rampaging "Mofo" -- but underneath the surface, U2 rely on anthemic rockers and ballads. "Discotheque" might be a little clumsy, but "Staring at the Sun" shimmers with synthesizers borrowed from Massive Attack and a Noel Gallagher chorus. Similarly, "Do You Feel Loved" and "If You Wear That Velvet Dress" fuse old-fashioned U2 dynamism with a keen sense of the cool eroticism that makes trip-hop so alluring. Problems arise when the group tries to go for conventional rock songs, some of which are symptomatic of the return of U2's crusade for salvation. Pop is inflected with the desire for a higher power to save the world from its jaded spiral of decay and immorality, which is why the group's embrace of dance music never seems joyous -- instead of providing an intoxicating rush of gloss and glamour, it functions as a backdrop for a plea of salvation. Achtung Baby also was a comment on the numbing isolation of modern culture, but it made sweeping statements through personal observations; Pop makes sweeping statements through sweeping observations. The difference is what makes Pop an easy record to admire, but a hard one to love.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsU2 Primary Artist
Adam Clayton Bass Guitar
Marius de Vries Keyboards
Howie B Keyboards,Turntables
Larry Mullen Percussion,Loops
Steve Osborne Keyboards
Technical CreditsEdge Composer
Adam Clayton Composer
Mark Fisher Artwork
Howie B Producer,Engineer,Contributor
Alan Moulder Engineer
Larry Mullen Composer,Programming,Contributor
Steve Osborne Producer,Engineer
Mark "Spike" Stent Engineer
Ben Hillier Programming
Deborah Mannis-Gardner Sample Clearance
Joe O'Herlihy Monitor Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
If Joshua Tree was their greatest, Achtung Baby their darkest, and Zooropa their strangest, then Pop is definetly their coolest album. The first song, "Discoteque" shows just why, with it's dance beat, power vocals, and rockin' guitar. "Mofo" is my second favorite track on this album. It's very far away from U2 as it can get, but it's an amazing track. Although the techno-beat dominates the song, it's Bono's vocals that deserves the credit. If you listen to the lyrics, he's calling out to his mother (who died when he was 14), and even though the lyrics are all but blinded by the roaring music, it is an interesting combination. "If God Will Send His Angels" is a beautiful song with a simple song structure and great guitar work from The Edge. "Staring at the Sun" is one of the standouts. Written as a response to Oasis, it has great stlye with a sing-along chorus. "Last Night on Earth" is my favorite track. It has a great guitar riff, driving bass, and awesome vocals. Thumbs up to Larry Mullen Jr.(drums) and Adam Clayton(bass), for the driving rhythm on this album. "Gone" is great track (though I prefer the Best Of 1990-2000 version). "Please" is another standout. It shows that although the production is different, Bono can still keep the political sense in his lyrics. The song has a certain kind of tension that fits the style of Bono's voice and his lyrics. A good thing to note is that one of the reasons the album has a very drum-sample style to it is because Larry had to undergo surgery during the recording of the album, so the band had to rely on drum-loops and samples. Say what you want about this album, I find it as a great album that shows U2's continuing progression as a band searching for new ways to make music.
Do not listen to the press. This is a monster album.
With all the media hurrrumph surrounding the release of U2's newest album, ALL THAT YOU CAN'T BEHIND, I keep hearing from all sides a yawping ''Finally, a good album!'' POP is an album that took me, honestly, about 4 years to really get . . . and that's because the album was 4 years ahead of it's time -- in my opinion the single greatest, most encompassing, wildly operatic rock album of the 90s. The music, the mix, the lyrics, the engineering -- brilliance. It does not get any better than this. Save some of the ''pop'' standards (Staring at the Sun, which is still a beautiful, perfect pop tune) this album is packed with everything BUT ''pop'' tunes. . . . THE best tunes being Gone, Miami, If you Wear, Please, Wake Up. A heavy E trip with poets. One only hopes the new album can live up.
This album got such bad press that when my mom got it I thought she was insane. Sure it had Discotheque, which had a funny video and the song was catchy. Sure it had two other very good singles, but...it's Pop!!! I got stuck on a long car trip and put it in. I was shocked by how much I liked it. It's not War, Joshua Tree, or Achtung Baby, but I already had those albums anyway, so this was a welcome surprise.
U2 got such bad press of this album I thought that the rock star trappings had finially gotten to them, and then when I heard that the first single was called "Discotheque" I thought good-by U2, it's been fun. Not the case. This album is slick without being over polished, the songs are great, good for f'ing and the production is fantastic. The keyboards are really well used, adding great texture instead of making the songs sound lame. A highly underrated album, buy it.
I've been an avid U2 fan since 1983 and I'm here to tell you...if you have stayed clear of Pop because of what you have "heard", you are only another drooling follower of the "Press". This album complements the U2 catalouge like L.Z. III did for Led Zeppelin. I still can't quite get my head wrapped around the type of mood U2 was in when they recorded this, but that's what makes it so outstanding. There is a darkness to this album. BTW.... If you think "Playboy Mansion" is only about Heffner's House, you are not listening !
This is a must have for any u2 fan,this is the first time that the dublin quartet uses and explores dance rythyms to a point where it's instantly infectious.All that aside,this album encompasses everything that u2 is.Starting with the first track"Discotheque", a pop dance music song that hits the mark and then on to others that diverge into techno and hip bass grooves stopping at an occaisional ballad, a city theme song which is becoming almost a staple now, some sounds of old u2 in ".....velvet dress",and of course, always evident-that powerful EDGE guitar.