Monday, August 22, 2005

Faraway, So Close!

The same year when James released their "Laid" album, U2 released "Zooropa".

Picking up where "Achtung Baby" left off, "Zooropa" delves heavily into U2's newfound affection for experimental music and dance clubs. While the title track marries those inclinations to the anthems of "The Joshua Tree", most of the record is far more daring than its predecessor. While that occasionally means it's unfocused and meandering, it also results in a number of wonderful moments, like the quiet menace of "Daddy's Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car", the space-age German disco of "Lemon", and The Edge's droning mantra "Numb". However, as the album winds to a close, it drifts off track...

Being a long time fan, I've always appreciated the combination of zealous righteousness and post-punk experimentalism, their sweeping sound and their grandiose statements about politics and religion, and, above all, the fact that U2 were rock & roll crusaders during an era of synthesized pop and heavy metal. Therefore, I never bought "Zooropa", as I never bought "Achtung Baby" nor "Pop".

More than 10 years after, I have to recognize that "Achtung Baby" is an excellent album and that the best moments of "Zooropa" rank among U2's most inspired and rewarding music.

Especially, I have to recognize that the gentle, heartbreaking "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)" is one of U2's very best love songs. At least, tonight...


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