Monday, September 05, 2005


Last time I posted about U2, I may have been a bit tough with "Pop". I may have given the impression that "Pop" is a minor work. Well, if you compare it with other U2 works, it is minor indeed. But this doesn't mean it is bad. Let's say it is medium...

In any way, 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. On the other hand, "Pop" is less experimental and more song-oriented than "Zooropa".

I mean, to a new listener, "Pop" has some flashes of surprise, but underneath the surface, U2 rely on anthem rockers and ballads. The first track, "Discotheque", might be a little clumsy, but "Staring at the Sun" shimmers with synthesizers. 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.

"Pop" is inflected with the desire of 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. "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. This difference is what makes "Pop" a record hard to love...

But, at the end of the record, there is a wonderful track: "Wake up Dead Man". Reviews don't normally underline it, but I always found it the best song of the album. And a good reason to buy it... which I never did...


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