- Discotheque (5:19)
- Do You Feel Loved (5:07)
- Mofo (5:46)
- If God Will Send His Angels (5:22)
- Staring at the Sun (4:36)
- Last Night on Earth (4:45)
- Gone (4:26)
- Miami (4:52)
- The Playboy Mansion (4:40)
- If You Wear That Velvet Dress (5:14)
- Please (5:10)
- Wake Up Dead Man (4:52)
It’s hard to fathom what U2 were trying to achieve in Pop, the follow up to 1993’s Zooropa. Its an unusual album, very much in the mould of the electronically-infused Zooropa, but not really as fun or interesting, but rather darker and more satirical. If they were brothers then Zooropa is the class clown while Pop is the evil, sinister twin. Maybe not. Nonetheless there’s a certain air of pessimism in the lyrics of this album. Bono’s description of the album as ‘starting at a party and ending at a funeral’ is probably apt. Without doubt though, Pop rates as among the best lyrics U2 have ever written. It is direct, less abstract, and is densely layered containing darker, more subtle themes of the superficialities of modern society and a disturbing lack of faith in God.
There are some superb tracks on this album, however there are also a few letdowns. The upbeat ‘Discotheque’ is a great song and has as thinking Pop is another Zooropa. The gritty dance track, ‘Mofo’ is a real highlight and contains looping dance tracks that occur on some songs on this album. ‘If God Will Send his Angels’ is lovely ballad, beautifully written and played out. ‘Staring at the Sun’ is a more typical U2 track containing some mesmerising lyrics and is a great track performed live. ‘Gone’ contains lyrics that are among the best in U2’s catalogue. It is a tightly structured track, making good use of electronic effects and is probably the best song on Pop. Most of the others songs are so-so, some which are solid, but never brilliant.
It is unfortunate Pop fades badly toward the end- it certainly had the potential to rank among U2’s best work. There is a tendency for some of the songs to go on for far too long, while the album itself at 12 tracks is very stretched out. This is a much more deeper effort from U2, and is a far cry from the soulful gospel sounds of The Joshua Tree. Pop certainly isn’t the same dance-infused fun of Zooropa despite what the title suggest. It’s a different listen for sure, but will reward those that put in the effort to appreciate the beauty of it. 7.5/10
How would you rate U2′s Pop album? Rate and leave a comment below.