U2 Pop (Island)

The U2 Catalog

Record Reviews

U2

Pop (Island)

The great lost U2 album. Lost between the funky, New Deal-defining Achtung Baby from 1991 and last year's New Millennium revisionism, All That You Can't Leave Behind. Lost in the woozy Flood of Enoisms from '93's Zooropa and space trajectory of the Passengers project two years later (both coming together as '00's opulent The Million Dollar Hotel soundtrack). Lost amid the punk rock edge of Boy, post-punk thump of War, and pre-roots rock of The Joshua Tree. Lost. This musical motherboard from the 21st century technological age, made flesh and blood by U2's big, beating, bleeding Catholic heart -- 1997's Pop. Pulsing, pounding, pumping Pop. From the moment the wicked, centrifugal beats of "Discothèque" come pulsating to life to the hard-drive dirge of closer "Wake Up Dead Man," Pop is wired for a new frontier -- dance music for people with no time for boy bands or Britney Spears. U2 at its most rockingest, dancingest, funkingest -- the Propellerheads fronted by Bono rather than Shirley Bassey. With real instrumentation. The best U2 assault since War. If that first guitar break in "Discothèque" doesn't demand a serious volume adjustment on your part, then you've already left it behind. Best just stay at home, dear. The rest of us will "Discothèque" at the danceateria get-down of "Do You Feel Loved" backed by the badass blacklash of "Mofo." The mid-LP run that follows, "If God Will Send His Angels," "Staring at the Sun," and "Last Night on Earth," blinds with sublime melodicism among all those flashing lights. The Blade Runner apocalypse of "Gone," the street strut of "Miami," the pleading neon beat of "Please" -- Pop lives and breathes with a 3am high. It's a "Beautiful Day," sure, perfect for flying a "Kite" with your "Wild Honey," but "Mofo," we sure raged last night. Like it was our "Last Night on Earth."

****

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