on December 17, 2004
Pop is definitely one of the top 3 U2 CDs for me. I was stunned when it was panned so harshly when it came out. I was revelling in the sound of the CD. NONE of the music is techno, not even mofo. For real techno music, find some Plaid or Orbital. Mofo has some industrial leanings, but it's basically a driving, rhythmic track which bursts with emotion. It is electronic in nature, but IMO, that doesn't make it techno.
This CD has what I consider to be the BEST U2 single ever, "If God Would Send His Angels". The remixed version on the single is a bit better than this album version, but the album version is no slouch.
Then you have Please with that glorious bassline and ominous sound and, what I think is hilarious, "The Playboy Mansion" which hauled out all the topical cheesy American society issues at that time.
There are some of U2's best melodies on this CD too--very very melodic CD including aforementioned "If God Will Send His Angels", "Please", and "Do You Feel Loved". This CD IS NOT EXPERIMENTAL. It is a good artistic statement by U2, but it is VERY listenable and deep nonetheless.
From the starting, accessible, track of Discoteque, on to "Do You Feel Loved", which is a real jam, through the closer of "Wake Up Dead Man", this is a GREAT POP/ROCK CD that was horribly and wrongly maligned for years. This CD is excellent.
on March 24, 2004
Most people write this album off as "U2 trying to be a techno band." This is a stupid statement, and if people saw beyond the marketing image of the album and listened to the actual music, they would realise that there is only one song that would really be called techno; track #3, "Mofo", and through the rest of the album it is really just rock with some electronic overlays for effect. Immediately after "Discoteque" and "Mofo", "Staring at the Sun" makes thing undeniably 'rock' and no one in their right mind would call it techno. Then it moves on to "If God Will Send His Angels", which is a new spin on their former more folk oriented style, and then as the album progresses it becomes gradually darker and more downbeat, from the agressive "Miami" to the melancholy "If You Wear That Velvet Dress" and the forlorn "Wake Up Dead Man".
U2 had allready been using electronic elements in their music for years before "Pop", with albums like "Zooropa" and "Actung Baby". Producers like Flood and Brian Eno had helped them use these elements to give the music a more dramatic and intense edge, and in my opinion, it was really evolving U2's music and took it beyond the level of the feel good, folky, arena rock pop songs U2 became famous for in the late 80's, to make something more emotional and complex. This improvement really showed in Achtung Baby, and in Pop they pushed it further and created what I think is the album with the most emotional range and dramatic punch of U2's career.
Unfortunately they decided to slap this "pop" "techno" "discotec" label and look on it, and suddenly everyone wrote U2 off as "selling out" when in reality fan favorites like The Joshua Tree were much more "pop" oriented. The whole "pop" image was probably meant as a sort of sarcastic parody of U2's own sucess, but the joke went right over the public's head and they suddenly saw U2 as "technopop eurotrash".
Now, as a result, we have "All that you Can't Leave Behind" in which U2 recoils from the bad reception of "Pop" by merely rehashing the folky arena rock style that made them famous instead of actually trying to do something new and different. However, perceptive listeners with an open mind can be treated to one of the hidden gems of the popular music industry, and enjoy what is perhaps U2's best work. Give it a chance and you might like it...a lot.
on December 31, 2004
After all that HTDAAB hype and the dissapointing, commercial and boring outcome, this album Pop is an awesome masterpiece.
Without a doubt, the most underrated ( even wrongly by the band !! ) U2 album ever. I'm 27 so I remember perfectly well those years. Pop, unlike what seems to be now, was acclaimed by all people, including U2 themselves. It's weird the fact that, having sold more than 9 million copies, having performed their most succesfully tour ever, Pop Mart ( even bigger than the famous Zoo TV ), etc, the band finally have decide to play safe and innocent music just for the charts, grammy and money. I still don't understand why they decided to sell out to that commercial world, by making safe, unexperimental and predictable albums like ATYCLB and HTDAAB.
Just Mofo alone is far better than anything both from ATYCLB and HTDAAB. U2 had many things to say, unlike what's happening now. Please is one of the truly best ever U2 songs, as well Staring At The Sun, Gone, Discotheque, etc. Don't listen to "new mixes" from the failed Best of 1990-2000, listen to original versions instead !!.
If you want to listen to the exciting and fresh U2, listen to these 90's albums.
Pop is the longest U2 album, and clearly one of the truly best, because IT'S AN ALBUM, not 11 songs for grammy awards, like ATYCLB and HTDAAB are. It's very dark, deep, different, etc, not the 2000 U2, a band who's just copying themselves trying to sound like "classic" 80's times.
You won't find any U2 album like Pop, because Pop doesn't sound like Zooropa, nor Achtung Baby, etc ( unlike HTDAAB, which clearly sounds like ATYCLB ) Pop itself is a whole new U2 era.
on December 5, 2004
I have heard people say that U2's peak extended from the Unforgettable Fire through the Joshua Tree to Achtung Baby (skipping over the grossly under-rated Rattle and Hum). But I am of a mind to believe that U2 hit a second peak, a trilogy of albums, from Achtung Baby through Zooropa to close with Pop.
Pop is the dirty uncle of the trilogy - the kind of relative the family would like to lock up and shut into a back room. Pop is the most difficult of all of U2's albumns - it is an album that sounds and feels like shattered glass, and its lyrical themes are unpleasant, revealing, and made of the kind of stuff we either want to flush down the toilet or paste on our locker doors as a kind of grotesque centerfold.
When U2 crafted Achtung Baby they entered onto a project and a journey that would take them into places that they would not have otherwise dreamed of. Leaving the Joshua Tree behind they submerged themselves in the dirt and mud and grit of humanity. The albumn Pop is the very bottom of that immersion in humanity.
It is broken and cold and sick. It is also hot and crazy and distrastously tinged with something that only seems like hope. The songs on this album stretch from the sublime to the grotesque and back again through the slimey or the desperate. On this albumn, Pop, the members of the band did something in sound and vision that was infinitely ahead of their time. But the sad news is that the times show no signs of trying to catch up. The whole Zoo-olgy is Christlike in the sense that U2 is willingly to drink from that ultimate cup the poor man from Nazareth drank from.
on February 19, 2005
U2 made a serious effort to lead instead of follow. This has a much more original feel to the playing. Pop is the last classic album that still sounds great after all these years.
Pop provides a compelling snapshot portrait of their career as a experimental band. After this overlooked and underrated gem, they sold out by releasing corporate radio-friendly items as ATYCLB and HTDAAB. After listening to this, you'll know why U2 was the quintessential band - credits must given to Radiohead as well - of the 90's.
It's so sad that U2 left behind an amazing musical legacy by releasing those disastrous mainstream albums, supported by their friendly media, I mean, Billboard, NME, Rolling Stone, All Music Guide, Mojo, MTV, etc.
This one is a masterpiece among masterpieces. Their finest songwriting is presented here. Songs like 'Gone', 'Please', 'Discotheque', 'Do You Feel Loved', 'Mofo', 'Staring At The Sun', 'Miami' or 'Wake Up Dead Man' are such a brilliant ones, and on so many levels too. Musically it is a master work.
Pop is an album album that intellegently express vehement hatred toward the corporate world's replacement of human emotion and personality with businessmen behavior in their attempt to be "more professional."... sadly, U2 have become in that corporate sellout personalities.
A beautiful, intelligent album, which doesn't come along that often these days.
on February 20, 2005
My title says it all. The record is brimming with genuine emotion, beautiful and complex imagery and music, and lyrics that are at once passive and fire-breathing.
Pop is a concept album of sorts, not musically, there are no recurring musical ideas or phrases, but thematically. The underlying theme in this album is humanity's increasing alienation and abandonment in the modern world. Pop is just full of intensity, innovation and originality.
Pop is a work of genius, non mainstream U2. It`s modern day Sgt Pepper.
on February 17, 2001
I'm so tired of former U2 fans whining about U2's experiments in electronica in the 90's. They act as if the band should have kept remaking the JOSHUA TREE over and over and never try to reinvent or challenge themselves as a group. U2's albums in the 90's were some of the decade's finest, and POP is no exception. I have little doubt that Radiohead would have had the courage to put out an album like Kid A had it not been for Pop. Of course Pop was not such a radical departure for U2 (following Passengers vol.1, Zooropa & Achtung Baby) that Kid A was for Radiohead, but it was still a brave new album at the time. For example, I think "discoteque" was almost unrecognizable as a U2 track when it came out, and that is what is so brilliant about it. These guys are blowing their own minds. Good for them. As for the other songs, taken together the overall production may seem a bit pretensious, uneven and over done. However, taken individually, the songs stand on their own as some of the best songs of a decade. If one takes a listen to the top songs of 1999, it all sounds like a mixed pop culture package. It sounds a lot like Pop -just two years ahead of it's time.
on February 11, 2005
I love this album. The whole record is absolutely glorious. This album is truly their last work of art. After this masterpiece, U2 misses the point of creative artistic expression and evolution, pertaining to a much more marketable and consumer-friendly mainstream. What a pity!.
IMO, this is U2's last defining moment. A masterpiece of emotional exploration; Pop is not an album to be missed.
on December 10, 2004
If you have'nt heard this album, well your missing out on a lot.
To start of with......its actually the only U2 album that really "rocks" if you know what I mean.
I was pleasantly surprised when I actually heard some of the songs off this album that I had'nt heard before like "If God Will Send His Angels" "Please" "Do You Feel Loved" and "Mofo"
I've read how alot of people have written its
"U2 going techno".......mmmmmmm or maybe thats just what people and critics said at the time - in fact I doubt many people actually know what this album is really like, as its appallingly underappreciated and misunderstood if you ask me.
Probably just cause it was'nt a huge commercial success like "All that you can't leave behind" or the dissapointment
(on the whole as an album ) "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
my opinion is that nothing on this album sounds remotley like techno at all, in fact it just simply is'nt techno at all.
The only thing you could call techno (even slightly) is Mofo and that is actually electronic rock.
The reason this is the "BEST" U2 album is because its
1. Not a commercial marketing scheme.
2. Its U2 reinventing themselves and pulling it off with fine style
3. Its the only U2 album that really "rocks"
4. It sounds great from start to finish
5. Musically it is varied and guitar wise it just pushes the limits of what you can do with a guitar "Big thumbs up to The Edge!"
Don't listen to the others who say its a failure because it does'nt sound like the original U2, they just don't know what to make of it.
U2s most impressive and addicting album.
on December 4, 2000
I can still remember the Tuesday morning I rushed to the store to get this album: March 4th, 1997. Pop's release had been delayed at least once, if not twice, leading to buzz that there were problems in the studio, or the record wasn't that good. Not that this would've deterred me from venturing out that cold morning, but I was curious to see what was in store for me within the 12 tracks on Pop.
The answer is: U2. Ever-evolving, never-satisfied U2. Since War, U2 has shown incredible innovation in their music. This fact is lost on many listeners who started with Achtung Baby or The Joshua Tree and looked backwards, but if you start with Boy (U2's first studio album) and continue through All That You Can't Leave Behind (U2's most recent release), a line of progress is clearly delineated from start to finish.
U2 has always been interested in ideas, both musical and lyrical. From The Unforgettable Fire through Rattle and Hum, the ideas were inspired by America: country and blues, America's foreign policy, Elvis Presley, "democracy", civil rights, religion. On Achtung Baby and Zooropa, the ideas were a result of the new, unified Europe: disco sounds, seamy political dealings in the old east, unity, commercialism.
It was based on the culmination of these explorations and the completion of the ZooTV tour that U2 pulled back a notch and created Pop. Their vocabulary at this point was infused with techno rhythms and synthesized drum loops. For these effects to be used as the primary instrumental vocabulary of Pop, then, was completely natural.
There's another issue in addition to the ideas and themes that are explored on Pop - the loss of a mother, search for a god, excesses, and lack of direction: the music rocks. You'd be hard-pressed to find songs even on Achtung Baby that rock harder than "Discoteque", "Do You Feel Loved" (whose rock-solid intro was even used to get fans juiced up during the '97 and '98 NBA Championship games in Chicago), "Mofo" (a frequent concert-opener on the PopMart tour), or "Gone".
There have been albums where U2 have focused more on details or added more finishing touches (like Achtung or Zooropa). There have been better messages in Bono's lyrics (Joshua Tree or Unforgettable Fire). However, U2 have never played better rock and roll before or since.