on June 23, 2004
With the massive "ZooTV" tour and record-combo of "Achtung Baby" and "Zooropa" behind them, the attitude as U2 re-convined in 1995 for a work on a new record was decidedly progressive: they would continue to push the envelope as far as they could musically, technologically, and conceptually. Because of technological aspect of it, this was U2's hardest record to produce. It took so long to complete that it went into what was supposed to have been tour rehearsal time(for the new "Popmart Tour", which was to be bigger and more massive than even "ZooTV"). As a result they were not ready when the tour started in Las Vegas. More importantly, the string of critical success that U2 had going back to the late 80s finally came to an end in 1997 when "Pop" was released, as the reviews were very lukewarm, even poor. U2 were disappointed with its sales...and the fact that "Pop" sold 6,000,000 copies should tell you something about their standards.
U2's peak was over, but I will forever hold that this record was unfairly criticized just because it was so different from everything U2 did before it, but that's a staple of U2's career: change. 'Do You Feel Loved', 'If God Will Send His Angels', 'Staring At The Sun', 'Last Night On Earth', 'Gone', 'If You Wear That Velvet Dress', and 'Please' are just great songs. Also standing out is the closer, a song of desperation and despair, 'Wake Up Dead Man'. This album may have seemed about lemons and arches and colors and videos making fun of the village people(the opener, 'Discotheque') and all fun and games on the outside, but in reality the lyrics of this record are the most serious and cynical of U2's career. Not many people realize that 'Staring At The Sun' is a political song, describing how suits and ties can be just as deadly as soldiers with guns. 'Please' is as serious as it gets lyric-wise: "And love is big, bigger than us, but love is not, what you're thinking of".
U2 did a lot to help this record by putting out some great performances of its songs, especially 'Staring At The Sun' and 'Please', including a emotion-high show in Sarajevo, the first rock show their since their war ended. But towards the end of the tour, it became obvious that they had gone as far as they could in the direction started in Berlin in 1990. They felt the need to tone everything down and just be four guys in a band again. This first came to the public's eyes in the form of old songs that hadn't been performed in a long time, showing up in the setlists of the later "Popmart" shows, such as "Sunday Bloody Sunday". The public would soon get a more blatent show of this change of direction, but unfortunately, it would also leave this album in the dust. Vastly underrated and underappreciated, this is still a very good record.
on May 24, 2004
This CD is brilliant. It is powerful, moving, and intense. Let me tell you why.
Crystal Method is a perfect example of what happens when poor musicians attempt to amalgamate two musical genres. You get a product like, "Legion of Boom," their newest cd, where Wes Borlyn is on guitar and Rahzel is doing vocals. They wish to call it rock-techno, except that it sucks.
Pop is an album for high-energy people, or nights when something big is going to happen. Rushing downtown to hit a club or lounge on a buddy's birthday, on your way to a sick drink off, I don't know . . .
This is the first CD after Larry Mullen went through his modern percussion training in New York, and boy can you tell. While it is true that Edge and Adam became a little aggravated during this albums production, when the songs were heard by the band, all the bizarre hard electronica work of Zooropa paid off.
The only weaknesses of this album are the faded vocals/ weak lyrics on the high-energy songs. This of course does not qualify for a valid criticism, since it is only my opinion, but I felt it necessary to point out at least one thing I found wrong with the album.
All in all, this CD is a wonderful mixture of styles and genres. The down tempo songs have great depth, and the high-energy anthems are sincerely crackling with power. If you enjoy dabbling into electronica, and are open-minded aesthetically you will enjoy this cd.
on April 29, 2004
I give this album 3 stars, plus 2 extra stars just for the song "Miami." I don't understand the reviewer below who panned this track. To me its one of the hottest tracks I've ever heard, the visceral guitar tone and the way it expresses aggression (and hostility?) after the second verse or so. A bit meaner and it could have been on the Scarface soundtrack. It's almost frustrating the way Edge controls his guitar, never letting it get frenetic and cathartic (with the possible exception of Achtung Baby's "Love is Blindness", the second best U2 song guitar-wise in my opinion). It's one of those songs that I've had in my collection for years but I still haven't fully digested, more for the sound than the lyrics, which are average. I really don't know why I find this song so powerful, but it has stuck with me.
The rest of the album is solid, especially if you are coming to it as a U2 fan, but I don't listen to any of the other songs on a regular basis. The novelty of Mofo and Discotheque wear off after a while, though I recall enjoying them a lot when the album came out. Take my advice and buy the album though, it is an important album.
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 September 11, 2003
This is definitely a departure from the more traditional style U2 albums, which the group definitely returned to on their more recent "All That You Can't Leave Behind". This is U2 experimenting, and succeeding, at mixing techno/dance music into their repertoire. Critics bashed it and long time fans didn't dig it, but "Pop" is a rock solid album.
The opening song "Discotheque" is a blistering techno dance track, and leads to the sonic experience of "Do You Feel Loved". The best known tracks off this release are the beautiful and poetic "If God Would Send His Angels" (as seen on the 'City of Angels' movie/sndtrk) and the more pop/rock hit "Staring at the Sun". Other standouts include "Gone", another techno rocker "Mofo", and the softly hypnotic "If You Wear that Velvet Dress".
For fans hoping for another pop/rock masterpiece like "The Joshua Tree" or "Achtung Baby", you're going to be disappointed. "Pop" is a dark, edgy, experimental techno album. Different doesn't mean bad though, and just because it's not what we expect from a U2 album doesn't mean that it isn't a great work of art.
on July 29, 2003
Tihs a U2's 3rd big bang (1987, 1991, 1997, 2000) and maybe the 4th best album. This is much deeper than anybody thought. Look below...
1. Discotheque (10/10)- I don't know anyone who would dance to it. It doesn't mean anything, but still a great song, dude. Good on the charts. (#1 in 13 coun.)
2. Do You Feel Loved (10/10)- Good background music with nice words. Upbeat song, great follow up of #1.
3. Mofo (7/10)- Maybe Bono's highlight, but not mine.
4. If God will send his Angles (10/10)- The sinlge version is better, but this anti-Christmas song has highlights with the PRIDE like guitar by Edge.
5. Staring at the Sun (10/10)- When I listened to the new mix on Best of 1990-2000 it was [bad]; this one's better.
6. Last Night on Earth (10/10)- 5th song to get 10. Pretty[bad] words. Nice beat and loud chorus.
7. Gone (10/10)- 6th song to get 10 points. New mix on BO1990-2000 is slightly more you know, BOOM.
8. Miami (0/10)- I HATE PUNK ROCK!
9. The Plaboy Mansion (9/10)- Pleasant song with weird but amusing words. Not much music but hey...
10. If you Wear the Velvet Dress (7/10)- Rather boring at times but hey...
11. Please (10/10)- Loved it when I first heard it, but now, it's kind of, well it's like something...
12. Wake Up Dead Man (10/10)- Rules! Most meaningful song besides Gone. Bono says f**k so watch out kids.
Well... there you go
on March 17, 2003
The poorly remixed POP tracks on the 2002 Best Of CD I think are making people reappreciate those tracks in their original form, and the album POP from which they came ...Only now, 6 years later, can one truly appreciate the production behind Pop, with its extreme depth and detail. This album still sounds ahead of its time now in 2003, its electronic sounds are one of a kind,no one except Edge has experimented so much with his guitar and come up with such variety of effects. Lyrically Pop seems much more relevant now than in march 1997 when it was released, and comes through as possibly their darkest most serious album, an Achtung Baby taken to its outer limits.
One hint, to make it a perfect album, you can burn your own personalized copy, taking out Playboy Mansion and God's Angels (two unfulfilling songs), and replace them with the b-sides of that era, Holy Joe and I'm not your Baby, consider putting Velvet Dress as the last track...Another hint: you can ignore the remixes of many of the tracks on Pop, after carefull listen, the original Please, Discotheque, LAst night on earth, Gone, etc etc are far more interesting.
on March 9, 2003
POP is, in my opinion, a crowning achievement for the band. This CD has everything you could possibly want in a U2 album. Great lyrics. Great songs. Great guitar riffs from the Edge. It's their most underrated album, and it's a shame. It's an album of many emotional layers. Here's a breif overview of the songs with ratings:
1. "Discotheque" - Great opener. Definately a good dance tune. 10/10
2. "Do You Feel Loved" - I love this song it's great. Fantastic lyrics. 10/10
3. "Mofo" - Best example of Bono's lyrical genius. 10/10
4. "If God Will Send His Angels" - A great example of how diverse this album is. 10/10
5. "Staring At The Sun" - What can I say? Another great song from an already great album. 10/10
6. "Last Night On Earth" - Awesome rock tune! Killer riff from the master, The Edge. 9.5/10
7. "Gone" - I like the intro to this great song. 10/10
8. "Miami" - Good rock tune. 9/10
9. "The Playboy Mansion" - See above.
10. "If You Wear That Velvet Dress" - I think this song is great, and so will you. 10/10
11. "Please" - Best song of the album. The modern day "Sunday Bloody Sunday" 10/10
12. "Wake Up Dead Man" - Good closer to U2's forth masterpiece!
Do yourself a favor and get this album and any piece of music U2 puts out there. *POP* is a journey, a rarity that takes you from reality, and sweeps you up with it's sonic sounds and blazing brilliance. Get it!!!!!!
A U2 reviewer...
on October 30, 2002
Words cannot express how much I love this album. Lyrically it's the best U2 album ( see Discotheque, Staring at the Sun, Please, Gone, and If God Will Send His Angels) to the 1997 point in their career. The songs all have PHATTY beats that won't stop. It's hard to pick a favorite song. Although currently it's the "unfinished" "If God Will Send His Angels" which sees Bono and the boys waiting for the big guy to send his soldiers to earth as a remedy to how messed up everything is. Great lyrics- "the next minute you're blowing a fuse and the cartoon network turns into the news- If God Will Send His Angels, sure could use them here right now." Personally, I like this extended version a lot better than the "perfected" single version. POP was a bit ahead of its time (typically U2) when released, but I think if it were re-released today, with proper editing, it would sell a lot more than in 1997, not that 8 million is bad. Track number 11 ("please") on studio album 9 (pop) - 9/11, "please" contains these lyrics "September, streets capsizing, spilling over down the drain, shards of glass, splinters like rain, you could only feel your own pain, october, talk getting nowhere, november, december, remember, we just started again." If that ain't a prophecy I dunno what is. So stop contemplating and go out and buy one of the most rewarding modern rock albums. If you like "The Fly" on Achtung Baby, then you will feel like this album was made for you. I just wish I would've been into U2 at the time this was released so I could've seen their greatest tour, POPMART, live. BTW, down with the Joshua Tree, and long live POP!
on January 28, 2002
While not the best U2 album, it will be remembered as one of the finer of U2's moments.It is a lot more upbeat than, say, The Joshua Tree, and it sets the pace at the start with the first single Discotheque,which competes for the title of The Edge's best solo.Then comes the stunning Do You Feel Loved, another lively tune with some amazing vocals from Bono.MOFO steps up next, and if you own any of U2's albums this will shock you.With its dance beat and funky vocals it's as close as U2 will ever get to a dance track!It then slows down for a while with If God Will Send His Angels blasts back in with Staring At The Sun and knocks you out with the classic Gone (voted best song on the album by U2.com).Then comes the only down point of the album.Miami.This rushed track just feels out of place with whiny vocals and terrible backing music.Thank god for the redeeming The Playboy Mansion.This excellent guitar track with clever lyrics and great vocals is awe inspiring.The last three tracks are possibly the pinnacle of the album.If You Wear That Velvet Dress is slow,sensual and stunning.There's no other word but stunning!Then comes Please with The Edge's excellent guitar and then Wake Up Dead Man,the last track on an amazing album.This album of course prompted the infamous POPMART tour, which became known for its extravagance.The album was also criticized by a lot of people and made me initially wary of purchasing it, but my decision has been rewarded.