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Revisiting U2's POP

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,766
In anticipation of the new U2 album, I loaded every song onto my iPod and hit "Shuffle". It has forced me to hear the POP songs in a different light. Most of the songs, with the exception of 'Miami', are pretty good songs that fit in well with the rest of their catalog.

My two observations as to why this album is less popular are:

1) It sounds like the entire album was run through a white noise generator for the final mix. It becomes very obvious next to other album cuts. I have had 2 copies of this disc, and both sounded the same. Very fatiguing on the ears.

2) The album really lacks any interesting guitar parts. I know they were avoiding anything that sounded like U2 at the time. And while that worked for 'Achtung Baby', I think it must have been pretty hard for Edge to come up with about 36 songs (if you include 'Zooropa) that didn't sound like U2, especially when sounding like U2 is what made them popular in the first place.


Thoughts?
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,931
Ayep. Even in their more "non-U2" albums, I gravitate towards the U2-epic type ones. For instance, Ultraviolet is my fave track on Achtung Baby.
 

dverna

Member
Messages
1,398
In anticipation of the new U2 album, I loaded every song onto my iPod and hit "Shuffle". It has forced me to hear the POP songs in a different light. Most of the songs, with the exception of 'Miami', are pretty good songs that fit in well with the rest of their catalog.

My two observations as to why this album is less popular are:

1) It sounds like the entire album was run through a white noise generator for the final mix. It becomes very obvious next to other album cuts. I have had 2 copies of this disc, and both sounded the same. Very fatiguing on the ears.

2) The album really lacks any interesting guitar parts. I know they were avoiding anything that sounded like U2 at the time. And while that worked for 'Achtung Baby', I think it must have been pretty hard for Edge to come up with about 36 songs (if you include 'Zooropa) that didn't sound like U2, especially when sounding like U2 is what made them popular in the first place.


Thoughts?
Good observations. Famously, this album was rushed to print and could have used (as per Bono and Edge's repeated regrets) further tweaking, polishing and mixing. Both feel there was so much potential unrealized. To my untrained ear... I agree... and my argument is to listen to the great live bootlegs from the PopMart Tour -- many of these songs shine live. Google "TUBE -- The Ultimate Bootleg Experience" and search that blog for U2. Also try "Smuggled Sounds". Some of these songs have much more guitar than is apparent in that album mix. They always threaten to go back and redo it -- here's to hoping they do some day soon. I think it will happen.
 

traviswalk

In the Great State
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,657
I was a big fan of the album, favs being Mofo and Gone. The guitar is tough in there and agree it can be a bit tough to listen to at times, but I liked that period for them....granted I like the classic U2 best!!
 

ReddRanger

Member
Messages
3,072
The only song I remember liking was Discotheque. Otherwise, this was one U2 offering I didn't care for. I really liked both Achtung Baby and Zooropa, but by the time Pop came out...I was over their 'non-U2' sound experimentation and felt they were getting carried away with it all. I was losing faith really wanted a new direction for them.

With "All That You Can't Leave Behind", I felt they returned to a much more authentic version of themselves.
 

TheGuildedAge

Senior Member
Messages
13,063
Pop is one of my favorite albums. I can't wait for the new one. I've been giving my wife a U2 album a day in the car. Tomorrow is The Unforgettable Fire.
 

shane8

Member
Messages
31,451
I've been following u2 since the 2nd album and in those days was prob more into "sounds" than i am now. The 1st song i heard was gloria and it was 1 of those omg what is that? moments

there's good stuff on all the albums but some of the old 80's stuff is a bit cringe worthy these days > but now i like to hear songs rather than clever sounds

my big prob with u2 is they have all the time + money in the world and they seem intent on overthinking everything

anyway 5 years to make a record gives them a lot of time to stuff it up
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,441
Pop is not as bad as U2 says it is... but it's close...

I also cannot wait for the new album, as the last two were my favorites, and I've been a fan for... Oh crap... more than half my life now...
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,141
BTW - the new album is pretty cool.
The lead track is a real stunner.
 

mapleneck72

Member
Messages
1,068
I really like Pop and think it is much better than ATYCLB (tons of filler). Most U2 fans are not looking for something that sounds like the Edge has been listening to My Bloody Valentine. I think the Edge had some great guitar sounds on Pop and pushed the envelope of what had been done with the Digitech WH-1. The harmonizer sound is becoming his go-to sound and features prominently on the new album (okay - not great). If you liked the last 2 albums, you'll like the new one.
 

medrawt

Member
Messages
559
Haven't heard it in a while so I can't speak to the mixing issues, but I really didn't see why Pop was received so differently from Achtung Baby and Zooropa at the time. I thought some of the guitar stuff, as elliptical as it might have been (even for Edge) was really cool. There are some (in my opinion) pretty weak individual songs on there, but plenty that I like as much as the favorites from any other album in their catalog. Part of it is that I personally think that whole trio of albums was Bono's best sustained run of lyrics, and what he wrote for ATYCLB was a significant drop off in terms of lyrical quality. (Haven't really listened to the last album or the new single.) Opinions differ, of course.
 

Ted Witcher

Member
Messages
2,282
Not five years... 2+ years of touring/promoting the record, then a vacation of however long, then work on the new record. Give 'em a break at least.
 
Messages
17,693
I am a huge U2 fan...one of my favorites
It is vastly under rated...BUT, their ridiculously old image at that time over shadowed it...for once the music didnt match the image...

Bono has said he wants to go back and finish ALL the songs from boy to pop...basically they are ALL unfinished, so rushing it out there doesnt seem like such a factor...I think they just got carried away with the cheesy image that started with Achtung baby (basically an F U to the critics who slammed Rattle and Hum)

If I had to rate the U2 albums from best to not-so-best it would be:
1) joahua tree
2)unforgettable fire/boy
3) achtung baby
4)how to dismantle
5) rattle and hum
6) war
7)october
8)zooropa
9)pop
10) all that you cant leave behind
 

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,766
If I had to rate the U2 albums from best to not-so-best it would be:
1) joahua tree
2)unforgettable fire/boy
3) achtung baby
4)how to dismantle
5) rattle and hum
6) war
7)october
8)zooropa
9)pop
10) all that you cant leave behind
Interesting how different we all are. I can't rank all of them, but Achtung Baby would be my first and Rattle and Hum would be the last. Joshua Tree would be near the bottom for me as well. Oh well - different strokes.
 

nondeplume

Puppet For Prophet
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,016
I am a huge U2 fan...one of my favorites
It is vastly under rated...BUT, their ridiculously old image at that time over shadowed it...for once the music didnt match the image...

Bono has said he wants to go back and finish ALL the songs from boy to pop...basically they are ALL unfinished, so rushing it out there doesnt seem like such a factor...I think they just got carried away with the cheesy image that started with Achtung baby (basically an F U to the critics who slammed Rattle and Hum)

If I had to rate the U2 albums from best to not-so-best it would be:
1) joahua tree
2)unforgettable fire/boy
3) achtung baby
4)how to dismantle
5) rattle and hum
6) war
7)october
8)zooropa
9)pop
10) all that you cant leave behind
...interesting, band is good enough/long lasting enough to mean different things to different people...
Here's my list of your list, reorganized, leaving your numbers

3) achtung baby
1) joshua tree
9) pop
10) all that you cant leave behind
6) war
2) unforgettable fire/boy
7) october
8) zooropa
5) rattle and hum
4)how to dismantle

...in the 80's I didn't like them when they first came...remember seeing Gloria on MTV and thinking...pffft...this'll never last....I was to immersed in guitar-gawd-tapping rock att.....wasn't until Joshua Tree that my ears perked up....I am now forever a fan..
 

rogerramjett

Member
Messages
157
"Pop" is completely underrated!

"Discotheque" and "Do You Feel Loved" are absolutely groovy fun.

"Staring at the Sun" and "Gone" are actually overrated and in hindsight aren't that good at all.

"Last Night on Earth" is great, straight-up rock (especially with the extended Edge solo on the PopMart Tour).

"Wake Up Dead Man", "If God Will Send His Angels", and "Please" are absolutely hauntingly beautiful and great songs - period.

The rest of the tracks are filler...
 
Last edited:
Messages
17,693
...in the 80's I didn't like them when they first came...remember seeing Gloria on MTV and thinking...pffft...this'll never last....I was to immersed in guitar-gawd-tapping rock att.....wasn't until Joshua Tree that my ears perked up....I am now forever a fan..
Exactly what happened to me...it was all about the hair bands until I listened to the first three songs on the joshua tree...I used to say "u2 sucks" a lot before 1987...havent said that since :)
 




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