Poll

What are your three favorite songs off the album Pop, and how do you feel about the album in 2018?

Discotheque
9 (8.9%)
Do You Feel Loved
7 (6.9%)
Mofo
14 (13.9%)
If God Will Send His Angels
7 (6.9%)
Staring at the Sun
10 (9.9%)
Last Night on Earth
11 (10.9%)
Gone
20 (19.8%)
Miami
3 (3%)
The Playboy Mansion
1 (1%)
If You Wear That Velvet Dress
4 (4%)
Please
12 (11.9%)
Wake Up Dead Man
3 (3%)

Total Members Voted: 34

Author Topic: Pop: Retrospective  (Read 405 times)

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Offline Vox

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Pop: Retrospective
« on: August 31, 2018, 07:27:18 AM »
This is the ninth part of the U2: Retrospective.  You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login 

After listening to the album now, in the present day, the main part of each post will be to vote for your three favorite songs from each album.  The next parts can be optional (well, the whole thing is “optional”), but I’ll structure my posts like this:
•   When did I first listen to that album?  What is my history with the album?   
•   How do I feel about the album when I listen to it today, versus how I’ve felt about the album in the past?


Top three songs:  “Mofo,” “Gone,” and “Discotheque”

For me, Pop was the first U2 album of the internet era.  I remember reading (online!) of the troubled gestation period.  I remember U2 setting up a live camera (feed!) in the studio during the recording process.  I remember hearing my computer dial-up (buzz-beep-buzz-buzz-pop!) for several minutes, as I tried to listen, one more time, to the 10-second clip of the riff of “Discotheque” that U2 had put out there (on the web!).

In 1997, I was living the hedonistic lifestyle.  I was drinking too much, smoking too much, going out to bars too much, doing everything too much…  I was also into the electronic music scene of the time, so I was ready for my favorite band to do their “EDM record” (can’t remember if EDM was an actual term in the ‘90s, but you know what I’m saying).  So, back in 1997… I mean, look…  I figured this album was made specifically for me, right?  The day of its release, I took a day off work so I could listen –  and it didn’t disappoint.  Pop was the soundtrack to my summer and fall of 1997.  Back then, U2 were an easy sell to my friends when we chilled out and listened to music.  I’d put this on and people would go “THIS is U2?!?!?!  This sh** is the bomb!”  And it was probably the last new U2 album that I could use to make friends “TrueU2FansTM.” 

Look, I love experimental U2 the best.  I like dance/electronic music to this day and still keep up on a lot of the newer stuff in that genre.  I relate to Bono’s lyrics more when they’re tinged with a bit of self-doubt, spiritual-questioning, irony, and clever little (seemingly) throw-away lines.  I probably held this album up my U2antheon much higher than it had any right being for a long time, because my favorite U2 is when U2 are like this…  I adore the first three songs (“Mofo” has always been a personal favorite).  But “If God Will Send His Angels” and “The Playboy Mansion” haven’t sounded good to me for a long, long time.  I’ve never really liked “Staring at the Sun” as much as I should – can’t put my finger on why, I just don’t.  “Gone” and “Please” are great…  And I admire what U2 did or were trying to do on all the rest of the songs, and I’m glad they’re part of the cannon, and everything…  But I’m not sure most of them are great go-to U2 songs.  To me, sitting here in 2018, much of this album sounds a bit dated (ducks and runs for cover).  It might be the only U2 album I can say that about, actually.   

Still, I’d take one adventurous, left-turn U2 album over three play-it-safe U2 albums, any day of the blanking week.  And I still hope they can conjure up one more truly experimental, odd-ball album before they decide to call it a day.



Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Pop: Retrospective
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2018, 08:41:58 PM »
The first three songs are a kick-butt one, two, three punch.  Best opening tracks since the Joshua Tree.

Offline Rasmus

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Re: Pop: Retrospective
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2018, 04:23:11 AM »
Pop is the U2 album that has impacted my life the most. Actually it's probably the album in general that has impacted my life the most. I was 13 when it came out and I heard Discotheque on the radio. I immidiately went out and bought the album and it blew my mind. The level of creativity, the sound landscapes created by Edge, the sexy bass and the amazing lyrics that I still think are arguably Bono's strongest across an album. It was the album that introduced me to real rock music - as in music that actually had something to say. I bought most of their other albums within a 6 month period and in the process turned my best friend into a U2 fan as well. It inspired me to start playing guitar and start a band (although other albums influenced this as well). Most importantly it influenced my mindset as a teenager, to me more concious about the world and pursue deeper meaning in my relationships.

It is still one of my favorite albums of all time especially the first 7-8 tracks. It is not a "perfect" album as you could argue that AB or TJT are. Some songs are a bit undercooked and the darkness of the album towards the end means that I have to be in the mood for those songs. But the strong points of the album are just so strong that it still stands as a major highlight in their discography for me.

My favorite tracks are: Discotheque, Do You Feel Loved, Gone. 

Offline NintendoFan204

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Re: Pop: Retrospective
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2018, 05:48:38 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
The first three songs are a kick-butt one, two, three punch.  Best opening tracks since the Joshua Tree.
Agreed! Such an amazing way to open the album.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Pop: Retrospective
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2018, 08:39:56 PM »
Mofo
Please
Gone

I've been a fan since 1988 and I've never followed an album release online. I came close for SOE but not quite. So I didn't know about any hype or critique about Pop. I didn't even know until this year that Pop was polarizing.

Ah, but there was one thing I heard, just one. I worked in NYC at the time and commuted through Penn Station. The day I heard that U2 played the Kmart was a crushing one for me. That Kmart has (well, had; I assume it's no longer there?) a basement entrance from Penn Station. I walked by it twice a day, five days a week. THAT Kmart. A little piece of my soul died when I went home that night and saw on the news that THEY WERE THERE. I wanted a redo on the day. I'd call out of work and I'd wait in Kmart and I'd see my guys and it would be so amazing.

Onto Pop. In 1997, I loved If God Will Send His Angels. Played it over and over. In 2018, zzzzzz.

In 1997, Mofo was a little tough. I didn't hate it, but it was a lot to take, and I'd have to be in the mood. In 2018, TURN IT UP LOUD, CAPTAIN. Mofo is probably a top five song for me. Damnnnnnn.

In 1997, I apparently didn't study the lyrics of Do You Feel Loved very well, and the vocals are kind of mumbly. In 2018, I wonder if was just as well, maybe I was too young for that anyway. Whoo-hoo!

In 1997, I knew the lyrics of Please but couldn't figure them out. In 2006 or whatever, I got 300 kg of U2 by U2 hardcover and had an aha! moment. So in 2018, respect for that song.

I consider LNOE and Gone to be liftoff moments a la Acrobat and Ultraviolet. There's some rawness there but they work for me.

Discotheque, look, I know I'm chewing bubble gum, but I like it.

Miami is weird, I feel like there's genius in it but I can't figure out what and I don't think it reached its full potential. PopMart Miami sounded good, maybe great.

Playboy Mansion has those dated lyrics (I think they were already dated in 1997 lol) but it works for me. I love songs like this that seem so trashy and meaningless that are actually pretty deep. Given what I know of their goals for Pop, they scored here, at least for me.

I'm glad I love Pop and I'm glad I don't see it as a black sheep of U2 albums. They did cool stuff here. It's one of my faves. Also, can I mention Mofo again? Sugar suckin motherf---n ROCK AND ROLL.

Offline Dali

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Re: Pop: Retrospective
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2018, 11:40:55 AM »
"Holy Joe (Garage Mix)", "North And South Of the River" and "I'm Not Your Baby" should not be overlooked. All 3 are great songs.

Offline hollywoodswag

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Re: Pop: Retrospective
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2018, 04:13:24 AM »
Pop is an album that took a little getting used to for me, but I've grown quite fond of it. Well, most of it anyway. My top three were Do You Feel Loved, Last Night on Earth, and Gone. Last Night on Earth is probably my silver medal U2 song, with an excellent groove and electronic sounds in the background that really suit the song well. Gone is just plain rock and roll thunder, and probably the first song from Pop I actually liked, even if it was the Mike Hedges version from the compilation. DYFL was a song I liked early on as well once I finally listened to the album, and it still remains high amongst even my favorite U2 songs.

Discotheque and The Playboy Mansion were honorable mentions, but beyond those, I feel like the album's quality drops off a bit. I do enjoy some of the other songs, but I feel like the disparity between the highs and lows on Pop was at a level not experienced since Rattle and Hum. Even so, I admire the way Bono really hit some darker parts of his thought process on the record, and I feel like the album is a real high point in Bono's lyrical creativity. It can be a challenging listen at times, but it can be a very rewarding one.

Offline World71R

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Re: Pop: Retrospective
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2018, 05:44:51 PM »
This was actually one of the first U2 albums I bought after TJT and AB, and one of the first ones I dove into, back three years ago. Some of the first ones that stuck out to me were Velvet Dress, Playboy Mansion, Discotheque, SATS, IGWSHA for how different they were and also how accessible it was, in the case of IGWSHA and SATS.


The album seemed rather mythical to me before hand and diving into it was almost like going on an adventure, and it is in many ways but I feel like it's almost a necessary addition to U2's discography. You need Pop in order to get ATYCLB and Pop also connects that part of the discography with ATYCLB, Atomic Bomb, etc. to the '90s works & Pop also allows OS1 to fit into the discography since many of the slower moments in the Pop era, like Two Shots of Happy and Velvet Dress, wouldn't have happened as they did without OS1 (OS1 really broadened the band's horizons as well). As you listen to it more, the album makes sense in that way and also that there's more to the album than what you first hear. Bono's explanation of how it starts at a party and ends at a funeral is brilliant, and you have to think of it through the eyes of the character created and the journey he/she goes on from the party to the funeral-like setting.


Best songs have to be Mofo, Gone, and Staring at the Sun.

I love how much of a monster Mofo is live and I wish they would've done the studio recording just like that, structure, guitar work, and all. To me, it sounds like an existential crisis put to music but in a good way and in that context, some of the randomness of what Bono sings makes more sense.

Gone is the centerpiece of the album, describing someone who is disenchanted with society and wants to leave it all behind & just get away from it. The 747 effect is just glorious in both of these songs.

Staring at the Sun has one of the best arrangements of any song on the album imo. It's an interesting mix of acoustic, rock, and electronic that would fit in nicely if it was released today. I'm not a big fan off the updated mix but the Pop mix is just right and the song is full of good lyrics that deal with disenchantment with society and wanting to ignore it all but finding it hard to. Not only is the sound made for 2018, the lyrics are too, and I'm REALLY glad U2 brought it back for the US leg of the E+I Tour. It puts into perspective what the song is all about.


I used to really not like Miami, but after hearing comments of how the song perfectly describes Miami, lyrics and feel and all, I like it a bit more. It's a wild experiment and I applaud the band for doing it, but it's not something I'd listen to regularly like other tracks on here. WUDM is the same way. I understand its significance and like the sound but it's very dark and despair that I don't find myself regularly listening to it. Although, I couldn't imagine Pop without WUDM, so there's that, while I could imagine Pop without Miami. The one song I wish could've had better lyrics is TPM. I see so many people leaving out TPM for its dated references but the essence of the song is brilliant, trying to find a higher meaning in pop culture or something that isn't supposed to have a higher meaning and reaffirming your faith/spirituality. Comparing The Playboy Mansion to Heaven and making fun of society for doing such a thing is absolutely brilliant, but so many people overlook it and think that they were just aiming to throw in references to seem cool when it's just not true.

 Discotheque ---> Gone and then The Playboy Mansion ---> WUDM would've been just the right tracklisting imo, but as it is, it's a brilliant piece of work by the band and one of their biggest risks they've ever taken, and I love it.

Offline Albono

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Re: Pop: Retrospective
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2018, 10:00:17 PM »
Do You Feel Loved, Gone, and Please.
Superb music!!!

Offline A_Fly_On_The_Wall

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Re: Pop: Retrospective
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2018, 05:23:01 AM »
1. Last Night On Earth
2. If You Wear That Velvet Dress
3. Gone

I first started listening to U2’s music in detail shortly after NLOTH was released in 2009 so had purchased the album “Pop” as part of wanting to get to know the band from their early beginnings.

Again, this was another album I was apprehensive about purchasing and listening to due to the bad press it received when released and it never really achieved great sales figures. However, I had no reason to doubt the quality of the album despite hearing the critics’ reviews!

“Last Night On Earth” is currently my favourite song on this album and has been for some time now. I love how rock-sounding this track is and Edge’s riff, accompanied by incredible backing vocals, is particularly fantastic for me. How Bono and Edge bounce off each other in the chorus is brilliant and it gets me singing along every time! Adam’s bassline is funky as well and Larry lays down a decent beat too.

“If You Wear That Velvet Dress” was my number one track from this album for a long time until I placed LNOE above it. This song really showcases Bono’s sultry and sexy side of his vocal range and it just unwinds more and more as this song progresses. Edge, Adam and Larry are all on fine form here as well providing a seductive soundtrack to the record.

“Gone” is an absolute belter of a song from this album! The way the song continuously delivers punch after punch throughout is mega and all band members shine on this track as well. I wish they would play this live more as it is an absolute killer live track!

“Pop”, for me, is U2’s most experimental sounding album which they have ever released. I love how that theme is carried throughout and the difference in experimentation is visible on many different tracks across the album. They really need to dust off some of these songs to play live again - they will all bring the house down!