St. Paul Pioneer Press Pop Review

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St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 9, 1997

By Jim Walsh, St. Paul Pioneer Press Staff

Somewhere along the line, 'popular music' turned into 'pop music' and became an all-encompassing description for all things unclassifiable: rock, country, R&B, hip-hop, disco, punk, funk, and, now, electronica. At its most effective, pop is a dialogue between the past and future that defines, and is completely of, the moment. So what else could U2 have titled its latest stab at greatness?

Like all visionary-slash-chameleonic artists, from David Bowie to Neil Young to Prince, U2 have remained creatively restless, and seek to reinvent themselves at every turn. This time, the group tapped into their techno-trance-ambient roots that have percolated since 'Zooropa' and 'Achtung Baby.' 'Pop' was recorded with Howie B, the guru of Britain's underground deejay culture.

Lyrically, Bono is at his provocative best, spraying out images of God, sex, and the gutter like a volley of keyboard beats, or kaleidoscope strobe lights bouncing off a disco ball. The standouts are the minimalistic 'Miami,' the anthemic 'Gone,' the rave first single 'Discotheque,' and the apocalyptic one-two of 'If God Will Send His Angels' and 'Wake Up Dead Man.'

For U2, they still haven't found what they're looking for, and the sound of that search is raw, fun, and altogether ephemeral: 'Pop' (aka 'Newer Adventures in Hi-fi') is that rare work of art that creates a hunger in its listeners every bit as voracious as in its makers.

Copyright © 1997 St. Paul Pioneer Press. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on March 9, 1997 4:18 AM.

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