Ice Magazine Pop Preview

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Ice Magazine, February 1997


The world's biggest rock band, U2, will release their highly anticipated new album, POP, on Island Records on March 4, worldwide. The album's first single, "Discotheque" has already been released to radio stations and video channels, and will be available in stores on February 4. Then POP, U2's first album since 1993's Zooropa, will almost certainly debut at the top spot in Billboard's album chart in mid-March, becoming the Irish band's fifth consecutive #1 album. A worldwide tour is planned to start shortly thereafter, probably in April, with early odds favoring Las Vegas, Nevada, as the tour's kick-off point.

The new album was recorded last year in Dublin, Ireland, at Hanover Studios, and was produced by Flood, the Englishman who co-produced Zooropa and, more recently, The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Additional production was handled by Howie B. and Steve Osborne.

The track list for POP, in order: "Discotheque," "Do You Feel Loved," "Mofo," "If God Will Send His Angels," "Staring at the Sun," "Last Night on Earth," "Gone," "Miami," "The Playboy Mansion," "Velvet Dress," "Please," and "Wake Up Dead Man." In addition, the commercial maxi-single for "Discotheque" contains the non-album track "Holy Joe."

As exemplified by the sound of "Discotheque," the new album is being touted as another change in direction for U2. One closely involved source tells ICE, "It's a rock record, but there are a lot of electronic/techno influences present. There are some stone-cold hits on it, much more accessible then "Discotheque," but there are some really risky tracks on it, too."

Hooman Majd, Island's Executive Vice President, tells ICE, "There are definitely elements of dance music; Howie B's influence is definitely felt on this record. That's exciting, because it feels like a modern record, without being forced in any way. U2 is one of the few bands that can do that."

"They have the amazing ability to look around at what's going on and to be affected and influenced by exciting new things, and they certainly have been on this record. They're very attuned to what kids listen to, and they've always been fans of good music, whatever the genre, which is key to maintaining creativity over the long haul. But there are definitely songs that can be viewed as traditional U2-type songs, too."

Adds Stacie Negas, Island's Director of Marketing and the album's product manager, "It definitely has a contemporary-rock feel to it, and no matter what the band does, it's very identifiably U2." Several sources also agree that the music on POP tends to be less accessible when first heard, but then grows on the listener, a U2 trademark in recent years."

At first glance, some of the song titles appear intriguing, such as "The Playboy Mansion." The song centers around trying to get through the gates of Hugh Hefner's famous mansion, but Bono's lyrics don't make it clear whether the song is written from a man's perspective or a woman's. "To me, it seems like a comment on society, and how the Playboy Mansion is held in such high esteem," Negas tells ICE. "But I think you have to listen to it and make up your own mind."

"Miami: was influenced by the band's stay in the Florida city before they commenced recording of POP. "You feel like you're in Miami when you listen to the song," one source tells ICE. "It does capture it really well. It's not just the scenery; it's more about the people there and what they're doing." Sample lyric "Big girl with a sweet tooth/Watches skinny girl on a photo shoot."

"Mofo" is described by Negas as "basically the most techno song on the album, maybe the one which doesn't sound too U2-like. Then some really ethereal, Edge guitars come out of nowhere and fly in on top of this wall-of-techno sound. It's really cool." For those wondering, Bono doest not sing the word motherfucker, the word for which mofo is slang abbreviation.

"Staring at the Sun" received accolades from several sources as one of the album's highlights. "It's their most Beatle-esque song," says one source. "Edges's guitar sounds a bit like George Harrison."

The cover of POP features highly stylized, Andy Warhol-ish portraits of the four group members - Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullin, Jr.-in primary colors on metallic silver. The CD booklet also contains individual panels with each band member's portrait, giving consumers a choice as to who they want on the cover - the entire band or just one member. The cover art is in keeping with the "pop" theme of the album's title, which refers to pop art (as opposed to a short, loud noise, a soft drink or someone's father.)

Copyright © 1997 Howard Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on February 1, 1997 4:23 AM.

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