Zooropa (1993)

1. Zooropa 2. Babyface 3. Numb 4. Lemon 5. Stay (Far Away, So Close) 6. Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car 7. Some Days Are Better Than Others 8. The First Time 9. Dirty Day 10.The Wanderer


When U2 went on a mammoth tour to promote 1991s Achtung Baby, it was not only a humongous spectacle, but the tour itself was quite long. I don't think they ever actually stopped touring to record this album, yet just recorded some songs along the way, and at some point, decided to put out this album smack dab in the middle of the tour. This record basically picks up where Achtung Baby left off. The sound and the vibe is the same - they're still experimenting with the whole euro-disco feel. Its very easy to then conclude that this is simply an extension of that particular album.

This is a fine work, but to be honest, it doesn't quite measure up to its predecessor. My guess is that they were probably pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming support they were getting with their new sound and direction, that they got a bit arrogant and put this thing out without seriously thinking it through. As a result, there's a bit of lost continuity, but you cant argue that most of the songs, and they're all quite eclectic, do, in fact. resonate quite well. I'm not sure where the title of the record comes from - other than the fact that the current tour was called the "Zoo T.V. Tour".

Many times, they don't seem to be quite firing on all cylinders. The title track, which also leads off the album, begins with fuzzy, muffled distortion and it (very) slowly morphs itself into an actual song. It's not until were a good four minutes into the track that it really takes shape. On the other end of the album is a song (The Wanderer) that sounds like a computer generated synth machine where the user programs their own melody. Even more strange is that they recruit Johnny Cash to sing the song. What the lyrics are supposed to be about, I honestly have no clue. Still, though, neither of these songs are unwelcome - they're just a bit strange. And strangeness is a bit abundant here.

There are a couple of flat out techno-wannabe tunes such as Lemon and Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car. Also in the bizarre category is the wacky spoken piece song Numb which features The Edge mumbling the lyrics throughout the song's pulsating beat. Really, the only thing on the record that sounds a bit like the classic U2 - and also probably the only song that is really remembered all of these years later is the beautiful Stay (Far Away, So Close). This piece isn't quite as heavy in the over-production department, and not surprisingly, is featured acoustically sometimes when the band includes it in a latter day set list.

Despite the radical changes in sound and style, and even though their pushing this new found trait maybe a bit too far in a forward direction, all of the songs have a positive feel and vibe to them which makes this record a success, even if its by no means one of their classics.

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