Quick Review (LP): Pop by U2

Island; 1997

My Rating: C (56/100)

Best Tracks: "If God Will Send His Angels", "Gone", "Wake Up Dead Man", "Last Night On Earth"

U2’s anti-U2 album.


  • I can remember hating "Discotheque" when it came out. I thought it was U2 going off the deep end. It’s not so bad though. Strange/hilarious video.
  • "Do You Feel Loved" has a little bit of gracefulness to it. However, it’s nothing special.
  • On "Mofo", the band does their best Prodigy/NIN imitation and pretty much fails.
  • "If God Will Send His Angels" is one of the band’s best melodies. It’s almost like an old school soul song. In fact, I’d love to hear a soul singer cover it.
  • I always though "Staring at the Sun" sounded like U2 were a bit short on inspiration, but they were trying really hard to write their next big cultural milestone.
  • "Last Night On Earth" is a cool tune. Nice big chorus as you would expect from U2.
  • "Gone" is great. The Edge’s guitar work is impressive without sounding like The Edge.
  • "Miami" is just plain ugly.
  • You know, there might be something to "The Playboy Mansion." A twisted vision of heaven for sure, but isn’t that the point?
  • "If You Wear That Velvet Dress" and "Please" don’t really do anything for me. Both are pretty dull.
  • "Wake Up Dead Man" may be one of the band’s best closing tracks. Surprised to learn that it was originally conceived as an upbeat track during the Achtung Baby sessions.
  • Pop has a great concept. I’ve read something somewhere about the genius of the title. In the grand sense, Pop might be U2’s most spiritually significant record, in that it stands as the band’s ironic embrace of the hedonistic mentality of the late 90’s. Pop is a clash, full of noise and confusion, with the grace so common in U2’s work barely perceptible. Me? I love the heart on sleeve U2. I gave Pop a pretty harsh grade, but I can appreciate that this album might be one of their most rewarding for those willing to go as deep as U2 apparently wanted. I suppose that one of these days I might just come back to it and find an album I love.
  • A “C” does seem unfair. Not trying to be a hater.
  • Erlewine’s review at AMG is spot on: "Achtung Baby also was a comment on the numbing isolation of modern culture, but it made sweeping statements through personal observations; Pop makes sweeping statements through sweeping observations. The difference is what makes Pop an easy record to admire, but a hard one to love."

Cohesion (3/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (2/5)
Songs (4/5)