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About this album
Like much pop music in the mid-1990s, POP is cobbled together out of buzzy synthesizers and reverberant keyboards, techno drum loops and funky live drums, guitars distorted into clouds of metal, vocals you sometimes have to work to hear, and songs that seek God and sex and other important stuff in the world's trash heaps. And it's obsessed, more than anything else, with pop itself. At its most frisky, as on the dance-club single "Discotheque", POP sounds like Oasis backed by the Chemical Brothers (see that combo's recent single "Setting Sun" for comparison). Drop the club beat and add a bright acoustic guitar, as on "Staring At The Sun", and POP sounds like, well, Oasis.
This is the kind of future-pop U2 introduced on its watershed 1991 album ACHTUNG, BABY, and POP completes a sort of trilogy. Whereas 1993's ZOOROPA played up the "art" side of this experiment, POP, which finds art-rock influence Brian Eno gone from the producer's seat and techno wiz kid Howie B. taking up some of his space, plays up the pop side. It's the most playful album U2 has ever made, with grooves made for dancing, not thinking, and melodies that explode in your face like bubblegum. Lyrically, U2 is still looking for what it hasn't found, in such places as nouveau-riche "Miami" and the celebrity trash receptacle that is "The Playboy Mansion". Musically, though, U2 seems to have found it, in the simple, ecstatic click of a dance beat.