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Zooropa - U2
Zooropa is the ninth studio album by Irish band U2 and is released in the year 1993. The album has 10 songs and a duration of approximately 51 minutes. The influences on this album are rock and alternative rock. It has produced three singles and was a great success. There was also criticism about the use of many synthetic influences.
The album starts with the song Zooropa. It begins quietly with piano, but soon you'll hear on the background a voice on the radio. You cannot understand what this person says, but then suddenly you hear the familiar drums and guitar use. They used an electric guitar that produces different effects. Bono's voice sounds like this is edited by the computer and gives it what a strange effect. I cannot say it is really a good song.
With a sort of triangle sound starts the song and you hear this sound even further on. A simple drumming accompanies the voice of Bono who also remains fairly quiet until the chorus suddenly the tempo and volume goes up. After the chorus it goes back to the soft drums, vocals and triangle sound. A reasonable song.
With a kind of electronic guitar sound the song starts and you hear a soft Egde singing in an almost rapping way. This is actually the entire song here and there by increasing the tempo and (I think) a Bono singing in the background. A very laid back number.
With this album, U2 trying more in the direction of rock, electro pop on to what reasonably successful. The songs are generally pretty quiet and mostly the same. I like the songs of U2 always when you are up tempo and good rock influences. These numbers are somewhat disappointing for me, but they sound on the whole well in the ears. You can hear the rock influence and that is also characteristic of U2 and Bono's voice sounds good. Generally clean, but three stars.
For me U2 are at their best when they take a risk, and Zooropa is the riskiest release of their entire catalogue. Sure, Achtung Baby was a big departure, but the hooks and choruses are still there. Zooropa offers up a clutch of what you could lazily call "experimental" songs, delivered by a band brimming with confidence in an ever widening market.
The title track is anthemic in a way they hadn't been before. No chorus, but a commercial edge with a delicious twist midway through. Babyface is a big pop number with a childlike quality, helped along by what sounds like a wind up musical box.
Numb is just bizarre; The Edge getting his go at the microphone, mumbling his way over a guitar line that sounds like a malfunctioning drill, again no obvious hook to grab hold of. The following Lemon is a groovy bass driven effort where Bono exercises his falsetto to the max.
Stay (Faraway, so close!) is the most obvious single on show here, a simple backdrop carrying Bono at his most Bono-esque, and a classic U2 chorus made for those zippo moments. Next up is the pounding dance noise of Daddys Gonna Pay for Your Crash Car, a thumping statement of intent with the band giving their biggest two finger gesture to their past yet.
Some Days are Better than Others just throbs, you can't help but grin. They're really in their stride now, and it gets even better. The First Time brings to mind the gentler moments of the Velvet Underground catalogue, and the scathing Dirty Day is a spiteful track, fitting in with the then current grunge landscape.
Ending on a synth driven number sung by Johnny Cash, way before Cash was "cool" again, could've been a disaster, but given whats gone before The Wanderer really works.
One can't help but wonder if this album was an influence on Radiohead's Kid A, it really is a massive diversion from a band on top of the world. Very overlooked and undervalued, i'd recommend this over any other post Achtung Baby and pre No Line on the Horizon albums. Sometimes taking a risk pays dividends.
Zooropa is, in my opinion, a bit of a bizarre album. U2 planned to record a new EP before launching the European leg of their ambitious Zoo TV tour in 1993, but the EP quickly turned into the full-length album Zooropa.
You can feel the influence of Achtung Baby hanging heavily over this album, but this is no bad thing. Zooropa delves into U2's new found fascination for electronica and experimental dance.
There are a number of brilliant moments, such as the quiet menance and angry undertone of Daddy's gonna pay for your crashed car and the space age German disco Lemon.
I love Numb - the video of the dripping water on the Edge is particularly cool. The album fades away a bit towards the end, but I love the final track, the Johnny Cash inspired The Wanderer.
3. "Numb" (The Edge)
5. "Stay (Faraway, 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" (featuring Johnny Cash)
Zooropa is a pleasure to listen to, melodious in parts, while strong rythms dominate other songs. This album was written while on the Zoo TV tour, a tour in which the lads... well they went a bit mad, didn't they? But enough about background, on with the music. The title track introduces us to this gem of an album. Zooropa starts off with distant murmurings in the background and it's 2:23 before the first sign of Bono's vocals. Casual and laid back, Bono warbles his way through a multitude of brilliant lyrics like "Be a winner, eat to get thinner". Nice. Lots of weird noises bursting away in the background, and the backing vocals in parts are sublime. Great intro. Babyface has some of the funniest lyrics U2 have ever had, all based on a man watching models on video. For example " Coming home late at night, to turn you on, checking out every frame, I got slow motion on my side". The chorus is like a lullaby, and indeed light clinking in the background throughout is extremely soothing. Slight drums gel with the song to make it one of the highlights of the album. Edge's singing debut on Numb is a slight disapointment. Anyone who's listened to his back-up vocals knows he has a great voice, yet here all he's used for is to give regular snippets of things not to do. In an incredibly monotonous voice he tells us things like "Don't Project, Don't connect, Protect, Don't expect, Suggest". As he has to fill up 4.20 with this kind of advice it gets slightly stupid in parts. The song is redeemed by Bono's high-pitched shriek of "I feel numb, too much is not enough". You get to wondering would this song be better without the constant barrage of mumbled words. If you've any views, please share them in the comments section. Lemon is my favourite track, it really is light years away from the others on this album and would easily be one of my favourite U2 song
s ever. Sheer brilliance, with Bono once again adopting a high-pitched voice throughout which makes Mark from JJ72 sound like a normal man. The chorus is perfectly crafted, and, if it's possible, you can try sing-along. Not only is it a remarkable song, it prompted the whole huge lemon fiasco! Hurrah. Going completly off the point, I'll tell you a something I saw at Slane. A giant lemon with the words "Elevate me!" being pushed around by the crowd. Just thought I'd make you all jealous by mentioning Slane. I was there you know. Did you hear that just there? Where I told you I was at Slane? Okay, okay no need to shout! Voted the best track from the album by visitors to U2.com, Stay (Faraway, So Close!) is next up. A catchy guitar riff plays away in the background while Bono gives another strong performance in the vocal department. The chorus is amazing, and I personally can't help singing along with the chorus. C'mon everybody "If I could STAAAAY, then the night would give you up". Fine, don't sing-along then. Somebody's in a bad mood... Starting off with faint static and then an orchestral piece, Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car is a weird one. For a minute or so, there is a noise which sounds like someone banging a pipe and then Bono's left to sing in a song virtually devoid of anything but a light drum beat and, at times, light back-up vocals. Once you've got over the initial shock, this is an extremely good song, packed with clever lyrics and a great build-up to the chorus. A return of disastrous lyrics for U2 as we reach the seventh song, Some Days Are Better Than Others. Take this monstrosity "Some days are slippy, some days are sloppy, some days you can't stand the sight of a puppy". Hmmm... OK. Say no more. Besides that, the song is pleasant enough but significantly weaker than others on this album. You might almost say Some Songs Are Better Th
an Others. Chuckle, I made that up just there. I'm quite proud. But enough praise for myself for the moment on to... The First Time is abeautiful ballad of sorts, as Bono again displays why he's the only man for the job with his voice shining over light guitar. Great lyrics like: "He said "I have many mansions, and there are many rooms to see" But I left through the back door and I threw away the key" This is another good reason why YOU should own this album, as Bono tells us that "For the first time, I feel love". Great stuff. From here the album goes downhill slightly, as Dirty Day raises its average head. Nothing special here as U2 go through the motions and make an unmemorable track. The vocals are decent enough, yet it doesn't feel as complete a track as some of the others. Put it this way, if you play the album, you don't even notice as it passes by. Enough said, really. The Wanderer is the last track and features vocals from Johnny Cash. He tells us about how he went out walkin' through streets paved with gold. His deep vocals and the song both grow on you, yet this is still the second worst song on the album, thanks to a mixture of boring background music and no Bono! I'm sorry Johnny, but you don't hold a candle to him! That's it besides of course the irritating siren that follows The Wanderer. I hope you've enjoyed your trip through the weird wide world of Zooropa and join me again for more reviews (and more money for me, HAHAHAHAHAHA!! What do you mean you can read this?) Please comment, it's annoying when no-one does. I get so lonely...
Not content with reinventing rock, U2 had to go off and reinvent…er, whatever it was that was not reinvented before this came out. For Achtung Baby they’d whipped out the shades, bought the designer clothes and generally surrounded themselves with everything they’ve come to hate about the music industry ( and f**cking loving it), now it was time to get Brian Eno to fiddle around with stuff in the studio. The result of which is a stroll into the world of electronica, a far cry from the likes of Running to Stand Still. The opening two minutes of Zooropa wouldn’t seem out of place on one of Eno’s albums, just some rambling piano with some effects in the background. Then the reverberated guitar and finally drum and bass kick in. Very un-U2, but very good. It’s written like an advert, with lines like Zooropa…better by design Zooropa…fly the friendly skies Through the appliance of science We’ve got that ring of confidence Babyface sees Bono singing about the foxy ladies he sees on his T.V. screens, and how he… let me think… enjoys them. It has some really funny lines, the best being Coming home late at night To turn you on Checking out every frame I’ve got slow motion on my side Hilarious. It’s really laid back (well, it would have to be…), the drums and a chime providing the base of the song. If you don’t like the album you won’t like it, but if you do this a very strong and enjoyable song. You’ll have to check you’ve gotten the right CD after this track. Edge takes the lead vocals part, and tells us
, almost spoken word, what not to do. The band just thought of loads of stuff that you could put Don’t in front of, so you’re left with Don’t spie, lie, try etc. Bono and Larry provide the backing vocals, mostly singing, in very high voices, I feel numb. They do get to sing a very U2-ish line though, Too much is not enough. Overall, an interesting, if a bit novelty, song. Lemon is the highlight of the album. Bono’s wonderful falsetto mixes wonderfully with Eno’s synthesizers. Again some brilliant background vocals, this time courtesy of The Edge and Eno. Has to heard to be believed. Also, this the song that led to the erecting of a forty foot fruit. Hooray! Stay (Farawy, So Close!) is an absolute masterpiece of a song. It gives the image of some horrible city landscape and the equally horrible and sad stories within. The anthem of the album, great to sing along to and nice and simple. A break from the electronic tendencies of the album. Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car starts with a fanfare that was apparently taken from the album ‘Lenin’s Favourite Songs’. Then it kicks in to a beat fest, the drums and guitar giving it an unmistakable sound. It’s about a kid who’s doing drugs being constantly kept out of trouble by her father. Not one of the best songs, but a strong one nonetheless. Some Days Are Better Than Others is a journey through the ups and downs of life. It has a great bassline but a nearly, but not quite, annoying chorus. See closing sentence of last paragraph. Another beautiful song in the form of The First Time. It’s very soothing, some gentle piano by Eno perfectly complimenting Bono’s voice. Sees Bono feeling love for the first time, and feeling that there’s people who care for him. Dirty Day is another song that starts off slowly, mainly bass lead, before climaxing in a guitar and chant led finish.
It seems like a father who walked out on his son trying to explain what happened, and how he feels. Brilliant. The Wanderer is the weakest song on the album. It’s not that it’s bad, it just doesn’t quite work. Johnny Cash and some big beats, I don’t think so. Still listenable though. If I was going by individual songs, Zooropa would only get four stars, but as an album it’s just amazing. Everything just works so well together, even the weaker songs sound so much better as a set of something. A testament to what rock bands can do when they experiment. Hooray for me! I'm going to see them play in Slane next Saturday.
This album was released in 1993 as the follow up to the all time classic 'Achtung Baby'. There were high expectations from U2 with this album and for me, it certainly lives up to them. Produced by Flood, Brian Eno and The Edge this album has a dark and menacing feel while retaining a sense of humour somewhere. It was a case of 'back from Berlin' with this album as it was recorded entirely in Dublin in the famous Windmill Lane studios (where U2 fans have scrawled thousands of graffiti tributes on the walls outside) as well as The Factory and Westland. The album opens with the title track. It starts off silently this one, as you can barely hear any music for the first minute and a half. The ghostly whine and piano tinkle is interrupted by spiky guitar by The Edge and then the aural assault begins. What I love about this song is the way it builds musically. It rumbles along gently with Bono's first verses essentially reeling off a lot of advertising campaign phrases. "Zooropa, better by design, Zooropa, fly the friendly skies, through applicance of science, we've got that ring of confidence" (Remember Pan Am and Zanussi ad's in the 80's?) The song gradually gets louder, meaner and turns into a wonderful mass of distorted guitar and soaring vocals before finally letting us pause for breath. This has to be one of the greatest opening tracks for an album ever. It's like an anthem for optimism too, an uplifting and strong sound with confident lyrics and a quirky edge. "..She's gonna dream out loud!" 'Babyface' is a gentle and meandering song with a lovely chime loop all the way through. A welcome rest to the ears after the first track. It took a while for this song to grow on me but I like it a lot now. 'Numb' is a song that will be best remembered for The Edge's vocals. His monotone voice throughout makes it sound like he's reading a poem in a way. And a brilliant p
oem it is too. It's a beat driven song with squeaky guitar effect as a riff and amusing lyrics where the Edge tells us about things we shouldn't do. (Peeing in drains being one of them!) Almost every line starts with "don't". Next is the brilliant 'Lemon'. Bono's high pitched vocals at their best and a nice shimmery sound to the music. 'Stay (Faraway, So Close!)' is another gentle song. It's quite a ballad really and lovely layered feel with the snare drum tapping along quietly. For some reason this song makes me imagine a really quiet city at night, it feels all velvety and deserted. This song also appeared on the soundtrack to a Wim Wenders film. The next song provides more of a racket like 'Zooropa' did. It's called 'Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car' and starts of with a Russian military trumpet fanfare. The sample was taken from an album called 'Lenin's Favourite Songs' according to the sleeve notes. The loops and drums on this sound really steely and harsh and this is what gives the song it's edge, along with the strange electro beats. It's quite spooky and industrial sounding. 'Some Days Are Better Than Others' is the most poppy and upbeat song on the album, pondering the ups and downs of life. The guitar on this has a lovely exotic, almost oriental feel to it. More amusing lyrics too as we discover that "some days have bouncers that won't let you in." For me, the next song is the weakest on the album. 'The First Time' is a ballad. It's a quiet song with just a slow strumming of acoustic guitar and harmonium in the background. It's nice but I found it a bit dull. 'Dirty Day' is slow to get going too, but after a mean and broody guitar plods along it turns into one great big dark chant. "Those days run away like horses over the hills." The final track on this album is exc
ellent. Johnny Cash actually provides vocals on 'The Wanderer'. (It was written however by U2.) This song has a really lovely country feel to it, but it's far more modern with synthisisers and loops creating the music. The song has a very 21st century feel to it so combined with western vibes you could call it Space Cowboy music. I wonder is this what Jamiroquai had in mind when he wrote his song of that name lol. U2 and Cash do it best though! I can never answer the 'favourite album of all time' section on these reviews as I love so many equally, but 'Zooropa' is definetely one of them. Even the artwork is colourful and hi-tech looking. It rocks, rolls and lurches. It's quiet and it's loud. It's dark but it has a distinctly comic feel in places. If you loved 'Achtung Baby' you'll definetely love this. For me it's one of U2's best albums ever. The lyrics are clever but never too over the top and the music is innovative. I'm definetly going to remain a Zooropean Citizen!
All too often I listen to a CD for the first time from one of my favourite bands and think that I love it. It is only through time that you realise the true value of a CD and only through time that you can compare it with previous and even future releases. When I first bought Zooropa it is the most I have anticipated a release in years. This was the follow up to the magnificent Achtung Baby. There was a good 2 year gap, which meant that it wasn't a rushed release. Bono had gone on records as saying it was originally going to be a 5 track EP but the songs just kept coming and there it was a brand new album. I must admit I was disappointed for a while after I heard Zooropa. It sounded like it had been finished to meet the deadline enforced by the upcoming tour and wasn't up to the usual standards. It was maybe a year or two after the release that I began to appreciate the music fully. I hate this phrase but I am going to use it anyway, I think that the album may indeed have been ahead of its time. The album opens with the Title tack Zooropa. This track is full of advertising slogans and is trying to promote Zooropa as the next big thing. It is a self promotion and one of the highlights of the album. The track starts off slowly, similar to "Where The Streets Have No Name" the first minute is instrumental, starting quietly and building up slowly. The last 2 minutes of the track are excellent. The next song is Babyface which Bono described as a Masturbation Anthem. This is certainly an interesting way to describe ant material but to describe your own in this way is certainly unusual. The song is quite "pop"py and is a little bland. It is not a bad song but it is more of an album filler than a reason to buy the CD. "Numb" is a personal favourite. Edge takes over the lead vocals with Bono moving to backing vocals. This is a wonderfully unique song and one which only U2 could
perform. The video is interesting as well with an excellent performance from a Numb Edge with various people trying to put him off. This track got to number one on the video charts as it was only released in that format. "Lemon" has Bono back on leading vocals using his falsetto voice. This is quite an interesting song. It isn't a great song; a lot of people like it and I think it could have been a great song with a bit more work. Again it is an experiment and one that works quite well. "Stay (Faraway So Close)" is a it more mainstream. It is an excellent ballad and one which could easily have been released as a single. As it was it was part of a joint double A side with "I've got You Under My Skin" which was a duet between Frank Sinatra and Bono. "Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car" is next up. With recent U2 albums there has always been one track which has left me wondering how the hell did that get on a U2 album? Well this is the one on Zooropa. Definitely not my cup of tea but each to their own. "Some Days Are Better Than Others" brings the CD back on track. It is a great song which sums up life perfectly. It isn't the greatest lyrically but is a great sing-a-long song. "The First Time" is a very slow Ballad. I love this song. It doesn't get upbeat at any point but if you are in the correct mood this is a very moving song. This is a great song live as it leads seamlessly into "Bullet The Blue Sky". "Dirty Day" is U2 back at Stadium Rock. The song starts off slowly but soon builds up into a crescendo of guitars and drums. Another which is magnificent live. "The Wanderer" closes the album, this time with Johnny Cash on lead vocals. Apparently the song was originally recorded with Bono signing and he said something along the lines of wouldn't this sound great with Johnn
y Cash on vocals. It turned out he was in Dublin so 1 phone call later it was arranged. I would like to hear Bono signing this song as I am not a great lover of Cash's voice but I can see why he was chosen for this song. Whilst this is not U2's best work, I would say it is in their top 5 albums and let's face it top 5 for U2 is better than almost anything else.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
5 Stay (Faraway, 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 - U2, Johnny Cash