Album Review: U2 "Zooropa"

According to Bono, Zooropa was a snapshot rather than a rock'n'roll record. Recorded quickly, there is a further shift in the sonic soundscapes created by Achtung Baby, encompassing techo/industrial rhythms and occassionally set against an eerie backdrop, ala Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car, which uses sampled music from an old Nazi propaganda film.

There are songs that allow the old U2 to resurface, such as the title track, which starts with chilling piano chords, before booming out on waves of ringing guitar and impassioned vocals, and Stay, emotional vulnerability on a grand scale. In contrast, Numb, featuring Edge on vocals, and the bitter cynicism of Dirty Day are sparse and sinister.

Elsewhere, there's the edgy pop of Baby Face; Lemon, an oddly effective collision between tacky '70s disco and Talking Heads; or how about the evocative tale of The Wanderer, featuring country star Johnny Cash doing a '50s style monologue over a simple electronic backing. Bizarre! 'Zooropa' is an intriguing experiment, but would have worked better as an EP. Still the best supergroup on the planet, mind. But they should have been wary of diluting their essence too much.  GRADE B+

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
August, 1993

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