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I still like U2’s ‘Pop’ — Part 5

Discothèque (song)

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Looking for the one
But you know you’re somewhere else instead.
You want to be the song
The song that you hear in your head…

But you take what you can get
‘Cause it’s all that you can find.
Oh you know there’s something more…

-“Discotheque,” U2

Numerous times, Bono has woven the theme of searching in his lyrics. The above lines from “Discotheque” are one example; another example comes from the Pop‘s third track, “Mofo,” which says in part, “Looking for to fill that God-shaped hole.”

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I still like U2’s ‘Pop’ — Part 4

God’s got his phone off the hook, babe
Would he even pick up if he could?
It’s been a while since we saw that child
Hangin’ round this neighbourhood.

See his mother dealing in a doorway
See Father Christmas with a begging bowl.
And Jesus’ sister’s eyes are a blister
The High Street never looked so low.

It’s the blind leading the blond
It’s the cops collecting for the cons.
So where is the hope and
Where is the faith and the love?
What’s that you say to me
Does love light up your Christmas tree?
The next minute you’re blowing a fuse
And the cartoon network turns into the news.

If God will send his angels
And if God will send a sign
Well if God will send his angels
Where do we go?
Where do we go?

Jesus never let me down
You know Jesus used to show me the score.
Then they put Jesus in show business
Now it’s hard to get in the door.

It’s the stuff, it’s the stuff of country songs
But I guess it was something to go on.

-“If God Will Send His Angels,” U2

That’s heavy stuff for rock’n’roll.

But that’s typical of the entire Pop album. “The themes are love, desire and faith in crisis – the usual stuff,” Edge said.

“Faith in crisis” is a theme throughout almost every song on the album.

I still like U2’s ‘Pop’ — Part 3

Take these hands, they’re good for nothing
You know these hands never worked a day
Take these boots they’re going nowhere
You know these boots don’t want to stray.
You got my head filled with songs
You got my shoelaces undone.
Take my shirt, go on, take it off me
You can tear it up if you can tie me down.
Do you feel loved?

-“Do You Feel Loved,” U2

Yes, sometimes I like a good come-on-let’s-do-this song.

That is all.

I Still Like U2’s ‘Pop’ — Part 2

Intransigence in all around
Military’s still in town
Armour plated suits and ties
Daddy just won’t say goodbye
Referee won’t blow the whistle.
God is good but will he listen?

From “Staring at the Sun,” on Pop (1997)

The Arab Spring happened a long time after “Staring at the Sun” was on the radio.

I still find it easy to think of current events, especially in the Middle East, when I hear the above excerpt.

Those two last lines reiterate what people have wondered for centuries about the meaning, or lack of meaning, in human suffering. “Referee won’t blow the whistle / God is good but will he listen?”

Sometimes, people go through things that just can’t be answered with that sappy poem “Footprints.”

The entire Pop album is full of these expressions of doubt (as well as faith), especially on songs like “If God Would Send His Angels” and “Wake Up Dead Man.”


I still like U2’s ‘Pop’ — Part 1

Pop, released in 1997, might be U2’s smartest, edgiest album.

Behind the glitz and glam of the album’s packaging (and the accompanying tour), Pop goes uncompromisingly deeper than most pop music, taking on several religious themes in an indirect yet profound way.

On the band’s website, Bono said of Pop,  “We’ve had to get the brightly coloured wrapping paper right, because what’s underneath is not so sweet.”

Not so sweet, indeed — and you know that if you’ve given the album a serious listen.

Here’s an excerpt from the lyrics to “The Playboy Mansion.”

If O.J. is more than a drink

And a Big Mac bigger than you think

And perfume is an obsession

And talk shows – confession

What have we got to lose?

Another push and we’ll be through

The gates of that mansion.

I never bought a lotto ticket

I never parked in anyone’s space.

The banks they’re like cathedrals

I guess casinos took their place.

Love, come on down

Don’t wake her she’ll come around.

Chance is a kind of religion

Where you’re damned for plain hard luck.

I never did see that movie

I never did read that book.

Love, come on down

Let my numbers come around.

–“The Playboy Mansion,” U2

Cover of "Pop"

Cover of Pop