Never let it be said that we here at ATN are above feeding the U2 hype machine.
And although we aren't quite as keyed-up for the release of Pop (Mar. 4)
as some folks, it's hard not to be swept up in the explosion of activity
preceding album's release.
Dig this: In Rotterdam, on Mar. 1 and 2, true
blue U2philes will gather to celebrate everything that is U2. A shadowy
organization called "The Zooropean" is presenting their second-annual
international U2 convention the weekend before Pop is released and on
the agenda for the superfans is a wild two days of promo videos, live gigs by
U2 cover bands, a U2 merchandise fair, a U2 auction, a U2 karaoke fest, a
chance to hear the new U2 album and to mingle with fellow fans from all over
the planet. Attendees will also have a chance to purchase a limited-edition,
numbered copy of the new U2 album, (only 2,500 of them!), with a "Certificate
of Proof" that authenticates them as the first copies of the CD available on
Since ATN was tied up listening to new albums by the Chemical
Brothers, the Sneaker Pimps and Pavement, we had to forego hanging out with
Bono and Edge in Dublin. However, Spin, Rolling Stone,
Details, the New York Times and Q had nothing better to
do. So we thought we'd bring you a quick recap of what their reporters have
About the album, Bono told writer Ann Powers, who wrote the
Spin cover story, "Right up to the last month of making this record I
had this feeling that it could go any way. It could be so extraordinary, or
such crap. We had the sense that we were trying to make the impossible happen.
Can we be this? And we can."
Meanwhile Bono played the entire album for Rolling
Stone writer David Fricke in the "penthouse suite" of the Soho Grand hotel
in Manhattan. Bono notes that head Pumpkin Billy Corgan called to he liked
"Discotheque." About the eclectic mix of songs on the album, Bono tells Fricke:
"I was reading this book that a guy sent me on Jack Kerouac. And Kerouac was
talking about praying -- smoking a bunch of week and praying for a vision of a
writing style that would be both precious and trashy. And I thought, 'We're not
so far-fetched.' The divided soul of rock 'n' roll has always had that. The low
groan of the blues, the dizzy highness of gospel. I'm not trying to resolve
that-- I'm enjoying the tension. Even the personas we took out on Zoo TV [the
Fly, MacPhisto] -- that wasn't parody. You are these things. You are
both ridiculous and serious."
Bono also revealed to New York Times
writer Jon Pareles his recipe for staying "alive." Explained Bono, "Sometimes
it may seem hard to keep your ear on the street because there's a lot of stuff
you don't want to pick up. But as Bob Dylan said, 'He not busy being born is
busy dying,' and I think the death starts in your record collection. I like to
feel alive. I think I'm awake, and this is the noise that keeps me
And then there's the Q track-by-track run-down of the new
album, which includes comments from Bono, Edge and Adam Clayton. About the
first single (and lead off track), Bono is quoted as saying, "When we were
recording that, we had the whole studio in mirror balls and disco lights."
Track two, "Do You Feel Loved," is described as a "heavy groove-based rocker in
the tradition of 'Even Better Than The Real Thing,'" while "Mofo" is a "sonic
assault" that Q says sounds as if "U2 are possessed by the twin spirits
of Underworld and The Prodigy."
Track four, "If God Will Send His Angels,"
is a "slow, winding ballad constructed around a title that existed during
Zooropa sessions, "Staring At The Sun" is an "Infectious, sky-scraping
pop song with echoes of (The Kinks') Ray Davies and Bowie's 'Soul Love.'" and
"Last Night On Earth" is a steaming rocker with powerful Beatle-y chorus." The
final track to be completed, Bono says that by the time they wrapped things up,
"It felt like the last night on Earth, alright."
Track seven, "Gone," is a
"soaring uplifter oddly reminiscent of The Verve," "Miami" is an electro
experimental before Mullen kicks in with weighty John Bonham styled groove" and
"The Playboy Mansion" is a "touching tale" of a "lottery-playing average Joe
fantasizing about gaining entry to Hugh Hefner's private Disneyland." Final
three tracks: "If You Wear That Velvet Dress," a "muted and frankly, horny
ballad with echoes of Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Game,' " "Please," which Q
describes as a "shuffly, meandering and moody bid-pacer" and the final number,
"Wake Up Dead Man," a "spaghetti western atmosphere bristling with distant
radio voices." Bono, his voice distorted, expressed his frustration to Jesus:
"I'm alone in this world/ And a fucked up world it is too."
U2 are holding
a press conference in New York on Wednesday, Feb. 12 to announce their upcoming