Review Summary: One snazzy, detail-oriented album that shifts away from the common U2 sound, and introduces a unique electronic sound
In essence, U2's Zooropa
is extremely similar to their predecessor, Achtung Baby
musically. Toying with various genres such as electronic dance music, alternative rock, and nods of industrial rock, Zooropa
is easily one of their most creative albums they've ever produced. Although somewhat disliked by the group (they've made plenty of comments and remarks claiming that they had mixed feelings for this record), I would honestly consider this album to be stellar. Musically, the group's sound here is on a polar opposite; instead of their common rock sound, we are met with electronic and alternative rock arrangements, setting a more exotic flavor for the album. The synthesizer here is a prominent instrument, as the effects, noises, and flutters reflect solely back on this instrument. Luckily, U2 pulls this off superbly and creates a hypnotizing masterpiece.
As "exotic" and dazzling as the artwork is, the music is surprisingly held up quite well (face it, the artwork is a little ridiculous, or for some, straight up eye-candy). Guitars on this record seem to creep in only when they're politely asked, while synthesizers, voice effects, and other electronic sounds run the show accordingly. Although guitars and the "trademark U2" might be nonexistent here, their interesting fuse of genres here work brilliantly and magically, something that is not attainable on any other U2 record (other than perhaps Achtung Baby
in a few cases). Lyrically, the album is mainly comprised of words related to the uprising of technology (also media); because of them adopting heavily to technology during that day and age (around 1992/1993), this would eventually grow to be reflected with the album's sound.
There seems to be a little bit more "playfulness" on this record; the song arrangements are quite relaxing, chill, and euphoric. "Zooropa" is a good example of this, as this song is centered around a blurry guitar melody, a calm rhythm section, and a few radio voice recordings thrown in here and there. This is easily one of the greatest tracks on the record, and one of the lengthiest as well. The twinkling "Babyface" is alluring with its seductive melody, and "Lemon" is possibly their most electronic-gripped track. Near disco sounding, the track has a wonderful, cute melody met with a dazzling piano section in the chorus. The song is about Bono's mother (in relation to a dress she always wore, which was evidently "lemon" colored), and is actually their longest song ever recorded. The beautifully emotional "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)" is another fantastic track, along with the bluesy "Daddy's Gonna Paid for Your Crashed Car."
For its creativity, this album gets a fantastic reception from me. The experimentation along with the interesting effects are a woozy here, and create a unique atmosphere that isn't found on any other album from them. I'd probably recommend this album to U2 fans, and a person who is a die hard fan of early electronic music such as Kraftwerk. Despite not having any real elements of clear-cut U2, Zooropa
still manages to find its own niche as another wonderfully made album. It is an excellent record, and a special one wrapped in something large and gigantic.