U2 › Pop

Album Songs

Album Info

Pop is the ninth studio album by Irish rock band U2, released in March 1997. For some fans it is the "last great U2 album"; the subsequent albums not being as daring or as artistically different than Pop or previous albums and more commercial. It is notable for combining elements of popular techno and electronica influences with traditional alternative rock. On it the band continued their experimental phase and worked with Howie B, a DJ and artist who introduced the band to the underground club scene by going to clubs and gigs and turning them on to new and old electronic music that he felt would be inspirational.

For Pop, U2 continued the sonic experimentation they explored with Achtung Baby and Zooropa. Pop prominently features tape loops, programming, some sequencing and sampling, along with heavy, funky dance rhythms. The album is much more dark and experimental than, as the title would imply, light and mainstream. The band also continued their usual practice of having a few producers working with them on the record so that they could "bounce off each other's and other people's ideas."

The main producer on Pop was Flood who had worked with U2 since The Joshua Tree which he engineered and then Achtung Baby which he engineered and mixed and Zooropa which he co-produced with Brian Eno and The Edge. On Pop most of the engineering was left to Mark 'Spike' Stent (known for his work with Massive Attack) and Howie B, who also has production credit along with Steve Osborne on some tracks. Flood described his job on Pop as a kind of 'creative coordinator', "There were some tracks where I didn't necessarily have a major involvement, hence the four co-production credits with Howie, and the one with Steve Osborne, but ultimately the buck stopped with me. I had the role of the creative supervisor who judged what worked and didn't work."

Howie B first worked with U2 proper on the Passengers project Original Soundtracks 1 supplying mixing, treatments and scratching for that record. On Pop he was initially given the ambiguous role of 'DJ and Vibes' as things at the beginning where very ad hoc but once the record started to take shape his roles became more defined - co-producer, engineer, and mixer. Along with having producer credit on four songs and either mixing, scratching or engineering on different parts of the record, one of his main tasks was to introduce the band to new (and old) sounds and influences within electronica. The band and Howie B regularly went out to clubs and gigs to immerse themselves in the world of club culture.

Bono and The Edge had a few songs already written and some snippets and ideas of some others already on paper before recording started in earnest; one of these was "Wake Up Dead Man" which was a left-over from the Achtung Baby sessions, also "Last Night on Earth" and "If God Will Send His Angels" which were originally concieved during the Zooropa sessions as documented by rock DJ / journalist BP Fallon in his book U2 Faraway So Close. In addition to these tracks "MOFO" and "Staring at the Sun" were also partly written and "If You Wear That Velvet Dress" came out of pre-production sessions with Nellee Hooper. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.