Know Your Bonoisms, Part 9 – Bono in the Pop Era

u2_simpsonsThanks to FXX, which aired every episode of The Simpsons ever made over the past week, I was finally able to see U2’s appearance for the first time in 16 years (even though my daughter has the DVR set to record what seems like every Simpsons ever, the “Trash of the Titans” episode is never, ever on. If you have seen it in syndication, correct me, but I have never seen it rerun until this week.) But as soon as I saw it again, all the memories came flooding back: the muscle suit, the boxer’s robe, the single arch that U2 was legally prohibited from representing as part of the McDonald’s logo, the worst U2 song about a city ever recorded, and the cowboy hat on Edge’s adorably balding head. Yes, U2 fans, I’m talking about Popmart.

It was a dark time for some of us, but we held on. We said, “I’ll go there with you; it’s all I can do” – and perhaps we wept with sorrowful nostalgia after saying it. But we got through it, and so did U2. So for this week’s Bonoisms, here are a few things Bono said while promoting Pop and the Popmart tour:

  • “Listen, I’ll talk to Jesus. I’ll talk to the lady at the check-out there at Kmart. I’ll talk to anyone.”
  • “We have many sides, many looks. We want to meet you where you are. And we’re at the mall, shopping. That’s it.”
  • “It costs a fortune to look that trashy.”
  • “Pop begins at a party and ends at a funeral.”

U2PopYes, it certainly does. As painful as “Discothèque” was in 1997, my opinion is that all these years later, it’s just good, clean, campy fun – which, let’s be honest, is what U2 was going for in the first place. It sounds like what everyone dances to at a wedding reception (until they find out it’s U2). As for the tracks that follow, I have a love/hate thing when it comes to “Mofo,” and the only ones I truly enjoy are “Staring at the Sun” (probably because it’s a song that non-singers can sing, and I certainly qualify), followed by “If God Will Send His Angels,” “Gone” and “Please.” “Last Night on Earth” – I know some people like it, but I’m not one of them. And as for the rest of the songs, they are pretty much the stuff jokes about bad U2 songs are made of. As far as I’m concerned, it just doesn’t get any worse than “Miami.”

So, about that funeral part. As a Christian, I just can’t get on board with the theology of the final track, “Wake Up Dead Man” – at least not when it comes to the title. But after hearing Bono’s comments on Jesus in the Irish TV interview last year, I’m thinking (hoping) he probably wouldn’t call it that now. He must have been pretty fond of the song at one time, though, because for some reason that was one of only two songs from Pop that to be played throughout the Elevation tour. Weird, but then again – is there anything about Pop that wasn’t weird?

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  ericbobg 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #11744

    Brook
    Participant

    Thanks to FXX, which aired every episode of The Simpsons ever made over the past week, I was finally able to see U2’s appearance for the first time in
    [See the full post at: Know Your Bonoisms, Part 9 - Bono in the Pop Era ]

    #11745

    joepit
    Moderator

    Brook, you & I are like kindred spirits. Pop is my least favorite CD as well. Some songs listed are great, Mofo, Gone, etc, but U2 lost me during Pop.

    #11746

    SPun2U
    Key Master

    Popmart was the greatest U2 tour (until the 360 tour) ever.

    At the time I felt like you I was sort of disappointed with Pop on release day. I bought my copy at Turtles records and tape, and remembering thinking what…. But now I really like the album, they where ahead of their time.

    #11866

    Brook
    Participant

    Joe, they almost lost me too – but all was forgiven in 2000! ATYCLB & Elevation Tour were U2 at their best.

    #11867

    Brook
    Participant

    SPun2U, you’re their favorite kind of fan!

    #12111

    ericbobg
    Participant

    I’m always a little sad when people talk about how they don’t like Pop – it’s gorgeous, gritty and genius all in one. They carried the Achtung Baby mentality (already extreme) to complete excess, letting the seams split even more (see Playboy Mansion, Last Night on Earth, Miami, Wake up Dead Man). Miami – the worst?! Oh I wish you could love it how I love it. It’s so dark and playful at the same time, reflecting the worst of the culture (Love the movies babe/Love to walk through the movie sets/Get to shoot someone in the foot/Get to smoke some cigarettes), the false promises and hope (We could make something beautiful/Something that wouldn’t be a problem) and then trying to enjoy yourself both despite and because of all of this nastiness (We got the wheels, petrol’s cheap/We only went there for a week/Got the sun, got the sand/Got the batteries in the handycam…).

    One more thing on the theology – Pop is more satirical and mocking than Achtung Baby. When it asks “If God would send his angels…” it’s not asking for God to send angels (how does it work out for unbelievers in scripture when they ask for a sign? never good) but saying, if he did, would it make a difference if our hearts are where they are? We need to change ourselves before asking for signs. And Wake Up Dead Man, again, I think if you look at it as Bono asking people for whom God has died in their hearts to reconnect with God then it’s not about doubt in God (although he’s stated that’s a real feeling he’s had, and many believers and nonbelievers alike have had) but about how the world feels about God. Such great stuff…

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