Why is U2’s Zooropa on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Some albums are better than others.
What does U2’s Zooropa mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
It’s funny when I think back on my life with relation to U2 albums, U2 eras really. (My wife likes to tease me about my fascination with “eras,” which she’s certainly right about!)
I was a little kid when U2 started to dominate pop culture, and I dimly recall this Irish band in a music video called “Sunday Bloody Sunday” getting played over and over again. I didn’t know what the song was about, but I could tell that these guys were earnest and serious about taking their message and their music to the world.
The Joshua Tree was a backdrop of sorts to my junior high school years. I spent a lot of time at my friend Jake’s house during that… well, era, and I recall the poster from that album displayed on his bedroom wall, a black-and-white shot of the Southern California desert. That poster and the mood of that album so influenced me that it was always very much on my mind decades later when I would spend time in the Southern California desert as a getaway spot from the hustle and bustle of living in greater Los Angeles.
By the time Achtung Baby came out in 1991, I was getting closer to high school graduation, and the somewhat radical shift in the band’s sound and overall aesthetic almost seemed to symbolize the large changes coming for me in moving out of my parents’ house and heading off to college.
Zooropa, as is often noted, is similar to Achtung Baby in some respects, though it’s more experimental in some ways. It will always be in the “shadow” of Achtung Baby in terms of major U2 “eras,” but it’s a really strong album in its own right – even if not all of its experimental tics quite pop.
I’ll start with the end of the album, track-wise, and an experimental song of sorts that works out wildly well. “The Wanderer” is credited to U2, The Edge, and Johnny Cash, and it’s The Man in Black matched with a haunting, pulsing, electronic U2 musical backdrop that is one of my all time favorite musical collaborations.
When I first started listening to Zooropa, it’s likely that my favorite songs included the strange Euro pop industrial sounds of “Numb” or the aforementioned “The Wanderer.” These days, I’m especially taken with the gorgeous relatively stripped down rock of “Stay (Faraway, So Close).” In writing this, I realize that for me at least, there’s a tie to a similarly stripped down song, “In A Little While,” off All That You Can’t Leave Me Behind, from 2000, that completely blows me away.
“Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car” is an experiment that I don’t mind and certainly don’t dislike, but isn’t something I’m looking forward to throwing on these days. I would and do instead vibe more with the expansive title track “Zooropa,” which while maybe a touch too long is really interesting and pleasing overall.
Some stats & info about U2 – Zooropa
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Alternative Rock, Post-Punk, Pop Music, Album Rock, Dance Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Zooropa released? 1993
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #728 out of 1,000
U2’s Zooropa on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.