Boston Globe : Part 2 - What they’re looking for : U2 still fine-tuning its tourdimanche 22 juin 1997
Source : Boston Globe
"It’s just been a slow process of people catching up to what we’re doing,"he said, referring to the new, more techno-spiced "Pop" album, which dropped to No. 42 on Billboard’s charts this week. That’s not good newsfor a band that sold 15 million copies of its "Joshua Tree" album in the late ’80s.
"Some of our fans have been a little unsure about what it is we’re doing,"Edge said. "But we’re not a techno band. I think it’s still pretty much a classic U2 record. . . . But there’s been a lot of misinformation about it.People were speculating before the album was released and jumping to conclusions based on the production team featuring club/ dance producersFlood and Howie B. I suppose it was also based on us describing some of the influences. But an influence is a very different thing from the overallcarriage of a piece. On our ’Achtung Baby’ album, I was listening to a lot of industrial music at the time, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it fromthe ’Achtung Baby’ record. And I think that was true of ’Pop’ as well."
Still, Edge understands that some listeners are puzzled by the move awayfrom the guitar anthems of older U2 discs. "For fans who are maybe listening more to ’Joshua Tree’ and ’Unforgettable Fire’ and the ’War’ albumand are hoping that we would go back to writing songs like that again, I can see how it would be a little hard to figure out.
"But I think for us, we have to keep going. If people don’t get what we’redoing, well, I think the worst thing we could do is to play down to people and try to make it easy for our fans," he added.
Another question arises from the "Pop" album having some intimate,cerebral songs with Christian imagery (themes U2 has embraced since starting as Dublin teenagers), but that tone clashes with the flamboyant, kitschy"PopMart" stage, with its golden arches and movable mirror ball.
"The tour maybe deflects from the heaviness of the subject matter on thealbum, but that balance is important to strike, I think," Edge said. "We want to both be serious and to lighten up. . . . I think rock ’n’ roll loses somethingif it doesn’t have irreverence and a sense of fun."
The humor of "PopMart" comes at a time when many rock bands areangst-ridden and joyless. Long considered to be too serious, U2 is now often attacked for being too light-hearted and flamboyant on stage.
"As usual, we’re out of step with what everyone else is doing," said Edge."If you ever want to find out what’s going on, look at what we’re doing and it’s going to be the opposite of it. In the middle of the materialistic ’80s, herewas this ascetic bunch standing in the desert singing songs," Edge said, referring to the "Joshua Tree" CD cover. "And now, when America is in themiddle of a conservative, grim phase, we’re sailing on a 40-foot lemon through the middle of it all."
After the tour ends, Edge said U2 may release a live album. And don’t assumethis is the last time you’ll see them in stadiums, though stadium shows seem to be an endangered species in today’s often downsized concert market.
"I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of us doing another tour like this," Edgesaid of "PopMart," which costs $ 250,000 per day to keep on the road. "It’s a huge challenge and we’re a band that relishes big challenges. But itwould have to be something special, or you might as well forget it."