Pop Muzik (PopMart Mix)

OK, so this is probably the most tenuously qualified U2 song on this blog, being a remix of an old ditty from the 1970s, beefed up into heavyweight kitsch and only having anything faintly to do with U2 by having some vocals from Bono slapped on it. And we needn’t get a detailed breakdown into the lyrics, either, which are stunningly repetitious to fill nigh-on nine minutes of sonic fluff. Yet even as this song really isn’t very U2, it does have an obvious strong alignment – it was used as the gig opener on PopMart, hence the nine minute length to allow the band to walk through an inevitably huge crowd, and it also cropped up as a b-side to “Last Night On Earth”, providing a bizarre flipside to that single’s intense despair.

What’s most important about this song isn’t the music, which is if anything irrelevant. It’s the way the song was used. During the Joshua Tree era, the band utilised covers to bow down to the Pantheon, if you will; the likes of Dylan, Lennon, Presley and so forth. During ZooTV covers became another facet of the band’s multiple personae, a kind of cabaret crooner side to Bono to go with, and integrate into, the swindling Mirrorball Man, playfully nefarious MacPhisto and mysterious Fly. With “Pop Muzik”, though, the point seems to have been to fit into the whole marketing image of trashy, sleazy silliness. It’s another part of the Pop album’s terrible marketing; once again, the band were mischaracterising the album (nothing off it remotely has this kind of tone, not even “Discotheque”) and selling it to entirely the wrong crowd (no pop crowd would buy, well, Pop).

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~ by 4trak on July 3, 2008.

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