The Parody of the Biz

Achtung Baby, U2's most commercially indulgent album, probed into the trappings of a world which they, throughout their existence, have struggled to avoid. Wrapped in an album cover of bright colors and flamboyancy, Achtung Baby embodied the eclectic spirit of '90s pop music, showcasing their own play with the frontiers of technological sound production.

The band's album-supporting Zoo TV tour furthered the album's extravagance with the grand mime of a stadium rock show and all the excesses that accompany it. The band's concert repertoire incorporated the conscience-over-riding, sense-assaulting blitz of modern electronic mass communications. Unashamed, U2 force-fed their audiences with self-centered bumper-sticker philosophy as Bono, the band's voice, incarnated the glitter and arrogance of a rock star with alter egos like the Mirror Ball Man and MacPhisto, the horned archnemesis of rock's Messiah.

Upon the end of the Zoo TV tour, U2 returned to the recording studio to "recover" before Zooropa, Zoo TV's European counterpart, commenced. Intending only to record a few tracks, the band ended up producing a whole album, named after their European tour. Released in early July, Zooropa follows up Achtung Baby in that remnants of ideas not expressed in the 1991 album find their place in Zooropa.

THE RECORD OPENS with the title track, an ode to modern Euro-American culture and all it has to offer. Recorded with a 1970s cosmic cartoon reverb, "Zooropa" is composed of a check list of Madison Avenue rhetoric that has cost Western civilization its sense of place and spirituality.

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Sojourners Magazine November 1993
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