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382 U2 in the 90s Roundtable

In The 90s - Roundtable

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U2 were critical darlings and wildly successful in the 80s, entering the 90 wanting to reinvent their sound, but did they go to far?

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Through the 1980s, U2 had gone from upstart punks to political firebrands to stadium superstars, reaching the critical crossroad of either delivering what people expected and remaining creatively stagnant or reinventing their sound and risk alienation. By all accounts, 1991's Achtung Baby managed to position the band as a force at the beginning of the decade creatively, commercially and critically. That comes with its own risk, as one reinvention begets another - as the earnest and sincerity of the past is replaced with irony and spectacle. With Zooropa and the Passengers project with Brian Eno, the band continued to evolve sonically, but the U2 of The Unforgettable Fire and War was essentially retired. Depending on who you talked to, the band reached their 90s rock apex or nadir on 1997's Pop, forcing the band to release their greatest hits collection shortly after, and then to dial back the disconnect on 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind. With our guests, we dig deep into the U2 of the 90s, and try to figure out what went right, what went wrong, and where it left the band at the start of the new millenia.

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Songs in this episode

  • Intro - Discothèque from Pop
  • 25:17 - The Fly from Achtung Baby
  • 30:37 - Mysterious Ways from Achtung Baby
  • 40:28 - Numb from Zooropa
  • 43:47 - Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
  • Outro - Staring At The Sun from Pop

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In The 90s - Roundtable