Still a little sour about Zooropa.
A mix of computerized notes and white noise wriggle into my ears through my headphones. It feels ahead of U2s time for these kinds of sounds…A piano enters with crescendo, fighting off the electric beats for center stage. A pitiful fight for within seconds the piano succumbs and makes room for the strumming of the electric guitar, accompanied by what should have been the empowering voice of Bono. Instead it’s a slightly autotuned and shrill version of the man, the myth, the self proclaimed legend. This is Zooropa, their album namesake and opening number.
Zooropa was U2s 8th studio album, what most listeners believed was an album past the learning curve. But U2 wanted to expand their Alternative Rock ways by trying to make room. for a new, fresh, almost futuristic, listening crowd. Something their long time fans were not a fan of. They were, if anything, a little sour.
Universally it is agreed that Lemon is the only redeeming factor of this album. 6 minutes and 58 seconds saved this 8th studio album of U2 and made it almost listenable. Emphasis on the almost.
Lemon incorporates everything U2s fans had come to love about the band. Angsty beats, an overly confident Bono and lyrics that brought it all home. Not to say there wasn’t a spin on the usual style. It still kept with the futuristic vibe the rest of the album was striving to create, by having edited guitars riffs, a splash of synths, and ethereal back up singers.
Bono let his lyric writing for this song be inspired by his late mother. The title of the song came from an old home video he had discovered of his mother at a wedding in a ‘Lemon’ colored dress.
And that personal touch is what makes this song truly stand out. It was an honest song, that didn’t fit into a cookie cutter alternative rock album.
-Margo Van Loon