Why is it that Pop is always called a failure and Zooropa not? - U2 Feedback

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Old 02-11-2006, 11:47 AM   #1
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Why is it that Pop is always called a failure and Zooropa not?

I mean Zooropa sold less albums.. 2 million less.. why is POP considered the failure when it's previous album sold less?
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:04 PM   #2
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Well Zooropa was rushed into release with very little fanfare, and considering it still remains U2's most experimental album, it's impressive it did so well.

POP, on the other hand, had a HUGE marketing force behind it and failed the become The Album of the Moment, despite doing decent business. The singles were poorly chosen and timed, and it damaged the album's longevity on the charts and in the public arena.
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Old 02-11-2006, 02:56 PM   #3
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Zooropa has Stay on it. Isn't that enough?
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:09 PM   #4
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Album sells don't say if an album is good or a failure, I know many albums who have sold more than 10 million copies, and are shit, pure bad smelling shit!
It's the spirit, the emotion, the blood that makes the music, not the fuc.ing money
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:13 PM   #5
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For all the reasons that lazarus said, plus because 1). The band has considered it a failure in certain ways, 2). There wasn't a separate tour for Zooropa, and 3). Because Zooropa came out in the few months between touring, it's given a lot more leeway in terms of what sort of effect on the public it could have had.


I still say that so many people here are Pop-fanatics because either 1). They first discovered U2 in the AB-Pop era and/or 2). They first saw U2 in concert on PopMart. Looking at the ages of many people here, especially Pop-fanatics, it kind of makes sense...
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:14 PM   #6
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Pop also had a tour that got off to an embarrassingly rough start, whereas Zooropa came along for the ZooTV ride.
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:18 PM   #7
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I would give my head, a leg and a hand for another album like Zooropa...............they did this masterpiece while touring! what more can you awate?!
And if someone doesn't know, just for information, Zooropa is even Bono's favourite album
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:24 PM   #8
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^Unfortunately, we'll need Edge to get divorced and sleep in the studio every day in order to get another Zooropa. I wouldn't wish that on him!
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:28 PM   #9
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^

Better trust his natural given componist genius for the next Zooropa..................

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Old 02-11-2006, 03:31 PM   #10
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hehe
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:49 PM   #11
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I think U2 meant Zooropa to be their experimental album and they really weren't expecting huge sales for it. They thought Pop was going to do monster sales because they thought techno/electronica/dance music was going to take off in the U.S. in a huge way. Well, it didn't, so Pop didn't sell as much as they thought it would, so they considered it a failure.
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:55 PM   #12
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Well, if my mind doesn't joke me around, Pop sold more than 10 millions copies worldwide..................................grandious failure, definitely..............................
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:56 PM   #13
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Zooropa had nothing riding on it.
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:53 PM   #14
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^ Bingo. Zooropa also wasn't very commercial and came out during an already successful tour, whereas Pop was the true followup to AB's radio friendly nature. Two million copies (in the US) for an underpromoted (and weird by U2 standards) release is quite good. 1 million units sold for a release that was supposed to take on the world is definitely a failure for the band.
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:08 PM   #15
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Re: Why is it that Pop is always called a failure and Zooropa not?

Quote:
Originally posted by LuvandPeace1980
I mean Zooropa sold less albums.. 2 million less.. why is POP considered the failure when it's previous album sold less?
This is incorrect.

"Zooropa" has sold about 2.3M copies in the U.S. It was the #1 album for 2 weeks as well - which was longer than AB, "Pop" and HTDAAB (ATYCLB never reached #1 in the U.S.).

"Pop" has sold about 1.5M copies in the U.S. For all the reasons stated by others above, "Pop" is considered a "disappointment" because it was launched with much bravado - the same way JT, R&H, AB, ATYCLB and HTDAAB were released.

In contrast, "Zooropa" was barely mentioned - in fact, I didn't even know U2 had a new release coming until I inadvertently saw it listed on a record store wall one day in 1993! That's how little marketing the album received initially.

Worldwide, "Pop" and "Zooropa" are probably equal. Depending on the source you read, both albums have sold anywhere from 6 to 8M copies worldwide. I usually go with 7M as the total for worldwide sales for each album.

But you are wise to point out why these types of numbers, U.S. and worldwide, would be considered a "flop". They aren't. Even some of the "American Idol" kids haven't been able to reach the sales of "Pop" or "Zooropa" (Clarkson being an exception). Most artists dream of a Platinum selling album. The media will often rant about the "Platinum-selling release from....". However, for U2, Platinum is really a bit of a disappointment. For "Pop" to not reach multi-Platinum status was a shock for U2 who were used to far stronger sales.

It was acceptable for "Zooropa" to sell 2.3M copies because, as was written, this was almost a "side project". This was initially just going to be an EP containing a few new songs to help support the European ZOO TV tour. The first single was U2's most risky by far ("Numb") and wasn't even released on CD anywhere (excluding radio promos)! One could only buy "Numb" as a video single! But "Pop" was supposed to be U2's next big project and it failed to reach the heights of JT or AB. Even when R&H had its "backlash", the album still sold 5M copies in the U.S.!

This is why U2 had their "return to roots" phase with ATYCLB and, to a lesser extent, HTDAAB. They felt they were now disconnected from their audience. With sales of over 7.4M copies for those two albums just in the U.S. and over 20M worldwide, clearly from a business perspective, U2 did the right thing. From an artistic perspective, the albums won a whopping 15 Grammy awards! So while fans here may complain, I think sales and the awards tell a different story. While you personally may disagree, clearly music fans were more willing to accept this U2 sound than that on "Pop".
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Old 02-11-2006, 07:26 PM   #16
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Well, I remember ZOOROPA getting a large amount of attention when it was first released back in 1993. Everyone new it was going to a be full album over month before it was released. There was major world premier of the new video for NUMB on MTV, and radio stations advertised when they play the NEW U2. Essentially, this album had the same push that Achtung Baby had back in October and November 1991 before the ZOO TV tour was even discussed.

Zooropa sold between 6 and 7 million copies worldwide but has not really sold much since then. POP sold 5.5 million copies in its first year and it could be argued that its up to 6 million now. But essentially, both albums do about the same and have sold about the same in the years since. These albums have not become strong "catalog sellers". In fact, from December 2003, to December 2005, POP only sold 13,000 copies in the United States according to soundscan. Thats only 6,500 copies a year. Joshua Tree sells that much every 2 to 3 weeks on average.

The only reason some may consider POP a failure and Zooropa not a failure is because the band did not have a tour specifically for Zooropa. Thats really the only difference. Other than that, sales, fan and critical reaction is essentially the same for both albums.

So it is a mystery why many people use the "failure" of POP to explain the next phase of U2's career, when Zooropa was very similar to POP in how successful it was on every level.

I don't buy into the theory that the band sat down with McGuinness and decided to make and an album that would be "popular" and "successful". Then they would repeat that formula again. I think thats rubish. The band goes into each album attempting to write the best music they possibly, and then tries to sell it to the world the best they can.

Its funny, but there were people around the time of Achtung Baby who tried to explain that album as a way to become popular again after the "failure" of Rattle And Hum.
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Old 02-11-2006, 07:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
Well, I remember ZOOROPA getting a large amount of attention when it was first released back in 1993. Everyone new it was going to a be full album over month before it was released. There was major world premier of the new video for NUMB on MTV, and radio stations advertised when they play the NEW U2. Essentially, this album had the same push that Achtung Baby had back in October and November 1991 before the ZOO TV tour was even discussed.
yeah, i knew zooropa had been released, i remember getting soon after its release on cassette
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Old 02-11-2006, 08:15 PM   #18
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i always found rattle and hum to be a live album with just 9 bonus tracks,lol. zooropa was born out of the myths and vibes of the zoo tv tour. Pop tried to ride the wave of a trend that fell off the wave it self,lol. but discotheqe sinlge did go gold. thats not something to look past. I dunno why this is such a "sore" for u2 fans to accept. That this one album ONLY produced a platium album and a gold single. U can't win all the time! and this isn't a real loss. WHEN A U2 ALBUM FAILS TO GO GOLD, THEN then u can start to worry.
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Old 02-12-2006, 02:54 AM   #19
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Well I don't see Pop as a failure at all.
Only in the US and thats because they run every time they here a dance song.

Staring At The Sun, Last Night On Earth, Gone, WUDM, IGWSHA and Mofo are fricking briliant. Not to mention Please and Discotheque
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Old 02-13-2006, 09:37 AM   #20
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Here's the Thing

(Slightly old topic but it's interesting, and I wanna get in my 2 cents):

The point of this post was not whether you consider Pop a failure or not; the point is that the general popular consensus, at least in the USA, is that Pop was U2's relative failure. This is indisputable: numerous columns, press, and references from the mainstream media have created and reinforced this perception.

As has been pointed out, the two LPs did relatively similar business on the US charts, so it's not that one trumped the other in sales. The reason for this perceived "failure" is largely (as has also been pointed out) that Pop was both conceived and marketed as the new major U2 album, after a lengthy break. Zooropa, by comparison, was not conceived as a major, new album, and was not interpreted by the larger public as such. It followed so closely on Achtung Baby, and was released to coincide with a European tour, that it was essentially presented and interpreted as a companion-piece to Achtung. As such, whether people particularly loved it or not, it was not going to be worth meriting "failure" status.

This is all clear, thus far. But there's another point to be made here, if you were around in 1993 -- 1997 (I was):

The musical climate changed one hell of a lot from Zooropa to the onset of the Pop period, in the USA anyway. Achtung and Zooropa were embraced by the alternative-rock "movement" (kind of a stretch to call it that!) in North America. Thus, anything U2 did that was arty or experimental was going to be looked upon favorably.

By comparison, in mid-1997 when they dropped Pop, the teen boy-band era was just hitting in the United States, and the alternative rock thing was dead in the water. By calling their album "Pop" when it was anything but (yes, I realize the title was ironic but the average American didn't), U2 looked to be completely out of step with the times, which made them just look old for the first time (Edge showing his hairline while dressing like the Village People probably didn't help). Adding to this was the Britpop boom of 1994--1997 in England, which by the time of Pop also made U2 look a bit old and past their peak. Politically correct, earnest music that required some intelligence to appreciate its inherent irony was not what the average corn-fed American wanted in 1997-1998 when the Spice Girls were easier on the eyes. The very word "Discotheque" turns off a lot of Americans as it has a different connotation in America than in Europe.

I think U2 themselves realized they had miscalculated. They probably thought that the preponderence of guitar bands still lingering (when they started Pop in 1995) would be getting old hat soon and the public would want something fresher and more clever. So they got all ironic on our asses and called it Pop, and hired Howie B to stick some beats on it. What they failed to realize was that such guitar bands would be dead and buried by the time they finally got Pop out, and that what Americans wanted in a rock band by mid-1997 was some sincerity and a back-to-basics approach. In other words, Americans wanted All That You Can't Leave Behind, and that's what U2 belatedly delivered in 2000.

Then there's also the well-documented fact that the band screwed up and had to rush the album out, before it was really completed. Hence, we now have about 8 different versions apiece of Staring At The Sun, Please, Gone, etc.....

Finally, there was the tour. Opening to the world's press in Las Vegas with an under-rehearsed show that required massive soundstage electrical trickery and was full of opening-night mistakes was incredibly dumb, and seemed to oppose all that U2 had once been about. Reports of empty seats at gigs were pounced upon by a zealous press.

Add it all up, and you've got the myth/relative-reality of the "failure" of Pop!
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