This album came out when I was 12 and I listened to it a lot. I even copied it to a cassette tape for my friend and my friend’s dad got mad at me for violating copyright laws. Some things never change.
What was amazing about this album is how it managed to sound so unlike U2, but retained the qualities that define U2 such as catchy melodies, tight rhythms, and unique guitar riffs.
The biggest influence on their divergence in sound was producer Brian Eno who added texture and interesting synthesized sounds to fill in the gaps of the traditional band instruments. The most Eno-sounding song is “Lemon” and happens to be my favorite track on the album. I love the falsetto vocals and bassline.
Even guitarist The Edge sings/speaks the main vocal lines for “Numb” which ended up being the first single and caught people off guard. “This is the new U2?” people would ask at the time.
Zooropa was an experimental departure for the band and it still sounds amazing 27 years later. The band decided to move back to the safe side of music-making after their follow-up album Pop came out in 1997. Everything since then has been fairly bland and sounds like they aren’t really having much fun anymore. Zooropa sounded like it was a lot of fun to create.