I just loooooooooove this album... It represents a complete turnaround from the Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum, a reinvention the way only the big guys can do it. I guess this is my favourite album of all time (before the Wall I guess).
U2 jumped on the technology train for this record, using radical production by Eno and Lanois, to create a more electronic sound, and they pulled it off very well, without losing the fantastic emotion in the songs.
I guess what I like most about this album is the structure of it considering the lyrics...The album is really one story, it all just connects. An album-long metaphor of the moon as a dark woman who seduces the singer away from his virtuous love, the sun. The singer goes further and further down this road, until "Tryin To Throw Your Arms Around The World" (when looked at it seperately, I just consider it about a hangover :-) ), he's lying in the gutter, in a vain attempt to throw his arms around the world, looks up, and sees the sun rising. He then asks "How far are you gonna go before you lose your way back home?" Then he starts crawling home, exhausted, elated, ashamed, satisfied, and nursing a bloody nose.
That would be an easy place for the album to end, but we don't get off the hook that easily. The darkness of the doubts raised cannot be exorcised by a night on the town. The last three songs face the big issue of how couples begin to reconcile the suffering they force on each other. In "Ultraviolet" the singer pleads with his love to light his way home, only to find that "the day is as dark as the night is long". The couple crawl into bed together, unable to sleep. He marvels at his own hypocrisy: "I must be an acrobat to talk like this and act like that". They decide that if they can't sleep, maybe they can speak their dreams out loud and "begin responsibilities". The album fades out with the conclusion that "Love Is Blindness", the inability to distinguish day from night. (Excuses for quoting Bill Flanagan's book in this last part)
The guitarist is The Edge of course, which means no 5-minute long, superfast solo's, but an originality that's quite amazing. With few notes, he can do a whole lot... U2 had its troubles making this album, and were reportedly on the verge of breaking up in the studio, when Edge suddenly found the riff from "One" (a song finished in 40 minutes) and from there on it just chilled. The only downer might be that the songs live had some amazing solo's that aren't always there on the album version. And with such hit singles as "One" and "Mysterious Ways", who could want for more?? In my opinion, one of the best of all times, you got to have heard this one!
01 - Zoo Station
02 - Even Better Than The Real Thing
03 - One
04 - Until The End Of The World
05 - Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?
06 - So Cruel
07 - The Fly
08 - Mysterious Ways
09 - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World
10 - Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
11 - Acrobat
12 - Love Is Blindness