A photo of the band U2 against a white wall

U2 – Discothèque (Radio Edit/Remastered 2024)

“Discothèque” is a unique curio in U2’s vaunted history. As both the opening track and lead single to their 1997 album Pop, the song set the tone for an era of the band that was, at the time, largely maligned or ignored, and these days remains unfairly forgotten. Pop is remembered for being the “black sheep” of U2 albums; a messy, eclectic foray into dance music and electronica birthed from a troubled, chaotic production process. Pop, per Bono, “begins at a party and ends at a funeral,” and from its disheveled opening through to its sparse, gloomy close contains some of the band’s most most morose and challenging thematic material. U2 was ultimately unsatisfied with Pop’s final iteration, marking the end of their ironic self-deconstruction and subsequent reinvention that began with 1991’s Achtung Baby and continued on 1993’s Zooropa. The band would shortly thereafter abandon their post-industrial dalliances and tongue-in-cheek pop-culture aesthetics, returning to a more earnest rendition of their “classic” sound on 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

All that said, “Discothèque,” and U2’s Pop era in general, constitute a deeply misunderstood, highly compelling body of music just as worthy of recognition as the rest of the band’s discography, though bedraggled by its troublesome recording and obscured by its unfortunate place in their greater mythology. Taken on its own merits, Pop was a daring synthesis of mainstream proclivities, techno affectations, and ’90s rock sludge built upon a foundation that remained distinctly U2. While the band has acknowledged the diamonds in the rough of Pop in later years, and treated several of its better-known numbers – “Discothèque” included – to various remixes and revisitations in an effort to refine them to satisfaction, the originals retain a brash allure all the more enthralling for its messiness. “Discothèque,” itself is a vivacious marriage of slutty electro-pop ear candy and menacing, guitar-driven rock and roll. Pop was a dark dream of a century’s end best understood contemporaneously, and “Discothèque” is that dream at its most salient and invigorating.

“Discothèque’s” original single edit, alongside a batch of remixes and alternative versions, has been given a digital makeover as part of an ongoing effort by U2 to update streaming services with previously unavailable selections from their discography. This project, titled “U2 To Love and Only Love – Deep Dives and B-Sides,” has already seen newly remastered versions of “Stay! (Faraway, So Close)” and “Lemon” earlier this year, and will be followed by 11 as-yet unannounced tracks as the year continues.

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.