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'Pop,' U2 search for a cutting-edge techno sound and divine salvation

 

 

Browne, D. (1997, March 7). Rattle and hymn on their probing new album, 'Pop,' U2 search for a cutting-edge techno sound and divine salvation. Entertainment Weekly.

OVERVIEW

 

The pop band U2 has long been a group of confessing Christians. Their soul-searching songs, "40" and "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," are examples of the faith that they portray in their music. Yet, both Christians and non-Christians may attempt to judge the validity of these professed Christian rockers and the salvation that they have found:

 

U2 are still believers-in rock, and salvation through it. Do they however, believe in that other source of salvation? In 'MoFo,' his voice contorted by studio mark, Bono tells us he's 'lookin' for to fill that God-shaped hole'...The songs are peppered with spiritual references-to God, heaven, and 'baby Jesus under the trash.'

Kids in society today need redemption. Redemption from broken homes, promises, and relationships. U2 support this belief: "Longtime Christians, U2 have occasionally used their music to touch on redemption."

There is also a definite sense that kids are searching for authority and rules for living their lives. They look to the media, but are let down: "Everywhere Bono [lead singer] looks, God's place has been taken by TV and shallow celebrities. He's right, of course, yet this is hardly an epiphany."

Kids live in a difficult society; groups like U2 voice the questioning, doubting concerns of adolescents: "In 'Wake Up Dead Man,' Bono implores the son of God to return and save us all, while admitting that may no longer be possible: 'I know you're looking out for us/But maybe your hands aren't free."

This album also addresses the fact that all parts of the Trinity have been commercialized, an event that deters kids from the power of the Gospel, and from the personal relationship in Christ. As the lyrics in "If God Will Send His Angels" state, "Then they put Jesus in show business/Now it's hard to get in the door." The brutal honesty of the group's lack of faith can be attractive to kids as they struggle to find the answers to the same questions:

 

Pop leaves you with an uneasy feeling, as if U2 haven't lost faith in rock but in faith itself. They may be draping themselves in irony, but they still take music, and life, too seriously to surrender to camp entirely. On Pop, U2 sound like the last of the true believers, and they know it'll take more than dollops of trash and kitsch to save them.

U2's honesty through music makes a deep connection with kids in their journey to find truth. This group may serve as a catalyst to probe them that much further to finding Him.

 

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION

 

  1. What can you learn from the lyrics of the songs?
  2. As can be discerned through their music, how does U2 define faith?
  3. If the artists in U2 indeed possess a faith, what kind of integrity is visibly involved in that faith?
  4. With kids, compile a list of songs that address spirituality.
  5. To illustrate Bono's lyrics, "lookin' for to fill that God-shaped hole," use a puzzle with one piece missing. Give the kids five minutes to complete the puzzle. Construct several pieces that may potentially fill the missing piece (i.e., popularity, money, sex, alcohol). After illustrating that none of these pieces fit, fill in the missing piece, and explain that only God can fill the void in our lives.

 

IMPLICATIONS

 

  1. Christian kids may relate to these songs, especially if they have experienced trying times. Through such experiences, young people may ask, "Is God really out there?" The songs may exist as a therapeutic device for teenagers to vent their emotions and frustrations.
  2. In a society where teenagers are experiencing spiritual renewal, increasing amounts of spiritual music will be written and performed by secular artists. It is important to be cautious of songs that may portray a hands-off, disinterested picture of God.

Troy Gronseth cCYS