February 21, 2024
Bono, the Goldeneye movie poster and Tina Turner

The mid-90s represented something of a mid-life crisis for U2. The band had rolled the dice in the early part of the decade and hit the jackpot with the archly ironic krautrock stylings of 1991’s Achtung Baby and the sensory overload Zoo TV tour that accompanied it. 1993’s Zooropa was arguably even more experimental (if a slight dip in overall quality), but that flight of fancy continued to reap significant commercial dividends, the album topping the charts in 11 different countries and picking up the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 1994. When the ZOO TV Tour closed in December of 1993, it had grossed $151 million worldwide, described by Q Magazine as “the most spectacular rock tour staged by any band.”

So, after that level of success, where exactly do you go? What do you do? U2, never backwards in coming forward, effectively decided to continue doing anything and everything, throwing just about every idea in their collective heads at the wall for a few years and hoping some of it – any of it – would stick. Some ideas did work, such as the excellent Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me single from the Batman Forever soundtrack, and some didn’t, most notably the experimental, ambient Brian Eno collaboration Passengers, featuring frontman Bono duetting with Luciano Pavarotti. 

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