U2

Staring at the Sun [#1]

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AllMusic Review by

This is the second single from U2's 1997 album Pop. It is no surprise that the "Monster Truck Mix" is produced by Butch Vig, because it sounds just like his band Garbage. This version is faster than the original with a speedy breakbeat rhythm that gets the pulse racing. The stuttering drum'n'bass addition makes this song a pure adrenaline rush. The "Sad Bastards Mix" sounds like a "Millennium Led Zeppelin Mix" with a pounding John Bonham-style rhythm. The "Lab Rat Mix" applies a vocal filter similar to "Your Blue Room" from Passengers: Original Soundtracks to a revved-up rhythm similar to the "Monster Truck Mix." Fans of aesthetics and production will consider this the best "Staring at the Sun" released to date (except, perhaps, for the live version on the "Please" single). The only non-LP song on this CD is "North and South of the River," which is one of the best U2 B-sides since the "Rattle and Hum" days. The lyrics were written by Christy Moore and the melody had its birth in the infamous Achtung Baby Sessions' "Take Today" (disc two, track six). The Curtis Mayfield-inspired soulful song is another powerful U2 ballad about political differences. In the 1980s this song would have had a backing gospel choir singing the chorus, but made in the late '90s, it has a subtle synthesizer instead. Most people who will buy this single will do so for the variations of "Staring at the Sun," but the gem of the set is this previously unreleased song. The Staring at the Sun CD is as good as the "Please" single, but not as essential, because, frankly, none of the songs on Pop can compare to Joshua Tree live versions. However, the Staring at the Sun CD single (and especially "North and South of the River") come very close.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
U2
4:37
2
U2
4:37
3
U2
5:28
blue highlight denotes track pick