U2's 50 Greatest Songs

A definitive guide to 35 years of music that changed the world

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31. "Discothèque"

"We had a great life, we're listening to a lot of dance music, staying up all night," Bono told Rolling Stone. "We're young, our friends around. It was just a wonderful time, and we tried to capture this in songs like 'Discothèque.'" As the first single from 1997's Pop, "Discothèque" was the initial volley for the band's brief late-Nineties foray into electronic music, perhaps the most polarizing moment of U2's career. The song – which Bono called an "earnest little riddle about love ... just disguised as trash" – came equipped with a brittle techno feel and a music video where the band dressed up like the Village People. "We're actually trying to make a kind of music that doesn't exist yet," Bono said of U2's new sound. "That is a terrifying place to be." His trepidation was not unwarranted: Reception to the bold change was mixed ("U2 sounded inspired," said The New York Times. "Now it sounds expensive"); and though Pop debuted at Number One, it fell out of the Top 10 three weeks later, leading some to believe U2 had lost their commercial instincts. "We don't just live in the U.S.," Bono told Rolling Stone. "It was Number One in 28 countries. I can't believe people think that's not enough. What do they want from us?"

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