Song of the Day #4,358: ‘Babyface’ – U2

When U2 released Zooropa, its eighth studio album and my #9 album of 1993, the band was coming off a run of blockbuster albums that sold 10+ million units apiece. The Joshua Tree, Rattle and Hum and Achtung Baby had cemented the Irish rockers as the world’s biggest band.

So this album’s left turn in the direction of electronic dance music was unexpected and risky. But it paid off, both creatively and commercially. Zooropa didn’t sell as well as its predecessors, but it did move 7 million copies and it won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

Zooropa is notable for how Bono, never one to shy away from a microphone, changes up his signature moves. Two of the album’s ten tracks feature others on lead vocals (The Edge on ‘Numb’ and Johnny Cash on ‘The Wanderer’) and on other cuts Bono alternates between a whisper and his falsetto. These aren’t the full-throated anthems that made him a star.

Thematically, the album deals with the effects of technology on modern society. Today’s SOTD depicts a man in love with a woman on his computer screen. People stuck dating via Zoom these days might relate.

U2 put out a trio of strong albums after this one, then a trio of largely forgettable ones, but Zooropa is the last time the band delivered a true surprise.

[Verse 1]
Watching your bright blue eyes in the freeze frame
I’ve seen them so many times
I feel like I must be your best friend
You’re looking fine, so fine
Dressed up like a lovely day

[Chorus]
Babyface, Babyface
Slow down child, let me untie your lace
Babyface, Babyface
Cover girl with natural grace
How could beauty be so kind
To an ordinary guy?

[Verse 2]
Comin’ home late at night to turn you on
Checkin’ out every frame
I’ve got slow motion on my side
Turnin’ around and around
With the sound and colour under my control
Round and around, goin’ down
Dressed up like a lovely day

[Chorus 2]
Babyface, Babyface
Slow down child, let me untie your lace
Babyface, Babyface
Tinfoil hair all tied up in lace
Babyface, Babyface
Bitter-sweet girl, won’t you give me a taste
How could beauty be so kind
To an ordinary guy?
Babyface, Babyface
Slow down child, let me untie your lace
Babyface, Babyface
Open that door, let me unpack my case
Babyface, Babyface
You’re everywhere, child, you’re all over the place
Babyface, Babyface
You’re comin’ to me from outer space
How could beauty be so kind
To an ordinary guy?

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,358: ‘Babyface’ – U2

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    One of my least favorite bands delving into one of my least favorites genres. Hard pass for me.

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