I rate Zoo Station as one of the worst songs on Achtung Baby, which overall makes it above average because that album was so good. On a few other albums it would be top three or four.
Perhaps my biggest problem with Zoo Station is that I’m always conflating it with Zooropa, all because of the title. I mean, how many times can you put Zoo in the title of a song (or album)? Three, apparently.
I don’t know if this is true or not, but I swear I vividly remember listening to Achtung Baby the first time, putting it on and listening to Zoo Station, the first song on the album, and asking myself what the heck I was listening to. It was so wildly different from the previous albums that I didn’t know what was going on, and it took quite a while of listening for the whole thing to gel for me. This is one, like I said, where the rating didn’t rise as much as others.
It starts with a blast, the guitar jumping right out at you while everything else (drums, bass, kitchen sink) steps in from behind, then the weirdness takes a turn into rock when Bono starts making noise. Of course his voice is all distorted, it wouldn’t fit with everything else if it wasn’t. Actually from that point on most of it is fairly similar sounding, it doesn’t wander off up it’s own navel here and there.
Too many lines in this song that pop into my head all the time. Waiting in line. Gridlock. Shuffle (that one irks my son when we’re playing cards, and I start singing “ready for the shuffle”). Pretty much any time someone mentions a zoo, although that one flips back and forth between Zoo Station and Zooropa.
And the weird thing is that the song just fades off into nothingness. It has all this excitement at the start, really seems to be rocking things along, and it seems like they just run out of gas at the end, or out of ideas, or of a way to finish the song, and just sort of stop. Not a dead stop, like you might think would work, but more the kind of stop where they each individually run out of things to play, and just stop playing, but not at the same time so it’s like they just wander off stage when they’re done.
Had a great afternoon at work, put on earbuds and listened to the show from Stockholm. Really glad for the streams that popped up, for the first couple of songs I was watching on Periscope and sure my battery was going to die, but then I found a Mixlr feed and listened to that instead. Thanks to the person that did that, hopefully they’ll be there again tomorrow. I’ve talked many times before about how great it is to have the internet and people who wrote these apps and people who are willing to use them. The only problem I have with it is that it’s really hard to cry in the middle of the office while I’m listening. Quit making me cry, Bono.
My rating for Zoo Station: 6 / 10