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Music

The unlikely U2 album Woody Harrelson calls his favourite

Woody Harrelson is a true U2 fan, and he proved just how much when he hosted a radio show dedicated to his favourite record by the group. Pop, released in 1997, is an album that the actor believes doesn’t receive its fair share of praise in comparison to other efforts in the Irish band’s extensive back catalogue.

Harrelson has a history with U2, and in 2015, they accrued his services in the video for their single, ‘Song for Someone’. During the nine-minute extravaganza, the actor’s character is released from prison, and Harrelson stars alongside his real-life daughter, Zoe, as they try to mend their relationship after his lengthy incarceration.

The song originally appeared on the 2014 album Songs Of Innocence, which unwantedly found its way onto every iPhone, and because of that factor, the entire record was largely derided. Ever the contrarian, Harrelson has always been a fan of the more unfashionable work of U2, hence his adoration for their 1997 effort, Pop.

U2’s ninth studio album was the band’s attempt to evolve once more, and they did so by implementing elements from electronic music into their sound. Understandably, when a band as established as U2 try to reinvent themselves, it’ll be met with some confusion, and although met positively at the time, that has changed as years have progressed.

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Harrelson discussed the album in conversation with The Edge in 2020 after being invited to be the ‘Guest DJ’ on the guitarist’s Sirius XM radio show. The Academy Award nominee then suggested the idea of playing Pop in its entirity, opening up a discussion around each of the tracks in the process.

The Edge went along with the actor’s wishes, making for an invigorating listen. Harrelson made a string of fascinating comments during the broadcast and also revealed that ‘Mofo’ is his favourite song on the album, which he puts down to its danceability.

At the end of the programme, Harrelson asks The Edge if the band instantly knew they made something great with Pop, which elicited the following response from the guitarist: “We knew that we had stayed true to our idea of swinging from the stands and trying something totally bold and new and different. And really working from the point of view of being fans and explorers, fans of the culture and explorers of our own abilities and where music might go for us.”

He added: “So that part we were really proud of. In terms of commercial impact or commercial success, I think we weathered the differences of opinions pretty well. We went on the road with this album on our biggest tour ever. It was even bigger than Zoo TV. The PopMart tour was an absolutely huge undertaking, and by the end of that tour particularly, I think it was the greatest U2 show that we ever staged. And the video / the DVD of that, I’m still… it’s the top for me.”

Watch behind-the-scenes footage below of Harrison’s appearance in the video for ‘Song For Someone’.