Discothèque (song)

"Discothèque" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the opening track on their 1997 album, Pop, and was released as its lead single on 3 February 1997. The song exhibits influences from electronic dance music, characteristic of the band's musical direction in the 1990s. The music video, directed by Stéphane Sednaoui, was set inside of a mirrorball and featured the band members dressed as members of the disco group the Village People.

"Discothèque"
U2disco2.jpg
Single by U2
from the album Pop
B-side
  • "Holy Joe"
  • various remixes
Released3 February 1997 (1997-02-03)
Genre
Length
  • 5:19 (album version)
  • 4:34 (radio edit)
  • 5:08 (12-inch version)
LabelIsland
Composer(s)U2
Lyricist(s)Bono and The Edge
Producer(s)Flood
U2 singles chronology
"Miss Sarajevo"
(1995)
"Discothèque"
(1997)
"Staring at the Sun"
(1997)
Music video
"Discotheque (Official Video)" on YouTube
Music video
"Discotheque (Hexidecimal Remix)" on YouTube
Music video
"Discotheque (Morales Remix)" on YouTube
Alternative cover
U2disco.jpg

"Discothèque" peaked at number one in several countries, including Finland, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom, and it also reached number one on the American and Canadian dance and alternative charts. The song received mixed reviews from critics.

Release historyEdit

A 30-second sample of "Discothèque" was leaked to the Internet on 26 October 1996. By 27 December, the entire track had been leaked, after which U2 moved the release date forward. "Discothèque" debuted at number three on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart and reached number one the following week.[1] It was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on 7 April 1997.[2] The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 10 but dropped off the charts after only four weeks in the top 40, becoming the band's sixth and most-recent top-10 single in the US.[3] The track debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, remaining on top for one week and spending 11 weeks in the chart.[4]

The song was remixed for U2's The Best of 1990-2000 greatest hits album, released in 2002. The new version has a longer intro and subtle use of the techno-sounding drum beat that figured prominently in the opening of the original track. The new "Discothèque" sounds similar to the way U2 performed the song during the PopMart Tour in 1997 and 1998.

The version on most versions of the single was the 12-inch version, which altered the introduction's instrumentation and vocals. It was also slightly shorter than the album version.

ReceptionEdit

U2 were criticised by some reviewers for the large number of dance music remixes used as B-sides, suggesting that it was an attempt to "jump on the dance (music) bandwagon."[5] However, Stephen Thomas believed it to be indicative of the growing influence of remixes in music.[5] Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "Twenty seconds into this playfully experimental single, and you'll find it hard to remember that this is the same band that recorded 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'." He said that the song "wriggles and writhes with tripped-out techno-funk intensity" and that the hook "sneaks up on you while you are twitching to the percolating dance beat or snarfing up the tasty guitar scratching offered by the Edge". Flick concluded, "'Discotheque' may start its life at modern rock radio and in clubs, but it sure does sound like the kind of fun and unique record that top 40 desperately needs."[6]

Dominic Pride from Music & Media commented, "Bono and the boys continue their historical process of deconstructing—and reconstructing—rock music, fusing a trippy beat with their trademark chattering guitars and a clear, echoing lead hook." He added, "This time around, Bono's vocals lie farther back in the mix than in the past, and anyone expecting a traditional verse and chorus structure will struggle to find it here. Not, of course, that this will stop most radio formats embracing this from day one."[7] Commercials for the 2003 Toyota Matrix used the Hexadecimal remix. In a 2006 article by Stylus, the magazine had trouble trying to classify the genre of the song, calling it "sheer WTFery" and "permanently unclassifiable".[8]

Music videoEdit

In the accompanying music video, which was directed by the Frenchman Stéphane Sednaoui, the band performed in what seemed like the inside of a mirrorball. They alluded to several elements of the disco era, including disco-style dancing and the film Saturday Night Fever. U2 further and directly alluded to the Village People, a popular disco era band, by similarly adopting the guises of various professions: a motorcycle police officer (Bono), a gay-fetish biker (the Edge), an American sailor (Adam Clayton) and a cowboy (Larry Mullen Jr.). Stylus magazine described the video as "sublimely bizarre".[8] Prior to the video's debut on MTV, the channel aired a 24-hour marathon of 13 U2 music videos.[9]

Live performancesEdit

The song was performed at every show on the PopMart Tour. It opened the encore and was followed by "If You Wear That Velvet Dress" (bar three shows).[10] A somewhat abbreviated form of "Discothèque" was played during the first two legs of U2's Elevation Tour in 2001, normally containing the snippets of "Staring at the Sun" and INXS's "Devil Inside". A more rock-sounding version of the song was played twice on the Vertigo Tour accompanied by an elaborate stage lightshow. It has not been played in full since 20 September 2005. In the 2010 European leg of the U2 360° Tour, the band began performing an extended snippet of Discothèque during their remixed version of "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight", with Bono singing several verses of the song during the intro and the outtro, and Edge mixing its guitar riff in at the end.[11]

Track listingsEdit

UK and European CD single[12]

  1. "Discothèque" – 5:08
  2. "Holy Joe" (Garage Mix) – 4:21
  3. "Holy Joe" (Guilty Mix) – 5:09

US 12-inch single[13]

A1. "Discothèque" (DM Deep Club Mix) – 6:58
A2. "Discothèque" (Hexidecimal Mix) – 7:21
B1. "Discothèque" (DM Deep Instrumental Mix) – 6:58
B2. "Discothèque" (radio edit) – 4:34

PersonnelEdit

Charts and certificationsEdit

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United States 7 January 1997 (1997-01-07) Radio Island [9]
Europe 3 February 1997 (1997-02-03) CD [53]
Japan
United Kingdom
  • CD
  • cassette
[54]
United States 4 February 1997 (1997-02-04)
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette
[9]
Canada 11 February 1997 (1997-02-11) CD [53]
United Kingdom 17 March 1997 (1997-03-17) 3×12-inch vinyl [55]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "U2 Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b "American single certifications – U2 – Discotheque". Recording Industry Association of America.
  3. ^ a b "U2 Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b Ryan, Stephen. "Dancing about architecture: Postmodernism and Irish popular music" (PDF). Irish Communications Review. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  6. ^ Flick, Larry (18 January 1997). "Reviews & Previews: Singles" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 109 no. 3. p. 73. Retrieved 4 December 2020 – via World Radio History.
  7. ^ Pride, Dominic (25 January 1997). "Reviews: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 14 no. 4. p. 21. Retrieved 8 December 2020 – via World Radio History.
  8. ^ a b "Stylus Magazine".
  9. ^ a b c Sandiford-Waller, Theda (25 January 1997). "Hot 100 Singles Spotlight". Billboard. Vol. 109 no. 4. p. 105.
  10. ^ "U2 PopMart Tour - U2 on tour".
  11. ^ "U2 Discothèque – U2 on tour". U2gigs.com. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  12. ^ Discothèque (UK & European CD single liner notes). U2. Island Records. 1997. CID 649, 854 775-2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  13. ^ Discothèque (US 12-inch single sleeve). U2. Island Records. 1997. 422-854 789-1.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
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  44. ^ "RPM '97 Year End Top 50 Alternative Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 15 December 1997. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
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