• Island

A sprawling sonic fest of surging rhythms, samples, loops, layers and crackling melodies, Pop further enhanced U2's reputation for turning risk-taking into an art form. In the same spirit that 1991's Achtung Baby rode an industrial-strength wave, this album broke across electronic rhythm lines. Paying mock homage to societal decadence in a tabloid world, its themes touch on everyone from Michael Jackson and O.J. to Big Macs and talk shows. At a point where they could be cruising in the comfort zone, U2 continues to evolve. Calculated perhaps, but never boring, Pop proves to be tough, trashy and techno-fied.

— Kevin O'Hare