U2101 – Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car

I sat down today to continue my series on songs from and related to the Pop album, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, but after a little review, I discovered that I have covered the whole album and all of its attendant B-sides and other related songs. So, that means that I can cover any old song that strikes my fancy today, and I think I managed to choose a song that’s still kind of germane to the Pop theme – from 1993’s Zooropa, it’s “Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car”.


I once read that every U2 album contains a song that serves as a precursor to what the following album is going to sound like. For instance, the song “God Part II”, from Rattle and Hum foreshadows the industrial rock that U2 later embraced on the album Achtung Baby. In that same way, “Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car” suggests the tone that I believe U2 were going for with Pop. Indeed, as far as I know, “Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car” was the first time that U2 ever sampled another artist for one of their own songs. The first sample is obvious – the horns that come in at about eight seconds into the song are sampled from a song titled “There’s a Rock on the Volga”, as performed by the Alexandrov Ensemble, and really, I consider this portion to be more of an introduction, and not part of the song, per se. The next sample, however, is much more subtle, and has a much more definite impact on the song itself. During the drum solo that immediately follows the horn intro, there is a subdued sample taken from the intro of the MC 900 Ft. Jesus song “The City Sleeps” that is played behind Larry’s performance. While the 900 Ft Jesus sample is not in the foreground of the sound, it really serves as an enhancement to the rhythm track that Larry is laying down. The song is extremely dense, musically – there’s a whole lot going on here, above and beyond the aforementioned samples. There are several layers of percussion, backwards looped bass sounds, funky keyboards and distorted guitar. It’s one of the most opaque songs that U2 has ever recorded, and I think that, while it feels right at home with the rest of the experimental Euro-pop that fills out Zooropa, it definitely served as a prelude to what the band would later do with Pop.


The lyrics to “Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car” deal with a topic that U2 has addressed before – addiction. While earlier songs, like “Bad” and “Running to Stand Still” specifically tackled heroin addiction, however, this song deal with addiction in broader fashion. In the song, the character of “daddy” allows the singer to lean on him, taking care of whatever problems might arise in the protagonist’s life, in much the same way that our addictions become a crutch for many of us, helping us get through the crisis-packed exploits of our daily lives. In an interview for now-defunct Tower Records magazine Pulse!, Edge explained that the addictions dealt with in the song might seem, at first, much more benign than the more obviously dangerous drug addictions that U2 had discussed in the past. Things like applause, which I think Bono, in particular, definitely feels a strong need for, can become just as habit-forming as any illegal substance.


“Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car” has only been performed a handful of times in the past, all on the final leg of the ZooTV Tour in 1993, which covered Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Outside of some snippets, the song has, unfortunately, never been performed in Europe or the United States, and I think that it’s high time to rectify this oversight. I would be beyond thrilled if U2 broke out “Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car” for the upcoming Experience + Innocence Tour. I could even make a case for how the song might fit in with the proposed theme of experience for that tour, but I somehow doubt that the band would see things my way. In my heart of hearts, I believe that the only way “Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car” will ever be played again is if U2 do an anniversary tour for Zooropa. Thanks to my experience at the lone show of The Joshua Tree 2017 that I attended, (see my review here) I desperately hope that U2 never again put on an anniversary tour, and even if they were to mount such a tour, I sincerely doubt that it would be for Zooropa. Too bad for “Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car”. At least we’ve got the ZooTV live from Sydney DVD so we can relive this song in the glory of the live setting over and over again.

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Ever since I realized as a kid, while poring over the liner notes of the Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom boxed set, that writing about music was a viable career choice, one of my greatest desires has been to write about U2. The band has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute a little something to the fantastic online community that's been built around the band.

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