paoladegliesposti

Achtung Baby: why?

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Really it was an innovative album and it has been a special and explosive tour, it has underlined an era. Something was happening and U2 have realised ther work of art. Let's share together the most things we have enjoyed and we enjoy of this characteristiic album.

I begin with this documentary: 

 

Edited by paoladegliesposti
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I still have the utmost respect for a band who had just had the enormous success they had had with The Joshua Tree, to basically move so far away from it sonically, and not just try to make JT 2 which is what the majority of bands would have done.

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44 minutes ago, Bungo said:

I still have the utmost respect for a band who had just had the enormous success they had had with The Joshua Tree, to basically move so far away from it sonically, and not just try to make JT 2 which is what the majority of bands would have done.

They chose a new direction!

 

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The risk U2 was taking is ultimately part of the continuum of artists who have successfully pulled off a contrast reinvention.

Think of Dylan going electric, The Beatles creating Revolver and Sgt. Pepper,
Bowie leaving the Ziggy persona to become Halloween Jack, The Thin White Duke, and then to leave for Berlin to compose what is arguably is best and most career-defining work with Eno and Visconti.

U2 had already made a big leap from War to The Unforgettable Fire.

The Joshua Tree was a fantastic record and another change,

though The Unforgettable Fire made us more ready for the sonic environment that Lanois, Eno, and U2 are capable of creating.

Achtung Baby was perhaps the biggest leap of all, though not just because of the sonic shift.

The entire attitude of the group shifted.

Irony was new.

Earth shattering, too.

U2 didn't do irony.
They were in a long-running earnest-off with Bruce Springsteen.

Dance rhythms? Check.

Hip Hop? Yep.

Wah wah guitar effects, overdrive guitar effects, drum machines, distorted vocals, big keyboard sounds, samples...

The subject matter was shifting as well.

Jesus was still in there, but now Judas?

Betrayal is the keyword of these times.

"To serve the age, betray it."

That was the quote driving U2.

How many fans first felt massively let down,

even depressed,

when The Fly first rolled out.

I know I was at sea for a time.

Everything you know is wrong, indeed...

This record was like a car crash you just had to look at,

despite initial feelings of horror.

Then, over weeks and months, this black beauty started to make more and more sense.

No wonder the band left three months before the first show of the tour.

The fans needed time to tuck into the winter of 1991-1992 and really chew on this new sound.

By the time ZOO TV arrived, the fans were ready.

Or, they thought they were ready.

Changes, yet again.

Media madness, satellite of love, you can go anywhere...

U2 went as far as you could go.

Then an unexpected album in summer 1993, the Bosnia broadcasts, the glory of Macphisto, Johnny Cash on the moon...

What a time to be 16, 17, 18 years of age, as I was.

What a perfect sendoff into the uncertainty of post-adolescence.

Yet "uncertainty can be a guiding light".

Ultraviolet is the other watchword of the time.

The spirituality is still there.

Ultraviolet is just beyond our vision.

The spirit, vision over visibility.

Following love, wherever that ride takes you.

U2 have never been given their proper due for that massive back flip of faith.

Their fans, the ones that went along for the ride, were rewarded handsomely.

What a thrill of a time.

If you ever need to take that trip then do yourself a solid and dig the following...

 

Besides Achtung Baby, Zooropa, and the singles/b-sides from those albums, and Night And Day, from the album Red Hot and Blue, get 

U2 ZOO TV Live In Sydney DVD

U2 At The End Of The World by Bill Flanagan

That's a great start if you need to get your fix of U2's very best era.

 

Edited by HansasHeroes1991
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For a long time, I've had a tie between No Line On The Horizon and Achtung Baby! for my favorite U2 album. I think I've resolved it now and Achtung Baby! is in first, but NLOTH is a very close second.

It's rare for an album to have both great individual songs and have all the songs fit together in a nice cohesions, and Achtung Baby! is one of those rare albums. All the brightly-colored songs compliment and contrast, but never clash.

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I only became aware of U2 in the very late '80s when Rattle and Hum songs were getting airplay. The only U2 songs I knew of were Desire and All I Want Is You. Didn't have an opinion either way on Desire, but quite liked AIWIY.

Fast forward a couple of years and the Top 5 charts had listed "U2 - The Fly". Although I hadn't heard the song yet, I thought "Cool, U2 are back". And all of this is from the interest from one song from the previous album. I remember seeing the video for the first time, quite liked the song but thought the Fly-Eye sunglasses were really weird (although 10-15 years later and those style of sunglasses were being worn by the likes of David Beckham and Britney Spears, proving again U2 were ahead of their time). Then along came Mysterious Ways, which I loved. When a band cranks out three good/great songs in a row, spanned across two albums and in separate decades, it's a good sign. Didn't warm to One initially, and EBTTRT took a while, although I think they're great now.

I remember the controversy of the nude shot in the album sleeve, with news stories on TV of music shops in the US drawing musical notes in permanent marker over the nude bits. When I was starting to like their songs and wanted to get the album, I wasn't sure about buying an album with a naked man in the sleeve (I was only 14 at the time) and was going to get a friend at school to copy his brother's CD for me. But friends of my mum were going overseas where tapes and CD's were cheaper and I gave them some cash to get Achtung Baby for me. When I got it, turns out the image had already been censored anyway.

Still remember hearing Zoo Station for the first time, I thought they were saying "Gestation". :blink:

Not long after this I got Rattle and Hum (I was oblivious to the backlash, so just loved the album on it's own merits), my friend at school copied The Joshua Tree for me, and I scored Under A Blood Red Sky at the markets. By the time Zooropa came out I considered myself to be a fan.

So if it hadn't been for Achtung Baby, I might never have become a U2 fan.

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One, I asked some guys after the unique show I have seen : What was your favourite song of U2, tonight? They answered me : 'One.' And seriously they show in their facial expression. I think this is the best song ever of them  and ever it will be. It is  the perfect union of the melody and the lyrics that make me say ' Wow'  It is great song!

 

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On 11/6/2017 at 6:51 PM, HansasHeroes1991 said:

The risk U2 was taking is ultimately part of the continuum of artists who have successfully pulled off a contrast reinvention.

Think of Dylan going electric, The Beatles creating Revolver and Sgt. Pepper,
Bowie leaving the Ziggy persona to become Halloween Jack, The Thin White Duke, and then to leave for Berlin to compose what is arguably is best and most career-defining work with Eno and Visconti.

U2 had already made a big leap from War to The Unforgettable Fire.

The Joshua Tree was a fantastic record and another change,

though The Unforgettable Fire made us more ready for the sonic environment that Lanois, Eno, and U2 are capable of creating.

Achtung Baby was perhaps the biggest leap of all, though not just because of the sonic shift.

The entire attitude of the group shifted.

Irony was new.

Earth shattering, too.

U2 didn't do irony.
They were in a long-running earnest-off with Bruce Springsteen.

Dance rhythms? Check.

Hip Hop? Yep.

Wah wah guitar effects, overdrive guitar effects, drum machines, distorted vocals, big keyboard sounds, samples...

The subject matter was shifting as well.

Jesus was still in there, but now Judas?

Betrayal is the keyword of these times.

"To serve the age, betray it."

That was the quote driving U2.

How many fans first felt massively let down,

even depressed,

when The Fly first rolled out.

I know I was at sea for a time.

Everything you know is wrong, indeed...

This record was like a car crash you just had to look at,

despite initial feelings of horror.

Then, over weeks and months, this black beauty started to make more and more sense.

No wonder the band left three months before the first show of the tour.

The fans needed time to tuck into the winter of 1991-1992 and really chew on this new sound.

By the time ZOO TV arrived, the fans were ready.

Or, they thought they were ready.

Changes, yet again.

Media madness, satellite of love, you can go anywhere...

U2 went as far as you could go.

Then an unexpected album in summer 1993, the Bosnia broadcasts, the glory of Macphisto, Johnny Cash on the moon...

What a time to be 16, 17, 18 years of age, as I was.

What a perfect sendoff into the uncertainty of post-adolescence.

Yet "uncertainty can be a guiding light".

Ultraviolet is the other watchword of the time.

The spirituality is still there.

Ultraviolet is just beyond our vision.

The spirit, vision over visibility.

Following love, wherever that ride takes you.

U2 have never been given their proper due for that massive back flip of faith.

Their fans, the ones that went along for the ride, were rewarded handsomely.

What a thrill of a time.

If you ever need to take that trip then do yourself a solid and dig the following...

 

Besides Achtung Baby, Zooropa, and the singles/b-sides from those albums, and Night And Day, from the album Red Hot and Blue, get 

U2 ZOO TV Live In Sydney DVD

U2 At The End Of The World by Bill Flanagan

That's a great start if you need to get your fix of U2's very best era.

 

Gorgeous take on Achtung Baby, all of your words ring true!! I was 16, 17 at that time, too, and had the same first reaction - surprise, maybe a little horror....and then....it all started to sink in...and it became my all time favorite U2 album.  My first U2 show was Zoo tour in arenas in Massachusetts. Blew me away.  I viscerally remember sitting on the beach on the Jersey Shore on vacation, reading U2 at the End of the World cover to cover over a couple of days.  Fantastic book. 

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JCF, thank you very much for your kind words!

Most appreciated!

Grande 3:16, your remark about the chorus of Zoo Station sounding like "gestation" made me smile.

Considering that the song is partly about a baby coming into the world,

and considering the difficult conception and birthing process for Achtung Baby,

"gestation" would've been quite apt!

 

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Is it just me, or is the REAL Innocence + Experience moment still ahead of us?

Think about this for a second...2020/2021...U2 tour Boy AND Achtung Baby.

You know I'm right, people...

 

we should start a petition or something...

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There were several pro-cam videos of Zoo TV from 1992 shot. I'd love too one of those pre-Zooropa concerts get a full 5.1 HD release!

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