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Achtung Baby: why?


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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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