Now, by no means was this U2’s first foray into reinventing themselves but we like to focus on one album at a time here, so today let’s stick to Achtung Baby. Released in 1991 and coming off the back of ‘Rattle and Hum’ which had found a mixed critical reception, it was U2’s seventh studio album. Produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno it was the bands attempt to incorporate alt rock, electronic and industrial music into their sound. After some criticism of the bands last album in which people felt they were trying to place themselves in the ranks of blues legends, the guys with Achtung Baby tried to portray a less serious, more self-deprecating image.
To say Achtung Baby had a rocky start is an understatement! The band headed to Germany to record with half the band thinking that they should stick with the sound they had worked so hard on and the other half thinking it was time for a change. In-fighting was prevalent and with the band almost breaking up because of the conflict, it was the coming together of the track “One” that would put the group back on track. Heading back to Dublin to finish the recording, the cohesiveness that made the band work so well was re-established.
It is obvious from listening that U2 were trying to experiment with new sounds, with a more defined electronic dance sound influence clearly running through most tracks. Although it is always nice to see bands grow and try to re-invent themselves, it is hard to not instantly recognize the songs as U2 tracks. With one of the most iconic voices in music there is just something about every U2 album that screams U2.
The Final Word
“To touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal
If you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel
On your knees, boy”
Till next time,