Landmark Albums: U2 – Achtung Baby

With the release of Achtung Baby, U2 unleashed an album that completely changed the band’s style and sound—it re-launched the band as a true tour de force.

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Right from the opening track when insane distorted guitars launch “Zoo Station”, U2’s intentions are clear. The band had traded in it’s American arena rock for postmodern, contemporary European music.

Working with producer Brian Eno, the band drew from Bowie and Eno’s electronic, avant-garde explorations of Low and Heroes. Throw in the thriving rave and Manchester club sound of early-’90s England and you’ve got an album that covers both the rock and pop markets in one.

Achtung Baby is packed with dance beats, huge distorted guitars, tons of effects, and Eno’s unconventional approach to production and arrangement. The album takes regular pop sensibility and turns it on it’s head.

Bono’s vocals were as fierce and thought provoking as always, but his lyrics and delivery were never as naked as they were on Achtung Baby. Bono creates a diary of broken hearts and loneliness, and unlike previous U2 albums, it’s filled with sexual imagery and unease.

It’s rare that a band would take such a risk so far into it’s recording career, but U2 rolled the dice and came out winners. Achtung Baby started a new chapter for the band and the result is arguably U2’s best album to date.

Photos: Getty

 

 

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