Achtung Baby

This is my favorite U2 album.  And I was surprised that in a recent Rolling Stone reader’s poll, this album actually beat out “The Joshua Tree” as the favorite among the fandom.  I guess I’m not alone.  I remember the first time I heard “Mysterious Ways” on MTV…it was just so absolutely different from anything I had heard from these guys before.  I was pretty young, and to be honest, I had always thought U2 was boring adult rock up until that point.  But “Mysterious Ways” had that cool, lurching guitar lick and that sweet drum beat and bass line, and for once Bono’s lyrics were about something a teenage boy could relate too…chasing girls.  Then a few months later “One” was released, and I was hooked.  And to this day, that song still blows me away every time I hear it.  Even with all the great songs U2 has released over the years (including some amazing deep cuts like “The First Time” and “The Wanderer” from the Zooropa album), “One ” is still probably my absolute favorite U2 song.  It’s just so dead on…pretty much the perfect description of a relationship.

I had the album on tape (or maybe it was mi madre’s or ma soeur’s…I don’t remember), and the whole thing had this cool alt rock sound that really fit in well with the music revolution that was just about to happen.  So having it on tape wasn’t good enough, and I upgraded it to CD as soon as I had the chance.  But then the revolution actually did happen (1991…the year punk broke) and I admit this album kind of got lost in the shuffle among the amazing records that started coming out from bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.  It was a few years later when I went to college that I got back into this record.  I remember a collage in some random college trash rag that had a bunch of lyrics from the 90s all mixed together, and prominent in the picture was the “every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief” line from “The Fly”.  And I remember being inspired to go back and listen to this record and analyse the lyrics the English major I probably should have been if I didn’t have a deep seeded resentment of horned rim glasses and tweed jackets.  But other people were into too, and I remember having some good coffee shop conversations about this record.

And then of course there was the Disco Bitch, and his love all things Irish, including the I.R.A. and U2.  He was a huge fan, and he was into all of their albums.  We went to see U2 live twice…the first time I talked about in “The Joshua Tree” entry.  It was in the ‘Shoe and Bono flew in on a giant lemon.  The second time was at Nationwide Arena and it was the “Elevation Tour” in support of “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”.  I remember they played “One” that night late in the set, and Bono messed up the lyrics and sang one of the verses twice…but it didn’t matter…it was still awesome.

Other lists:  “One” is #36 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  “Achtung Baby” is also ranked #4 on the list of the Best Albums of the 90s.  See “The Joshua Tree” entry for other accolades Rolling Stone has awarded U2.

Ch-ch-changes: This album dropped one spot from its original position at #62 due to the addition of CCR’s “Chronicle”.

My favourite track: “One”

Honourable mention: “Acrobat”

A Word from the Princess: “Is that Ziggy Stardust?”

Quote 1: “And I’d join the movement if there was one I could believe in.  Yeah, I’d break bread and wine if there was a church I could receive in.”

Quote 2: “Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief.  All kill their inspiration and sing about the grief.”

Quote 3: “You say love is a temple…love’s a higher law.  You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl.  And I can’t be holding on to what you got, when all you got is hurt.”

Quote 4: “If you wan to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel.”

 

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