- Zoo Station (4:36)
- Even Better than the Real Thing (3:41)
- One (4:36)
- Until the End of The World (4:39)
- Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses (5:16)
- So Cruel (5:49)
- The Fly (4:29)
- Mysterious Ways (4:04)
- Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around The World (3:53)
- Ultraviolet (Light My Way) (5:31)
- Acrobat (4:30)
- Love is Blindness (4:23)
It takes real guts to do what U2 did with Achtung Baby. Gone are the ringing Edge guitar sounds replaced by a heavier and distorted electronic sound. This is a bold album with a completely different approach and sound, exploring the superficialities of modern life and the invasion of technology. The darker, edgier side of U2 is exposed and Bono’s description of the album as ‘four men trying to chop down the Joshua Tree’ embody ‘Achtung Baby’s’ sound. Lyrically, it is much more direct and focused than previous U2 albums, while taking a more personal approach, with more songs in the first person.
The delightfully energetic ‘Even Better Than The Real Thing’ epitomised the new U2 sound, along with the enigmatic ‘The Fly’. Heavily distorted guitar sounds we haven’t heard from U2 before is incorporated by direct, confronting lyrics. ‘One’ is a real gem of a song. It unexpectedly pops up, straight after ‘Even Better Than The Real Thing’, and is quite simply one of the greatest songs ever written. It is confronting, but beautiful. It is direct, however its meaning is as deep as the ocean and transcends time. The Album picks up pace in ‘Until the End of the World’ which is an edgy, cleverly layered song and is well built-up.
‘Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses’ and ‘Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World’ are two very enjoyably charming and sweet love songs. ‘Mysterious Ways’ is a more old school U2 song in the sense of its spiritual and more abstract lyrics. However, it displays bizarre but fantastic new sounds and is nonetheless a superb track. ‘Acrobat’ is frenetically urgent and lyrically deep like the explosive opening track, ‘Zoo Station’. Achtung Baby ends with ‘Love is Blindness’, which is a truly captivating song. It is sensual and eloquent, while also being dark and heavy at the same time.
This is a wonderfully refreshing album, an experimental expedition into electronic and alternative music, certainly moving with the trends of the time. U2 had done a complete transformation from soulful, gospel rock to being a sexy, groovy, Dance-Rock Fusion. Achtung Baby never really has any low points- it is consistently good. When it looks like it is slowing down, songs like ‘Mysterious Ways’ and the enigmatic ‘The Fly’ pick it up. While Achtung Baby may not appeal to the more old school U2 fans, it certainly manages to pick up a lot more new fans with its more contemporary approach and funky sounds. 9.5/10
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