Album Review: "Achtung Baby" U2

Another chapter of history is about to take shape as U2 serve up their first studio album since 87's Joshua Tree and 88's Rattle and Hum took us “into the arms of America.” Indeed, anticipating the release of a new U2 album is,  for many,  almost akin to the second coming of God.

This time we are travelling on a very different road, as Bono, Adam, Larry, and the Edge take us on a journey into the depths of insane romanticism. From the industrial urbanised tang of Zoo Station to the inspirational verve of Ultra Violet (Light My Way), U2 delve deep into their inner vaults.

Achtung Baby is a brave attempt to once again break away from people's perceptions into a void filled with uncertainty but above all creativity. The Bolan-esqe, glam-charged Even Better than the Real Thing is intensive, while the tender trying to throw your arms around the world is bittersweet.

Some regard them has pretentious, others has musical Messiahs, but above all they are individuals who stand up for what they believe in. You can't fault them for that endearing appetite for innovation and the unexpected. Each release has its significance, whether it be musical or otherwise.

U2 have reached their post-Physical-Graffiti stage of development with their heaviest album to date. It's now time to explore and deviate away from their retrospective phase;  that's the seminal magnetism and appeal of The Fly, with its definite edge.

Produced by the ever versatile and longtime partner in crime Daniel Lanois, the album is enhanced by the expertise of Brian Eno and Steve Lillywhite. It's an album of intensity that you can't really assimilate on initial listening. With its dark-tinged dramatic blues and groovin rhythms it paints a picture of a world in confusion, and, as such, is quite abstract.  

Who's Going to Ride Your Wild Horses displays an admirable heroism, which they have flaunted, to their credit, throughout the years.

If there is a concept, then it's one of obsessive moods - the mystical Until the End of the World,  the bleeding heart take off So Cruel, and the soulful blues off Love Is Blindness show U2 are venting their feelings and getting it out of their systems.

An album and a band that transcends grading, but just for the record….

GRADE A plus plus++

Mark Crampton
Riff Raff
January, 1992
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