Achtung Baby

by U2

Reinventions rarely come as thorough and effective as Achtung Baby, an album that completely changed U2's sound and style. The crashing, unrecognizable distorted guitars that open "Zoo Station" are a clear signal that U2 have traded their Americana pretensions for postmodern, contemporary European music. Drawing equally from Bowie's electronic avant-garde explorations of the late '70s and the neo-psychedelic sounds of the thriving rave and Madchester club scenes of early-'90s England, Achtung Baby sounds vibrant and endlessly inventive. Unlike their inspirations, U2 rarely experiment with song structures over the course of the album. Instead, they use the thick dance beats, swirling guitars, layers of effects, and found sounds to break traditional songs out of their constraints, revealing the tortured emotional core of their songs with the hyper-loaded arrangements. In such a dense musical setting, it isn't surprising that U2 have abandoned the political for the personal on Achtung Baby, since the music, even with its inviting rhythms, is more introspective than anthemic. Bono has never been as emotionally naked as he is on Achtung Baby, creating a feverish nightmare of broken hearts and desperate loneliness; unlike other U2 albums, it's filled with sexual imagery, much of it quite disturbing, and it ends on a disquieting note. Few bands this far into their careers have recorded an album as adventurous or fulfilled their ambitions quite as successfully as U2 do on Achtung Baby, and the result is arguably their best album. For the 20th birthday of Achtung Baby, U2 went all out and released no less than five anniversary editions: a single-disc remaster, a double-disc Deluxe Edition, a vinyl box set, a six-CD/four-DVD Super Deluxe Edition, and finally an Uber Deluxe Edition that takes the Super Deluxe Edition and adds various tchotchkes like a magnetic puzzle, badges, stickers, and a replica of Bono's Fly sunglasses. Only those with deep wallets will need to concern themselves with the Uber edition -- most fans will debate between the Deluxe double-disc set and the Super Deluxe set. The Deluxe Edition contains only the album's non-LP cuts -- primarily B-sides and bonus tracks, plus the unreleased outtake "Blow Your House Down." Although the assorted covers on this collection are a bit dodgy -- U2 have never sounded as uncertain as they do on a Euro-disco cover of CCR's "Fortunate Son" -- the originals are by and large very good, particularly "Lady with the Spinning Head," "Blow Your House Down," and "Salome." The Super Deluxe Edition adds the 1993 album Zooropa, written and recorded during the supporting Zoo tours for Achtung Baby, then two discs of remixes, the B-sides discs that pop up on the Deluxe Edition, and, finally, a fledgling version of Achtung Baby called Kindergarten, which contains nascent versions of all 12 songs from the finished album. Some of the remixes sound like little more than historical curios, but a surprising amount are either vigorous or imaginative and they all underscore how Achtung Baby truly was the first U2 album that could lend itself to these kind of mixes. And if the Kindergarten version of Achtung Baby has few real revelations -- most of the differences lay in Bono's lyrics; many of the cuts are incomplete mixes instead of demos -- it nevertheless is a fascinating listen for those who know the album by heart. Finally, there are four DVDs: a making-of documentary by David Guggenheim, director of the Edge-starring guitar doc It Might Get Loud, called From the Sky Down; a disc of videos from Achtung Baby and Zooropa; a disc of odds and ends from these years, including a Zoo TV Special, MTV shorts, and appearances on Naked City and TV-AM, plus ROM content; and, to round out the package, the Zoo TV Live from Sydney disc. Whether this is overkill is completely in the eye of the consumer: surely, it's possible to enjoy just the simple single disc of...

  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: --
  • Label: Island (Label)
  • UPC: 602527788265
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Track listings

  • Disc 1:
  • 1. Zoo Station
  • 2. Even Better Than The Real Thing
  • 3. One
  • 4. Until The End Of The World
  • 5. Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
  • 6. So Cruel
  • 7. Fly, The
  • 8. Mysterious Ways
  • 9. Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World
  • 10. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
  • 11. Acrobat
  • 12. Love Is Blindness
  • Disc 2: B Sides And Bonus Tracks:
  • 1. Lady With The Spinning Head [Uv1]
  • 2. Blow Your House Down
  • 3. Salom‚
  • 4. Even Better Than The Real Thing [Single Version]
  • 5. Satellite Of Love
  • 6. Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses [Temple Bar Remix] (Remix)
  • 7. Paint It Black
  • 8. Even Better Than The Real Thing [Fish Out Of Water Remix] (Remix)
  • 9. Mysterious Ways [The Perfecto Mix] (Remix)
  • 10. Night And Day [Steel String Remix] (Remix)
  • 11. Lounge Fly Mix, The (Remix)
  • 12. Fortunate Son
  • 13. Alex Descends Into Hell For A Bottle Of Milk/Korova [From The Rsc Production Of A Clockwork Orange]
  • 14. Where Did It All Go Wrong?
 
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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