Hi everybody! Merry (late) Xmas and all that stuff. Sorry for not updating for so many days. Last week was pretty busy and had to do lots of writing for Norma Jean Magazine, and also had to fix everything for my 5-day Xmas break in my hometown. Now that I’m back at the Hellhouse, I’m resuming to updating the blog, and will try to write about the remaining albums of these last weeks to complete the year, even though I have some stuff I’d like to write about.
Let’s get started. For no reason a couple of weeks ago the song Tryin’ to Throw your Arms Around the World hit my head with such intensity as to recover one of the surprisingly most influential albums in my life, Achtung Baby.
Most of you might be in shock right now after such confession, as I particularly loath U2 nowadays, and have never considered myself a die hard fan. There are certain facts that, even though might be shameful in one’s musical CV, cannot be denied, and my passion for this album is one of those.
I was lent the album by one of my dad’s coworker and friend, who was very into U2 and had bought Achtung Baby as soon as it came out in late 1991. My dad had recently purchased a cool hi-fi system including CD player, a luxury in that time, and Pepe, his friend, passed him some stuff. I remember his favorite song was Ultra Violet (Light My Way).
This U2 album was a radical change in the band style, and many of their fans felt outraged. All of a sudden their identity had changed, becoming a sort of messengers of a new era, very influenced by the German reunification and the fall of the iron curtain, supporting this modern and avant-garde Berlin we currently know. Their style was getting closer to electronic and more alternative sounds, and the theatrical concept of Zoo TV, with all that over exposure to visual information, was overwhelming for many people.
I was one of those who weren’t too interested in their previous stuff, except for some powerful singles, thus I dug into this insane universe comfortably. In fact, my interest also covered their following album, Zooropa, but then, the histrionic personality of Bono, and the fanaticism around the band and their music, forced me to retreat. At this point I could say I despise U2.
In 1992, I felt fascinated for all this Zoo TV tour and Achtung Baby. Singles chosen to promote the album, The Fly, Mysterious Ways and One, were absolutely demolishing, and marketing work by the band’s record label, Island, was magnificent. Radios, TV channels, press…everybody was talking about this album.
Leaving the mainstream part, the album included as great songs as the popular singles: from the starter Zoo Station and Even Better than the Real Thing, to the beautiful tune I was mentioning before Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World, So Cruel, or one of my favorite songs ever, the decadent Until the End of the World.
U2 achieved their goal. To become one of the greatest bands on Earth, even though there are many better than them. You take your time to think of it and Bono’s got a very personal voice and The Edge’s ability to get different and also unique sounds with his guitars and pedals are basically the key to their success, of course, leaving song writing aside. Larry Mullen Jr, with all due respect, is a very simple drummer, and Adam Clayton, is too dull (I think the most remarkable fact in his life was dating with Naomi Campbell in that time). This chess movement was masterly executed with Achtung Baby. They risked and they won, and this album is the main responsible many of us abhor what they’ve become nowadays.
And yes, to conclude, I must admit Achtung Baby was one of the three albums which changed my life, turning me into a passionate devout to music, and especially rock.