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Thirty years after the release of Achtung Baby, the album that reinvented U2

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Thirty years after the release of Achtung Baby, the album that reinvented U2

U2 celebrates this Thursday the 30th anniversary of Achtung Baby, the album with which the Irish band reinvented themselves, after the great success of The Joshua Tree, and that marked the beginning of his most creative and experimental decade.

It was his seventh studio work and although it did not come to save the rock world, already immersed in a musical revolution, it did serve to rescue the career of the Dublin quartet, questioned after criticism of the previous album. the erratic Rattle and hum (1988).

To celebrate this birthday, the Irish group will release a special vinyl edition of Achtung Baby, while on December 3 it will publish a digital package that includes fifty songs from this iconic work remastered.

With &Quot;Achtung Baby&Quot;, U2 Took A Swerve In The Musical Direction.  Photo Reuters / Thierry Roge

With “Achtung Baby”, U2 took a swerve in the musical direction. Photo REUTERS / Thierry Roge

Definitely, The Joshua Tree (1987) had set the bar very high. It is still U2’s most commercial album, ahead of Achtung Baby, which was released on November 18, 1991 and it has sold more than 18 million copies.

However, U2 entered the new decade with many doubts about its artistic direction, after critics and fans considered that the group began to sin of pretentious and taking himself too seriously.

In the rear, were subjects elevated to the category of hymns such as Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride (In the Name of Love) or With or without you. In the vanguard, on the other hand, a blank sheet awaited them to design a new path in tune with the social, political and cultural changes that the 90s brought.

To cut down The Joshua Tree

Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton were also tired of playing their old hits at concerts. The time had come to Achtung Baby, then described by its singer and leader as “the sound four men make when felling The Joshua Tree.

That sound, actually, was a shaker of industrial percussion, dance rhythms, DJ electronics, and alternative rock guitars.

It was his interpretation of the cultural revolution born in Manchester (UK) in the late 80s and early 90s, the popular “Madchester” scene, illuminated by groups like Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses or Joy Division.

If Manchester was the epicenter of music in Europe, Berlin was the symbol of the political change that the world envisioned with the fall of the Wall and the end of the Cold War.

Madchester, Berlin and a new sound

For this reason, the current German capital was the destination chosen by U2 to start recording in the filthy Hansa studios. Achtung Baby in October 1990, with producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, who had already worked in The Unforgettable Fire (1984) and The Joshua Tree.

The change of landscape also brought a change in the compositional dynamics of the band, which until then all four members shared. Bono and The Edge took the reins to create the new styleWhile Mullen (drums) and Clayton (bass), more supportive of keeping the old, initially sidestepped.

These differences pushed the group to the limit, to the point that rumors of separation arose.

Eno convinced them that they were on the right track and, after moving the recording back to Dublin, they recognized the value of the Berlin sessions, where were born, for example, topics like One, among the most conventional, perhaps, of this work.

U2 concluded Achtung Baby in the Irish capital, with the band already fully committed to the experiment, with the guitar sound of The Edge, protagonist of more solos, dissonances and key distortions in The Fly or Zoo station, the theme that opens the album to mark new territory.

Too Bono alters your voice register via pedals and processors and his lyrics move away from the political messages of yesteryear to focus on more spiritual and affective themes, while creating characters such as The Fly, with his exaggerated black glasses, to laugh at himself or criticize the overexposure to the media.

The Iconic Cap Of &Quot;Achtung Baby&Quot;, With Which U2 Turned The Page And Started The '90S Refreshed.

The iconic cover of “Achtung Baby”, with which U2 turned the page and started the ’90s fresh.

U2 captured that universe of sensory overload on the tour that followed Achtung Baby, the Zoo TV Tour (1992-1993), the show with which he finished off his reinvention and laid the foundations for subsequent albums, with clear influences on Zooropa (1993) and Pop (1997).

Source: EFE / Javier Aja

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Reference from clarin