Very few rock bands have had the ability to have such a prolific career to the same degree that U2 has. U2 has achieved constant commercial and critical success over the years, including numerous Grammy awards, for the production of their 14 albums. They have done everything on their own terms artistically and have knocked down the barriers that have limited what rock bands can and can not do. By mixing their original sound with political ideology, U2 has been able to create a massive following, and therefore, are responsible for generating a revolution that has challenged both politics and rock and roll for the last 25 years.
U2 with their “post-punk experimentalism” burst onto the music scene in the 1980s, which at the time consisted mainly of synthesized pop and heavy metal. Their guitarist known as The Edge gave the band’s music its characteristic sound with his heavily processed, echoed guitars. This unconventional style was countered by drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist Adam Clayton with their hard-rocking rhythms. But front man Bono was the voice of political reason and had a knack for expressing the band’s ideas and emotions in such a grandiose way.
In the 1990s, U2 decided to reinvent their sound and create altogether a new identity. In 1991, the evolution was complete with the release of Achtung Baby, an album completely inspired by David Bowie’s avant-garde explorations of the late 70s and the thriving rave and Madchester club scenes of the early 1990s. This album ventured into the world of electronics and utilized the mix of industrial guitars, feedback, altered vocals, and rhythmic beats. These elements produced layers of effects throughout the music, most notable being the crashing and swirling guitar riffs on many of the songs. Bono, too, traded in the political anger and anthems for more introspective lyrics by exploring the darker side of life, such as bleeding hearts and desperate loneliness. Despite some of the lyrics being a downer, the music itself is very inviting.
Fans and critics welcomed Achtung Baby; it debuted at number one around the world and generated Top Ten hits with Mysterious Ways and One. Do make sure you listen to Even Better than the Real Thing, Until the End of the World, and The Fly. It is arguably one of their best albums and started a new chapter in their musical careers. So go checkout Achtung Baby today.
Reviewed by Kelli