Monday, July 16, 2007

No. 62: Achtung Baby

Band: U2
Album: Achtung Baby
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: "Achtung Baby" is the album that made U2 into the superstar band they are today. Led by three huge singles ("One," "Mysterious Ways" and "Even Better Than The Real Thing"), the record sold massively and U2 used it to to launch their giant Zoo TV tour.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: What's exciting about this album? "One" is a nice little track, on some level, but, otherwise, what distinguishes this record from anything other rock and roll record? Bono is blowing hard about some damned thing. Edge is "effect"ing up his guitar (Delay! Wah wah!) and the rhythm section is out banging supermodels.
Best song: I hate U2 and this is part of the reason. This album isn't any good, but it's considered better than, say, "Invisible Touch." "One" isn't total sewage, though that's because I have an R.E.M. bootleg where they play it and it's just OK.
Worst song: All of them, though "Even Better Than The Real Thing" is particularly bad. The song sounds like a commercial jingle and the chorus basically sounds like something out of an ad agency. "Try U2 Cola: Even better than the real thing!" Fuck you.
Is it awesome?: Absolutely, positively no.

I wish I was done writing about U2. There are few bands I despise more. "Achtung Baby" typifies this. "Mysterious Ways" is just a wah-wah disco bit love song, but it was received like a great track. "One" is, lyrically, a jaded "Imagine," but is still considered the theme song to the peace movement, the save Darfur movement, the AIDS research movement, the give Bono money movement, etc. And I've already bitched about the advertising sound of "Even Better Than The Real Thing."

This album makes me want to throw up.


Anonymous said...

Second masterpiece of the U2 collection... Dude when it comes to writing... you should stick to writing about Paris Hilton and Britany.

R.J. said...

What makes it a masterpiece? It's boring and the lyrics are particularly stupid. There's nothing exciting about this record and it is the example of marketing over substance. As in, it had a huge tour that propelled its sales.

R.J. said...

Also, I don't think I've ever written about Paris Hilton. Maybe I have. Certainly not in my wheelhouse.

Charles said...

Rather than blindly defending U2 and assaulting the owner, I'll be productive...

I have a pretty odd taste in music, I stay far away from pop and delve into the deeper darker reaches of the music realm. The work of Opeth is outstanding, nothing beats the dark comedy of Type-O-Negative, and Devin Townsend is a master singer.

Now U2 is something strange to me. As I stated above, I detest pop music... but U2's The Joshua Tree and Actung Baby are actually very good and enjoyable. Anything past Zooropa is mindless drivel, but those two albums are deserving of their press.

I do think that your review of Actung Baby was a bit mindlessly hateful.