http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/be05c431d131e3221cf6fbb963e60a9f5c04acde.jpg Achtung Baby (20th Anniversary Edition)


Achtung Baby (20th Anniversary Edition)

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 5 0
November 1, 2011

At the dawn of the 1990s, most of the biggest bands in the world – Def Leppard, INXS, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, Poison – marched blindly into the new decade, releasing a watereddown retread of their last album. Not U2. Abandoning the stadium-size sincerity of LPs like The Joshua Tree, they went to Berlin, drew on krautrock and club music and created what Bono called "probably the heaviest record we've ever made" – a barrage of irony, distortion and still-huge hooks.

This deluxe box set features both Achtung Baby and its spacedisco follow-up, 1993's Zooropa, along with B sides, remixes, previously unreleased outtakes and a Kindergarten disc, basically an early version of Achtung Baby. The best of the unheard tracks may be "Down All the Days," an early version of "Numb" with Bono on vocals instead of the Edge. Others are more interesting than thrilling, like "Oh Berlin," a soaring ode to the birthplace of Achtung Baby, and "Heaven and Hell," a moody synth number with some unexpected doo-wop flavor. A few tracks on Kindergarten sound nearly identical to the final versions; others went through major restructuring: In its early form, "One" sounds like a campfire singalong. The bonus material is not essential listening, but since U2 rarely pull back the curtain on their creative process, it's fascinating to hear this rough draft of history.

The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: U2, 'Achtung Baby'
U2 Revisit 'Achtung Baby' and Question Their Future
Photos: Three Decades of U2 Onstage and Backstage

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Don't Dream It's Over”

    Crowded House | 1986

    Early in the sessions for Crowded House's debut album, the band and producer Mitchell Froom were still feeling each other out, and at one point Froom substituted session musicians for the band's Paul Hester and Nick Seymour. "At the time it was a quite threatening thing," Neil Finn told Rolling Stone. "The next day we recorded 'Don't Dream It's Over,' and it had a particularly sad groove to it — I think because Paul and Nick had faced their own mortality." As for the song itself, "It was just about on the one hand feeling kind of lost, and on the other hand sort of urging myself on — don't dream it's over," Finn explained.

    More Song Stories entries »