Achtung Baby is the seventh studio album by Irish rock band U2. It was produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, and was released on 18 November 1991 on Island Records. Stung by criticism of their 1988 release, Rattle and Hum, U2 shifted their musical direction to incorporate influences from alternative rock, industrial music, and electronic dance music into their sound. Thematically, the album is darker, more introspective, and at times more flippant than their previous work. Achtung Baby and the subsequent multimedia-intensive Zoo TV Tour were central to the group’s 1990s reinvention, by which they abandoned their earnest public image for a more lighthearted and self-deprecating one.
Seeking inspiration from German reunification, U2 began recording Achtung Baby at Berlin’s Hansa Studios in October 1990. The sessions were fraught with conflict, as the band argued over their musical direction and the quality of their material. After tensions and slow progress nearly prompted the group to break up, they made a breakthrough with the improvised writing of the song « One ». Morale and productivity improved during subsequent recording sessions in Dublin, where the album was completed in 1991. To confound the public’s expectations of the band and their music, U2 chose the record’s facetious title and colourful multi-image sleeve.
Achtung Baby is one of U2’s most successful records; it received favourable reviews and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 Top Albums, while topping the charts in many other countries. Five songs were released as commercial singles, all of which were chart successes, including « One », « Mysterious Ways », and « The Fly ». The album has sold 18 million copies worldwide and won a Grammy Award in 1993 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Since its release, writers and music critics have regularly cited Achtung Baby in polls of the greatest rock albums. The record was reissued in October 2011 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its original release.
|1.||« Zoo Station »||Daniel Lanois||4:36|
|2.||« Even Better Than the Real Thing »||Steve Lillywhite, with Brian Eno and Lanois||3:41|
|3.||« One »||Lanois with Eno||4:36|
|4.||« Until the End of the World »||Lanois with Eno||4:39|
|5.||« Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses »||Lillywhite, Lanois, and Eno||5:16|
|6.||« So Cruel »||Lanois||5:49|
|7.||« The Fly »||Lanois||4:29|
|8.||« Mysterious Ways »||Lanois with Eno||4:04|
|9.||« Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World »||Lanois with Eno||3:53|
|10.||« Ultraviolet (Light My Way) »||Lanois with Eno||5:31|
|11.||« Acrobat »||Lanois||4:30|
|12.||« Love Is Blindness »||Lanois||4:23|