U2 works in mysterious ways

Wednesday, December 11, 1991

U2 works in mysterious ways

Achtung Baby
U2
Polygram
Reviewed by Camilo Jorquera and Stephen Bavaro

U2's latest album indicates a frame of mind that is not part of the old U2 caricature — serious and bleak. That image was never accurate anyway.

Achtung Baby deals more with relationships, which is a step away from their previous albums, which contained more directly political songs, like "Pride" in The Unforgettable Fire, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Gloria" from the War album and "Silver and Gold" from Rattle and Hum.

U2 songs have always tried to reconcile the contradiction between religion and love and the struggle against British oppression of their homeland, Ireland. They want the Irish people to be free, but they don't see how it can be done through peaceful means.

This desire for change and a better life is expressed with optimism throughout the album, for example in the song "Acrobat" where Bono sings:
"And you can dream
so dream out loud
you know that your time is coming 'round ...
don't let the bastards grind you down."

In the same song, U2 also express a somewhat scornful attitude to modern politics and religion:
"And I'd join the movement
If there was one I could believe in
Yeah I'd break, break bread and wine
If there was a church I could believe in
'cause I need it now."

In many of U2's previous songs there has been a craving for unity of the "revolutionary and radical love" which Bono talks about. In a previous interview with Liam Mackay in the Irish music magazine Hot Press, Bono stated "People forget ... how radical Christ was. People were put to death for the idea that all men were created equal ... That was radical ... There's nothing more radical or revolutionary than love."

Achtung Baby covers a diverse range of music styles: Beatlesque, neo-psychedelia, dance/guitar fusion. The band is showing us great music and making new roads in this field.

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