U2 - Achtung Baby

Saturday 1st February 1992
U2 - Achtung Baby
U2 - Achtung Baby

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Island CIDU285103472

Reviewed by Karl Allison

How long we have waited. Not just to hear the new songs, but to witness the next step in the career of U2. Every album has presented a distinctive theme, but the underlying message has always been the way in which the light is able to pierce the darkness. On 'Achtung Baby', the theme is simply the darkness itself. The question must be: Are U2 just exploring the darkness, or are they actually living in it? They certainly appear to be isolated from the church, as Bono gives the clearest insight yet into his inability to suffer the church. In "Acrobat" he sings, "I'd break bread and wine if there was a church I could receive it in." And what of the Christian lifestyle? The clue may be in the same song: "And I must be an acrobat, to talk like this, and live like that." Musically, the album is strong, with the rhythm section sounding like they've been listening to The Stone Roses. A couple of tracks even approach a dance groove! For the most part, the playing resembles the mood: gone is the precision of The Joshua Tree', replaced by loose chords and wild sounds. U2 will no doubt continue to fascinate us with their pilgrimage, but the direction of that journey has never been less clear. It all seems a long way away from the band who began their first album with a track called "I Will Follow".

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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