Tuesday, February 04, 2014

achtung baby

I think U2's best album is Achtung Baby. Then again that's really the only album of theirs that I have save for a "best of" disc. I love the twangy and distorted guitars, the hurried drums, and here I think Bono's at his best, being sincere in "One" while being flippant and playful in many other songs like "Even Better Than the Real Thing". I love that the band challenged and reinvented themselves and weren't afraid to try something new. And "the fly", of course.

I only started to listen to and appreciate this album about twenty years after its release in 1991. And that only because I picked it up as a used CD back in 2009. I was already familiar with the major hit from the album "Mysterious Ways" as I remember watching the music video as a little kid. I think my fave song though is "Acrobat", especially for its line "I must be, an acrobat, to talk like this, and act like that."

What a wonderful metaphor, for a hypocrite. That line is one of my fave metaphors and showed me how a metaphor can actually reveal truth, much more than a regular flat statement - dressing something up as a metaphor adds a whole lot more dimension. One could say "oh yes, I'm a hypocrite" but to describe as one's self as an acrobat, ie someone who's constantly twisting and turning or going through hurdles, really makes it hit home of how much of a hypocrite Bono thought of himself to be.

Anyway, here's one of the reasons why I still buy CDs - they're like a mini time travel machine. I can open up the sleeve and see in the notes addresses to Amnesty International, Greenpeace, etc. I can see photos of the band during that time. And these guys gave us a good sleeve, with lyrics and lots of photographs. You can't get any of that with a bunch of mp3s, and you'd forget you have these songs since they're just digital files. With CDs, I can see what music I have right in front of me, and I'm a lot more likely to listen to whole albums rather than just random tunes.

While I'm not a huge fan of U2, apart from this album and some other songs of theirs, I do appreciate that the band has been around for so long and that its always been the same 4 blokes. Good for them.

sidenote - after I watched Melancholia a couple years ago I thought "Until the End of the World" should've been on that film's soundtrack. Woulda been perfect!

Here's a cool video of the band performing one of the songs from the album, near Detroit, and this was broadcast live during the VMA's, or nowadays, we'd say, livestreamed. Pretty nifty for back then.

- Cross-posted on The Ashraf Obsession