20 years since U2’s Achtung Baby

I love so much of U2’s music but rate 1991’s Achtung Baby as the most influential music album by any musicians by quite some distance.

The combination of raw music, the band stepping out of their comfort zone into a whole new frontier musically, the artistic concepts in the themes, and the ability to identify the media as a wayward principality and power has made this album the single most significant influence on my work as a preacher.

I remember the night after the ZooTV televised event was broadcast in New Zealand on a Saturday night two years later that I went back to my computer and totally changed the next day’s sermon.

In 1993 I recall trying to explain the influence of AB on my preaching to my spiritual director, Mary Concanon, a wonderful Roman Catholic nun – she was totally mystified yet also keen to try to understand.  Looking back I am not sure that I understand, I guess it is something like what any artist would describe as inspiration – the boldness, brazenness, wrestling with God, along with the worldliness, all spoke to me.  Nothing since by U2 or anyone has had as much an impact on me.

So to celebrate the 20 years I have purchased the box set commemoration thingee and heard today that it is in the post!  It includes a movie on the making of the album and several other lovely U2 things which I am sure to wax on about in the weeks ahead.

Favourite songs… here is the track list with my number rating to the right (only one song I find to be average see the * and there is only one that I have always disliked see the !)

Zoo Station (6)
Even better than the real thing (3)
One (1)
Until the end of the world (2)
Who’s gonna ride your wild horses (11)!
So cruel (8)
The fly (4) the absolute highlight live on ZooTV
Mysterious ways (5)
Tryin’ to throw your arms around the world (10)*
Ultra violet (light my way) (10) nice to see this pop up again last year
Acrobat (7)
Love is blindness (9)

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One thought on “20 years since U2’s Achtung Baby

  1. This album changed my world as a 13/14yo boy. The narrative approach of Until the End of the World has shaped what is emerging as my style of preaching – it’s an almost ignatian sense of presence in the moment.

    For me, Tryin’ to Throw your arms is a turning point in the album. This song leads a descent into darkness that still appeals to the brokenness in me.

    Who’s gonna ride hints at the conceited silliness to which Bono is a little prone.

    Zoo Station (6)
    Even better than the real thing (10)
    One (7)
    Until the end of the world (1)
    Who’s gonna ride your wild horses (12)
    So cruel (8)
    The fly (9)
    Mysterious ways (3)
    Tryin’ to throw your arms around the world (11)
    Ultra violet (light my way) (2)
    Acrobat (5)
    Love is blindness (4)

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