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In 1991, U2 shocked the pop-music world with ACHTUNG BABY, a striking departure from the Irish band's beloved '80s arena-rock sound. Here the group careens into sonically adventurous territory, reveling in distorted guitars, drum loops, and layers of synthesizers.
The stunning opening track, "Zoo Station", kicks in with fierce, fuzzed-out guitar and a clanging industrial beat, Bono's distinctive voice the only tell-tale sign that this is indeed a U2 album. From here, ACHTUNG BABY deftly manoeuvers between giddy electro-pop (the shimmering "Even Better Than the Real Thing", the funky "Mysterious Ways"), bold techno-tinged rock (the majestic punch of"Until the End of the World", the seductive squall of "The Fly"), and contemplative ballads (the heartbreakingly beautiful "One", the haunting closer "Love Is Blindness"). Throughout it all, the quartet plays to the peak of its abilities, aided by the atmospheric, top-notch production of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. This is the record where Bono, for betteror worse, fully embraced the role of "rock star", with the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen, Jr. ably accompanying him every swaggering step of the way. One of the group's finest outings, ACHTUNG BABY is indisputably U2's most adventurous album.