The world changed dramatically in the three years in between Rattle and Hum and Achtung Baby – and so did U2. By the time their seventh studio album was released in November 1991, Germany had reunified, Nelson Mandela was a free man, Margaret Thatcher had resigned and the Soviet Union was about to dissolve. Amid events of such magnitude, the biggest rock group in the world had some momentous changes of their own to unveil. What emerged was an album open to all kinds of sounds and hues, and one that would add to U2's collection of anthems even as it recalibrated their sound for the 1990s. It went on to win them two more Grammys, for Best Rock Performance and Producer of the Year for Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno.
This was rock, but not always as we had known it from them before. At a remove from the American roots music that provided the palette for Rattle and Hum, darker elements were creeping onto the canvas. Yet, dependably, Achtung Baby was still overflowing with grand-scale songs that were set to ring around the arenas of the world. Lead single "The Fly" landed at the top of the British charts in October 1991, the first time U2 had achieved an instant UK No. 1. No fewer than five songs from the 8x platinum, No. 1 charting album would be released as singles. "Mysterious Ways" and "Even Better Than The Real Thing" had the dimensions of previous crowd-pleasers, but now with nods to the burgeoning sounds of electronica and hip-hop while the plaintive, elegant call to arms "One" emerged as one of U2's very best ballads.
- Zoo Station
- Even Better Than The Real Thing
- Until The End Of The World
- Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
- So Cruel
- The Fly
- Mysterious Ways
- Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World
- Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
- Love Is Blindness