Revisiting U2’s Reinvention and Redemption on “Achtung Baby”

Carter's Catalog | Video by Matt Dolloff, 100.7 WZLX

Backlashes are tough storms to weather. Most great bands or popular artists go through one at some point in their career.

U2 experienced a backlash firsthand when 1988’s Rattle and Hum received much criticism. Many detractors felt the band’s exploration of Americana and folk music elements was a stylistic misstep.

So in the early ’90s the band decided to start fresh and take things in yet another completely different direction, and the result that time was Achtung Baby, one of U2’s most successful critical and commercial efforts.

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As Carter Alan explains in the above Carter’s Catalog clip, everything fell into place once U2 created “One”, which would go on to be one of the band’s biggest songs and one of the biggest songs of its time.

Achtung Baby’s darker, harder-edged aesthetic won critics over and thrust the band into a whole new era of success. It’s proof that a band can totally reinvent itself and not only remain relevant, but exceed expectations and endure as a classic over two decades later.

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