Commuter Music: ‘Achtung Baby,’ U2



achtungbabyU2 will always be one of my favorite rock bands, simply because — as the argument goes — they are the best. In fact, I’m not sure how any rock ‘n’ roll fan can get away with dissing U2, which is still one of the most popular rock bands in the world. U2’s seventh album “Achtung Baby” is my personal favorite, even topping “The Joshua Tree.” (There are songs on “The Joshua Tree” that are undoubtedly some of U2’s best work, but the album as a whole is not really up my alley.)

For commutes, “Achtung Baby” is one of my highest recommendations.

The basics: This album is a showcase of U2’s incredible talent. Bono’s raw emotion, the use of electronica and distorted guitars to create a new rock hybrid, and the darker, personal subject matter of the lyrics make “Achtung Baby” a more reflective work than U2’s previous endeavors.

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Why it’s good: It’s angsty, hopeful, and empowering. That’s always good when you’re behind the wheel of a car, especially if you’re headed into a week full of projects, meetings, and the grueling demands of the nine-to-five.

Recommendations: The reason “Achtung Baby” is my favorite U2 album is because it’s so satisfying to listen to the whole album at once, all the way through. Each track complements the tone and overall theme of the album, which runs about 55 minutes. Recommended for longer commutes.

The Rundown: It’s hard to make an argument for U2, because the band effectively argues for itself, especially in “Achtung Baby,” which critics slathered with praise upon its release in 1991. The first track, “Zoo Station,” features an opening distorted guitar solo while expressing an infectious, while relaxed, sense of anticipation. “One,” arguably one of U2’s finest compositions, is the tortured, yet sensitive and almost pleading argument between lovers, while “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” is a more upbeat, soaring take on similar themes. “Mysterious Ways” is probably the best example of U2’s shift toward electronica, and “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)” features the famous jangling guitar fans may remember from U2’s 1987 hit single, “Where the Streets Have No Name.” These are only brief highlights — the entire album is worth any rock enthusiast’s time, especially for the long haul.

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