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Coloring Club Plus — 11/11/19

Nov 11a

Nov 11bNov 11c

This morning I realized it had been a long time since listening to this album. What profoundly strikes me about Achtung Baby are the poetry of the lyrics with so many of the songs.

Achtung Baby is the seventh studio album by Irish rock band U2. It was produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, and was released on November 18, 1991 on Island Records. Stung by criticism of their 1988 release, Rattle and Hum, U2 shifted their musical direction to incorporate influences from alternative rock, industrial music, and electronic dance music into their sound. Thematically, Achtung Baby is darker, more introspective, and at times more flippant than their previous work. The album and the subsequent multimedia-intensive Zoo TV Tour were central to the group’s 1990s reinvention, by which they abandoned their earnest public image for a more lighthearted and self-deprecating one.

Seeking inspiration from German reunification, U2 began recording Achtung Baby at Berlin’s Hansa Studios in October 1990. The sessions were fraught with conflict, as the band argued over their musical direction and the quality of their material. After tension and slow progress nearly prompted the group to disband, they made a breakthrough with the improvised writing of the song “One”. Morale and productivity improved during subsequent recording sessions in Dublin, where the album was completed in 1991. To confound the public’s expectations of the band and their music, U2 chose the record’s facetious title and colourful multi-image sleeve.

Achtung Baby is one of U2’s most successful records; it received favourable reviews and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 Top Albums, while topping the charts in many other countries. Five songs were released as commercial singles, all of which were chart successes, including “One”, “Mysterious Ways”, and “The Fly”. The album has sold 18 million copies worldwide and won a Grammy Award in 1993 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Achtung Baby has since been acclaimed by writers and music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time. The record was reissued in October 2011 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its original release.

Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” is the fifth track and was released as its fifth and final single in 1992.

Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” began as a demo that the band recorded at STS Studios in 1990. The band worked on it during the formal Achtung Baby sessions, including several failed attempts at Hansa Studios in Berlin. This produced several versions of the song and about a dozen mixes. However, the original demo remained their preferred version. Producer Jimmy Iovine, in particular, expressed his preference for the demo version when lead vocalist Bono played it for him. During the group’s time recording in Dublin in 1991, producer Steve Lillywhite was brought on to provide a “fresh pair of ears” and mix the song. The album version most closely resembles the original demo.

Lillywhite recalls that, “They hated that song. I spent a month on it and I still don’t think it was as realised as it could’ve been. The Americans had heard it and said, ‘That’s your radio song there’, because they were having trouble with some of the more industrial elements [of the album]. It’s almost like a covers band doing a U2 moment. Maybe we tried too hard.” Bono said, “It’s a song I feel we didn’t quite nail on the record because there was another whole set of lyrics that were dumped and I wrote those quickly and off we went.” The band later released an alternately arranged “Temple Bar Remix” as the single, the version of the song they most prefer. The band also has claimed they find the song difficult to perform in concert. Bassist Adam Clayton said, “It’s a great torch song, with melody and emotion, but I don’t think we ever captured it again and we have never really been able to play the song live.

Of course I had to go check out the “Temple Bar Remix” and am including it after the lyrics of the album version.

You’re dangerous, ’cause you’re honest
You’re dangerous, you don’t know what you want
Well you left my heart empty as a vacant lot
For any spirit to haunt

Hey hey sha la la
Hey hey

You’re an accident, waiting to happen
You’re a piece of glass left there on the beach
Well, you tell me things I know you’re not supposed to
Then you leave me just out of reach

Hey hey sha la la
Hey hey sha la la

Who’s gonna ride your wild horses?
Who’s gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who’s gonna ride your wild horses?
Who’s gonna fall at the foot of thee?

Well you stole it, ’cause I needed the cash
And you killed it, ’cause I wanted revenge
Well you lied to me, ’cause I asked you to
Baby, can we still be friends?

Hey hey sha la la
Hey hey sha la la

Who’s gonna ride your wild horses?
Who’s gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who’s gonna ride your wild horses?
Who’s gonna fall at the foot of thee?

Oh, the deeper I spin
Oh, the hunter will sin for your ivory skin
Took a drive in the dirty rain
To a place where the wind calls your name
Under the trees the river laughing at you and me
Hallelujah, Heavens white rose, the doors you open
I just can’t close

Don’t turn around, don’t turn around again
Don’t turn around, your gypsy heart
Don’t turn around, don’t turn around again
And don’t turn around, and don’t look back
Come on now love, don’t you look back

Who’s gonna ride your wild horses?
Who’s gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who’s gonna taste your salt water kisses?
Who’s gonna take the place of me?
Who’s gonna ride your wild horses?

Songwriters: Bono (lyrics) and U2 (music)

Produced by: Lillywhite, Lanois, and Eno

 

11 thoughts on “Coloring Club Plus — 11/11/19

    1. U2 has made several albums of one stellar song after another, and this is one of them. From the very first twangs of the first song to the last twangs of the last song. Bono’s lyrics and The Edge’s guitar virtuosity are a winning combination.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. “This is the song Charles Manson stole from The Beatles. We’re here to steal it back.” One of the best comments ever uttered on any record of any time. Bono can be a pain I’ve heard, but I love the guy and always will. His (U2) music has given me a lot of enjoyment and inspiration over the years.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. He does respect who came before him/them. I love the song he co-wrote with Dylan on that album also…Love Rescue Me
            I did like the Helter Skelter quote of course.

            Liked by 1 person

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