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U2: Achtung Baby (20th Anniversary Edition) 

Achtung Baby, described by Bono as "the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree," was U2's first great reinvention, and their message to the '90s: "We're not going anywhere." Their heaviest record to date was armed with great songs, thick guitars, disturbing intensity, and none of the well-crafted, radio-friendly pop of its earlier masterpiece (except "Mysterious Ways," which seemed to belong to a different album). It kicked ass then, and it still rocks now. After that, U2 never looked back, reinventing themselves with each new recording and teaching all of us a vital lesson: the bigger you get, the fresher you should sound. This remastered edition celebrates 20 years by giving you the usual bonus tracks and early demos, but also the full (and remastered as well) follow up: 1993's Zooropa, which was a Eurodisco reinvention in itself (and you just can't miss the "Numb" remixes). No, I was never one of those huge U2 fans. But listening to their albums (even the later ones), reminds me why I like music in the first place — in the hands of serious artists, pop music doesn't have to suck.

★★★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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June 16, 2021

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