Tuesday, November 19, 1991

U2 released Achtung Baby: November 19, 1991

Originally posted November 19, 2012.

image from u2interference.com


Release date: 19 November 1991
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Zoo Station / Even Better Than the Real Thing (6/20/92, #32 US, #8 UK, #1 AR, #5 MR) / One (1/4/92, #10 US, #7 UK, #1 AR, #1 MR, #24 AC) / Until the End of the World (2/1/92, #5 AR, #4 MR) / Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses? (1/25/92, #35 US, #14 UK, #2 AR, #7 MR) / So Cruel / The Fly (11/2/91, #61 US, #1 UK, #2 AR, #1 MR) / Mysterious Ways (11/23/91, #9 US, #13 UK, #1 AR, #1 MR) / Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World / Ultra Violet (Light My Way) / Acrobat / Love Is Blindness

Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 1.2 UK, 20.4 world

Peak: 11 US, 2 UK

Rating:


Review: “Reinventions rarely come as thorough and effective as Achtung Baby,” AMG an album in which “U2 discarded the arena-rock sound that catapulted it into stardom on The Joshua Tree in favor of feedback, electronic beats and introspective lyrics.” RV They “detour[ed] into the darker realms of irony, decay and turmoil on accessible avant-garde rock tunes recorded in Berlin.” UT In addition, U2 loosened up “after fostering a dour public image for years…cracking jokes and even letting themselves be photographed in color. ‘It’s a con, in a way,’ Bono admitted to Rolling Stone in 1992. ‘…It’s probably the heaviest record we’ve ever made.’” RS500

“Coaxed to Berlin by producer Brian Eno, U2 spent several chilly months arguing over how they wanted to sound in their second decade. Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton were in the ‘Ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ camp while Bono and The Edge campaigned for changing everything.” TL

“This radical shift in style is loudly declared on Zoo StationRV with “crashing, unrecognizable distorted guitars” AMG and “postmodern, contemporary European music. Drawing equally from Bowie’s electronic, avant-garde explorations of the late ‘70s and the neo-psychedelic sounds of the thriving rave and Madchester club scenes of early-‘90s England, Achtung Baby sounds vibrant and endlessly inventive.” AMG

Throughout the album, U2 “use the thick dance beats, swirling guitars, layers of effects, and found sounds to break traditional songs out of their constraints, revealing the tortured emotional core of their songs with the hyper-loaded arrangements.” AMG They experimented “with a wall of sound, using waves of melody emanating in Until the End of the World and Ultra Violet.” RV

One

“In such a dense musical setting, it isn’t surprising that U2 have abandoned the political for the personal on Achtung Baby, since the music, even with its inviting rhythms, is more introspective than anthemic.” AMG “Bono has never been as emotionally naked as he is on Achtung Baby, creating a feverish nightmare of broken hearts and desperate loneliness.” AMG “U2 capped its reinvention with…One,” RV “one of the most beautiful songs U2 ever recorded.” RS500 It is “a fragile ballad that shines amidst a whirling soundscape of strings, guitars and Bono’s anguished voice.” RV “Bono wonders whether individuality also means eternal loneliness and comes down on the side of hope.” RS500 The song “started as a bitter take on Bono’s relationship with his father, twisted into a commentary on the state of the band, became a staple at weddings and now is used as an anthem to fight global poverty.” TL

“Unlike other U2 albums, it’s filled with sexual imagery, much of it quite disturbing, and it ends on a disquieting note. Few bands as far into their career as U2 have recorded an album as adventurous or fulfilled their ambitions quite as successfully as they do on Achtung Baby, and the result is arguably their best album.” AMG

The Fly

Mysterious Ways

Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?


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Award(s):


Tuesday, September 24, 1991

Bryan Adams released Waking Up the Neighbours

First posted 3/28/2011; updated 9/10/2020.

Waking Up the Neighbours

Bryan Adams


Released: September 24, 1991


Peak: 6 US, 11 UK, 110 CN, 14 AU


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.9 UK, 13.2 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: mainstream rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Is Your Mama Gonna Miss Ya?
  2. Hey Honey, I’m Packin’ You In!
  3. Can’t Stop This Thing We Started (9/14/91, 2 US, 12 UK, 2 AR, 40 AC, sales: ½ million)
  4. Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven (2/22/92, 13 US, 8 UK, 14 AR, 36 AC)
  5. Not Guilty
  6. Vanishing
  7. House Arrest
  8. Do I Have to Say the Words? (8/1/92, 10a US, 30 UK, 5 AC)
  9. There Will Never Be Another Tonight (11/23/91, 31 US, 32 UK, 36 AR)
  10. All I Want Is You (7/18/92, 22 UK)
  11. Depend on Me
  12. Everything I Do I Do It for You (6/29/91, 1 US, 1 UK, 10 AR, 1 AC, sales: 3 million, airplay: 3 million)
  13. If You Wanna Leave Me (Can I Come Too?)
  14. Touch the Hand (5/2/92, 13 AR)
  15. Don’t Drop That Bomb on Me

Rating:

3.177 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)


Quotable: “Old-fashioned good time…rock & roll.” – Jose F. Promis, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

“Although not as good as Reckless, Bryan Adams’ 1991 album, Waking up the Neighbours, signaled his commercial apex. Bridging the time gap between ‘80s arena rock and ‘90s angst-ridden grunge, the album also ushered in an era in which Adams became more known for his sweeping power ballads than his straight-ahead rock tunes. This album, filled with nearly 75 minutes of showstopping arena rockers and mid-tempo ballads, churned out no less than five hit singles, the most notable being the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves theme Everything I Do I Do It for You. That ballad spent seven weeks atop the U.S. pop charts, becoming the longest-reigning American chart-topper since Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’ seven years earlier. The song also became a phenomenon in Europe, becoming Adams’ biggest hit ever” JF with a whopping sixteen weeks atop the UK chart.

“Other singles which followed included the joyous rocker Can’t Stop This Thing We Started, which became a number two hit, the mid-tempo ballads Do I Have to Say the Words? and Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven, and the fun, straight-ahead rocker There Will Never Be Another Tonight.” JF

Waking up the Neighbours was co-produced by Robert Jon ‘Mutt’ Lange, and as a result, many of these songs sound as though they could have easily been Def Leppard recordings, especially All I Want Is You, which sounds like ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ part two. Nonetheless, Waking up the Neighbours is a fun album and perfect for those who expect nothing more than an old-fashioned good time from their rock & roll.” JF

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Nirvana's Nevermind was released

First posted 9/24/2011; updated 3/31/2019.

Nevermind

Nirvana


Released: 9/24/1991


Peak: #12 US, #7 UK, #110 CN, #2 AU


Sales (in millions): 11.0 US, 1.81 UK, 30.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: rock > grunge


Quotable: “Nirvana planted the alternative flag on the Iwo Jima of American consciousness.” – Clark Speicher, The Review


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit (9/10/91 #6 HT, #7 AR, #1 MR, #7 UK)
  2. In Bloom (12/12/92 #5 AR, #28 UK)
  3. Come As You Are (1/18/92 #32 HT, #3 AR, #3 MR, #9 UK)
  4. Breed
  5. Lithium (2/8/92 #64 HT, #16 AR, #25 MR, #11 UK)
  6. Polly
  7. Territorial Pissings
  8. Drain You
  9. Lounge Act
  10. Stay Away
  11. On a Plain (1/18/92 #25 AR)
  12. Something in the Way

Review:

Nevermind was stuffed into enough stockings over Christmas of ‘91 to boot the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, from his roost at the top of the Billboard album chart. The album went on to sell over 10 million copies domestically – a feat accomplished by less than 100 albums in the history of music. Nirvana were “scrappy garageland warriors setting their sights on a land of giants.” IR After their “undistinguished 1989 debut, Bleach, [which] relied on warmed-over Seventies metal riffs,” IR Nirvana made the leap to Geffen because frontman Kurt Cobain “wanted the group to be popular, and could see them maybe selling as many records as Sonic Youth.” AD

“The production team of Butch Vig and Andy Wallace ‘tidied’ up the sound of the early Nirvana” AD while still emphasizing the “guitar-heavy blend of bubblegum punk” SK the band crafted on Bleach. “Nirvana…created precisely the sort of record…Sub Pop [strove] for with bands like Mudhoney and Tad since its inception in 1986.” SK

Nirvana displayed a knack for “evocative wordplay” AMG and “crisp pop melodicism.” BL The songs “exemplify the band’s skill at inscribing subtlety onto dense, noisy rock” IR that was “positively glistening with echo and fuzz-box distortion.” AMG “This is hard rock as the term was understood before metal moved in – the kind of loud, slovenly, tuneful music you think no one will ever [make] again until the next time it happens, whereupon you wonder why there isn’t loads more.” RC

What lifts Nevermind to the status of one of the greatest albums ever made is how it defined a new genre. “Nirvana planted the alternative flag on the Iwo Jima of American consciousness when Nevermind erupted onto the music scene.” CS “Few albums have occupied the cultural consciousness like this one.” DW It “served as the antidote to the musical holocaust of the ‘80s.” CS “This is now an omni-present all-time classic” AD “and just may be compared in the same breath to albums like Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.” CT

If the sound of grunge feels overly “familiar now, it’s only because thousands of rock records that followed it were trying very hard to cop its style.” DW The album served as a “foundation for most of the rock…of the ‘90s…loud, distorted guitars; raging, sometime screaming vocals; and lyrics that range from the pessimistic, to the positive, and to the apathetic.” JC “Like a meteor crashing into earth, Nevermind left a lasting impact on music and won’t soon be forgotten.” CS


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