U2 Reissuing Achtung Baby

Four years ago, it was The Joshua Tree.  The year after that, it was Boy, October and War.  And last year, it was The Unforgettable Fire.

This year, it’s Achtung Baby’s turn to get the deluxe reissue treatment.  Hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the first appearance of U2’s magnificent follow-up to Rattle & Hum (speaking of which, how come that one hasn’t been updated?).  The album that pretty much kept me going during one of the worst times of my life is being re-released in no less than 5 different versions.  Let’s go through them one at a time:

For those who simply want a remastered version of the original CD without any extras, you can opt for the 12-track standard re-release.  From Zoo Station to Love Is Blindness, there are no bad songs.

Next is the two-disc Deluxe Edition.  Like the earlier reissues, it follows the same basic formula:  original album on disc one, B-Sides and rarities on disc two.  (If you’re a vinyl nut, you can go for the 4 LP box set which reportedly will include the same amount of tracks.) 

Although an official track listing has not been released, Universal Records has released a preliminary one that may change within the next few weeks.  Among the possible songs for the bonus disc:  the UV1 mix of Lady With The Spinning Head (which was ultimately reworked into three Achtung cuts including The Fly; an Extended Dance Mix previously appeared on The Best Of 1990-2000), Salome, Where Did It All Go Wrong, the single version of Even Better Than The Real Thing, the Temple Bar Remix of Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses (but not the Temple Bar Single Edit which was used in place of the album version for the video), Alex Descends Into Hell For A Bottle Of Milk/Cordova 1 (The Fly’s B-Side that also appeared on the Johnny Mneumonic soundtrack) and covers of Lou Reed’s Satellite Of Love, CCR’s Fortunate Son and The Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black.

As good as that line-up sounds, the Deluxe Edition won’t be nearly as comprehensive as the Super Deluxe Edition.  Now, get a load of this.  Besides the original Achtung Baby (disc one), you also receive Zooropa (disc two), the underrated 1993 album, plus four bonus CDs.  

Disc three (“Uber Remixes”), features 11 dance reworkings including Bono’s cover of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love (his earlier take is on the Honeymoon In Vegas soundtrack) and the band’s remake of Cole Porter’s Night And Day most famously recorded by Frank Sinatra (a different version by U2 appeared on the Red Hot + Blue benefit album and disappointingly, is not part of any these reissues).

Disc four (“Unter Remixes”) features 11 more dance versions including the Zooromancer Remix of Salome as well as reworkings of the Zooropa singles, Lemon and Numb.  Each CD features three different re-dos of Mysterious Ways but not the Solar Plexus Club Mix, unfortunately.  And only half of the eight previously available Even Better Than The Real Thing remixes are expected to be included.  (If my math is good, all but five remixes in total from the Baby period will be a part of this particular release.)  Disc five is the B-Sides and Rarities disc from the Deluxe Edition.

The sixth and final disc is basically an alternate version of the original album nicknamed “Baby”.   (The unofficial track list for this massive set can be seen here.)

That’s not all.  You also get 4 DVDs including From The Sky Down, the documentary that recently screened at The Toronto International Film Festival (and apparently, isn’t getting a theatrical release), and the previously released Zoo TV concert from Sydney, Australia.  U2 made some of their most enduring, visually inventive videos during this period and they’re also included in the package.  It’s not yet known what else will be on the DVDs.

If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, you can always settle for the limited edition Uber Deluxe Edition, the biggest reissue of them all.  Combining the Vinyl Box Set with the contents of the Super Deluxe Edition, it also features 7″ records of each of the original album’s singles, individual blown up photos that collectively became Achtung Baby’s cover (also in the SDE), an edition of the band’s fan magazine, Propaganda, stickers, badges, a book (which oddly has 8 more pages than the SDE edition) and even a replica of Bono’s iconic Fly sunglasses.

After being mostly pleased with the Deluxe Editions of The Joshua Tree, Boy and October (I’m still looking for Unforgettable Fire and War), I’m wondering whether The Super Deluxe Edition, with all these remixes previously issued as Baby/Zooropa B-Sides, rather than the two-disc Deluxe Edition, is the version I most want.  God knows I could care less about overrated vinyl.  (I’m a CD die hard.)  While not offering every B-Side, The SDE offers a ton of extras nonetheless.

At any event, look for all these reissues on Halloween.  Start saving your pennies. 

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
1:12 a.m.

Published in: on September 27, 2011 at 1:12 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] With Achtung Baby reissued in numerous forms on Halloween, I soon understood why.  Part Seven is all about U2′s Numb, a song from 1993′s Zooropa CD that originally began life a few years earlier as Down All The Days which just happens to be a bonus track on disc five of the two box set versions of Achtung.  (Just as an aside, why is that song not on the standard two-disc Deluxe Edition?  And where’s Heaven And Hell, Oh Berlin, Near The Island, and Everybody Loves A Winner, for that matter?  Disc two of the DE is only 63 minutes long.  Couldn’t they have squeezed them all in or drop some of the remixes so whatever couldn’t fit would ultimately make the final cut?  Having just acquired a copy of the DE, I’m not terribly happy about this.  But let’s move on.)  In 2010, Part Seven was accessed ten times.  To date, it’s been seen a little over 400 times. […]

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