Not Far From Joy

The music is not actually completely typical of Lanois, although he wrote all the songs but two (“Last Time” and “Ring the Alarm”). A mixed bag of reggae beats (“I Believe in You”), straight up rock with Lanois trademark production values (“Love Lives”), soulful ballads (“Surely”) and trip-hop/jazz (“Slow Baby”), the album can take a while to adjust to; hang in there because it’s really worthwhile. It took me a few spins to fall deeply in love with the sheer creativity and musicianship ,enjoying the satisfaction of deciphering someone else’s headspace and making it my own.

A Trip to the Human Zoo

Finally we turn to the music on Achtung Baby and get drop-kicked into the distorted vocals, huge bass-line and tightened snare drum that, along with swirling ambient keyboards and the Edge’s inimitable/idiosyncratic/obsessive-compulsive guitar playing make up the elements of this offering. The addition of Steve Lilywhite to the production team also tightened things up a bit and gave the band more room for harder edges and sound on some tracks. With Lanois and Eno playing on various songs, the sound is also expanded and sophisticated beyond that which the four-piece band could muster on their own.