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U2's Achtung Baby (33 1/3) Paperback – 29 Sep 2009

1.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum (29 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826427847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826427847
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 0.9 x 16.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 659,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Stephen Catanzarite takes his readers on a metaphysical trip with Achtung Baby...The book reads like a well-written thesis, and Catanzarite is knowledgeable both musically and theologically. The songs are the bones on which the author fleshes out his theories, with the help of quotes by philosophers, poets, musicians (Axl Rose, of all people), and whole passages taken from books by religious scholars of different faiths. There are references to Neil Young, Led Zeppelin (the Tower of Babel is the original stairway to heaven), Bob Dylan and Morrissey for the rock cognoscenti, as well as a few Chinese proverbs thrown in for good measure."" -@U2,""Stephen Catanzarite has reflected on a beloved Rock album and turned his reflections into a book. Not only that, but his book is theological, Christian, Catholic and concerned with humanity's place in the world. Ambitious, no? A lesser album would collapse under such ponderings, but U2's Achtung Baby is a ""heavy mother,"" to quote the band's ever-quotable lead vocalist. And The Edge lists ""betrayal"" among the album's chief preoccupations, so bringing it all back home to Adam and Eve's betrayal of God does work. The book is a good primer on moral theology -- an oddity in the 33 1/3 book series. Our guide cites Augustine, Newman and more luminaries without any quote seeming irrelevant. And still the book stays connected to the music, delving into both words and instrumental landscape. Two quarrels: First, three taboos fascinate U2: sex, God and politics. Catanzarite describes an Adam and Eve losing and finding each other and their Maker in a neon city. That covers sex and God. But politics? In an epilogue Catanzarite mentions upheavals occurring in Achtung Baby's era but not a whisper elsewhere. He quotes the exquisite apocalypse of Yeats' poem ""The Second Coming,"" but relates it not to chaos in wartime but to breakdowns in personal relationships. Second, Catanzarite praises ""Mysterious Ways"" as an ode to feminine inspiration. He challenges disrespect of women and yet never quotes a single woman author. It's a glaring omission in a Catholic-worldview book -- U2 themselves have spoken often of their indebtedness to, for instance, Flannery O'Connor. It would take 10 more books to maybe start to describe Achtung Baby. Catanzarite is brave to try."" --CityBeat,""If you don't already know about the Christianity present in U2, or have never heard Achtung Baby, find a copy and listen to it. And if you are interested in a thoughtful engagement by a Catholic with the best of modern rock, you might like Achtung Baby: Meditations on Love in the Shadow of the Fall."" -Nathaniel Peters, First Things,""[Catanzarite has written] a surprisingly profound meditation on Achtung Baby' as a metaphor for the Fall of Man.  I told Bono, rather sceptically, that I had met a man who theorised that Achtung Baby was a metaphor for the fall of man ... and had just given a lecture on the conservative voice in U2'. I thought Bono might get a kick out it, but I was surprised by his response. ""Both theories sound bang on,"" he said.""-Neil McCormick, The Daily Telegraph,""...a surprisingly profound meditation on Achtung Baby' as a metaphor for the Fall of Man (part of the excellent 33? series of books about albums)..."" http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/neilmccormick/100003914/is-bono-a-conservative/ --No Review Available

About the Author

Stephen Catanzarite is the managing director of the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Centre, near Pittsburgh. He has created a course tracing the history and development of American popular music from Tin Pan Alley to the present - which will be delivered, online, to thousands of high school students across the U.S.


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