Achtung Baby: Kindergarten

It’s interesting listening to the Achtung Baby: Kindergarten album. If you don’t know, this is an album that came out on the deluxe Achtung Baby, and it contains early versions of the songs on the real album. The interesting part is comparing the songs to what was actually released on the final version of the album, to see the chops and changes that the band made. I don’t know at what point each song was taken, whether they were the first recording or the hundredth, halfway through the process or almost at the end. But it is still interesting, hearing a part in one of these songs in one place, knowing it moved somewhere else completely by the end. Or hearing the music change, bits added or removed here and there.

Not going to go through each song individually, because if you’re really interested you can listen to it yourself. But there are a few things I want to say about some of the songs. For example Baby Zoo Station, starting off the album, sounding exactly like the final version for the first 30 seconds or so, then it starts to go off track, as you notice the guitar is clipping a little compared to what you’re used to hearing. Then there’s Baby One, which goes off track right from the start, with this weird high guitar sound that is so off the charts different to the final. Or Baby Until The End Of The World, which although it has different sounds in it, you can really hear the final song pushing through.

Baby Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses sounds quite fun with the guitar the way it is, and then you get the lyrics, which are wildly different. It’s hard to tell on some of them, because they’re so familiar, but I was amazed to hear the opening line be “Your innocence, and experience,” a theme that has come back around again today. Baby Trying To Throw Your Arms has just the oddest sound to open the song, there’s a jangly guitar in there that seems so familiar but so different. Baby Ultraviolet, one of my favorites, but the “Sometimes I feel like I don’t know” that starts the full song is pushed all the way to the end. An interesting lesson in not only changing the lyrics (there’s a lot of lines in there that are changed a little, some a lot, some thrown away), but also moving the lyrics around, like this verse working better in a different place.

One of the most interesting things to me, something that stood out in almost every song: the bass in these songs is much stronger than it ends up being in the end. Somehow they decide to reduce Adam’s part in the songs, most every time. Weird, right? And then there’s also a thought that some of Edge’s stuff got toned down a little too. Like they start way outside on both ends, and end up pulling back towards the middle.

I have to rate this pretty low, for the simple reason that it is relatively gimmicky. It’s something that I won’t listen to very often, because if I want to hear the songs I’m going to listen to the full album. Historical interest really, kind of like reading through an author's first draft. Actually what I would say is that this is something that should be listened to by a lot of young bands, and comparing it to the full album, just as an idea of how songs should develop and change, and a little insight into the amount of change and work that the best band in the world does to put their stuff out. In other words, don’t record your first take and release that, it can always use work.

My rating for Achtung Baby: Kindergarten: 3 / 10