AHK-toon BAY-bi Covered
Cover albums can sometimes be risky ventures (Styx playing The Beatles, Rod Stewart sings Bobby Darin, etc.). In the case of the recent release AHK-toon Bay-bi Covered, Q Magazine may have found something special. Released as a way of marking the British music magazine’s 25th Anniversary, AHK-toon Bay-bi Covered is a compilation from a wide array of artists covering U2’s 1991 record Achtung Baby (which also hit its own 20th Anniversary recently). This rendition of the classic album contains work covered by likes of The Killers, Garbage, Jack White, Patti Smith, Nine Inch Nails, and Depeche Mode.
The original Achtung Baby stands with The Joshua Tree and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb as U2’s most important albums. With tracks like “One,” “Mysterious Ways,” and “Until the End of the World,” Achtung Baby debuted atop various music charts and cemented U2’s status as one of the biggest bands in the world.
For AHK-toon Bay-bi Covered, U2 contributed the very dance-friendly Jacques Lu Cont mix of “Even Better Than the Real Thing.” Each of the other bands or artists recorded songs in their own style, which always makes for a better record than straightforward covers. In some instances, these songs might be better than those on the original record.
The Killers recorded such a strong take of “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” that it could slide right into their next album and be a single. With a rhythm section reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brandon Flowers delivers Bono’s lyrics with a passion that rivals his Irish counterpart’s original. This is also the case with Garbage’s version of “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses.” The alternative rock supergroup turned the track into their own with the help of some powerful vocals from frontwoman Shirley Manson and strong drumming from Butch Vig.
AHK-toon Bay-bi Covered’s curveball comes from Jack White, who has already made appearances as a producer or musician this year on tribute albums for Buddy Holly and Hank Williams. White, who had teamed with U2’s The Edge in the film It Might Get Loud, performs a very heartfelt and bluesy cover of “Love is Blindness.” Patti Smith, Damien Rice, and Snow Patrol all submitted very subdued covers of “Until the End of the World,” “One,” and “Mysterious Ways” that highlight Bono’s lyrical talents, even though they subtract from U2’s powerful sound.
All proceeds from AHK-toon Bay-bi Covered will benefit Concern Worldwide, an Irish-based global outreach charity. As per a request from U2, donations will target Eastern Africa. It’s available only to Q’s subscribers or as an itunes download.
Here is The Killers’ cover of Ultraviolet(Light My Way):