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Spin Thinks U2's 'Achtung Baby' is the Best Album of the Past 25 Years

Spin is banking on everyone being over the list fatigue that inevitably set in after numerous “Best of” lists proliferated throughout the Internet and print media at the end of last year. In a bid to add to the 25th birthday celebrations surrounding the publication in 2010, has decided to list the best 125 albums of the past 25 years.


It’s mostly predictable stuff. Yes, OK Computer is in the top 5, and so is Nevermind and The Queen is Dead by the Smiths. The highest placing for a hip-hop record is Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, which holds down the No. 6 spot and has just been given the 33 1/3 treatment by Christopher Weingarten.


Unfortunately, Spin has decided to feed Bono’s already over-sized ego by giving the top slot to Achtung Baby, although thankfully we are spared any pompous commentary on this achievement by the man himself. Instead, we have to sit through insufferable platitudes from writer Charles Aaron, who claims the record contains “confessions of frailty and blindness” and shows how U2 were “struggling to simultaneously embrace and blow up the world.” Bleargh.


Read the full list here.


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Public Enemy

They should have done 25 albums in 25 years. 125 is so many.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/brandon/216_browser_clut.gif brandon


/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

They listed The Blueprint higher than Illmatic?! Wow.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

Yeah, totally boo to that. I think people retroactively underrate Illmatic because Nas' career has been rough since then.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

Yeah, you're probably right...but that is still just ridiculous. Illmatic is flawless.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

Yeah, and I'd argue it's the one hip-hop album that is. I mean, with the Blueprint, you could trim four or five songs, Supreme you could cut all the skits. I think maybe It Takes a Nation of Millions is the closest after Illmatic. Then Enter the Wu-Tang.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

Yeah, I could do without a few tracks on the Blueprint. And I kind of agree with your other points, though I'd also put a Roots LP (Things Fall Apart, most likely) pretty high on the list.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

Yeah, I almost put All Things there too. Though that one could use just slight editing. I guess the point is that Illmatic is the only hip-hop album with no wasted moments. Even the skit at the beginning is vital to the album, which is basically the only time you can say that about any skit.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

Pretty true. Some skits aren't necessarily essential but they're still hilarious/great like those on College Dropout, The Score, the early De La LPs.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

I don't like to throw around the word "rockist," but does anyone else think this list is preeeeetty rockist?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mattycakes/Kate+Bush.jpg mattycakes

Fact: a music critic's hero worship of U2 is a direct function of age.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

Good point, LongestWinter. Myself, I like only four or five U2 songs, and really don't care for much more (though I understand why Joshua Tree is a classic).

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

Yeah, I'm in the same boat as you, andross.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

I loved Achtung Baby, but come on. Everyone knows the best album of the last 25 years is Daft Punk's Discovery. Duh.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/brian/red_tree2.jpg brian

Yeah, Joshua Tree is the only U2 album that would make any sort of best of list for me.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

I wonder how many people are pissed simply because it's not a Radiohead album

/site_media/uploads/images/users/dukkookim/6460_1130716601218_1626340558_309884_1280450_njpg.jpg dukkookim

Look up Achtung Baby on itunes and read the first review- it's by Jeff Tweedy

/site_media/uploads/images/users/dukkookim/6460_1130716601218_1626340558_309884_1280450_njpg.jpg dukkookim

It wasn't clear to me whether this list was the "most influential" or the much more fuzzily defined "best" albums of the last 25 years. I am not a huge U2 fan by any means, but I think Achtung Baby is their best album and it really did provide a blueprint for a lot of the bands that Spin has covered since and have blown up. Basically, rock music that is artsy while at the same time universally appealing - Radiohead, anyone? Achtung Baby still holds up, too. Accusing this list of being "rockist" is somewhat beside the point - Spin is an "alternative rock" magazine last time I checked. Pretty much they had to do anything except call Black Eyed Peas the most exciting thing about music to maintain better credibility than Rolling Stone. List fatigue is real though, so over lists.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/MFB/profilepicjpg.jpg MFB

Achtung Baby is not only U2's best album it is simply one of the best albums of all time and anyone who doesn't think so doesn't know jack all about music..period,end of discussion.


"anyone who doesn't think so doesn't know JACK all about music.." OH THE IRONY!

/site_media/uploads/images/users/MFB/profilepicjpg.jpg MFB

and his name is jack. i'd take a few U2 albums before Achtung but there's little disputing its influence.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/dukkookim/6460_1130716601218_1626340558_309884_1280450_njpg.jpg dukkookim

I agree - 'Achtung Baby' is one of the best of all time, and sure, let's say the best in the past 25 years - if you don't agree, give it a long listen - close your eyes with a good pair of headphones and believe


can you give it a longer listen than it technically is? maybe stretch out the songs a few minutes longer will do the trick. does sound romantic though

/site_media/uploads/images/users/dukkookim/6460_1130716601218_1626340558_309884_1280450_njpg.jpg dukkookim

What's the point of this article ?, Whiny ruminations about Bono ?, Yaaawn, How lame and predictable. The simple fact is:

Achtung Baby is one of the best rock albums of all time, Nick Neyland: you need to get your ears checked.

Even Radiohead loved Achtung Baby in those days (1991) , and were inspired to make a record of the same caliber, six years later....


No, dukkookim, just need to listen without stupid prejudices...

This album STILL sounds very modern, fierce and inventive.


Point is that 'Achtung Baby' is a terrible pick at #1 or even in the top whatever.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba


/site_media/uploads/images/users/vivatherock/mejpg.jpg kbachor

Achtung Baby is U2's best album but...THE BEST album of the last 25 years????...I wonder how much U2's management paid SPIN to put these guys at #1 to remind everyone that they are still around and remotely relevent. Jeeez guys get over the need to be #1 and constantly loved you are successful, rich and have so many awards (granted some of those were bought as well, but still...) once you make the hall of fame no need to keep pushing the we are here, we are here, we are here! crap.


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