U2: Kindergarten Achtung Baby – Acrobat

As many of you are aware, the 20th anniversary box sets for Achtung Baby were released recently. There was a disc included in the Uber box called the Kindergarten Achtung Baby. This disc is track for track match to the original album but the tracks are preliminary versions that did not end up as the final product. This was the one piece of the most expensive box that caught my attention.

I have been lucky enough to listen to this disc several times. Over the next little while I will try to do a direct comparison of each track. The eleventh track is Acrobat. Here is the audio for the ‘Baby’ version:

Don’t believe what I hear
I don’t believe what you see
I just close my eyes
And I feel the enemy

Yeah, I’d join the movement
If there was one
I could believe in
Yeah, I’d break bread and wine
If there was a church
I could receive in

Cause I need it now
To take the cup, sip it slow
Make it hot
Without the low

I can hope
But not too much
When I see
That the wheel’s
Turnin’ round
So don’t let the bastards
Grind you down

Nothing makes sense
No nothing seems to fit
You know I’d get out
If I only knew who to hit

When the sky turns to purple
And the moon turns to blood
Will you dig me out
When I’m face down in the mud
Will you bail me out

Cause I can kiss
And you can tell
And I can strip
I do it well
You can hope
You can touch
But I know that the tide
Is comin’ ’round
But I won’t let the bastards
Grind me down

Oohooo Baby
No sense to me
Of what’s to be
Explain away

And you can kiss
And I can tell
And you can strip
You do it well
And I must be
An acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that

And you can dream
So dream out loud
And you can find
Your own way out

You can build
And I can wield
And you can pull
Can’t wait until

And you can smash
And you can seize
And lose big in
Responsibilities

And I can love
And I can learn
And I know that the tide
Is turnin’ ’round
So don’t let the bastards
Grind you down

This track is another example of the music being done and Bono working through the lyrics.  The tone and tenor of the song is there and much of the structure of the lyrics but it seems like he kept playing with the pieces trying to find what he saw as that ‘just so’ phrasing.

What I find most interesting is that here, I think Bono has already decided what the song means for him.  And what we can see between this version and the final product is him playing with details.

Little things like using ‘strip’ and having it end up as ‘swallow and spit’ point out that he had a directions and he is tweaking at this point.  While ‘strip’ is not subtle, it is far moreso than ‘swallow and spit’!

I really preferred the whole ‘sky is purple, moon is red’ verse.  I wish that one had stayed.  Overall though, this is an interesting exercise in the level of detail Bono works in.  It also shows his boundless creativity and willingness to keep at it until it really works for him.  And not that I doubted that for a second but the word ‘sincerity’ has almost become something critics have beat him (and the band) with.  But it really applies to his approach.  It matters what he says and it matters how it is said.

Now if that were true in politics…

Don’t believe what you hear
Don’t believe what you see
If you just close your eyes
You can feel the enemy
When I first met you girl
You had fire in your soul
What happened your face
Of melting in snow
Now it looks like this

And you can swallow
Or you can spit
You can throw it up
Or choke on it
And you can dream
So dream out loud
You know that your time is coming ’round
So don’t let the bastards grind you down

No, nothing makes sense
Nothing seems to fit
I know you’d hit out
If you only knew who to hit
And I’d join the movement
If there was one I could believe in
Yeah I’d break bread and wine
If there was a church I could receive in
’cause I need it now

To take a cup
To fill it up
To drink it slow
I can’t let you go
I must be an acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
And don’t let the bastards grind you down

Oh, it hurts baby
(What are we going to do now it’s all been said)
(No new ideas in the house and every book has been read)

And I must be an acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
And you can find
Your own way out
You can build
And I can will
And you can call
I can’t wait until
You can stash
And you can seize
In dreams begin
Responsibilities
And I can love
And I can love
And I know that the tide is turning ’round
So don’t let the bastards grind you down

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2 Responses to U2: Kindergarten Achtung Baby – Acrobat

  1. Brian says:

    Dude first chrorus is make it HIGH without the low. Make it hot without the low?
    Makes no sense. Even in early stages Bono is better than that

  2. Pingback: U2: Kindergarten Achtung Baby – Full Album Audio | Larry Lootsteen's Blog

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