Cover albums are often anti-climatic. Ten-ish artists are randomly thrown onto a record honoring a classic achievement or artist. Usually only one or two songs are worth the cost or time. A cover album that defies this norm is AHK-toong BAY-bi.
Released in 2011, AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered honored the 20th Anniversary of a seminal U2 record (Achtung Baby) and Q Magazine’s 25th Year. The LP features a litany of impressive artists like The Killers, Patti Smith, Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, and Jack White.
The Killers take on “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” holds tightly to the original, but Brandon Flowers surpasses Bono’s vocal range on the song. Most of the record strays from faithful covers. Snow Patrol’s “Mysterious Ways” is a complete restructure of the dance track.
“Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” is not the only great cover on AHK-toong BAY-bi. The entire album is worth a listen. Garbage notably slayed “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” and Damien Rice created a memorable rendition of “One.”
The best song on the album is the Nine Inch Nails version of “Zoo Station.” NIN toned down the original song’s industrial influences, allowing Trent Reznor to deliver an inspiring interpretation of Bono’s lyrics.
U2 are the band that turned me into a music fan. Their 2004 album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb was a huge hit during my freshman year of college. Even though Achtung Baby is not my favorite U2 record, it is impossible to ignore its place in the band’s history. It contains an incredible number of hits and stands as the best example of U2’s ability to change their sound.
Their experimentalism is represented by the musicians that took part in the AHK-toong BAY-bi project. The album has a hybrid roster of musicians who tinkered with different styles to create a lasting interpretation of U2’s most imaginative accomplishment.
AHK-toong BAY-bi was originally released as a CD attached to Q magazine. It is currently available for download via iTunes.
AHK-toong BAY-bi Track Listing
Zoo Station – Nine Inch Nails
Even Better Than The Real Thing (Jacque Lu Cont Mix) – U2
One – Damien Rice
Until the End of the World – Patti Smith
Who’s Gonne Ride Your Wild Horses – Garbage
So Cruel – Depeche Mode
The Fly – Gavin Friday
Mysterious Ways – Snow Patrol
Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World – The Fray
Ultraviolet (Light My Way) – The Killers
Acrobat – Glasvegas
Love Is Blindness – Jack White
This post is a part of The Flat Circle’s Music Monday series, a recurring series that spotlights a new song, music news, or a deep cut from my personal collection. To catch all posts in the Music Monday series, you van subscribe to The Flat Circle via e-mail at the bottom of the page.
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