If you were to take Achtung Baby as a narrative (I wouldn’t, but do as you please), then this’d be the bit where all the arguments, bitterness, reflections, diatribes and conflict between the protagonists finally reach a point of no return. That final hope within “Ultraviolet” has gone, and there’s no hope left, no more energy to continue, and the characters in question are stretched to breaking point, hence the (brilliant) lines And I must be an acrobat/To talk like this/And act like that, along with the title.

This is also the sole song off Achtung Baby that hasn’t been performed live. Judging from band quotes, it seems that this is mostly a lyrical concern, but this seems slightly fretful considering that there’s music to level a stadium with behind those lyrics. The hesitant opening tones lead to a build suggestive of erupting waves in a storm, boat motors storming and those involved hanging on for dear life. It’s possibly one of the Big Moments of the album, along with a solo that arguably rivals the one on “The Fly”, that climbs upwards and upwards but suggests an overstretching, with that final verse acting as the collapse downwards. There’s a tough, embattled sentiment here – So don’t let the bastards grind you down – but there’s also a great deal of cynicism and realism within the song too, which is certainly a far cry from the sentiments of War eight years earlier. The song (and the album) is all the better for it.


~ by 4trak on June 1, 2008.

One Response to “Acrobat”

  1. […] their own self-promotion (well, self-reference, which is not totally dissimilar) here – the phrase Dream out loud making a reappearance in a lighter context; where its older, darker mention was pleading and […]

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