After Rattle and Hum, U2 went away to 'dream it all up again.' Achtung Baby was widely regarded as a sonic and visual reinvention of the band: a step too far in some territories, where Adam's nude image on the sleeve was covered with an appropriately fixed X or clover. At U2's request, Achtung Baby was the first album by a major act to be released in two eco-friendly packages - the jewel box (without the long box attachment) and the cardboard Digi-Trak. The Digi-Trak featured long-box sizes cardboard, which, once its shrink-wrap and two plastic struts are removed, folds around the CD. In Germany, Universal released a 2-CD box set with a copy of both Achtung Baby and Zooropa.
The album peaked at No.2 on the US album chart and at No.1 on the UK album chart. It was certified multi-platinum by the RIAA with 8 million units sold. In Switzerland, Achtung Baby reached No.3 on the album charts and stayed in the charts for a total of 19 weeks and was certified Gold. In Australia, Achtung Baby was certified 5 times platinum by the ARIA.
U2 won the Grammy for Best Rock Album by a Duo or Group and producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno won Producers of the Year for Achtung Baby. Additionally, the album was nominated for Album of the Year. In the Rolling Stone annual reader's poll, it came No. 1 for Best Album and Best Album Cover.
Produced by Daniel Lanois with Brian Eno mainly at Hansa Ton Studios, Berlin, Dog Town, S.T.S., and Windmill Lane, Dublin. Engineered and Mixed by Flood with Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses and Even Better Than The Real Thing mixed by Steve Lillywhite
'All I know is that it feels like what I want right now, it's raw and rough and straightforward and down to the essence of things, quite unpolished in some ways and I like that.'
Edge in Propaganda 15
'I certainly think this record, 'Achtung Baby', is a new start and things move in shifts. I mean, there's another record that belongs with this, just as 'Rattle and Hum' belonged with 'The Joshua Tree'. I know that record, I can hear it in my head already.'
Bono, November 1991
'If you manage to get the four of them in one room with instruments in their hands you're going to get results. That has a lot to do with my job - just getting them in the room and playing.'
Daniel Lanois on making Achtung Baby