- 23 Nov 17
10 Hot Press writers share their favourite U2 moments as we get set for the release of Songs of Experience on December 1. On our third day, Hot Press' Head of Photography, Kathrin Baumbach, talks about her relationship with U2, and the band's relationship with her home city of Berlin.
The first U2 album I owned was All That You Can’t Leave Behind. It was a present for my fifteenth birthday. My grandparents, to whom I was very close, died around that time. I’ve had years in which I couldn't listen to that album because it meant so much.
To me, U2’s music is so profound, so true and so pure. Unless my heart is prepared for it, there are times when I find it hard to listen to them. They're like your first love. They break your heart but will always have that special place your life. I think their songs are similar to a relationship: they change over the years; once you get older you start hearing them in a different light. There is a lot of ambiguity in their lyrics, their songs can be as much about love as they are about religion, sex or politics. To have a song turn around on you like this is just incredible.
I’ve seen them live back home in Berlin and a few other places in the world over the years and it was always fantastic. They have this special relationship with my home city that shines through every time I see them there.
I grew up in the heart of Berlin, only a few years after the wall came down, in surroundings that I found to be very politically and socially engaging. There was a lot of music around at that time, with lyrics that confronted politics and society. In school we were still taught about our gruelling and uncomfortable history. I would argue that we have managed to learn from it, trying our best to implement a better society.
I think this is why we are drawn to bands who are politically outspoken and fight for the greater good. I remember a lot of people, especially in my parents’ generation, paying attention not solely to a band’s melodies but also their activities and opinions. I think Bono’s political and social involvement is one reason why Germans really admire U2. He gets a lot of positive attention in the German media, as opposed to what he sometimes gets here in Ireland. My biggest admiration for U2 comes from them not caring about what people think of them. Not only on a socially engaged level, but also in relation to their music. How much guts does it take for a young punk rock band from Dublin to release a Christian rock album as their second record? Or to have a beautiful song about a hangover be the very last song Joey Ramone heard in his time here? God loves a trier. And to be honest, U2 are really hitting this one out of the ballpark.