Category: Music

Culture, Change and Faith: Achtung Baby & Social Business Transformation

File under: slightly off topic but personally meaningful.

Disclosure: I’m not a massive U2 fan. With that said, Achtung Baby is one of my all time favorite albums. It is a transformative recording from a band that had, to date, been cast as a folksy and righteous rock and roll band from Ireland. Achtung Baby is a product of the band intentionally losing its established identity, giving themselves time and room to explore (albeit contentiously), and birthing an almost unclassifiable masterpiece and subsequent co-opting of mass, and particularly, electronic media as part of the album experience.

vertigo

In 2011, From the Sky Down was released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the album. The film takes the band members back to Berlin to talk about the creative process of recording Achtung Baby, and in the act of creation, remaking the band.

One of the most insightful moments in the film is at the end, when Bono sums up the intention behind the Berlin sessions and the album. It is at once terrifying and inspirational:

“You have to reject one expression of the band, first, before you get to the next expression,” says Bono, “and in between you have nothing, you have to risk it all

I LOVE this. Applied personally, it is a call to action to grow, explore and transform. Faith in your instincts, talents and abilities bridge the gap between what you are and what you can become, and help hedge the risk.

It occurs to me that most organizations are in a similar state today – business models, culture, internal structure – basically most everything needs some level of transformation to thrive in the new increasingly connected and empowered market that is emerging globally.

How many will have the will to reject the “current expression” of the org?
How many will invest in the work needed for exploration and transformation?
Most importantly – how many will find the will and purpose to risk it all?

We will find out in the very near future.

ps: I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Berlin in 2011. I have to admit that I was not looking forward to the trip, but I wound up falling in love with the city and its energy- including the vibrant startup scene. I posted some of my pics from the trip here:
shots from Berlin

NIN: Year Zero – Good update

News.com has a pretty decent update on the NIN Year Zero campaign. (Thanks for the Link John Kraft!)

I’m not a HUGE NIN fan (i do like them), but I find this campaign fascinating. Especially that the RIAA is actually trying to get the “leaked” mp3s from the album (approved by Reznor) pulled from fan sites that posted them.

I wish the lost experience had been this cool…

NIN “Year Zero”: Incredibly cool backstory for new album

Everyone loves a mystery, including Trent Reznor, apparently.

Nine Inch Nails, Year Zero, Trent ReznorA few weeks ago I read about a new NIN song being leaked by being left in a bathroom on a flash drive. I had no idea it was part of an elaborate backstory to the new Nine Inch Nail’s concept album “Year Zero”

From RS’s “Rock and Roll Daily”:

“It all started with a NIN tour T-shirt. An overeager fan realized that the bolded letters on the back formed a phrase: iamtryingtobelieve, which if you add a .com to the end of it, takes us to the first piece of the puzzle. Here, we learn about the drug Parepin, which has been added to the water supplies of Orlando as protection against similar acts of bio-terrorism against Los Angeles and Anaheim in 2009 (or -13 BA…try to keep up).”

The Echoing the sound site appears to be the nexus of the community springing up around the experience.

As someone who used to devour the liner notes of every cd I bought, and spend hours listening to music with my friends, I find this fascinating. Trent Reznor & co. have created a mythology and a community for the upcoming album, well before the release date.