U2 VidWorks – Mysterious Ways

The second promo video from U2’s album of reinvention, Achtung baby, was for “Mysterious Ways.” This song seems to be one of U2’s most well-known songs in the United States, even if the person who loves the song doesn’t know that it is by U2. I’ve known several people who professed to love this song but who didn’t know before my intervention that the song was by U2. I wonder to myself how much of that popularity is due to the video. It is hard to say because “Mysterious Ways” is such a strong pop song on its own that it didn’t really need a super-successful video to worm its way into the public’s subconscious. To be honest, I have some mixed feelings about the video, but the strongest element of the video is that Bono looks absolutely fabulous in it. In my opinion, this is one of Bono’s greatest looks ever…his hair looks flowing and amazing, his outfit is hip, and he looks every bit the superstar that he really is. The video is also appropriately sensual, with some shots of a belly dancer and lots of shimmying and gyrating from Bono himself. I would imagine that Bono had a good time making this video because of his self-professed weakness for belly dancers. One note that I should make here…I read somewhere that the belly dancer in this video is Morleigh, the woman who performed the belly dances onstage for this song during most of the ZooTV Tour and who would later go on to become the wife of The Edge. I am pretty sure that the dancer in this video is NOT Morleigh…the woman in this video looks a good bit thicker than Morleigh to me. Speaking of belly dancers, it just now occurred to me that all of the wavy camera-work is supposed to be evocative of a belly dancer, which makes it seem less random and gimmicky than I had initially supposed it was. That’s one of the problems that I have with this video, actually…it does seem a little gimmicky at times, with all of the artsy mirrored camera-shots and avant-garde images. In all seriousness, the video can be a little hard to watch at times because of the constant undulating, flickering, and unstable images. I also don’t approve of the heavy focus on Bono in this video…I know he is the front-man, the one that the focus is supposed to be on, but too many people think of U2 as Bono’s band, and leaving the other three guys out only exacerbates that problem. Larry hardly appears in this video at all, and Edge and Adam only appear a small amount more. So, on one hand, the guys all look great in this video, especially Bono, who looks like a million bucks, but on the other hand, the three instrumentalists in U2 don’t appear enough to really be appreciated. The video has a concept, but not a strong one, and the wavy images are a little hard on the eyes. Not U2’s worst video ever, but far from their best. Please, don’t be shy about leaving comments below or on Facebook and letting me know what your thoughts are on this video, and come back next week for another installment of U2 VidWorks.

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Ever since I realized as a kid, while poring over the liner notes of the Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom boxed set, that writing about music was a viable career choice, one of my greatest desires has been to write about U2. The band has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute a little something to the fantastic online community that's been built around the band.

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