U2 VidWorks – Until the End of the World

I don’t mind experimental art. Heck, I even like the Passengers album, but sometimes a little avant-garde goes a long way. Such is the case with U2’s video for “Until the End of the World,” directed by Richie Smyth. I know that Smyth is capable of making good videos because he was one of the minds behind the great video for “The Fly.” The difference between that video and this one, however, is a big one. “The Fly” makes sense, especially when considered in the context of the song and the tour that was soon to kick off. The ideas that drove that tour are evident in the video, and so it doesn’t feel like just a bunch of images that don’t fit together. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the video for “Until the End of the World” feels like. Some of the images are cool, don’t get me wrong, but considered as a whole, the video just doesn’t gel. We start out with a topless Adam in a darkened room, then there is some footage that appears to have been shot out of the window of a moving car. All of the members of the band are shown throughout the video in the same darkened room, individually, in various poses. Edge is shown covered in what looks like plastic wrap. In one or two shots, Bono is shown singing the words to the song, but other than that, there is no performance of the song shown in this video. As I said earlier, some of the shots taken individually are kind of cool, such as the shots of Edge wrapped up in plastic, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what, if anything, those images have to do with the meaning behind the song. It seems that at one point, “Until the End of the World” was considered as a single. I wonder if the lack of a good music video was at least part of the reason that that idea was shelved. I greatly prefer the video for this song that was released on the Best of 1990-2000 DVD, which was edited out of the larger Outside Broadcast program. That video consists of a live performance of the song with some added effects at the end, and let me tell you, it is a dynamite performance. All four of the members of the band sound and look fantastic in this performance. In my opinion, it is even better than the other live performance that was released as part of the 20th anniversary Achtung Baby boxed set, although both of the live videos give me goosebumps toward the end. That energy, that feeling of excitement and losing control, is what I wanted from Smyth’s video. Instead, I am left scratching my head and wondering what I just watched. Next week, we will be looking at the fan-favorite video for “Numb,” so make sure you don’t miss it! Please leave some comments below or on Facebook to let me know what you think of the video(s) for “Until the End of the World,” and thanks for reading.

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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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