U2 VidWorks – Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Right from the beginning, I should tell you that there is a lot going on in this video. Firstly, we have scenes from the live-action film Batman Forever, the soundtrack to which is where the song initially appeared. I don’t know a lot about how these kinds of music videos are made, so I don’t know if the film-makers have some say over what parts of the film are used in the music video, or if the makers of the video get to choose. My biggest complaint about this video is that there is simply too much footage from the film. I understand that everything that goes on around the film — soundtracks, music videos, novels, etc.–is done in service to selling the movie to potential film-goers, but I enjoy the animated sequences of U2 in this video a great deal more than I do the Batman stuff. On top of the footage from the live-action film, we have the animated footage of U2, including some rather interesting scenes with The Fly and Mister MacPhisto. The song is all about Bono’s take on celebrity, and how it can come back and devour the celebrity if one isn’t careful, so it is fitting that the video deals with how the media was attacking Bono and the rest the band, and how Bono’s transformation into The Fly saved him at the last minute, just as he was metaphorically plummeting to his death. Honestly, I don’t know if U2 would still be a band if it weren’t for the breathing room afforded Bono by his ZooTV Stage personas.
In this music video, it feels a little bit like The Fly and MacPhisto are the proverbial angel and devil, sitting on Bono’s shoulders, each trying to guide him in their respective direction. Both appear singing the chorus to the video, signifying that both are Bono’s ways of dealing with the celebrity status that had been thrust upon him. Another interesting note is that, toward the end of the video, Bono is walking down the street reading C.S. Lewis’ novel “The Screwtape Letters,” which is all about a senior demon in hell guiding his nephew in the ways of tormenting and tempting mankind. When a car driven by Elvis runs Bono down, his recovery leads to the creation of Bono’s devilish persona, Mr. MacPhisto, due to the influence of the book he had been reading.
One final note that I should make…the original version of this video was banned by MTV because of a word that American’s deem too dirty for broadcast which appears on a sign over Bono’s head. In the edited version of the video, that sign reads Mr. Swampy, an homage to a dog owned by Kevin Godley, who wrote the script for this music video.
To be honest, I could go on about this video for a bit, because there is so much band lore contained here, but I am already at my word -limit for this week. I would be thrilled to discuss the video further with anyone who is of a mind to talk about it. Just leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on this video, and we can dig as deep as you would like.

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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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