“Discotheque” was the lead video from U2’s 1997 album Pop, and, despite the somewhat cooler reception that that album received, it seems that Discotheque, and its video, remain well-liked by fans. “Discotheque’s” main video is very kitschy and fun, and heavily references club culture and the 1970s disco era. The video starts out with a mirrorball surrounded by stars. The mirrorball then splits open along the middle to reveal the band grouped inside, where the rest of the video’s action takes place. Appropriately for the song that it is promoting, the video is high-energy, with lots of brightly colored lights and mirrors, lots of people dancing around the band members, and the band members themselves dancing and performing the song. Stephane Sedanoui, the director of the video, does a magnificent job of capturing the feel of the song as well as the personalities of the four members of the band. Bono and Edge are in full-on rock-star disco mode–especially Bono, who continues his pattern, established on the ZooTV Tour, of manhandling the camera and crotch-thrusting into the lens. Adam is more laid back, and Larry appears mostly disinterested, even going so far as to blow a bubble with some bubble-gum while staring at the camera as extras sway around him. Later on in the video, Larry is shown with a dancing girl shaking and gyrating as she straddles him. According to the director’s commentary, this was done for Larry in exchange for the drummer taking part in the famous Village People parody that comes later in the video.
Speaking of the Village People parody, it seems to be the most widely remembered part of the “Discotheque” video. For the last portion of the song, Bono, Edge, Adam, and Larry dress up as the disco band the Village People and perform a little dance, set to the “Boom-Cha”s of the song. Bono continues thrusting his pelvis, and Larry can be seen with a rare smile on his face, as he reflects on the absurdity of it all. Honestly, the video for “Discotheque” is one of the most fun videos that I have ever seen, and it should be celebrated as the gem that it is.
In addition to the song’s main video, described above, there were two remix videos made in support of the “Discotheque” single. One, titled the David Morales remix, features some live-action footage of a mirrorball hanging from a rearview mirror, rolling around on a sidewalk, in a shopping cart, and surrounded by lemons. There is also some early CGI showing facsimiles of the band members being shot at by a lemon, in a manner that is reminiscent of the old video game Space Invaders. The final video incorporates music from Steve Osbourne’s Hexidecimal remix. Both of the remix videos feature lots of footage from the original Sedanoui video in addition to other footage that is unique to these remix edits. The video for the Osbourne remix is much more psychedelic than the other two, with lots of neon colors taking over, sometimes to the point that the viewer can’t make out what is happening on-screen. All three videos are fun and silly, and should serve as a valid rebuttal to all those critics who claim that the members of U2 take themselves too seriously.
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