Today we are taking a look at the first video filmed for “Staring at the Sun,” which was directed by Jake Scott, son of famed filmmaker Ridley Scott. To be frank, I like this video quite a bit, and I definitely prefer it to the second video, although the members of U2 don’t seem to share that assessment. I say that the band members don’t agree with my assessment because once the second video hit the airwaves, this one quickly became a rarity, as though the band was trying to forget it ever existed, much as they would do in subsequent yearas with the entire Pop album.
My opinion is that there are some shots in this video that are pure amgic, such as the image at about 32 seconds, where a scatter of light particles sprays out from behind Edge’s slowly unfolding hand, and some of Bono’s anguished facial expressions, which go hand-in-hand with the theme of the song. In fact, that is another one of the things that I really like about this video…it relates to the message of the song. Just as Bono sings about staring at the sun, and how it leads to blindness, willful or otherwise, we are plied with a series of images of the band, distorted and obscured by light. It is a wonderful representation of the song’s lyrics.
I wish that I knew more about how the visual effects in this song were accomplished, whether they were all practical effects or if some of them were accomplished with the rudimentary CGI of the day. I have to tell you that this is one gorgeous video. From the opening shot, of a blue corona of light, Jake Scott’s vision for this song is one of one of utter beauty. I really hope that some day, Pop gets the reissue treatment that the band is currently giving to All That You Can’t Leave Behind, because I would love to see a remaswtered edition of this video in high-def.
Another aspect of this video that I appreciate is how the images on the screen and the rate of speed at which they appear and move match the tempo of the song. At the beginning, when the song feels a little slower, and the guitar is mournful and forlorn sounding, the images on the screen move more deliberately, but as the song progresses and the climax nears, as things begin to pick up sonically, so does the tempo of the visuals that we are seeing.
I think that it is a shame that this video has seemingly been all but forgotten by U2. It is an especially unloved piece of promotion from an album that suffers from being unwanted in the first place. I know that there is a lot of love out there for the album Pop. Heck, even Bono’s daughter, Eve, names it as her favorite album from her dad’s band. Maybe someday the band will realize that Pop is deserving of some attention, too, and this video will finally be given the adoration that it deserves.
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