U2 VidWorks – The Ground Beneath Her Feet

I am one of those fans who is naïve enough to believe that by immersing myself in the band’s work, their music, videos, concerts, and interviews, I can come pretty close to knowing the actual members of the band. After all, as Bono once said, (and I am paraphrasing here) If he is close to the music, and we, the fans are close to the music, then we are close to each other. Having said all of that, I find it hard to imagine how depressed the band, and Bono in particular, must have been following the reception that the Pop album and its accompanying tour received. It would have been easy to call it quits with the greatest hits package that they released in 1998, but somehow they found the courage to go on. I imagine that as the band was recording their songs for The Million Dollar Hotel soundtrack they were treading very carefully, although I read somewhere that that was an exercise initiated by Daniel Lanois to try and not spend so long in the studio, to make music quickly without obsessing over every little detail for months and years on end, as the band is wont to do. So that brings us and the band to “The Ground Beneath Her Feet,” and its video.
I have written in the past about what a great song I believe “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” to be, and, to be honest, the video itself is not as awe-inspiring as the song. I do believe that the video accomplished what it needed to in order to position the band for their critical and commercial comeback which occurred at the end of 2000 with “Beautiful Day” and “All That You Can’t Leave Behind.” “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” contains all of the ingredients that made U2 a household name in the first place. Imapssioned love song? Check. Haunting melodies? Definitely. Literate lyrics? Courtesy, in this case, of Salman Rushdie. Finally, a simple video with some eye-catching cinematography, reminding folks everywhere about what a great band U2 is, how interesting they are to watch perform? In spades, my friends. Without adding too many gimmicks or special effects to the equation, the video for “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” showcases U2 doing what the band does best, and it does it all with style and panache. I particularly like the single shot that opens the video. First, we see Jeremy Davies’ character Tom Tom reclining in the frame of an open window. The camera then moves out the window, around a corner, and back in the window that is next to the initial one, where we see Bono silhouetted against the wall, singing, while Salman Rushdie writes lyrics in his book. The whole thing is very artistic and captivating. The video never forgets that it is promoting the movie, but it also promotes the band, and I have to believe that that was the desired result. Next week, we will take a look at the video for “Beautiful Day,” when the promotional machine really got revved up.

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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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