U2’s main video for “Vertigo” was, as far as I can recall, the first U2 video to feature heavy use of computer generated images. The video was directed by the duo of Alex Courtes and Martin Fougerol. U2 would go on to work with Mr. Courtes several times after “Vertigo” on subsequent videos, and the videos that he would help create feature. almost without exception, lots of CGI. That’s OK…I am not one of those fans that needs everything to be accomplished by traditional means. In fact, I enjoy some pretty CGI, but I get concerned when the movie or video leans too heavily on modern technology and the filmmakers forget that CGI just exists to help them tell a good story. Fortunately, that is not the case here, as there is just enough of a story, just enough meat here that the video gets a passing grade from me. “Vertigo” is a fast, dynamic song, and to try to weigh the video down with lots of deep meaning would have been a mistake. Instead, those involved in the decision-making process wisely chose to make something quick and dirty and flashy to go along with this song. That’s not to say that the video didn’t require a lot of takes or a great deal of effort, but the final, end result feels energetic and spontaneous to me.
The story goes like this: the band members are marooned in the desert, burning with the power of their song, leaving a trail of smoke in their wake. The desert sands are shifting beneath them, leading to a vertiginous feeling. There are sand storms and spiraling ground around them, plunging the band into complete darkness at one point as the desert swallows them up. There is also lots of nice aggression on the part of the band members, which is appropriate for such a rocking song. I really love the moment when all of the sand rings around the band come crashing down simultaneously with Bono’s knees hitting the ground. The song slows to a halt and everything stops for a millisecond before launching back into high gear.
I feel that this video is perfect for this song. As high-energy and guitar driven as it is, “Vertigo” is still just a great, simple pop song with fantastic melodies and a sing-along hook that is made for top 40 radio and stadiums. As I stated earlier, a video with a deep meaning would have been inappropriate for a song like “Vertigo.” This video was a fun way to present U2’s new song, and new album, to the world, and I don’t think I could have done better if the band had paid me to do so. The band members all look cool in their black outfits, and all-in-all, I think that this is a very successful video. There were a couple of other videos made for the song “Vertigo,” and none of them are bad, but I think that this one is the best of the bunch. Next week, we will take a look at one of the other videos that the band made for “Vertigo,” and I hope you will come back to read what I have to say about it.
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