U2 VidWorks – Every Breaking Wave (Aoife McArdle Versions)

This week we are taking a glance at two related videos for “Every Breaking Wave.” The first of those two that we will be discussing is the short film by Aoife McArdle. Watching this short film I am reminded of my own youth–hanging out with the punks even though I wasn’t really a punk myself. At that stage of my life, I had yet to experience real love, but I thought that I knew what love was, and I certainly knew what lust and infatuation were. I remember running as if my life depended on it, just like the youngsters in this video do. Fortunately, for all concerned, lives didn’t really depend on how far or fast I ran. In the Ireland of these youths, however, lives might have really been on the line.
It strikes me that the whole problem in these kids’ lives is sectarianism. Whether drawn along national lines, religious lines, or the lines that determine what faction you belong to as a kid, these youngsters’ lives are divided up along these lines no matter where they turn. It’s a good thing that Sean, the hero of this video, was able to look past some of the divisions in his life, or else he would have had to go without the support of Sandra, who is in many ways the only dependable part of his tumultuous life. These two kids cling to each other for dear life, and I can only hope that I never have to find out what it is to live life like that. The film leaves us with Sean at a crossroads, and I hope that he chooses to maybe go away somewhere with Sandra, and find out if their love is the real thing.
There are three pieces of U2’s music in this video. The album version of “Every Breaking Wave,” the acoustic version of that same song, and a unique edit of “The Troubles” which is very moving in and of itself.
There is also a regular-length music video for “Every Breaking Wave” which makes use of parts of the footage from Aoife McArdle’s short film. I admire the way in which the music video manages to hit a lot of the same emotional heights as the short film. We still get a sense of where Sandra and Sean come from, both emotionally and physically, and what life in that world must be like, but the story isn’t quite as moving in the shortened version. I enjoy both videos, and they both serve a purpose. The shorter version is a great promotional piece for the song and for what U2 was trying to accomplish with Songs of Innocence. On the other hand, the longer version tells a more complete story and is definitely worth watching if you have the time to commit to a short film.
Next week, I will be taking a gander at the video that promoted the acoustic version of “Every Breaking Wave.” Until then, I hope that everyone stays safe and healthy. Thanks for reading.

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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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