Hello again, faithful readers. This week, we are discussing the promotional video that U2 released for the acoustic version of “Every Breaking Wave.” Upon initially viewing this video, I admit that I was not crazy about it. I like all the keyboards and guitars and other sounds that are evident in the original version of the song, and the acoustic version felt a little simplistic to me. Now that this version of the song has grown on me, I find the acoustic arrangement of “Every Breaking Wave” to be a moving alternative, and watching Bono belt out this version of the song is something special. In fact, I would go so far as to claim that Bono’s powerful performance in this video is what makes the video worth watching.
I’ve written in the past about how powerful I find Bono’s charisma behind the mic to be, how moving a performer he is, and how much I enjoy U2’s live performances thanks to the energy that the band’s frontman brings to the table. Now that I am thinking about it, I can’t imagine this acoustic version of the song being promoted with any other kind of video. The power of this song is in that performance by Bono and allowing him to sell it in the video was a wise decision. It isn’t that Bono’s vocal is perfect but rather that in its woundedness and fragility, it is perfect for this arrangement of this song. I occasionally run across a comment on the internet that claims that Bono is washed up, that his voice has changed too much, that he needs to pack it in. The people behind those comments are missing the point entirely. I suppose that there is something to be said for a performer who achieves technical perfection. Singing well isn’t easy, and trained singers who are at the zenith of their powers certainly have a place in the discussion of great musicians. For my money, though, give me a singer like Bono any day. One whose voice is flawed and packed with emotion, whose singing comes from a place deep in their soul. A voice that is meant to reveal the singer’s heart, with all its weakness. One that doesn’t hide behind training and technical virtuosity.
I still have days where I prefer the more upbeat version of “Every Breaking Wave.” I enjoy a good pop-rock anthem, and “Every Breaking Wave” is one of the best, but this acoustic arrangement…when I am in the mood for pensive music that speaks to my soul, it has got to be this version. The mood lighting in the video is just right, the strings are breathtaking, and the rhythm section is absolutely on point. If it is true that a great song works even when you strip away all the bells and whistles, all the effects and studio wizardry, this is the song that proves that to be the case.
Thanks for reading my thoughts on this video for “Every Breaking Wave.” I hope that you got something out of what I had to say. However you feel about this video, I hope that you will take a moment to leave a comment below with your thoughts. Thanks again, and we will see you next week for a piece on the short movie, starring Woody Harrelson, that promoted “Song For Someone.”
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