U2 VidWorks – Song for Someone (Matt Mahurin version)

This week, we are examining the 2015 video for “Song for Someone,” by director and producer Matt Mahurin. Mahurin’s name should be familiar to U2 fans as he has worked with the band in the past, most recognizably on the video for “With or Without You.” Mahurin is, as opposed to a storyteller, an artist, and I mean that in the most esoteric way. His videos are full of images that mean to incite the viewers’ imagination, rather than to explain or to tell a story. Just take a look at his video for “Love is Blindness,” which is a series of non sequiturs and strangeness. “Song for Someone” is slightly more logical than that other video, but it still mainly focuses on singular images than on things that follow one from another in a linear sense. All that said, there is a logical focus on light toward the end of the video, which comes from the song’s lyric in the chorus “If there is a light, don’t let it go out.”
The video starts out with an unknown man running and falling in the sand. There are cracks in the ground that emanate from where he fell in a sequence that I quite like. There is also a shot of some trees that, at first, resemble Lichtenberg figures. There is a close-up on the man’s eye, then his hand clutching the dirt, then, just as the song launches into its first chorus, we see the man rising dramatically from where he fell. Lightning arcs across the sky in a stunning display. The second half of the video is taken up by images of a light stolen from the sky and all of the places it appears. In the man’s hands, inside the man himself, in a Ferris Wheel, and so on. The video ends with a crowd of silhouettes moving toward the camera with a spot of light appearing inside each of these specters. The light diffuses until the whole screen is white. Throughout all of this, Bono appears singing his song. He looks great and does his usual fantastic job of emoting and making the listener and the viewer believe in the song. My main complaint with this video is that Bono is the only U2 member to appear. The absence of Larry, Adam, and Edge is especially notable in the second half of the song, when the drums and guitar really pick up.
In summation, this video is something of a mixed bag. I like some aspects of it that really are fabulous, and the black and white video really is beautiful, but it would be improved immeasurably by the inclusion of the other members of U2. I’m really on the fence about this video, and so I am asking anyone who reads this to comment below with your thoughts on Mahurin’s video for “Song for Someone.” Next week, we will be moving on to Songs of Experience with the live video for “The Blackout.” Tune in then and be sure to contribute to the conversation! 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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