Often, the first single from a new U2 album is the first thing we fans have heard from the band in several years. Even though that wasn’t the case with Songs of Experience and its single “You’re the Best Thing About Me,” I was still anxiously awaiting the single and its corresponding video. To be frank, when I first saw the lyric video for this song, I was mildly disappointed. It isn’t a bad video, it just didn’t fully sate my appetite for new material from U2. I expected lots of footage of the band members being rock stars. I realize now that we had just gotten a video like that for “The Blackout,” and it can be dangerous for a band to repeat itself too often. With that in mind, it is probably a good thing that the promotion for “You’re the Best Thing About Me” started out with something different. Now that I know what came after this video, and that we did in fact receive something with a bit more footage of the members of U2, I can appreciate this lyric video for what it is, a cute introduction to the albums first single.
As I stated above, the lyric video “You’re the Best Thing About Me” really is awfully cute. The video consists of a book being flipped through, and on each new page, we get the next lyrics to the song. Often, there is also an image that corresponds to the lyric on that page, and there is even one picture of Bono as The Fly being ripped out and crumpled up, demonstrating that those days are long gone for the band. There is an image of a cityscape, a boy in blue, a girl in red, and even some pyrotechnics between verses. In addition to the images in the book being germane to what is going on in the song, there are also some treatments of the lyrics themselves that fit those words. For example, when the word “destroy” is sung in the first chorus, the word is crossed out, symbolizing destruction. In another creative move, the book of lyrics at one point becomes three books, turned sideways, and the lyrics at this point of the song are stretched out across the trio of tomes. One of my favorite aspects of this video is the subtle gradations in color that occur as the pages are flipped. During the song’s guitar solo, there is a neat almost-optical illusion with white and black bands moving across the books. Finally, as Bono sings the final chorus, the girl with the red filter snarls into the camera, highlighting once again the word “destroy.”
Overall, the video is a nice kinetic piece of work, and it whets my appetite for things to come. I would have been very disappointed if this had been the only video for “You’re the Best Thing About Me.” Fortunately, we would be treated before too long to an absolutely wonderful video of the band having a good time in New York. That video will be the topic of my next article. I hope you will tune in for that one. Thanks for reading!
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