I worry that the members of U2 are feeling old. I noticed a while back that after this video, which showcases the band performing live from a barge in the Hudson River, there were no more videos in support of Songs of Experience, which actually showed the band. There was a fistful of remix videos for “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way,” plus a few other lyric videos for “Get Our of Your Own Way” and “American Soul,” but none of them shows the band in any way. The best reason I can come up with for this is that Bono, in particular, is feeling self-conscious and imagines that no one wants to see him promoting the songs. I could be way off base, and I hope I am. I guess that the campaign for the new album, if and when that album materializes, will tell the tale. If the trend continues, this video for “American Soul” might go down as the last great U2 video.
This video includes elements for an earlier lyric video for “American Soul” by Israeli collective Broken Fingaz. The first thing we see is a cartoon of American rapper Kendrick Lamar reciting his lyrics from the end of “Get Out of Your Own Way” and the start of this song. After just a few moments of this footage, we see the band standing on the barge, while the Kendrick Lamar footage continues on a screen behind our heroes. Bono starts repeating Lamar’s lines from his USA megaphone, and then the band charges into action. We see some additional footage from Broken Fingaz’s lyric video, and at this point, there is a significant error. We see the front page of a newspaper, citing lyrics from various Songs of Experience, and the paper incorrectly quotes “Love is All We Have Left” as saying, “This is no time to be alive.” Of course, the song says, “This is no time NOT to be alive,” and I am amazed, knowing the rigorous control that U2 typically exercises over such things, that no one caught this.
I’m glad that U2 chose to make this semi-live-action video for “American Soul” because such a high-energy song deserves to have more than just some abstract footage on a screen. This video is the perfect opportunity for our boys to show that they’ve still got “it,” and, as they rip through this song, I can’t help but get excited. There is lots of footage here from the Broken Fingaz video, but what really makes this video for me is the footage of U2 performing.
In closing, I have to say that, as an American, I think it is really wonderful that U2 took such an interest in our country’s politics over the last few years, especially. We’re still not out of the woods, but when I listen to Songs of Experience and tracks like “American Soul” it encourages me and helps me remember that the rest of the world is taking notice of what’s going on here, and that we’re not alone. Thanks for reading.
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