Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Retro Video of the Week: "Numb" by U2

After prodding from my friend Greg (as outlined in my lengthy call-and-response post a couple weeks about about U2 and the state of rock music), I ended up going to see U2 at Soldier Field after all -- although I did not spend the $400 Greg suggested I spend to buy a GA ticket, as I was offered one for face value.  I'll likely be posting about that separately, but in the meantime, it seemed like an appropriate time to use a U2 song as a Retro Video of the Week.  

Given that U2's tour is a 30th anniversary celebration of The Joshua Tree, you might expect that I'd go with a song off that album, but then again, I'm an enigma.  Instead of a depressing song about longing, deserts, not finding what you're looking for, or streets without names, I'm going with "Numb," off of the band's 1993 Zooropa album.  I always liked this song and its video.  In the '90s, U2 definitely had the mindset of pushing boundaries of weirdness ("Lemon," anyone?), and this is an example.  The song is a spoken-word piece by The Edge, telling us "don't" do various things, set to a riff that kind of reminds me of The Replacements' "Within Your Reach."  

The video is The Edge sitting in a chair, staring right into the camera for and "singing" the song, while his bandmates and various other people harass and physically abuse him.  Among other things, he gets smoke blown in his face, his ears and cheeks licked by two hot chicks, his face tied up with rope, and feet shoved in his face.  Every time I watch this video, I wonder how many takes it took to film because it's basically a one-shot take, with The Edge sitting there for a couple minutes at a time spouting out the words.  One chuckle or screw-up, and you have to start the whole damn thing over.  You can see him start to crack a smile at a couple points in the video, and if I was him, I would have been cracking up the entire time -- especially when that first foot crept onto my shoulder -- much to the chagrin of the director.  But if he gave me any shit, I'd be like, "You try not to laugh when water is dripping on your head, someone feeds you a spoon of yogurt, and then some overly exuberant kid slaps you in the face multiple times, bloke."  I assume he would call the director "bloke."

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