U2 music videos: then and now

A more recent picture of U2, a steadily popular alternative rock band since the 80s. As the band has aged, their sound and style has changed with the times.

U2 has been a consistently relevant band in the music industry since the early ‘80s. While they are arguably better known for their older albums Boy, War and The Joshua Tree, they have continuously produced music over the years. Recently, the band was heavily broadcast because of the free, unsolicited release of their 2014 album, Songs of Innocence, onto every Apple device owner’s iTunes library.

As the times have changed, U2’s sound and music videos have changed as well. While they have maintained their unique sound, they have also adapted slightly to the direction that the music industry has gone — towards a more autotuned and a less acoustic instrumentation.

U2’s music videos have always leaned towards a more simplistic style. The music video for “Pride”, released in 1984, was in black and white and featured the band mostly playing for an empty room that began to fill with people. As it filled, the people seemed in awe of the band’s performance. The sound that the video had was acoustic and was visually simple — it matched the band’s music and image well.

They released “Walk On” in 2000 — this video was similar to “Pride” in the sense that it contained a lot of video of the band playing, as well as video of them enjoying what seemed to be a vacation in a tropical country. It showed U2 driving around the city, playing soccer and sleeping in their hotel room. The video showed the way U2 interacted as a band and made the song have a personal quality. Both of these videos seemed to have a genuine quality to them and showed the band more in their natural state, just as their music seemed to be natural and unique.

This past year, when they released “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)”, their accompanying video changed their image drastically. A much older U2 was presented in a heavily edited video of the band playing against a very colorful, distracting background. Combined with the more autotuned sound of the accompanying song, they seem to have molded to today’s image of theatrics and heavy editing — resulting in a lackluster music video and song itself.

In adapting to the dramatic and over-edited style of today, U2 has lost some of its originality by changing with the times.


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