"If you look at music as emotion, then I think you'll connect us to the ballad tradition, to the wailing and keening of the old music."
Like A Video: All Because Of You
February 24, 2012
[Ed. note: This is the 7th in a series of essays by the @U2 staff about U2-related visuals and videos. Some essays may be informational and educational, while others may be more personal.]
While there is absolutely no doubt that U2's heart belongs to Ireland, the Emerald Isle does have to share some of those heartbeats with the city of New York.
The video for "All Because Of You" was shot in November 2004 during the band's promotion for their album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Seeing all of the elements in this video and how it relates to the song, I couldn't help but think that there was no better place for U2 to shoot this video than New York City.
Even the opening is proof of how majestic the city is and how what's to come is just as epic. A zoomed-in shot of the NYC skyline is suddenly cut to clips of police officers (one being tapped on the shoulder by Larry) and you can even hear their muffled voices. We then see Edge and Adam tuning up and a scene of midtown traffic. Bono makes his way through the crowd and Larry is seated on his drummer's throne, then begins to bang away into the song. Bono begins clapping along to Larry's beat as police sirens blare. It's time for mass hysteria, U2-style!
U2 make their way through the streets on their musical truck as fans stand in disbelief and sheer wonder. Bono opens the song with the lyric "I was born a child of grace" as the frame is hit with a golden wash of color. I thought this was quite fitting as it went well with the lyric. The color of the frame reminded me of the sun shining, like a new day beginning, like being born. He then sings the lyric "Everything was ugly but your beautiful face" and the camera cuts to a female fan running toward the truck. I loved this touch because it seemed intentional to reference something lovely in the lyric and have that be a female fan's face.
Once the chorus begins, Bono's arms are stretched out as he sings, "All because of you." It's almost like he's singing it as a prayer. The entire section of the chorus is devoted to clips of the fans running and screaming (pretty sure some were in tears too!). U2 are doing this all because of them. The fans are excited all because of U2. It's a circle of love.
"I like the sound of my own voice," sings Bono as he runs his hand through his mane of hair, with the kind of rock star swagger that only Bono could pull off. It's another cheeky touch by the camera in catching that. When he sings, "I'm not broke but you can see the cracks / You can make me perfect again," a massive crush of fans approaches the truck. It's a little ironic to have such a scene with that particular lyric. The fans could literally damage, or put "cracks," into the truck while putting U2 in a dangerous situation. But their love for the fans outweighs the danger. It's like U2 are saying, "Sure you can overthrow our truck. But we'll still keep on performing!"
During the instrumental part, Bono is wailing his signature cry as a fan literally cries when she gets near him. As the sun shines, the truck passes by the Rainbow Room and the band jams along. The mass of people continues to grow and follow them. There is even a group of (very smart) ladies who shout, "Larry we love you!" Cue to the typically tough Mr. Mullen breaking into a giddy smile. There's a tiny clip of Adam with his shades on, looking up into the sky smiling. I wonder if he's thinking, "I can't believe we're actually doing this!" The camera then goes to Bono, who gives a scream, and Edge's fantastic guitar solo begins. It is as if Bono then unleashes the guitar beast onto the crowd. We see the helicopter swarming over as Bono jumps and claps along to the mayhem his band has caused.
"I'm alive / I'm being born / I've just arrived," Bono sings as the truck travels along the Brooklyn Bridge to its final destination. After tearing through Manhattan, this section rings so true. The band has indeed arrived after making one hell of an entrance throughout the whole video. While Bono is singing the final "All Because Of You" lyrics, NYC is acting as the perfect background for him. It might be the only thing that could upstage his huge persona! Edge lets out one final chord and the song ends with a faint helicopter propeller sound.
I think what I really love about the video is it's really all about the music. There is no focus on a storyline, outlandish costumes or characters, or even an overall message to learn at the end. It's just the band, a beautiful city, and their fans united by song. But if there had to be a message, I feel like it would be U2 thanking NYC for playing such an important role in their career. When Bono sings, "All because of you / I am," I think he's referencing NYC being a second home to him. It's sung with such honesty and the joy on his face as he and U2 travel throughout Manhattan is clear. So yes, while Ireland might the only place to see U2 in concert, NYC is a close runner-up. I, and I think the band too, wouldn't want it any other way.
(c) @U2/Marino, 2012.