Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Bono's Hotness Window
In lieu of watching this year's (reportedly unwatchable) Video Music Awards, Roommate Mark and I settled in for a vintage copy of the 1993 VMAs that I acquired Through Methods. Partly because we're into time-capsule stuff like that -- especially during the '90s, the VMAs were like a yearbook of whatever had been going on in popular music at the time. '93 was especially interesting because it featured the visibly uneasy co-existence of the Grunge People and the Gangsta Rap people, and watching that kind of heterogeneous mixing and mingling was instructive.
Anyway, one of the performances was U2's The Edge doing that song "Numb." Remember, the one where he just mumbles in a monotone about how very much he's against media manipulation, because if there's one thing U2 will not stand for, it's any kind of media manipulation? Our reaction was basically "This is stupid," because it was. But I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that there used to be something about this song that I liked. Then I looked up the video on YouTube and I remembered.
Bono nestling his face up in The Edge's neck, singing falsetto in his ear -- it's not surprising that this made an impression on impressionable me when I was in junior high. If you'd ask me now if I think of Bono as hot, I'd say no. Too mullet-y in the '80s. Too Patron Saint of Liberal Guilt now. But that little moment up there comes from that short window in the early '90s -- post-Joshua Tree, pre-Pop -- when it was alllllll working for Bono. That's the tenuous theory I was working with when I came across the music video for "One."
Hello, Bono's intriguing chin scar. What's up, maddeningly-alluring, cigarette-smoking Irish romantic poet in a warmly-lit pub, flanked by sin and a Heineken bottle? I'd like to stare at your face for a long while.
Anyway: theory now proved. And kudos to director Anton Corbjin. Sure, he got raves for movies like Control and The American, but for my money, his finest professional accomplishment was this here video. It just all looks so handsome, and not just Bono. ...Okay, mostly Bono. Did we ever truly appreciate that narrow window of Perfectly Sexy Bono, Singing About Stuff That's Not Genocide?