Appropriately enough, this week’s selection for the Monday Music Video was obtained by filtering the list through the random number generator once again. With over 7500 possible entries (and somewhere around 4000 distinct songs), there’s no telling what it’ll come up with. This time its mysterious ways and means came up with “Mysterious Ways”.
The song is something of an oddity. There are a lot of influences in the music, from pop to funk, and it’s different from most of U2’s well-known songs. Yet despite these differences, it’s still unmistakeably U2. The video itself capitalizes on this oddity, as well as the themes of the song (depicting love and women as unfathomable yet enchanting). There’s a strong psychedelic influence, and more shots than not are visually distorted in some manner.
Released on November 25, 1991 as the second single off of Achtung Baby, “Mysterious Ways” was a smash hit. It peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and would take the #57 spot for Billboard’s year-end chart for 1992. The video showed remarkable success as well on MTV. Though it would go un-nominated for any Video Music Awards, it was ranked #68 on the top 100 for 1991, despite being little more than a month old at the time. It would then pull off the relatively rare feat of making an appearance on more than one year-end top 100, placing at #23 the following year. When MTV compiled their list of the 500 greatest music videos of all time, it naturally made the list, coming in at #132.
Given MTV’s obvious love for the video, how did it go without getting a single VMA nomination? I don’t know. It’s all terribly mysterious.