MMV: Mysterious Ways

MMVAppropriately 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.

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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11 Responses to MMV: Mysterious Ways

  1. vinnieh says:

    Great post, I used to love the visuals in this video.

  2. Love the song, and Achtung Baby is still my favorite U2 album. The video is OK.

    • I agree about the video; it’s weird, and a bit interesting, but I don’t think it would become one of my favorites. The song is great, though. I need to pick up Achtung Baby one of these days (actually, I don’t have any U2 in my album collection, somehow.)

  3. Treva says:

    It’s interesting to me that you hadn’t seen this before. I very clearly remember watching it for the first time when I was 10 or 11 and thinking, “I have no idea what is happening here.”

  4. Spikor says:

    In the summer of ’87, with Rock 103 debuting as the first Rock-Only commercial radio station in town, and MuchMusic finally making its way to the dials of Atlantic Canadian TVs, Where the Streets Have No Name quickly earned U2 the esteemed honour of being one of the first bands–if not the very first–that was so overplayed I just couldn’t take it anymore.

    By the time this was out, my hatred of them, and this song, knew no bounds. I’ve grown to tolerate, maybe even like, some U2 stuff as I’ve gotten older… but seeing how I don’t know that I’ve ever been able to–at any point in my life since–listen to commercial radio for more than an hour in a day and not hear this song… It’s still #2 on my “Nope, Can’t Do It” list, and #4 on my “Not Even Drunk” list. I’m forced to change the station every time I’m able.

    What really gets me worked up is if after they play it, the DJ comes on and says, in all seriousness, something like “That’s a nice deep cut from U2. Haven’t heard that one in a long while.”

    Really? Did you just start working there? Have you been living under a rock for 20+ years? Perhaps you’ve been in some kind of Nuclear shelter for 2 decades, and have been listening to nothing but the one Paul Anka LP your grandfather was able to squirrel away without the cult leader discovering it? Oh, I get it. You normally listen to the Top 40 station, and even then, make sure you turn of the radio before the ’90s Lunch Hour starts, don’t you?

    Totally worthy of a MMV selection, though. If something can get me this worked up, no one can make the argument that it’s not iconic.

    I really love this feature, CO. I don’t post about music on my blog because it’s so subjective… Borderline politics/religion level trollbait if you’re not careful. And I’m not always careful enough.

    But about 90% of the stuff you’ve posted I can link to a specific memory or time, and that sends me ranting. And I like ranting.

    TLDR: U2 Bad, MMV Good.

    • Ha ha ha. I can understand being sick of U2… they do seem to be one of the more excessively played bands on mainstream radio. Myself, I went through about a five year stretch where I couldn’t stand to listen to Led Zeppelin because the local classic rock station played LZ at least once an hour — and had an entire hour every night dedicated solely to them. No band is an hour every night good.

      • Spikor says:

        I don’t know… if LZ had a discography the size of the Beatles or the Stones, I could probably handle it. But our “Get the Led Out” feature was definitely annoying when it seemed like every single night was Rock ‘n Roll, Black Dog and _______.

        Now they’re running “Mandatory Metallica”. I freakin’ love Metallica, and I’d probably be okay with it… except the station NEVER plays anything older than One, or newer than the singles off Reload. Thats, like, a 3 album window. Something like 10 singles.

        • If LZ had a discography as varied as the Beatles or the Stones, maybe. But honestly, I think even in those cases, even if I were a big fan, a solid hour every night would be tough. Especially since, as you say, the stations are not good about mixing it up.

    • I do like U2, but to this date I auto-skip over any of the popular singles from Joshua Tree because of how much they were overplayed back when they first came out.

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