It is rare for a band to release a single without it being part of an album, but they did it for A Celebration, putting it out in the gap between October and War. They’ve done a few others over the years, but usually for a specific event, like say Ordinary Love which was released for the movie, or Invisible for an AIDS benefit. A Celebration just seems to have been released with nothing in mind other than keeping the band in the public eye. Wish they had done that the last few years, right? Actually it might be a good strategy, releasing a new song every few months or so, if you’re not going to do an album. Or releasing stuff left over from the last album while you work on the next. Kind of like a writer releasing a new book a couple of times a year (or decade in the case of GRRM). It just needs to be worth releasing is all, not a high bar is it? I mean, if you can get people writing a song a day, or a song a month, why not a big band too? Could help the cash flow in, especially these days when the concept of the album is rapidly disappearing anyway.
This song I pretty much only know from the video that went with it. I can’t help but reference that video whenever I listen to the song, it’s difficult to listen with your eyes closed when you want to watch the video too. But when I watch, it all starts with a dominant Bono, and more specifically Bono’s hair. That’s just the start of the feeling of the early 80s, you can add in the sound which reminds me of Madness somehow. And Bono once again doing the terrible lip-syncing to the video, this one is possibly worse than usual.
I have no idea why they’re riding horses at one point, perhaps to prove they can do it after the New Year’s Day video featured some girls pretending to be them? In this case the horses mean nothing to the song. I also don’t understand the point of the shake shake part of the song. Maybe they were trying to get a club vibe going in it, to attract a new audience (or maybe to keep up with their audience).
I don’t get the reason for making the video inside the jail, either. It seems like there’s a lot of bands who find an interesting place to make a video without it being related in any way to the song they’re making it for. Now, A Celebration does have a couple of references to jail (“I believe you can loose these chains” and “I believe in the cells of Mountjoy”) but is that enough to base the video on? They could just as easily have placed it in a church for the couple of religious references. But as for the video itself, random walking around the jail, with some odd cuts and movements here and there. Like I said, definitely an 80s feel to it.
My rating for A Celebration: 3 / 10