U2 released “You’re the Best Thing About Me,” the gleaming lead single from their upcoming album Songs of Experience on Wednesday.
“You’re the Best Thing About Me” is a joyous ear-worm about romantic dissatisfaction. Larry Mullen Jr. holds time with a firm, stuttering pattern on drums, and the Edge carries the chorus with pretty shards of melody from his guitar. High backing vocals echo many of Bono’s lines, and the singer shows off his own falsetto during a gliding, multi-tracked bridge.
But underneath that appealing surface, Bono is playing the part of a malcontent. “I’ll be crying out, how bad can a good time be?/ Shooting off my mouth, that’s another great thing about me/ I have everything, but I feel like nothing at all,” he sings. “You’re the best thing about me,” he admits, before adding, “the best things are easy to destroy.”
The video, created by Jos Diaz Contreras and Santiago Carrasquilla of Art Camp with help from musician Ary Warnaar, takes pictures from photographer David Mushegain alongside hand-written lyrics and animates them one page at a time. “The concept for the video really came out of trying to figure out how to use photography and type in a way that felt tactile and exciting,” the duo tells Rolling Stone. “Lyric videos tend to rely pretty heavily on motion graphics and it was important to us to break out of that limitation.” The duo eschewed CGI in favor of spending “17 hours on our feet puppeteering the book with string.”
The band even contributed some tongue-in-cheek suggestions. During the line where Bono sings, “Shooting off my mouth, that’s another great thing about me,” the Edge requested a pic of Bono “looking full rock star, rip it out and crumple it up.”
Speaking with Rolling Stone about Songs of Experience in May, Bono said, “I thought it was done last year,” but admitted that the extra time in the studio “has made [the album] better.””The problem is we have 15 songs and to get them down to 12,” he continued. “We don’t like long players. The actual track listing is not set yet, but we have some proper, proper fuck-off songs.”
Watch below: Bono talks about the birth of U2.