You can always count on U2 to deliver eye-catching music videos, but with director Alex Courtes, the Irish rockers may have found their muse. Together, the pair has produced some truly wondrous, cinematic stunners, including 2004’s “Vertigo” and “Get On Your Boots,” the first single from the band’s twelfth studio set, 2009’s No Line on the Horizon.
But while “Boots” presented fans with a striking, green-screen rendered visual collage amid a captivating performance from Bono and company set in the cosmos, the four-and-a-half minute clip for U2’s second single, “Magnificent,” which debuted on the band’s site this morning, utilizes the beautiful city of Fez, Morocco, as its backdrop.
Shot in March, the video consists largely of another brilliant performance from U2, inside the garden of a local riad. But the action does shift between U2’s performance, close-up imagery of people running through the city, and wide shots of the city, its buildings draped in white sheets, which slither off the tops of palatial mosques and the tiled rooftops of the North African city.
The video also features slice-of-life footage shot within the medieval city, of its ancient edifices, its bustling markets, its denizens toiling and its youth playing.
The song, which was originally titled “French Disco,” revolves around a pair of lovers “holding on to each other and trying to turn their life into worship,” No Line producer Daniel Lanois said in a recent interview. “We wanted to have something euphoric and Bono came up with that little melody. And he loved that melody, and stuck with it. Almost like a fanfare. And then I was involved in the lyrical process on that, because we wanted to talk about sacrifice that one makes for one’s medium or one’s art.”