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Taylor Swift 'The Story Of Us' - A2 Music Video Analysis

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Julia Krupska

on 19 September 2012

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Transcript of Taylor Swift 'The Story Of Us' - A2 Music Video Analysis

Taylor Swift - The Story Of Us
Music Video Analysis The music video begins with a series of cutaway shots - from an establishing shot of an old building to the camera panning horizontally to the right showing a row of books, which allows the mise en scene to be established as a library. Focusing again on the mise en scene, it can be seen that the costuming is designed around preppy/school clothing, giving the impression that it's not a normal library, but a school library. This could establish the audience of the video as younger teenage girls who are possibly able to relate to the song more. As the camera continues to pan along the row of books, it suddenly stops on a book named 'The Story Of Us,' which therefore links the visuals to the lyrics as this is the name of the song. Cutaways of various close ups, extreme close ups and medium long shots are shown of Taylor Swift as she begins to narrate the 'story,' which helps establish and identify to the audience who the singer is. Cutaways of flashbacks from the past are used of Taylor Swift and her 'ex' as she continues singing, which provides background information and allows the viewer to understand the story. As Taylor sings 'I used to know my own place was a spot next to you,' an establishing long shot pans to the left inside the crowded library, which shows Taylor 'searching the room for an empty seat' - another technique used to link the visuals to the lyrics. Cutaways of various random students working in the library are also shown, possibly showing how they are completely oblivious to the tension that is being created between the two characters. An over the shoulder shot is included when Taylor notices her 'ex' sat in almost direct eye line of her inside the library. Shot reverse shot is also used when the male character notices Taylor - a technique used to capture the reactions of each character and how they're reacting to the fact they are seeing one another for possibly the first time since they separated. The silent interaction between the two characters continues throughout the use of cutaways and shot reverse shot. Taylor sings the line 'I've never heard silence quite this loud' which is a clever lyric that could be taken in the literal context - the fact they're both in a library where complete silence is expected - or the fact that these two characters are unable to interact with each other the way they used to and silence has become even more painful and awkward when they are confronted by one another.
Camera movement becomes slightly different towards the end. The camera zooms in on Taylor singing and when she falls to the right then to the left as well as sliding down the bookcase, shaky camera movements follow her. This is possibly showing how as she comes to the end of the 'story,' the storyline becomes more tragic and upsetting - obviously shown through her actions and facial expressions. The fact she is also placed between two bookshelves could also give the impression that everything is closing in on her and how she is powerless in stopping the breakdown of this relationship. As the video comes to a climax, a medium slow motion shot reverse shot is used to show Taylor and her ex approaching one another. This is possibly used to create even more tension and build suspense to keep the viewer guessing as to what is going to happen. As soon as a medium two shot of the characters facing each other is introduced, the students who had previously been working throw all their papers into the air - possibly representing the explosive outcome of Taylor and her ex coming face to face after all this time. A close up shot reverse shot is used of the two characters as papers carry on falling around them, therefore showing an extreme contrast between the commotion of all the students and the silence between the two characters who still seem to have no idea what to say to one another.
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