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The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony Music Video Analysis

Analysis of The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony, in terms of costume, mise-en-scene and Goodwin's Theory

Joe Stevens

on 24 February 2013

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Transcript of The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony Music Video Analysis

Music Video Analysis The Verve
Bitter Sweet Symphony The Verve
Bitter Sweet Symphony Colour Filter The Verve are an English alternative rock band, formed in 1989 in Wigan. The band contains members such as Richard Ashcroft the lead vocalist, guitarist Nick McCabe and Drummer Simon Tong. Bittersweet Symphony is The Verve's most successful song, released in the UK on the 16th of June 1997. The song managed to reach 2nd in the official UK charts and 12th in the US Billboard Top 100, between 1997 -1998. Costume and Genre Costume is very important in establishing the type of genre conveyed by the artist/s and their music videos. Bittersweet Symphony focuses mainly on the lead singer Richard Ashcroft. Ashcroft is wearing a leather jacket, black polo shirt, black jeans and black clark wallabees. Mise-en-scene The mise-en-scene is very much the focus for The Verve's music video. Goodwin's Theory The music video to Bittersweet Symphony references two
of Goodwin's Theory points. For example, Bittersweet Symphony references Goodwin's Theory point , 'There is a frequent notion of looking'. Throughout the music video, passerby's are constantly looking back at Ashcroft - the main character in the music video - as he barges into them.

Bittersweet Symphony also conforms to 'music videos demonstrate genre characteristics'. For example, the costume is the main clue. The black leather jacket, and black trousers connotate mystery.

A detailed analysis of the costume and it's
connotations are explained, further
through the prezi. This type of costume is very common for rock bands, for example in Stereophonics' music video - Maybe Tomorrow - the lead singer Kelly Jones is wearing a leather jacket and black jeans. Likewise Green Days music video - 21 Guns - the main protagonist and his girlfriend are both wearing black leather jackets. The recurring factor is the fact that each item of clothing is black, this connotates formality and mystery aswell as having negative connotations such as death and fear. The video to Bittersweet Symphony uses a faint blue colour filter throughout the music video. The connotations of blue are calmness, tranquility and a sense of freedom. This is reinforce by the imagery within the music video. For example, Ashcroft (the lead singer) is shown barging into multiple people, without any reaction. It seems as though he is in his own world, like nothing around him matters. The whole music video shows Ashcroft's freedom, as he is unfazed by what is happening around him. The colour filter reinforces this further, allowing the audience to relax and enjoy the music. The use of colour filters such as blue, red and green are quite rare. The main filter used in music videos is black and white. These are used in many hip hop videos, such as the ones below. 99 Problems
- JayZ Streets Don't Love
You Back - Demrick The first few shots, are used to establish the location in which the music video is being filmed, in this case it is a built up city area, with road works and shops, very much like shopping streets in England. The setting suggests a working environment, where everybody is in a rush to get things done. This could be a metaphor for an unhinged society, where everybody is worried about themselves, which is reinforced by Ashcroft's actions throughout the music video, as he barges into people without a care in the world. The music video was inspired by Massive Attacks - Unfinished Symphony, where a woman walks down a street seemingly don't caring about those around her. Marketing of Artist Throughout the music video the artist - Ashcroft - has a sense of rebellion, like he doesn't care about the result of his own actions, like he doesn't care for no-one. This gives Ashcroft a sense of arrogance, which is often conveyed in music videos and related to the rock genre. For example, within the first 30 seconds of Green Day's - Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Billie Joel Armstrong (singer) kicks the car out of anger and slams the door shut with his foot. This was despite that fact that it got the group to their destination. The arrogance of Ashcroft, relates to the song title, Bittersweet Symphony. The word bitter is describes as 'having or being a taste that is sharp, acrid, and unpleasant'. This could be a metaphor for Ashcroft's unwillingness to accept others unlike himself, only feeding his arrogance. This markets the artist as a strong, independent but selfish man.
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