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Analysis of Popular Music Videos

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Alice Richardson

on 17 October 2012

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Transcript of Analysis of Popular Music Videos

Analysis of Popular Music Videos Now that I have decided on my practical project, a music video, I thought that I should analyse some current popular music videos and highlight the typical conventions associated with them. I began by looking at Taylor Swift's new single and music video "We are never ever getting back together". Here is the video... Establishing shot of suburban city flats - bleak, low key lighting. The camera tilts 90 degrees anti-clockwise and zooms out showing that the flats are a small-scale prop. Non-diagetic sound of traffic with no backing track yet. The camera reveals the artist sitting by her windowsill - the viewers are looking through the window as though the are looking into her life. To the left of the shot, we can see a knitted bird giving the idea that the video has an element of being unrealistic. The backing track begins from here on. The audience begins to understand the narrative of the music video as we are shown a scene between the artist and a man arguing suggesting that they are in a rocky relationship. The music video is showing the artist's side of the story, making her appear as the protagonist and the man the antagonist. The shot is dark showing the time of day and symbolises the non-working relationship. Also, the artist is wearing bright, light colours reinforcing the idea that she is the good one being wrongly done by the man. The video moves onto a shot of the artist dancing with a band dressed in animal costumes. This part of the video is important as it reminds the artist's demographic (who are relatively young, 10-16) that the video is not based on too much of a serious topic and has an element of fun and youthfulness. A different scene and moment in time in the video where the audience begins to understand where the relationship went wrong between the artist and the man. There is an element of normality as they are sitting at a table and listening to music although there is a fusion of time periods as the man is dressed in jeans and a hooded jacket but is listening to the music through an old-fashioned CD player. Also in this scene, the artist varies between singing to the camera and to the other actor on screen. This shot shows a telephone call between the artist and the man. There is a divide down the centre of the screen showing the two different scenes and set - The table from the previous shot and a bar where the man is with another woman which adds to the storyline and reinforces the idea that the man is the problem in their relationship. The split in the screen isn't an edit, it is a part of the set that has been created for the video. Another shot of the band dressed in animal costumes which seems to be a recurring part of the video, taking away the seriousness of the topic of break-ups and adding an element of fun and humour which appeals to the demographic. There is now a shot of the artist and the on screen actor with their arms around each other as they are walking under a heart-shaped banner reading "Happy Days". This suggests that the artist is having a flashback of the good times that she had whilst in a relationship with the man. Also the sign on the side of the banner reads "Tunnel of Love" showing that this was a high and happy moment in her life. The camera tracks them, from behind as the continue to walk down the path and continues to track and then zooms onto the following shot. This shot shows the artist laying on her bed talking on her phone which corresponds to the music as this sequence includes a moment on the track where the artist stops singing and begins to talk. The camera has been made to look as though it is showing a birds-eye view shot but in actual fact the scenery is constantly moving and makes it seem that the artist is lying down when instead she is standing and leaning against the set. The lighting in this scene is low-key which highlights the low moment that the artist is currently going through in the scene. The audience have been brought back to another party scene with the artist as well as many other on-screen actors. At this point they are all dancing and throwing their arms up into the air showing a general feeling of joy and happiness which is portrayed well to the viewing audience. The lighting here is also low-key like the last shot, but does not have the same effect as it mainly adds to the feeling of the party and the time of day it is at, which is night time. In this shot, the artist stops dancing to open the door and sees her love-interest and instead of letting him in, she closes the door in his face. This shows that the artist has finally ended the turbulent relationship which inflicts onto the audience that girls can be tough and strong mentally. This idea appeals to the target audience as they are mainly teenage girls who may have been experiencing similar situations. Also, the camera tracks the artist to the door and back again when she walks away. This shot is extremely similar to the very beginning of the video where we saw the artist sitting by the windowsill before, with the blue knitted bird in the bottom right-hand corner of the shot. As the artist sings her last line of the song to the camera, the camera zooms out and tilts 90 degrees clockwise and zooms out. After tilting 90 degrees clockwise, the camera reveals the same small-scale scenery of city buildings like it did at the very beginning of the video. This shows that the story has run right through from beginning to end and has met the same conclusion. The lighting is once again low-key and there is non-diagetic sound of general traffic. The next video that I analysed was Carly Rae Jepson's single, "Call me Maybe". Here is the video... The final music video that I analysed was Beyonce's popular song "Best thing I never had". Here is the video... Overall Findings... The music video begins with a medium-long shot of the artist standing with her back to the camera, looking out of the window. The camera slowly zooms in on her. Diagetic sound of the song "Call me Maybe" begins from the offset. There is also a gold colour tint. Extreme close-up of the artist's face to show her facial expressions - focus is on the eyes. She is transfixed on something out of the camera's view. This creates intrigue and interest for the viewer as they want to know what she is looking at. The audience is now introduced to the love-interest of the music video who the artist was staring at - from the previous shot. The shot has been presented in slow motion, causing the audience to pay more attention to him. The man is also shirtless and looks strong and muscular which appeals to a majority of the demographic - teenage girls. Key Scenes... Key scenes... An element of comedy when the artist gets caught staring at her topless neighbour and in response she jumps down and hides out of sight. The chorus of the song begins from here. The camera angle is to the artist's right-hand side where the focus of the book in her hand can be seen. There is a change in location - the artist's garage in the video. Extreme close-up of the keyboard and the keyboard player's hands. This subtracts from the narrative of the music video and reminds the audience that the main focus is on the track. In this shot, there is a strong gold tint which adds to the up-beat music and the feeling of happiness. Comedic series of events and edits of the artist washing her car, as in the narrative she is trying to get her romantic-interest's attention. Here is another change of location as we are transported to outside of her garage. She is also dressed more provocatively - short shorts and her underwear is on show. Comedic once again - in the shot before, the artist knocked herself out and this scene is representing her dream and thought process. The scene is a spin-off based on a famous romantic novel - which was possibly taken from earlier on in the video where a shot of her with a book is shown. They are both wearing costumes and wigs, enhancing the unrealistic nature of the scene and there is an edit of the artist's name and song title as though it is on the front cover of a book and they are the characters on the front page. The man helps the artist to her feet and they are both smiling at each other and holding their hands. This adds to the romantic tension in the scene between both of them. This scene lulls the audience into a false sense of security, as they believe that the artist has claimed her prize - the man. The audience is transported back to the garage scene which was previously shown in the video, where the artist and her band reside. Close-up of the artist singing as she alternates between singing to her love-interest, the man, and the camera. There is a gold colour tint in the scene. Another extreme close up of an instrument - the drum and the drummer's hands which, again, reminds the audience that there is still the important element and focus of paying attention to the music as well as the storyline. As the artist has gone to the back of the scene to write her number out to give to her love-interest, he approaches the guitarist and gives him something. The camera angle is looking over the guitarists shoulder so that the audience can see the love-interest's facial expressions ans the artist in the back-ground. Close-up of what the man gave the guitarist - his number written on a sheet of paper. The "xoxo" which represents kisses and hugs, suggests that the man is romantically interested in the guitarist, which also suggests that he is homosexual. This adds an element of comedy, as the audience have been lead to believe that there has been romantic tension between the artist and the man whereas this theory has been contradicted only towards the very end of the music video. Medium close-up of the artist which allows the audience to see her facial expressions and body language. She looks shocked and confused and is holding her arms out wide in exasperation. This adds to the comedy element as through the while video, she has been running after the man and makes the audience feel sorry for her. Fade-out to black. Key Scenes... Fade-in from black. Mise-en-scene: White walls, white furniture, white flowers, white clothing - makes the artist seem pure and innocent although she is dressed only on her underwear which could be perceived as quite provocative. The main storyline throughout is about marriage and love which ties in with the white scenery and clothing. Medium-long shot of the artist. Close-up of the artist as she sings to the camera. She is holding a white rose which links to the theme of white and marriage. She twiddles with it and interacts with it, making her appear youthful and innocent. Long shot of the artist's reflection in the mirror - she analyses her body and for a moment looks insecure. The mirror not only reflects her image but more of the room around her which reveals that she is sitting on a double bed covered in white sheets and that there is a white wedding dress sprawled across the covers, this could suggest that she has just got married. Close-up of the artist as she sings to the right of the camera and does not make direct eye contact with the camera. She is also lifting up a white veil which reinforces the idea of marriage and love. Change of location - sea and sunset in the background: feels idyllic and serene which reinforces the body language of the artist who is holding her hand to her heart and is closing her eyes as if to be in deep-thought. Medium close-up. Change of location - backdrop of blue sky and hardly any clouds: uplifting. The artist sings the line "Boohoo" whilst rubbing her eyes in almost a mocking manner which makes her appear childish which is contradictory to the fact that she is dressed in a wedding dress which makes her look grown-up and serious. This action could appeal to her demographic who are females aged 19-25 who are on the verge of growing up but are not quite there yet. An old video recording of when the artist was younger and at a prom with a boy - flashback scene of who she thought she loved when she was young and naive but now realises what love really feels like and how badly the boy treated her. This is apparent as the boy is leaning over to look at another girl and is ignoring the artist, as her younger self. Also, the date at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen alerts to the audience that this scene is a flashback. Long shot of the artist who is against the same backdrop of the sky. She opens her arms out and lets them fall to her sides which exaggerates the theme of love running through the narrative as she is delighted at the thought that she has found someone better than her first love. Her facial expression shows extreme happiness as she is smiling as she sings to camera. This shot begins by looking at the train of her wedding dress by her feet, the camera then pans up and reveals the back of the artist in a medium close-up shot, walking down an aisle in a wedding dress. Extreme close-up of the artists hand as her husband, in the music video, is placing a wedding ring on her finger. The imagery and focus of the wedding ring links to the running theme and narrative of the video which is to do with love and marriage. Medium close-up of the artist and her husband walking down back down the aisle together hand in hand as the camera tracks them. The camera shot allows the audience to see their facial expressions which is clearly joy and happiness. A sequence of different shots and angles of a wedding after-party which shows the husband taking off the artist's garter using his mouth. The medium close-up used shows the artist's reactions which is clear embarrassment as she is covering her face with her hand to hide her emotions. Like at the beginning of the video, the scenery and clothing that is worn is all white which adds to the wedding which has just happened. This also suggests that the video is coming to an end. The final scene shows the artist walking through some pillars in a seductive and teasing way, showing her youth and allure. The shot then slowly fades to black. Artists are all female and have a similar demographic. The theme of love and relationships runs throughout each music video. The artists do not sing for the duration of the music videos, there are moments when they just act. Changes in location, clothing and hairstyles. Different people included in the video e.g. Main artist, love interest, band, extras Thank you for watching!
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