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Coldplay- Paradise

Analysis of Indie Rock band Coldplay's 'Paradise' music video.

Simisola Fatona

on 5 March 2013

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Transcript of Coldplay- Paradise

Victim:the elephant at the start who is in captivity at the zoo.The cage that he is in emphasises this. The fact the he is holding on to the bars (and his actions: he sighs and looks down) shows that for now, he can't do anything about it. At one point, the audience are placed inside the cage with the elephant which allows sympathy. PROPP Equilibrium- The elephant being trapped in the zoo- natural setting TODOROV Hero- his band mates who in a sense come to his rescue, so that he isn’t alone anymore- he is in Paradise with them. This links back to the beginning when he was counting down how many days he had been without his band (chalk drawing) His upmost desire is to be with them in paradise. Resolution- He gets to his paradise with the rest of his band- where they perform the end of the song through two performance shots: one in the desert and one on stage. The paradise (as a band) could be performing on stage to their fans. Villain vs victim- villain as represented by a place ( the zoo) for trapping the elephant who is the victim.

Dreams vs reality- as shown through the lyrics- “she dreams of para-para-paradise." The Paradise is the dream but the reality is that the paradise she desires isn't easy to get to. This is shown through everything the elephant had to do to reach his paradise. STRAUSS Donor:unintended donors in terms of objects- the airplane that helps him in his escape to ‘paradise’ and the suitcase he hides in to get out of the airport- again aiding his escape. Who is dressed up as an elephant? Towards the end of the video, this is answered as he takes off the head of the suit- we see that it is lead singer Chris Martin. BARTHES The use of slow motion emphasises a happy and dramatic moment- finally he’s found it and so is basking in his paradise. The lyrics “And so lying underneath those stormy skies/
She’d say oh oh oh oh oh I know the sun must set to rise.” reflects the idea that through all the trouble (stormy skies) you’ll find paradise after (sun must set to rise)

This links with the blurry scene where Chris sees his other band mates and is reunited with them- that is the paradise he had been longing for. Relationship between the music and the visuals:
All the cuts at the beginning are in sync with the powerful piano notes to add to the stunning imagery that accompanies it.

Cuts to keep in with the fast paced movements of the video.

The camera work at times put the audience within the story so that they become a part of the journey. Shot from behind- we follow the elephant on his journey (links to the emphasis on looking) Music videos have genre characteristic:
Being an indie rock band, they have performance shots- coming in two types- emphasising that they are a band more lenient towards to performance side-they wear the head of the elephant costumes in the real concert- which links with the dynamic stage performance. A clear transition is used to show the change where the pace returns to normal. Intertexual references:
The music video is made to look like a documentary/film with the different title slides for: their record label, the director, name of the band and title of the song. Relationship between the lyrics and the visuals:
At the beginning of the video, the word 'PARADISE' is written in bold black letters on a backdrop of a sun rise in Africa with the shadows of the animals. The colours/ scenery, arguably, can be associated with a perception of paradise. GOODWIN Villain- as represented by a location- the zoo where he is trapped, preventing him from fleeing to reach his Paradise. Disruption- he escapes- shown through the long shot in a comical scene where two police officers attempt to chase him down- and begins his journey toward finding paradise using different modes of transport (Boris bike, train, plane, unicycle) The low angle shot on the Boris bike builds anticipation as the guards are close behind- will he get on it in time? New equilibrium- They run away together. Could this be to a continual paradise? Or even a brighter future? Who are those other people? This too becomes answered we see that it’s the rest of the band. Who is the girl he is singing about? Why is he dressed in that costume?
At the end of the video, we could ask :Where are they running off to? When he is singing the 2nd verse, he holds up the lyrics to the song which are written in black on cardboard (cue cards.) There is a wipe used to emphasise the change from a dream to reality represented by a close up of the Heathrow Airport underground stop to being at the airport. The flash of white shows this change and occurs during the instrumental section of the video (chimes and drumming.) There is then a cinematic shot of the airplane which reflects the calm atmosphere with the soft piano and is amplified by the shot of the clouds underneath. Close up of of the guitar (played by lead guitarist Johnny Buckland) which links with the guitar solo being played at that moment. Often due to the demands of the record label, artists videos will include many
close ups of the artists and will often develop motifs that reoccur across multiple videos:

Lots of close ups of the elephant- but its not until the end that we know its Chris in the suit. This links with the idea of the emphasis of looking as we are drawn into his storyline through these close ups of his eyes which are focused on the audience- we are really looking into what he is singing about. Different choices of clothing (unique) and vehicle (unicycle- vintage)

Long shots to follow the fast paced action and to give more information of their location.
Use of different instruments- e.g. chimes. Performance shots of the band- usually on the guitar solos/ instrumental, showing they are quite energetic on stage as shown in Fix You. This is layout it also evident in films. For example, Around the World in 80 Days (2004)in this case has: the name of the film Production Company, the director, the name of 2 lead actors and the title of the film. Although Coldplay may not have directly got the reference from here, this example is showing the similarities. There is also the reference to a song called Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKkp8R35l2g) This video has been quoted to be one of the earliest ‘music videos’. He also used cue cards for the some of the lyrics to match the song as it went on. The idea of conflict within the visuals vs the lyrics the elephant is stuck in the zoo which contradicts with the nature of the song and the ideas of paradise that has connotations of freedom, delight and happiness. It is impossible to feel delight or happiness when you are trapped somewhere you don't want to be. Promotes a care-free, comical side to their videos to show that they like to experiment- they like to do things that aren’t expected for example,the video for The Scientist is backwards, in which Chris had the difficult task of actually singing the song backwards. This embrace occurs when he sings “This could be para-para-paradise.” The two kids at the
beginning who give him money
as he busks (which he later
uses to buy a unicycle) Although these are not other forms of media, they can still,
I believe, be classed as references:

In the 2nd verse, they reference one of their other songs Every Teardrop is A Waterfall as he sings “Every tear a waterfall.”

There are also clear references to London (with the Boris Bike, the Underground and the telephone box) which could be seen as the reality and another location (Africa)- with the desert and animals- which could be seen as the dream or the ‘paradise.’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JI-o25K6B-E) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqWLpTKBFcU) Freedom vs entrapment: He has the right to freedom so the entrapment is the fact that he is trapped in a zoo where he is not free. This entices him to break the law by running away from the zoo (which prompts a chase led by two police officers) to regain that freedom that he is entitled to. The freedom, in this case, is to have his paradise
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