Friday, 21 September 2012

JP: Music Video Analysis

The Scientist - Coldplay, Thraves (2002)



We can use Goodwin's model to analyse the music video for 'The Scientist' by Coldplay, in terms of genre and narrative. Firstly, it is evident that the video is of the narrative type due to the storyline of the singer walking seemingly back in time to the tragic car crash that just occurred, however we can see that the video has performance elements to it, in that the main character (the lead singer) lip-sync the words.
Aside from the type of video that Coldplay adopted, Goodwin talks of the notion of looking. Throughout the video we are positioned with the lead singer, who is also the protagonist, and the camera seems to linger largely on him, and whilst this isn’t a fetishistic lingering, it is a voyeuristic treatment of the body and gives him prevalence.
This video is an example of amplification, because the lyrics in the song are about ‘going back to the start’, repeating a relationship that has ended, however the visuals are also about ‘going back to the start’, to before the car crash, which in turn ended the relationship. Therefore there is some relation between lyrics and visuals; however the majority of the time it is an amplified, illustrative relationship, and is not entirely disjunctive.
I believe that this video could be considered art because of the artistic way in which it is shot. The camera work is highly complicated because it is all shot backwards. This means that when in post-production, the editing team just reverse the footage and the lip-syncing will be correct and in time with the normal speed and words of the track, however the characters will all be going backwards.

The message or purpose of the video is that you should enjoy things while they last and you should try and ‘stick at it’ such as a relationship. This message is reinforced through the repeated lyric ‘let’s take it back to the start’ (hinting that the singer has a broken relationship that he wants to go all the way back to the start of and to start afresh).
The visual techniques that create the message heavily rely on the camera work and editing. This is because the idea of reversing things, changing things and altering a relationship is portrayed using the key technique of video reversal where all the footage is reversed so that everyone is going back in time effectively. Without the use of this artistic, clever camera work or special editing software to reverse the footage, the video may not be able to explore its full potential of reinforcing the social message that is being conveyed to the audience.


Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap, Eskils (2010)


The video for Sweet Disposition may be consumed in many different ways. The primary way that it may be consumed is through Web 2.0 sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. This is where the main market would lie as the video has got several million views. However, record labels will promote the video in many other ways including through music channels such as T4 or MTV. Before Web 2.0 sites like YouTube existed this was the primary mode of consumption.
Considering the genre and artist (alternative and The Temper Trap), the role that the record label would have to play would be vast in creating promotional texts. For indie bands it is often hard to get onto the music ‘scene’ and this is the first role that the record label play for the artist. Other jobs that the label would do in promoting the track other than creating a music video would be to make the digipak, posters and album artwork for the album, EP or track. In this sense it is essential for the artist to have a record label, as although they take a percentage of the sales from the music, the avenues for promotion would be far narrower and far few in number.

The Temper Trap are represented in an interesting, unique way through this video (which reinforces their genre and the way in which the video is shot). The desaturation throughout the video emphasises the indie feel of the music and editing techniques like the extreme slow motion make the video stand out presenting it as artistic and unique from other music videos, as well as making the product seem more aesthetically pleasing.
Key objects and props throughout the video reinforce the general star persona of the band, in turn adding to their meta narrative. The repetition of shots of instruments like guitars, drums and drumsticks conveys the band as a group that are dedicated to music and are extremely passionate about their creativity in the sound of their tracks.
As the video highly relies on the performance element, there is a lack of narrative and therefore it is difficult to isolate certain social groups and analyse the representation of them or the ideological discourse surrounding them. Despite this, it is evident that there are disjunctive shots reinforcing a more indie feel to the overall video, track and band image. These shots consist of smashing electric guitars through mirrors and launching drums and drumsticks through the air at a member of the band crouching behind a cymbal.


Hall Of Fame - The Script feat. (2012)


When watching the music video 'Hall of Fame', we can see that it is a video balanced between performance and narrative. The band image is being constructed through the use of camera work, lighting, colour and performance. From the video we can see that The Script are a lively, energetic, powerful band, and we can see this from the energetic performance that the band (especially the lead singer) create - involving various jumps and grabbing of the camera. The meta-narrative is also reinforced through the mise-en-scene.

The members of the band are dressed in dark costumes with grey or black colours, and this makes them look professional but also serious. Their meta-narrative helps to sell their product as people like pop bands and the music video is a way to promote the track.

There is also a social message behind the track and video. Lyrics such as 'you can beat the world, you can beat the war' suggest that the band are telling their listeners that anything is possible if you focus and put your mind to it. This is a common message in tracks where artists tell the audience that it is possible for them to become successful (like the band), if you work hard in life. The video supports this social message by portraying two contrasting characters: one, a working class young 'lad' who is training to be a professional boxer, and the other, a middle-upper class young teenage girl who is training to be a professional ballet dancer. Both characters suffer hindrances whether it be physical (the girl is portrayed as deaf as when she feels for the speaker the music is muted), or psychological (the boy faces rival gangs or teenagers his age and has to overcome these in order to train).
The intercutting between the boy and girl training and two professionals (a professional boxer and a professional ballet dancer) reflects the message and suggests that the two teenagers could achieve their dreams and become professionals. However, due to the low-key, stylistic lighting on the professionals it is clear that they are 'aspirations' and whether they are the future-selves of the two teenagers remains unclear and in this sense the video shows a sign of enigma.
The video represents two genders, two ethnicities and two social classes. This contrast helps to highlight the differences in class and ethnicity but also dominant values are being reinforced - with the working class boy striving to become a boxer; and a middle class girl striving to become a dancer, something that is common belief or stereotype of society. The artist may reinforce traditional ideological discourse to appeal their product to the wider audience, encouraging either males or females to listen to their music and watch their music videos or encouraging all ethnicities and social classes. This in itself is a way to promote their track further, in turn achieving more sales. 
The social message behind the video is another way in which the artist can sell more, because people like the idea that they are being told they can achieve whatever they would like to in life - especially being a star or achieving fame (a key word in the title of the track). The fact that the age of the characters in the music video are similar to the age of the listeners of the script encourages sales even  more - targeting a more specific audience.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent thoughtful comments and a great choice of videos to analyse. The last section in particular is very good. The part about whether the video is amplified etc is contradictory and needs amending. That will be full marks then.