Monday, 16 September 2013

FA: Deconstructing A Music Video

Ben Howard – Keep Your Head Up (Smith and Tozer, 2011)

Institution and Audience

 ·        This music video is likely to be consumed by a niche audience who for example, specifically search for the song on YouTube. This is obvious as Ben Howard is not usually in the high end of commercial chart music and does not have many music videos for his songs, however his recent track Only Love (2012) reached number 9 in the Official UK Charts, so he is becoming more well-known.

·        The main audience for this video would typically be ages 16+ as it is not a chart or radio played song, therefore the younger audience is less likely to know the song exists, let alone enjoy it. 

·        This video is most likely to be consumed through focused viewing as the audience would specifically have to look for the video, as it would not be used as background entertainment such as on music channels.

 ·        The video is conventional to the genre; the colours are very autumnal, such as the sunset. The locations are also conventional in that the nature shown connotes the feeling of being ‘at one’ with nature.

·        This is also very conventional of Ben Howard as an artist, as all of his music is categorically indie-folk, and his appearance anchors the image that is created by his music.
·        Ben Howard’s record label would have played a part in hiring the directors and deciding on the image in which Ben Howard should portray in the video. They would then ensure that all promotional texts portrayed this specific image of Ben Howard to create his own personal star image.

Genre and Narrative

·        The music video is completely narrative based with no performance, however Howard is shown in the video as part of the narrative; therefore a star image is created, but is unclear to the audience.

 ·        It both conforms and challenges Goodwins’s theory of music videos. One way in which it conforms is that the lyrics link to the visuals, for example ‘spaces that have grown between us’ and the protagonist is positioned in an empty field. Reference to ‘walking’ is also used in this way throughout the video, connoting the space and nature that he has in the video.

 ·        The video also follows the genre characteristics that Goodwin identifies; it conforms to the characteristics of an indie-folk genre through the use of iconography, style, form and locations used.
 ·        However, the video challenges Goodwin’s theory of ‘notions of looking’ in that the female in the video is seen as an equal to the men and is not shown to be wearing provocative clothing or being gazed at by the men. This connotes them being friends as opposed to lovers and follows the conventions of the genre in that it is not usually seen to be sexual or exploitative to women, challenging the typical gender conventions in music videos.

 ·        The video also does not have any inter-textual references, and is specifically focussed on the narrative of the video, again conforming to the indie genre being out-casted from society and being very independent within itself.

 ·        The video shows some aspects of Barthes theory of narrative codes; it has strong cultural codes in that it is set in a very British countryside, connoting the independent British producer and audience of the video.

 ·        The music video is an example of amplification as it maintains visual links to the song but develops the ideas to form a more narrative based music video. This works well as it gives the audience an understanding of the lyrics as well as it being interesting to watch.

 ·        The video presents many challenging ideas and is not a commercial video as there is no performance like there would be in stereotypical commercial music videos. It could be considered an art form, in that it is all narrative based, therefore the audience is more focused on the song as opposed to the star, as it is not obvious who the star actually is.

Hurts – I Just Need Somebody To Die For (Borin, 2013)

Media Language

·        This video does not seem to have a simple ‘message’ or purpose; the narrative can be interpreted in different ways as the video comes across as reasonably versatile. The video is extremely symbolic in itself, referring to Barthes narrative codes; symbolic codes are present throughout the whole music video.

 ·        There is however a band image being created, as the video is not only narrative based, but includes performance scenes too. The two band members are shown throughout, which conforms to Dyer’s star image theory, where the artist is both present and absent during the music video.

 ·        The basic meaning of the video would be interpreted as simply loving someone so much that you would die for them, as there is a male and female in the narrative; however the video can be looked at in more detail, revealing factors other than generic heterosexual love.

·        Religion can be seen in this video, symbolised by a woman wearing a blue robe, and can also be seen with various iconographic shots showing objects such as a bible and a cross. This could be referring to religion and specifically Jesus, as the lyrics and visuals show that the protagonist would die for their religion.

·        The video uses montage editing to create this amplification video where the visuals link with the lyrics to develop a narrative based video. The content of the shots are all matched together, and the cutting rate is based on the drum beat.


·        The band, Hurts, are being represented as being extraordinary people in an ordinary setting, complying again with Dyer’s theory of star images. They are shown to be in a sandy location in the middle-east, but instead of ‘fitting in’ with the national dress as other characters in the video do, they wear suits and are typically portrayed as being western.

 ·        The only female in the video is represented as being holy and overlooks the town in which the video is set. This challenges stereotypes of mainstream pop videos where females are usually shown to be of a lower standard with an artificial look (Goffman et al) and who can be manipulated by males, as she is shown to not be of an equal rank in comparison to the men.

·        As the video is set in the middle-east, race is represented in a traditional way with the Arabic men dressed in their traditional cultural dress, and the woman dressed in a bright blue robe and headdress.

·        Dominant values and beliefs in this music video include the focus on religion in society and how it is ‘normal’ in middle-eastern countries.

1 comment:

  1. Some sound and accurate comments in this analysis Chesie, this is around a 'C' grade at the moment and could be improved a lot by more development of ideas. The use of Goodwin for example could include more detall. You comments on ideologies could also be more considered. Give it a go and ask me in the lesson if you are stuck